TOJ Roundtable – Quarterback Decision Edition

The TOJ Roundtable debates what the New York Jets should do at the quarterback position

The TOJ Roundtable is back. Make sure to give everybody a follow on Twitter and to let us know your opinion down in the comment section below! Today’s question is…

Knowing that Geno Smith is still starting against San Diego, how would you handle the quarterback situation going forward the rest of the season?

Joe Caporoso – Geno Smith should be on a quick hook this Sunday. Part of the reason Mike Vick was signed was to avoid Smith having the four game cushion of poor play he did in 2013 because the Jets didn’t have a competent backup. The Jets have a competent backup now, so with Smith coming off two poor games in row, if he begins to struggle in a third, the team should turn to Vick as a change of pace. Turning to Vick in game doesn’t mean it is his job for the rest of the season but could be a necessary move for the Jets to upset San Diego, if Smith is turning in a similar performance to the one he did against Detroit.

As for the bulk of the year, it feels like a tossup. I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith started every game the rest of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised if Vick was inserted on Sunday and did the same. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Vick plays at some point but is eventually pulled again for Smith, either due to injury or ineffectiveness. Ultimately, I said before the year that Smith would be the starter for the duration of the season so I will stick with that but he is flirting with losing his job.

Connor Rogers –  The Jets are digging themselves into a deeper hole as the weeks go by. With match ups against the Chargers, Broncos, and Patriots in the next 3 weeks, they are facing the possibility of being 2-5 or 1-6 if the turnovers are not cleaned up.

I am a big Geno Smith fan, he has the raw skill set and work ethic to succeed in the NFL. Unfortunately at the moment, he is forcing the ball and costing the team week after week with poor decision making. If this does not change against a banged up San Diego Chargers unit, Mike Vick should see the field in week six with a game plan tailored around him through a week of practice.

Cole Patterson – I don’t think that anything has changed since the start of the season in regards to handling the quarterback situation. Michael Vick is an explosive, uber talented 34 year old with consistency issues, a turnover problem, and a time share on the injury report. Geno Smith is a 23 year old project with immense potential but a similar propensity towards turning the ball over.

When it comes down to it, the powers that be are going to have to answer a few questions regarding the direction of the team. Is it more important to win now or build for the future? If the answer is build, Smith is the obvious choice as Vick, due to his age and injury history, is not an option. Choosing the immediate is a bit more complicated. Does Vick offer a better chance to win now? We know he is explosive but his turnover problems are well documented and are exacerbated in the red zone (an area where the Jets have already been sacked three times, fumbled three times, and lost two turnovers). Geno Smith has been able to move the ball effectively up and down the field for most of the season but he too has been turning the ball over. The saying goes that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (or in this case, un-teach them). Vick isn’t going to stop turning the ball over at this point in his career so, the question is, how quickly can Geno Smith stymie his propensity towards turning the ball over? Does it matter? If both are going to turn the ball over and Smith has been otherwise effective, in what scenario is Vick truly the better option?

TJ Rosenthal –  As far as turning to Vick, be ready to do it in game. I would look for any signs of emotional strain from Geno or a three pick meltdown then make a switch. It’s hard to start Vick outright when this summer the Jets determined that Geno was better. What I would have done was give Vick more of a shot from the start but this organization really sees Geno as a guy to groom so if there is a change I see it happening during a game not midweek.

The offensive struggles are not all on Smith so it’s fair to question why change at all? The only reasons are for a jolt in energy or willingness to live with Vick’s turnover prone ways in exchange for the big plays his unique style can still create.

Dalbin Osorio – I think Geno’s going to be the starter for the rest of the season, so I agree with Mike OC on that part. I disagree with the notion of Rex and his job security that OC presented, but we’ll leave that for another day. The Jets are trying to figure out if Geno is the QB that’s going to lead this team going forward. There have been hiccups along the way, but if I told you that Geno would be completing 60% of his passes after the year he had in 2013 everyone would’ve signed up. He must clean up the INTs and get back to playing confidently.

With that said, I’d start him the rest of the way because I think he gives you the best chance to win. This isn’t 2004 and we’re not playing Madden. Michael Vick is a 34 year old QB that has had essentially one good year recently as a QB in this league. Vick isn’t getting better, whereas there’s a chance that Geno might. You roll with him the rest of the way and then assess where you are at QB at the end of the season, when Rex (barring an implosion) is retained.

Dan Marcus – This is a pretty tricky one because a lot of it is dependent upon how he plays this week, if Geno goes out and lights it up without turning the ball over then this isn’t even a question. However, if he’s terrible again and the Jets drop to 1-4, there may be no other recourse but to turn to Vick to give this team a spark. When you’re staring down the barrel of a potential 1-6 start with the Broncos and Patriots on the horizon, Rex is going to have to say “damn the torpedoes” because you need to give yourself the best chance to win football games.

The one thing that worries me is Vick’s lack of reps and if there would be some considerable rust on him going into whatever game he would start but desperate times do call for desperate measures; we’re not there quite yet but we could be very soon.

Michael O’Connor –  I think Geno Smith is going to end up playing the entire season unless absolutely drastic measures arise. I think there is a line and it is pretty unbreakable for him to lose the starting job completely, and not even for reasons about Mike Vick and his play. Hopefully Geno doesn’t keep this downward spiral going, but if he does, Vick could totally come in and play better than the second year quarterback. This situation is more about Rex Ryan and his job than the actual quarterbacks.

It’s going to take a miraculous and substantial turnaround from this wildly inconsistent play for Rex to have his job security sealed after this season. Even with an even record last year, some wanted him gone, including myself. If Geno keeps tanking and needs a benching here and there, Rex will likely do it. The thing is, Geno is the much more logical starter for the future than Vick is. It is definitely possible Geno isn’t the answer, too, but he’s clearly more logical to give leverage towards for 2015. If Rex keeps proving that he can’t win with Geno, will he be able to save his job by playing Vick? How meaningful will a win or two more mean for the team’s future if it comes at the hands of Vick? Ryan isn’t going to deserve another dedicated season of Geno most likely playing quarterback in 2015 if he threw in the towel on him mid-season. You have to think of the future of the team and therefore, Rex latching on to Geno to hope for a return in 2015 is likely…that’s why I don’t think Vick will start more than maybe one game.

Joe Malfa –Through the ups and downs of Geno Smith’s young career, I have always been one of his biggest supporters, and I still believe that he has the tools and skills necessary to become a good starting quarterback a few years down the road; however, the Jets need to win now.

The Monday night demolition of the Patriots was great for Jets fans in more ways than one. It was great for the obvious reason of the Pats getting their teeth kicked in, but more importantly, it means that the Jets are still only one game back in the lowly AFC East.

The Jets have a fighting chance to emerge as the winners division with how bad it is this season, and Geno’s inexperience coupled with his seemingly innate ability to turn the ball over will not get this team on the winning track. If he comes out and plays poorly in the early stages of the game against San Diego, he needs to be benched, and not just for the remainder of the game — he needs to be benched permanently.

The fact of the matter is Michael Vick gives this team a better chance to win now. Yes, he will turn the ball over from time to time, but he can’t possibly turn the ball over as much as Geno, and if not for untimely Geno turnovers, the Jets could be 4-0.

At the start of the season, the Jets named Geno the starter with the future in mind. With the division in shambles, the future is now — the time to win is now — and Michael Vick gives the Jets the best opportunity to win now. He’s more experienced, more of a playmaker, and he simply provides a spark that Geno is incapable of providing.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    If it were my decision, I’d bench Geno mid-game if he continues with the dumb mistakes (turnovers, sacks that take the team out of scoring range, etc) or if he shows body language similar to last week (hanging head & slumped shoulders).

    Geno seems to be cracking under the pressure as he showed visible frustration in dealing with a reporter today after insinuating the press is making too big of a deal out of his mistakes yesterday.

    I have yet to hear Rex say “Geno gives us the best chance to win” & considering his cryptic non-answer to the question of who decides if Geno starts & Dyer’s article today, it seems to me that Rex is trying to distance himself from Geno.

    http://www.metro.us/newyork/sports/nfl/2014/10/01/source-drafting-geno-smith-100-percent-john-idziks-decision/

  • KAsh

    I agree that Geno is on a short hook this week, but turnovers are not the mark I would use for the cutoff. Geno has to avoid turnovers, while moving the ball, even in the red zone. If at halftime, we are not moving down the field, or have a red zone percentage below 50%, then Rex should turn to Vick to see if he can turn around this offense. I believed that Geno, as a young player under contract beyond this year, needs more opportunities than Vick, who is moving on almost without a doubt, but if Geno is not good enough to hold off a 34-year-old, injury-prone, turnover machine like Vick and get his coaches to start him again, then we have to consider bringing in another quarterback at the end of this year anyway.

  • Dan Sica

    First, its amazing how one week changes the perception of a team or player in the NFL. If the jets pull out one of the last 3 games this wouldn’t even be a discussion. I would have gladly signed up for 2-2 after 4 before the season started given the schedule but hey… its a lonnng season

    I have been a Geno supporter (well more or less a mark Sanchez hater) since the beginning. The new CBA allows you to take these chances on QBs early without burning cash. Noone ever expected him to be a flawless, elite qb and its NOT easy to find one. Guys like wilson and luck are exceptions not the norm. Outside of the top 8 or so qbs the next tier of qb’s a long list probably down to the low – mid 20’s that move within that band week to week. I still believe Geno is in that band and has shown me enough that he deserved to be the starter then now and can win you games. There’s an ebb and flow in every game and season, gotta ride the waves up and down. And i dont think the wave is down ar enough right now to panic or pull the plug.

    I think that besides the Lions game I don’t think Geno has played poorly (with the obvious exception of a 2-3 bonehead plays in chi and one in GB), Part of the poor play is on coaching in the red zone and over confidence after 1 win, which isnt a surprise given rex’s personality. The jets can play with anyone in the league on both sides of the ball and they proved that the last 3 weeks.

    All that being said i think that if you believe in Idzik’s mantra of competition (which i do) and you went out and spent $ on Vick. Geno MUST be on a short leash in SD and should be pulled ONLY if he makes obvious mistakes. Not because Vick or gives a better or worse chance to win( i think its even) but as a learning tool for geno to step back and refocus and as part of that competition. Geno’s back is against the wall right now both on and off the field, needs to prove he can respond, he gets his chance this but has to show improvement and not to make the same mistakes twice.

  • John Hunter

    Is everyone who is singing the Vick is a T.O machine realize he ended ONLY 1 season with more INTS than TDS? (his rookie year, 8 games, 2 TDS 3 INTS).

    Yes there were fumbles, but they was balanced with rushing yards. Vick is one of the ultimate dual threat in NFL history. Just recently as last year he ran for his longest rushing play in his career 61 yds.

    Let’s look at some positive immediate changes Vick brings to the table:
    He allows MM to open his playbook wider because Vick can play under center & shotgun
    The read option would multiply it’s level effectiveness.
    Vick makes BIG plays
    Vick brings a level of excitement Geno simply can’t.
    Vick can escape pressure Winters gives up ten times better than Geno, and still has the ability to make the D pay with his scramble.

    If Geno is benched, it’s not the END of Geno. It could be exactly what he needs anyway. The original plan when we drafted him was to allow him to learn from the bench first, while working on his weaknesses in practice. It’s one thing to lose your job to Kirk Cousins, it’s another to lose it to your idol Mike Vick who’s on the tail end of his career, so there’s no long-term threat. Yeah Geno played better in camp and preseason, but let’s not act like it was an OPEN and FAIR competition. It was Geno’s job to lose, not to earn. He didn’t lose, but some can argue he didn’t earn it. Especially with the bums Vick had to work with for targets….after starting WRs Decker & Kerley, there was nothing but camp bodies. I believe the final snap count with the ones was like 75 or 90% to Geno. Which had it’s level of sense, because if you really wanted him to be your starter, he needed the reps with the ones, but don’t turn around and preach competition. The 2013 Eagles had a REAL QB competition with Vick vs Foles…..Vick mopped the floor with Foles.

    Bottom line, as much as I don’t want to see this happen, but IMO, Geno can’t play under this type of pressure. The moment has arrived where the presence of Vick will cause Geno to crumble. Geno doesn’t play well under pressure, and the pressure is at it’s highest peak. The only good thing about Sunday’s game for Geno, it’s in SD. Had the game been in MetLife, and Geno makes a 1st half T.O, the chant for Vick will be too much for Geno to handle. The bigger story would be does Rex give in.

  • Dan Sica

    @John Hunter… dont agree with you that Geno cant handle the pressure completely. He was tied for the most game winning drives in the league last yr( 5 with Brady and Wilson) . this week is crucial to see how he handles this new type of pressure, lets hope its definitive one way or the other so it makes the coaches decision easier.

    On the competition point the mere fact that Vick is behind him and is a legit threat is competition in itself regardless of reps. Totally agree with you on benching doesn’t mean the end and could/ should be very good for him.

    Need to pull off one win in the next three and beat buff at home and we get to the half way point at 3 – 5 with a back end schedule that we could be 5-3 or better and push for playoffs.

  • John Hunter

    Dan……quote me accurately please….I said “this type of pressure”. Which is uncharted waters for Geno, and again it’s just my humble opinion.

    Prove me wrong Geno!!!

  • The Dude Abides

    I’m gonna say Gee NO to Geno. see what i did there? Really i feel like this is where he was last year. A few minor upgrades but where is this qb the coaches were claiming was lightyears ahead from last year? Vick is not the answer by any means but i honestly can’t say he;s worse. Use the conservative approach in terms of passing and ground and pound plus a vet who can not crumble under some pressure should net us some wins. We are one game away from first scary enough. The AFC east has never been weaker and we need to take advantage of that now. The geno experiment was nice but it didn’t work out , no harm in moving on.

  • tycobb1981

    Wait, Vick has the ability to not crumble under pressure?

  • The Dude Abides

    Some pressure. Geno’s performance plus behavior only 4 games deep into the season makes me think he can’t handle some pressure. Considering vicks history yeah he can handle that much.

  • KAsh

    @JH

    Speak to Philly fans, who counted on Vick for a few bad turnovers each game, or look up his career stats, in which he has thrown just 43 more TDs than INTs and the bulk of that difference came in just two years 2002 and 2010. Also subtract 2006, and in the other eight years of his career, Vick has thrown just 12 TDs more than INTs.

    But Vick is a turnover machine that still throws touchdowns. Which is the major difference between him and Geno. If Geno cannot get points on the board, it does not matter whether he is 1st or 32nd in offense; Vick needs to come in for him.

  • John Hunter

    KAsh I can respect your source, but I’d prefer to go with my own observation & belief. If the Eagles are forced to go with Sanchez, do you think the fans would follow our criticism or look at the positive and be optimistic?

    C’mon Man.

    I expect a 2010 repeat if he gets the opportunity. I’m talking 21tds 6 Ints Michael Vick style.

    I waana see if the QB will make the weapons better with this switch. Meanwhile, unlike others don’t believe the benching will ruin Geno, I believe he’ll benefit.

  • David

    It isn’t just the QB position, but the one thing I will say about Rex Ryan, and IMO it is one of his biggest flaws as a head coach over his tenure with the Jets, is that he is “too loyal” to a fault. Let’s be realistic, can Oday Aboushi really do any worse than Brian Winters has so far? Or how long have the Jets stuck with Kyle Wilson when he is average at best and was getting burned time after time? Or Sanchez?

    It is time for Rex to put the top 22 players on the field, regardless of draft status or contract. And that includes QB.

  • dave2220

    In the Not For Long league, you can’t wait forever… when Geno stumbles, and if Vick comes in and plays well… so be it… but Vick in not the long term answer as at 34, he has only some many games / hits left… Geno will get another shot…

  • glegly

    It’s nothing more complicated than this – we can WIN the horrible, putrid AFC East this year. It’s really all about getting to the postseason. If the two recent NYG SB wins taught us anything, it’s that. And who has a better chance of taking us to the playoffs this year?

    Yes, we’re sacrificing long term potential by benching Geno, but he’s not being RELEASED.

  • joeydefiant

    mike glennon threw 20 tds with 8 ints being coached by schiano in his rookie year. at what point do you say geno doesnt have IT and has an inherent flaw as a turnover machine. his mistakes are way worse than sanchez and sanchez even had top ten red zone efficiency numbers

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    @joeydefiant – I’m ready to say Geno doesn’t have “IT” right now. He’s more than athletic enough to be a very good QB, but his poor field vision & lack of poise under pressure are preventing him from being successful.

    I’d be willing to overlook the mistakes some if there were instances where he showed the ability to make something positive out of a busted play at least occasionally.

  • John Hunter

    @ JJ & joey

    How many QBs in the NFL has “IT”? and who are those QBs outside of: Peyton, Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Rivers, Wilson, & Luck.

    Until we get lucky and find a QB that has “IT”, can we win with a QB that has the ability to move the chains without making bonehead mistakes? I say yes.

    I agree Geno doesn’t have the “IT” factor. But his ceiling could easily be a QB that can move the chains without the bonehead mistakes. I just believe he needs more development & experience, which will take time, and maybe time watching from the sideline (which was the original plan). Time that I don’t think Rex has, especially with the slow approach Idzik is taking in plugging these holes with legit talent. The jury could still be out until next offseason, when he’ll (Idzik) have another golden opportunity to land some pretty good FAs. I get building through the Draft, but with the new CBA there’s too much cap left available after the rookie signings. Therefore, it doesn’t make sense to just sit on cash. Cash that we will be forced to use on our current players (who for the most part, might not be worth spending on). Idzik needs to stop being so cheap, and bring in talent to win now & draft to win later.

    Back to Geno, he has an opportunity to prove most of US wrong this weekend.

  • KAsh

    @JH

    While I am not disagreeing with you on whether Vick should replace Geno, I am pointing out not to have baseless expectations. Testosterone levels – testosterone being the hormone muscle mass and growth are based on – start to decline at age thirty, which is why all the players that depend on their athleticism drop off around that age. So, the thirty-year-old Michael Vick in 2010 cannot do the same things with a 34-year-old body in 2014. And once you consider that he is playing in the same system with the same coordinator under which he was mediocre in 2011 & 2012, then there really is little chance that his understanding of the game has matured beyond what was there in 2010. In other words, Michael Vick plays like a younger version of himself that he is not. It is sad enough that I can write this about Vick and still think he might still be better than Geno.

    I only question baseless expectations. If you want an example of what they can do, go a month back to the start of September 2014 in TOJ’s archives: most of the writers above predicted 10-6 and 9-7 seasons (one prediction was 11-5!) then admonished me when I said to wait until you see the product on the field and are now discussing if and when you bench the QB that, a month ago, most of them thought was going to lock down his starting spot for a decade.

  • John Hunter

    JJ

    I respect your opinion. However, remember the infamous 2010 season Mike did his damage unlike how he did it in Atlanta (IN THE POCKET). Granted he still did some work with his legs, and presented his normal dual threat. But the point is he demonstrated he can play well without using all of his athleticism to be successful.

    For Vick to play well isn’t equivalent to catching lightening in a bottle, it’s more like catching a fly in the palm of your hand (more realistic).

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    JH – I agree we can win with a QB that has the ability to move the chains without making boneheaded mistakes but we don’t have that guy, & it seems pretty aggressive to assume Geno’s going to improve from multiple boneheaded mistakes per game to none anytime soon.

    Vick will make mistakes, but I’d like to see if he can still make plays. Ultimately, I think the team is going to need to draft a QB & sign a veteran to actually compete with him & be capable of starting unless Vick shows he can fill that role.

  • John Hunter

    Well none is overstating my comment above. I said his “ceiling could be a chain mover without the bonehead mistakes”, and followed it with “I believe this will take more development & experience, which will take time”

    Even when he’s at his ceiling, still every QB makes a bonehead once in a while. Making them constantly is what will get you out the league real quick.

    As for Vick, he’s, IMO, the best backup in the NFL. There’s nothing to consider or hesitate about giving Mike the opportunity to earn his 5 million. As for next season, it’s too soon to speculate. I would imagine us being in the market for a QB high in the draft, especially if Geno is benched. I’m not expecting anything else from Vick after this season, but if he leads us to a winning record, he deserves to be back next season if healthy.

    Which will give us a pretty good look at the competition with the return of Vick & Geno, and the addition of our new QB.

    We’ll soon find out.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    JH – why did you speculate on what the team will do at QB next season immediately after stating it was too soon to speculate about next season? I think the stress of having to defend Geno’s poor performances is getting to you.

    While it’s great you “think” an athletic guy who makes a lot of mistakes can become a savvy “game manager,” reality says Geno hasn’t shown much, or any, ability to improve his weaknesses that were identified pre-draft. From http://www.nfl.com/draft/2013/profiles/geno-smith?id=2539335 :

    “WEAKNESSES Runs a spread offense almost exclusively from the shotgun, needs work on his footwork coming from under center. Ball will float or sail if his feet are not set or he fails to transfer weight, either in the pocket when facing pressure or when throwing on the run. Blitz awareness is only adequate, will miss guys coming free to his left and right. Will back up from pressure at times instead of unloading the ball or stepping up to make the throw. Seemingly regressed each week, especially when locking on to one side of the field.”

    These are ALL problems nearly every week still, & it is very irrational to assume he correct these issues that he has had since college, & probably HS, when he hasn’t shown the ability to correct them 20 games into his pro career.

  • John Hunter

    Nah, no stress at all. A “but” is missing from my comment, but should be easily implied when being read with reason. Stop with the petty.

    Nobody said he’s overcome every weakness he’s had since chosen in the 2nd, but he’s certainly made strides, and currently struggling…..I wonder how many QBs that’s happen to 20 games in? Hmmm….point is, the youngster is realistically right where he should be considering the hand he was dealt coupled how ready he is to be out there in the first place….this is why I’ve been on board for a benching asap. But to label a bust, and end his career (which is what you’re attempting) is idiotic IMO.