The Washington Post

Geno Smith vs. Michael Vick: A QB controversy brews for Jets

(AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)

I love quarterback controversies, so when the New York Jets signed free agent quarterback Michael Vick this offseason I was giddy at the team’s apparent lack of faith in Geno Smith, their second-round pick in the  of the 2013 NFL draft.

So, who should it be?

Ask Geno Smith and it is an easy call. “I just believe with the experience I’ve gained and the direction we were heading in as an offense and where I see myself as a second-year player,” said Smith. “I just believe I’m more than capable of being the starter.”

Vick, however, thinks there is an alternative choice. “I feel like I’m a legitimate starting quarterback in this league,” Vick said on SNY’s “Daily News Live.”

See? Controversy!

Geno Smith has just one season under his belt, in which his 2013 QBR rating – a metric developed by ESPN that quantifies a quarterback’s contribution to winning – ranked 34th among 39 NFL quarterbacks at 35.9. Pro Football Focus ranked him dead last (75.1 PFF QB Rating) among the 27 quarterbacks who took at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps. Michael Vick posted a QBR rating of 58.7 and a 83.1 PFF QB Rating, albeit in fewer starts.

We could adjust for the differences in team pass blocking, but that doesn’t help narrow down a winner. Football Outsiders graded the New York Jets pass protection as the 27th best in the NFL with an 8.6 adjusted sack rate. Philadelphia ranked second to last with 9.1 percent. However, according to Pro Football Focus, Smith was the most frequently blitzed quarterback last season, by a wide margin.

Vick, meanwhile, was blitzed on just 54 of the 171 times (31.58 percent) he dropped back to pass for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Under pressure, Geno completed 65 of 160 passing attempts (40.6 percent) for one touchdown and seven interceptions. Vick was 18 for 53 (34 percent) with two touchdowns and one interception.

Name Team Dropbacks Sacks Att. Comp. TD INT
Geno Smith NYJ 217 43 160 65 1 7
Michael Vick PHI 76 13 53 18 2 1
Source: Pro Football Focus

“It’s going to be really interesting to watch that competition unfold,” Coach Rex Ryan said. “But Geno Smith is going to be hard to beat out.”

Interesting indeed. Who you got?

[polldaddy poll=7987908]

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.



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Neil Greenberg · April 22, 2014