A year ago, Michael Vick and Nick Foles were in a proper quarterback competition. First-year Eagles coach Chip Kelly made it clear that the best man would win, and when the season began, that man was Vick. An injury eventually paved the way for Foles, who played out of his mind during the final two months of the season, but he earned it.
Vick signed with the Jets this offseason, and he'll enter training camp as the clear No. 2 behind second-year quarterback Geno Smith. It's something the veteran understands, even if he doesn't embrace it.
“Going through the competition with Nick [Foles], we knew both of us coming in that it was open competition and the best guy was going to win the job,” Vick said, via the New York Daily News' Seth Walder. “Pretty much cut and dry. This situation is different. It's kind of unique. Even though it's not an open competition, we're both competing every day. ...
“It's still tough right now ... I won't lie,” Vick continued. “Because deep down you always want to be a starter. Hopefully that opportunity will come again one day and I've just got to keep working for it.”
Smith struggled most of his rookie season but played better down the stretch, leading the Jets to a 3-1 record in December when he threw 4 touchdowns against just two interceptions (he had 8 TDs and 19 INTs through the first 13 weeks).
Back in March, Jets coach Rex Ryan said of Smith, "This young man's going to be hard to beat out. I don't care who comes in here. We want competition at every spot -- I think it's great -- but make no mistake, Geno Smith gonna be hard to beat out."
And earlier this month, Vick sounded a similar tone.
"Ultimately our goal is to try to help Geno become the best quarterback that he can be," he said. "Myself and [third-stringer Matt Simms] are all trying to put him in a position where he can get better from year one to year two."
Vick has previously stated that he wouldn't "necessarily be okay with sitting on the bench all year," but conceded that "I know what I signed up for. ... First and foremost, I came to compete and be a helping hand for Geno, and he has a long way to go."
It's certainly a different mindset than two years ago, when the Jets traded for Tim Tebow and left Mark Sanchez wondering where he stood on the depth chart. By the time it was over, the organization was a quarterback-less laughingstock.