turned the ball over 29 times as a rookie, including 21 interceptions. (Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)
When the New York Jets signed veteran quarterback Michael Vick during free agency, many believed he would immediately beat out second-year signal-caller Geno Smith for the starting quarterback job.
However, in a recent interview, Jets head coach Rex Ryan praised Smith for the fact that he "knows the offense forward and backwards" and he said Vick will have his work cut out for him if he wants to win the No. 1 spot on the depth chart.
MORE: 2015 NFL Mock Draft | 2014 NFL draft grades: How your team did | Top undrafted
"This young man is going to be hard to beat out," Ryan said in an interview with WFAN-AM, via NFL.com. "Even as talented a player as Mike Vick is, I think Geno Smith has made that big a stride. And again, the proof will be in the pudding when we play this thing out, but that's my confidence in him."
Of course, Ryan added that Vick "definitely has a chance to win the job."
Vick does have some familiarity with the team's offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, so it should be a fair competition for both men.
It is hard to believe that Smith, who struggled greatly last season, will end up keeping the starting job once training camp and the preseason play out, but the Jets will give him every opportunity to hang on to his job leading the team's first-team offense.