Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said second-year QB Geno Smith will open with the first team when the Jets begin their on-field spring practices in a few weeks as he tries to beat out Michael Vick for the starting job, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports.
Mornhinweg said the Jets don’t want to impede the progress Smith made in his rookie season.
“We’re going to structure it in a certain way,” Mornhinweg said on a conference call with reporters. “One thing I want to make sure of is nothing impedes the young quarterback’s progression. I’m talking about Geno. He progressed beautifully. … I’m talking the last quarter of the season.”
Smith was the lowest-rated quarterback in the NFL, but showed some signs of improvement in the final month of the season. Still, the Jets signed Vick to a one-year deal last month to provide some competition for Smith and possibly take the starting job if Smith falters.
“He’s got a really important role here,” Mornhinweg said. “He’s 33 years old and he’s still got it. I look at him as a young 33. He’s still got it. He’s going to compete hard. He’s going to push. He’s going to make Geno and the rest of the quarterbacks the very best they can be. When he’s called upon to play, I’ve got great confidence in Mike.”
“We’ve got a plan,” he said. “Geno is in the middle of a progression. He’s a fine, young quarterback. You know I think highly about him. We brought Michael Vick in for a purpose. He’s going to compete, he’s going to push, he’s going to make Geno the very best. If he’s called upon to play and when he’s called upon to play, I expect Mike Vick to play at a real high level.”