Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Geno Smith to get 75 percent of camp reps
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets might as well come out and say, "We expect Geno Smith to be our opening-day quarterback." They won't, of course, because that is not how it's done in Idzik World. But offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg came close Wednesday, saying his plan is to give Smith 70 to 75 percent of the first-team reps in training camp.
Michael Vick will get the other 25 to 30 percent of the reps, meaning he won't have much of a chance to outplay Smith. Not that we needed more evidence, but Mornhinweg's plan confirms that it's not an open competition. Mornhinweg cautioned that the plan could change, but he made it quite clear his job is to get Smith ready for Sept. 7 against the Oakland Raiders. He has been consistent with that message since March.
"Look, here's my job: It's my responsibility -- my duty, really ... I've got to continue to progress the young quarterback that's got 16 games under his belt -- that has to happen," Mornhinweg said. "And then, at the same time, we just have to get Michael Vick playing at the high level that he played at in the past, within this system. So he needs some reps."
Therein lies the challenge. In the old days, when there were two-a-days, this wouldn't have been a problem. Now, in the current NFL, reps are at a premium in training camp. In case you're wondering, Smith and Mark Sanchez worked on a 50-50 split last summer, when it was a true open competition.
General manager John Idzik, addressing reporters for the first time since the draft, spoke in generalities regarding the quarterback situation. He said, "It's competitive." Asked about Vick's recent claims that it's not an open competition, Idzik said, "It may be read different ways, but we're all on the same page."
Meanwhile, the Jets are tickled by Smith's progress.
"We're still going to have ups and downs," Mornhinweg said, "but I suspect Geno will play at a high level more consistently."
Quarterbacks coach David Lee said Smith is stronger and faster than a year ago. During the winter, Lee said he received texts from Smith, photos of him running up and down hills in Florida with a parachute attached to his back. (Wait, there are hills in Florida?) Lee said Smith is making quicker decisions with the ball, adding, "The ball is coming out of his hands so much faster than it has been in the past."