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Jets QB preview: Another year, another competition tilted in Geno Smith's favor

Breaking down the New York Jets' roster, unit by unit, in preparation for training camp:

Position: Quarterback

Projected starter: Geno Smith

Projected reserves: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty

Notable on the bubble: Jake Heaps

Player to watch: It's now or never for Smith. The Jets have been tremendously patient with their inconsistent quarterback -- some might argue too patient -- but they believe he has enough arm talent to warrant another chance to become the team's long-term answer. Their hope is that a new voice (Chan Gailey) and a new system will bring out the best in him. Gailey's offense involves short drop-backs and quick reads. In theory, that should help Smith deliver the ball quickly and to open receivers. We'll see.

Top storyline: The competition -- or is it a non-competition? The coaching staff sent mixed messages throughout the offseason, raising questions about whether Gailey and coach Todd Bowles are on the same page. Here's the deal: Smith will go into camp as the No. 1, working with the first team for a majority of the practice reps. It's his job to lose and Fitzpatrick's job to take, according to Bowles. Realistically, it's hard for a backup to take the job when he's getting only a handful of first-team reps per day. Barring an injury or an utter meltdown in the preseason, Smith will be the Week 1 starter. Personally, I think Bowles is making a mistake by not having a truly open competition. For the second straight year, it's tilted in Smith's favor.

Training camp will be a success if ...: The preseason is wrapping up and Bowles isn't getting grilled about his plans for Week 1. That would mean a clear-cut starter, presumably Smith. If there's uncertainty, it could spark a quarterback controversy. Then again, the Jets should be used to them by now.

Wild card: Petty. Everybody loves the new guy, right? Fitzpatrick is new, too, but it's hard to get excited about a guy with his sixth team. Petty is an unknown and, after decades of mostly mediocre quarterback play, the fan base is intrigued by mystery men. Who can blame them? You can bet fans will be screaming for Petty if he lights up a preseason game and Smith struggles. Relax, folks, this will take time. Talent evaluators are all over the map on Petty, a fourth-round pick. The Jets love the kid, but I heard there were teams that had him with a seventh-round grade. He has enough arm talent, but this will be like Quarterbacking 101 as he attempts to learn a pro-style offense after years in Baylor's up-tempo spread.

By the numbers: The last time the Jets had a top-10 passing offense was 2000. That year, they finished sixth with Vinny Testaverde as the quarterback, Al Groh the coach.