Vick says Geno Smith has improved

Updated: August 6, 2014, 9:50 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPN.com

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- Two weeks into training camp, presumed New York Jets backup Michael Vick is keeping the pressure on Geno Smith, whom he expects to develop into one of the NFL's top young quarterbacks.

"He's going to be great," Vick said Tuesday after practice. "He's going to be 10 times better than where he was last year, and I'm looking forward to it."

The Jets have an unusual quarterback dynamic. Vick, 34, is a more accomplished player than Smith, by far, but he was signed as a free agent to push the second-year quarterback in a competition tilted heavily toward Smith.

[+] EnlargeMichael Vick and Geno Smith
AP PhotoMichael Vick said he expects Geno Smith to be "10 times better" than last season. Smith will start at quarterback in the Jets' preseason opener Thursday.

Smith will start the preseason opener Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts, but Vick will play at least a series with the starters, Jets coach Rex Ryan revealed. It may be Smith's job to lose, but the Jets are hedging their bet by giving Vick some quality time in the first game.

Ryan, whose offense failed to score a touchdown in this past weekend's intrasquad scrimmage, may have raised the stakes just a bit, saying he wants results.

"I want to see some production," he said. "I think we'll see it. I know [Smith] will have the command. Let's have the production, too."

Smith is having a solid if not stellar camp. He certainly hasn't done anything to lose the job. He showed his confidence by recently saying he expects to be a top-five quarterback in a year or two.

Vick senses in Smith the desire to be great.

"You see guys around the league, around his age, having success and doing good things for their ballclub, and I think he wants to fall right into that echelon," Vick said.

Smith has received about 80 percent of the first-team reps in practice, a clear indication that he's the front-runner. Vick has accepted his role, saying he's willing to serve as a mentor to Smith and the Jets' other young quarterbacks, Matt Simms and Tajh Boyd.

"When you have a Mike Vick come in here, you'd better be at the top of your game," Ryan said.

The Jets haven't revealed their quarterback plans beyond Thursday night. Presumably, Smith will start again. If he plays poorly against the Colts, it might cause them to re-evaluate the master plan.

"Physically, I'm bigger and stronger," said Smith, comparing himself now and as a rookie. "The mental side of it, I'm not thinking as much, not swimming as much. I have a better grasp of the offense. ... Ultimately, it's about proving it on the field, going out there Thursday night and being sharp and having a good showing."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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