The New York Jets will have a new starting quarterback this Sunday, with Mike Vick taking over for Geno Smith. Instead of our normal passing game breakdown, let’s review the decision and look at how the Jets could potentially move the ball against a talented Kansas City Chiefs defense.
On the surface it would appear foolish to replace Smith with Vick, considering the team is going nowhere this season and you would ideally want as much evaluative tape on Smith as possible. We know what Vick is at this point of this career and he isn’t a long term answer at quarterback. Smith has flashed at times while mixing in occasionally horrid performances. However, the way Smith played on Sunday, throwing three abysmal first quarter interceptions and looking completely mentally checked out of the game required some type of action. There is still eight games left and it is legitimately unfair to the rest of the team to bring Smith back out there again as a starter this week, particularly when Vick moved the football relatively well in relief last Sunday. If parts of the team haven’t quit already, keeping Smith in the lineup this Sunday would have been a way to expedite that process.Vick should start the next two games and then the position can be evaluated again at the bye week. If Vick plays well and the Jets win a game or two, you stay with him on a game to game basis. If not much changes from the quarterback position, then you can go back to Smith for the stretch run after he’s had a few weeks to hopefully watch and get his act together. Unless the Jets and Vick make an unlikely run, Smith will probably get at least a few more starts at some point. If you are 3-10 and you got a good look at Vick, why wouldn’t you let Smith start the final three games? He will be on the roster next year and at a minimum could be the backup.
Last week, Vick was effective scrambling with the football and putting together four different scoring drives. The offense looked better with him under center, which isn’t saying much considering how putrid it was when Smith was out there. Vick still had three turnovers, still only had 150 yards passing and still only completed 50% of his passes. With a full week of practice with the starters, Vick will likely be improved. He is playing for his last chance to be a stopgap starter somewhere next season (maybe, here?)
For whatever duration of time Vick plays, we will probably see the following: relatively steady ball movement, some electric drive extending scrambles, a few nice deep balls, many turnovers, a good amount of inaccuracy and an eventual injury. Vick has quality weapons at his disposal and as our Connor Rogers pointed out in this week’s podcast,a steady performance from Vick could allow the Jets to see Percy Harvin, Eric Decker, Jace Amaro, Jeremy Kerley and Chris Ivory operate at full capacity. It is ironic that last week we were talking about having Harvin provide a clearer picture of Geno but he was awful enough last week to have the opportunity put on hold.
For Sunday, the Chiefs have the league’s 19th ranked rushing defense and 1st ranked passing defense. You remember how the Jets ran the ball against the Patriots? More of that on Sunday would be nice. Ivory should be the team’s workhorse (amazing how their redzone problems went away last week when he was fed the ball inside the 5 yard, right?), with Bilal Powell and Chris Johnson working in supporting roles. Vick remains a threat to run on any given play and a few quarterback draws to counteract Kansas City’s dominant pass rush would be wise.When the Jets do throw, Kansas City has allowed 7 touchdowns to tight ends this season so some Jace Amaro in the redzone and around the rest of the field would be nice. The rookie is on pace for 64 catches and could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Vick’s promotion. Beyond that, the Jets kept Eric Decker’s routes strictly underneath last week. How about throwing the guy a post route? Vick has the arm for it and Decker did damage as a vertical receiver throughout his career in Denver but the Jets were only throwing nine routes to Harvin and Jeff Cumberland (?!?) last week.
As for Harvin, he had 50 yards of offense last week but had two plays of 10 yards or longer called back by penalties. Expect the Jets to keep him involved at a high rate, as a halfback, slot receiver and at split end. The Jets are going to have to get the ball out quick against the Chiefs pass rush, so quick screens and slants to Harvin make sense.