FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Michael Vick has waited an entire year for this moment. Now, it's finally here.
"Just having this chance to become a starter again is almost like a dream come true,'' said the 34-year-old Vick, who will start Sunday against the Chiefs. "It's going to be tough on the road in Kansas City. But . . . you wouldn't want it any other way.''
But while one Jets quarterback has attained his goal, another may be on the verge of losing his job for good.
On Wednesday, for the first time this season, Vick took all of the first-team reps in practice. But Geno Smith, who was benched after throwing three first-quarter interceptions against the Bills last week, still believes he'll get another shot to play for the Jets this season.
"It is difficult, but at the same time, I am a professional athlete,'' said Smith, who did not throw a pass Wednesday because of a sore right shoulder. "I have seen these things happen and it is all about how you respond. I fully expect to respond well and come back from this and be stronger.''
But until then, this is Vick's show, and even Smith said his replacement should keep the starting job if he plays well.
"Of course. If he's giving us the best chance to win games, then he should be the starter,'' Smith said. "And I'm going to fully support Mike, just the same way he did for me.''
Sunday will be the first time Smith hasn't started a game since his freshman year at West Virginia. But he said he believes the organization still has the same level of faith in him as it once did, adding that he and general manager John Idzik talked about his demotion and "we're all on one accord.''
Smith became frustrated, however, when pressed on whether Idzik conveyed that message to him directly.
"Can we talk about the Chiefs?'' he asked. " . . . To sit here and talk about myself would be selfish. Obviously, I understand that you guys want to know . . . where I am as a person and my mental state, but I'm good.''
His teammates also seem to think Smith will learn from this experience.
"I think the biggest misconception is we don't believe in Geno,'' Willie Colon said. "I don't think that's it at all. Sometimes you've got to pull a guy from the bullpen and change things up. We still believe in Geno, he's still our brother. But, it's Mike's go and we've got to protect him.''
While his line tries to protect him, Vick said he has to protect the football better. "Last week, I got greedy,'' he said, referring to his three turnovers against Buffalo. "I was trying to play like a 24-year-old Michael Vick.''
Rex Ryan spoke to the 12-year veteran about ball security. "But honestly, he didn't really have to,'' Vick said. "I went home with only one thing in mind . . . I was just focused on how I can minimize the fumbles.''
He may be turnover prone, but he's proven he can ignite an offense by extending plays with his feet.
Said Colon: "It just gives us another edge -- the edge we need.''
No one in the locker room questions whether Vick can be productive.
"It's Mike Vick, man. A household name,'' defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said. "He broke Jeff's [Cumberland's] finger with a pass the last game, so he's still got an arm.''
Notes & quotes: Jeremy Kerley (illness) and Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice, while Smith (shoulder), Colon (knee), David Harris (shoulder), Oday Aboushi (shoulder) and Trevor Reilly (knee) were limited.