KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The New York Jets rank 32nd in the league in yards passing per game with 179.4, but that mostly came with second-year quarterback Geno Smith at the helm.
New York benched Smith earlier in the week in favor of veteran signal caller Michael Vick, a player the Chiefs coaching staff knows well.
While the 34-year-old Vick may lack some of his youthful explosion, the experience and overall talent are areas the Chiefs won’t take him lightly.
“He’s still a big threat,” defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said Thursday. “I wish I could say he wasn’t, but unfortunately, I think I read this some place, that he’s lost a step. But there are a lot of people that are looking for that step still because he’s dynamic and he can do anything.”
Vick is the NFL’s all-time leader in yards rushing by a quarterback (5,857) and he played four seasons for Andy Reid with the Philadelphia Eagles (2009-12).
The 6-0, 215-pound Vick threw for 6,407 yards and 52 touchdowns against 30 interceptions in Reid’s offense. He added 1,692 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.
Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson was an offensive quality control coach (2009-10) and quarterbacks coach (2011-12) with Vick in Philadelphia.
And Pederson recalled Thursday what Vick brings to an offense.
“Tremendous athlete,” Pederson said. “Great leader on that football team. He still has the ability to extend plays with his legs. He still has that quickness. He’s got a cannon for an arm.”
Pederson went on to compliment Vick’s ability to see the field and understanding where to go with the football.
“We utilized our backs and tight ends at the time,” Pederson said. “And he is a quarterback that is dangerous in that way because if you want to pressure him, then you’ve got to be ready to break a tackle and make a run and that’s some of the things that he can do.”
The traits Pederson describes were apparently lacking with the quarterback Vick replaces.
New York’s offense statistically under Smith won’t cause opponents a sleepless night, but Vick presents another problem.
Still, the familiarity from the coaching staff and even players should help, as the Chiefs faced Vick in 2013 while he was still with the Eagles.
The Chiefs limited Vick to 201 yards passing and a touchdown against two interceptions, and that matchup bodes well for the NFL’s current No. 1 pass defense.
But Vick gouged the Chiefs last year with 99 yards rushing on four carries. That part of Vick’s game remains an area the Chiefs must respect.
“He’s the kind of guy that you can never say, ‘The play is over,’” Sutton said, “which puts a lot of pressure on the backend people because you can rush him and you’ve got him dead to rights and he can still avoid and get away and extend the play.”
“That’s a real problem, and obviously when he gets out in open space those 5 yards click off pretty fast still. To us, he’s a real issue. We’ve got to deal with him.”