Smith will begin the Jets offseason activities with the first team, as he tries to hold on to the starters job in New York over free agent signing Michael Vick.
“We’re going to structure it in a certain way,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “One thing I want to make sure of is nothing impedes the young quarterback’s progression. I’m talking about Geno. He progressed beautifully. … I’m talking the last quarter of the season.”
The Jets gave Vick a one-year deal to begin the season as Smith’s backup. Smith was the lowest rated passer in the NFL a season ago after being selected by the Jets in the second round.
“He’s got a really important role here,” Mornhinweg said of Vick as the backup. “He’s 33 years old and he’s still got it. I look at him as a young 33. He’s still got it. He’s going to compete hard. He’s going to push. He’s going to make Geno and the rest of the quarterbacks the very best they can be. When he’s called upon to play, I’ve got great confidence in Mike.”
Regardless of how the Jets try and paint this picture, Smith is at the top of the depth chart simply because he was with the team a year ago. The team – read coaching staff – can ill afford to suffer though another first half like he produced a year ago.