FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Michael Vick would rather not get into what the future might hold for him.
All he knows right now is that when the New York Jets play again, he’ll be the starting quarterback. Anything beyond that game in Buffalo on Nov. 23 is uncertain. And for Vick, living in the moment is just fine with him.
“I feel good,” Vick said after practice Tuesday. “Physically, I feel great.”
He has started two games for the Jets since Geno Smith was benched, and hasn’t turned the ball over. On Sunday, he helped New York snap an eight-game losing streak with a 20-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, and coach Rex Ryan announced Vick would start the team’s next game.
“I think the best thing is in these two games that he has been the starter, he has a real look about him, in his eyes,” quarterbacks coach David Lee said. “There’s a fighter look, a let’s-go-get-in-a-fight-type look.”
When he was signed to a one-year deal in the offseason, the plan was to have Vick on standby while the Jets gave Smith every chance to prove he could be their starting quarterback for this season and beyond. Vick stood on the sideline patiently as Smith took his lumps week after week and the losses piled up.
Then, with the Jets staring at a 1-7 record, Vick finally got his chance. Many fans and media have suggested that the Jets waited too long to pull the plug on Smith. Even Vick, when asked Sunday, acknowledged that — in his heart — he believed he could have led the Jets to a few more victories if he had been under center from Day 1.
“Yeah, if I was the starter, I feel like through my confidence and what I felt, absolutely, yeah, I’m going to say my team is going to be among the top,” Vick reiterated Tuesday. “If I was sitting there and told you anything differently, they would look at me differently around here. So why would I tell you I don’t think the team would be in a better position? How would that make me look? That doesn’t make me look too good. So, I was just explaining to you, how I’m feeling.
“So don’t get it misconstrued out of the confidence that I express.”
Vick’s self-confidence has never been an issue, and it still isn’t at 34 years old. His No. 1 goal also has never changed.
“I play this game for many reasons, and it’s to win,” he said. “Any time you put me behind center, I feel like I’m going to win. So if it’s in Game 1 or Game 10, I feel like I’m going to get the job done.”
The Jets have not given up on the thought that Smith can be a franchise quarterback. There’s some time left to evaluate Smith, who’s still only in his second season. But right now, Vick clearly gives New York the best chance to win.
“I watch every tape, evaluate every tape, every practice,” Lee said. “I would not look back and do anything differently. I’m not going to second-guess anything we have done. I think we’ve done the right things. There’s no looking back here.”
None for Vick, either. He knows he was once one of the most dynamic players in the league, and becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to reach 6,000 yards rushing on Sunday served as a reminder.
“He is 34,” Lee said, “but he has a really young body.”
But at his age, many insist he can’t be the future of the franchise, he’ll be one-and-done with the Jets, especially if Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg are let go after the season. If he plays well down the stretch, though, and the staff and system remain in place, Vick could be a stabilizing force and possible starter for the next few seasons — as long as he stays healthy.
“Whether I’m in the plans or not, that’s the future,” Vick said. “I’m not going to try to predict that. The only thing I can do is control what I can control, and that’s the next game against Buffalo.”
Speculation has already begun as to what the Jets might do early in next year’s draft, whether Oregon’s Marcus Mariota or Florida State’s Jameis Winston are the top targets, or whether Smith still will get one final chance as the starter.
But Vick, who acknowledged that “it’s not my decision” whether he stays in New York, can’t be counted out.
“I like it here in New York,” Vick said. “It’s been great, but I can’t predetermine or make a decision on what’s going to happen because the minute you start setting your sights out on something or you want something too much, then if it doesn’t happen for you, it’s a big disappointment.
“So, I just like to go with the flow. Whatever happens, then the decisions will be made at the appropriate time.”
For now, Vick & Co. are looking ahead only at the Bills after a much-needed bye week.
“It’s perfect timing. We all need some time to get a break from and walk away from the game for a little bit,” Vick said. “I think it’s going to serve its purpose for us. I think all the guys will use their time wisely and get back and get ready to go.”
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