It can't be easy for Michael Vick, being second fiddle to a second year player who struggled his rookie year. Ever since he burst onto the scene with a 400 yard passing performance his freshman year at Homer L. Ferguson High School, he has largely been the man to beat. However this year, he's taking reps with the scout team, and working hard to ensure that Geno Smith is ready and prepared to put the Jets on his back.
ESPN have a number of great quotes from Vick on his preparation for the season, and his role with the Jets this year:
On his preparation:
"It's different. It's a different adjustment that I have to make, but that was in my commitment to coming to New York. I already understood the sacrifices that I would have to make here internally and to myself," Vick said Friday. "The only thing that I can control is to be the best player that I can be at all times and keep striving to be the best and keep thinking positive."
On his mentoring of Geno Smith:
"Watching him have the opportunity to go out and practice, even today and display all of the things that we worked on all week. It makes it all worthwhile," Vick said. "All of the hard work that we put in is going to be displayed on Sunday and throughout the season. Just to have the chance to pass all of that knowledge down and see it being used in a productive manner is gratifying."
On his expectations for Geno:
"I guess [some media outlets] had him ranked 32nd," Vick said. "That won't be the case. I know throughout our hard work and what we've set out to accomplish, that moment to jump, time to strive, so we'll see. I'm just excited for him. He's worked hard and the time has come."
On getting ready for the Oakland Raiders:
"I'm used to getting all of the number one reps," he said. "Now I get the scout team reps, but hey I take pride in that too. Anything to help the team out, anything to help this team win, or give them an edge. I'm doing the best that I can. I am going to continue to do that and continue to be an asset."
On being a better QB than he was his last year in Philadelphia:
I know that for a fact," he said. "I know because of the different study habits. I know that because of my play throughout the preseason, and the things that I was able to get done. The goals that I set, I was able to accomplish. Everything is solid. I haven't changed anything. I have just continued to work hard and continued to strive to be the best and continue to develop that mindset of always staying on top and I think that is what keeps me on edge."
It really is going to be interesting to see how much patience the Jets have with Geno if he starts to struggle and how quickly they go to Michael Vick is the team is in a funk. I think having a successful mentor gives Geno a much better chance of succeeding. Vick hasn't done anything this pre-season to unseat Smith as the starter of this football team, but that's absolutely fine. It's the work he puts in with Geno behind the scenes that will make the most difference. The work in the film room and out on the practise field.
I'm happy to have Vick and I'm happy to constantly read positive sound bites coming from him and his camp.