New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick shot down rumors he did not go all out for the starting quarterback job which eventually went to second-year man Geno Smith on Aug. 23.
Michael Vick Shoots Down Rumors About Desire to Start
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This was what Vick told NFL.com’s Kevin Patra on Aug. 23:
“Following the announcement, veteran backup Michael Vick fired back at a recent report that claimed some Jets coaches have ‘privately expressed disappointment that Vick didn’t show up more hell-bent on winning the starting job.’
“‘That is not true,’ Vick said. ‘That is not true at all. Me and my coaches have great conversations. We have open dialogue and that was far from the case. So whoever wrote that story, it was on the side of being very fictitious and you have to come up with better stories than that. It is better things to talk about.’
“Perhaps coaches were just commenting on the multiple times during the offseason Vick openly discussed that it was essentially a rigged ‘competition,’ as he again pointed out on Friday night.
“‘I knew the entire time that Geno was going to be the starter,’ Vick said. ‘But Geno went out and proved he’s capable of running this team and putting this team in position to win.’
“Vick, however, wasn’t put in a position to win. Criticizing the quarterback for pointing out he was brought back to New York to be the fallback option if Smith imploded or chastising him for apparently not chasing a no-win situation with more vigor is off base.
“Right or wrong, this job was always only about Smith.
“Vick proved in the process he’s evolved into what the Jets wanted when they signed him: a mentor who can start games if needed. That combination should keep Vick earning an NFL paycheck late into his 30s.”
For his part, Smith told ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini on Aug. 23 he will play with “the same mindset” in 2014 as he did last season:
“Smith was the choice over Michael Vick, ending a competition that never really was an open competition. Vick admitted as much throughout the spring, saying he expected Smith to get the job.
“Several other players, too, have been referring to Smith as the starter.
“‘All along, I’ve had the notion that I’d be out there Week 1,’ said Smith, who received the news from reporters at his postgame news conference. ‘The handwriting was pretty much on the wall. It’s a big deal, but nothing will change. It’s the same mindset for me.’
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) August 22, 2014
“For Smith, the Jets’ second-round pick in 2013, it’s the first public acknowledgement that he’s the full-time starter. He won the job by default as a rookie after Mark Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last preseason, ending their competition.
“Throughout the 2013 season, Ryan and general manager John Idzik played the semantics game, referring to Smith as their week-to-week starter. Not even a strong finish was enough to garner a public endorsement from the hierarchy.
“The Jets signed Vick to a one-year, $4 million contract to push Smith, who remained the preferred choice — even if the organization never publicly identified him that way.
“After Friday’s game, Ryan sidestepped a question on whether Smith could now be considered the full-time starter. He was just being coy; this time, it’s the real thing.
“‘This is no slight to Michael Vick, believe me,’ Ryan said. ‘I wanted to come out of this knowing we had two really good quarterbacks that we can think can win games. In my heart, I think we have two we can win games with.'”
As for Vick, he is entering his 12th NFL season. According to ESPN stats, he has thrown for 21,489 yards, 128 touchdowns and 85 interceptions on an 80.9 passer rating.
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Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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