At 1-2, this hasn’t been the season start the New York Jets were hoping for. Geno Smith struggling to avoid interceptions has been part of the struggle, but for now, it seems a bit too soon for Rex Ryan to pull the plug on the second-year quarterback and start playing Michael Vick.
Smith was something of an interception machine during his rookie season, yet the Jets never flinched and tried to unsettle him with a benching. The Jets did finish at 8-8 with Smith having a very good ending to the season through the final three games. They had hoped it would carry over into 2014, but so far it looks like his problems of accuracy and avoiding bad throws that turn into pick-sixes is a huge Achilles heel for a very strong defensive team.
In three games so far, Smith has thrown four interceptions to three touchdown passes. That’s a league high in interceptions, although the ratio – a pick on 3.9% of his passes, is slightly lower than last season’s 4.7%. His completion ratio is very much improved, moving up from 55% to 63.1%. However, with six pick-sixes since he began his NFL career, more than any other quarterback during that span, it’s getting harder and harder to keep Vick on the bench.
It’ll probably come down to Rex Ryan feeling the sword on his neck. He is on a one-year contract following the 8-8 season, and not making the playoffs will probably mean that it’s over for him after what will be six season with the Jets – a tenure that started with two consecutive AFC Championship games, but since 2010 hasn’t been able to lead them into the playoffs.
There’s always some quarterback controversy in New York. Tim Tebow was brought in to play in the 2012 season which caused nothing but trouble. Tebow’s career was destroyed, but the Jets didn’t get to enjoy a better Mark Sanchez through the competition. Last year the drafting of Geno Smith put pressure on Sanchez again, but he suffered a season ending injury, not getting to compete for the job.
This year? The Jets brought in Michael Vick, who got used to sitting on the bench last season in Philadelphia. For now, there wasn’t a lot of noise around his role on the team. However, with every loss and interceptions, even though some of the defeats have to do with officials making awful calls, Vick is getting close to starting at quarterback again.