Michael Vick said he never heard the chants.
The Jets' backup quarterback claimed he was too into the game to pay attention to Jets fans who were calling for Rex Ryan to bench Geno Smith during Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Lions. Yet when told about the "We want Vick'' chants, Vick admitted to conflicting feelings.
"I have mixed emotions about that. I've been through that. I know what it's like,'' Vick said. "It's so unfair. You can ruin quarterbacks that way.''
Fans wasted little time showing their frustration with Smith, the second-year quarterback who turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter. He completed 17 of 33 passes for 209 yards as the Jets (1-3) lost their third game in a row.
There were scattered chants for Vick in the first half after the Jets failed to make a first down for five consecutive possessions. A fairly loud and long "We want Vick'' chant burst forth in the fourth quarter after Smith threw an interception and lost a fumble on consecutive possessions.
Many predicted a quarterback controversy after the Jets signed Vick in March. He replaced Eagles starter Kevin Kolb early in the 2010 season.
Vick was a friend and mentor of Smith's before joining the Jets. He has tiptoed around the subject of what his role is supposed to be, saying only that he has to be ready if the team needs him. After the game, Vick was asked if he thought his opportunity was getting closer.
"I don't know,'' he said. "I just have to continue to keep working hard and fulfill my purpose of being here. Whenever the time comes, if it comes, then I have to be ready. Who knows? You have to give the young guy a chance to work it out.''
With Ryan under pressure to reach the playoffs, one has to wonder how many more opportunities the "young guy'' will have. It appears he'll get at least one more chance Sunday against the Chargers. After the game, Ryan said, "If Geno is healthy, then Geno Smith will start.''
Vick said he's ready if needed, but indicated it isn't right to pin everything on the quarterback.
"I'm a 12-year veteran. I should be ready,'' he said. "I'm only one person, so that doesn't mean I'm going to come and be the savior and save the game and things are always going to go my way. You just have to take it one day at a time and figure out how we get our next win.''