General manager John Idzik and the Jets want nothing to do with a quarterback controversy. But boy, does Michael Vick know how to make things interesting.
There's an electricity when Vick takes off, followed by a rush of anxiety as fans await his final destination. The 34-year-old quarterback flashed his fancy footwork on the Jets' only touchdown drive in Thursday night's 13-10 win over the Colts in the preseason opener for both teams at MetLife Stadium.
Vick, who began behind the starting offensive line, completed 3 of 6 passes for 17 yards after entering early in the second quarter. He also ran three times for 19 yards, including a 15-yard scramble during the 80-yard drive.
"You can have them all covered up, but you'd better account for the quarterback,'' Rex Ryan said. "And when a quarterback can run for first downs -- and you saw Geno do it a couple times, and obviously with Mike -- it puts a huge, huge stress on the defense.''
It's long been understood that incumbent Geno Smith will start during the regular season. But Vick's dynamic ways will be hard to ignore, which could put the Jets in a tough position down the road. Asked if Vick earned more time with the first-teamers in practice, Ryan stuck to the company line.
"We'll just let this thing play out,'' he said. "This is our first preseason game. Obviously, we know we have two excellent quarterbacks. There's no question. We know we have two great quarterbacks.''
Ryan quickly caught himself. "Well, we hope to [have] two great quarterbacks.''
After Vick threw to Chris Johnson for 6 yards and Jace Amaro for 5, Colts safety Sergio Brown was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for throwing Willie Colon's helmet during a skirmish. That 15-yard infraction gave the Jets another first down.
After Vick's 4-yard scramble on third-and-8 from the 12, Ryan went for the first down, and it proved to be the right call. Fullback Tommy Bohanon caught a 6-yard pass before a 1-yard run by Chris Ivory (his last rush because of a rib injury) made it second-and-goal at the 1. Johnson barreled into the end zone on the next play.
To be fair, Vick's drive came against Indy's backup defense, but the home crowd didn't care, and neither did Ryan. Two 51-yard field goals -- by Nick Folk in the first quarter and Andrew Furney with 1:08 to play -- made the difference for the Jets.
"We like to score on every possession but we were able to get three points,'' said Smith, who started the game but failed to get the ball in the end zone. The Jets had to settle for Folk's 51-yarder.
Smith connected with his new No. 1 receiver, Eric Decker, for 7 yards to start the drive. But an incomplete pass on second down and a 5-yard false start forced a punt. On the next possession, Smith's last, he hit Jeff Cumberland for 11 yards and ran for 10, but the drive stalled. Smith was 4-for-6 for 22 yards.
"It wasn't great, but it wasn't a pillow fight, either,'' said Ryan, who praised Smith's ball security and decisions. "I thought Geno played extremely well.''
Ryan also was "really pleased'' with Vick, who isn't trying to step on Smith's toes.
Said Vick: "We can't regress. We have to continue to move in the right direction and put the best players out there to make the plays.''