Michael Vick relishes second chance at starting against Bills
Michael Vick wasn't sure if he had blown it.
As he walked off the field four weeks ago after a crushing loss to the Bills, he wondered -- albeit briefly -- if he'd get another chance to lead the Jets' offense again.
Vick had been called upon to gain control of a game that began spiraling in the opening minutes, thanks to three interceptions by Geno Smith. But although Vick led the Jets to 23 points, completed 18 of 36 passes for 153 yards and rushed for 69 yards on eight carries, his three turnovers -- an interception and two lost fumbles -- ate away at him.
"I walked off the field with mixed emotions, and the only thing I could think about was all of the mistakes that I made,'' Vick said this week as he and his teammates prepared for tomorrow night's rematch against the Bills. "And you're right, was I going to get an opportunity to do it again? I kind of felt like I would because there were some good things that I did, but ultimately the turnovers overruled everything.
"I was just glad that I was given the chance to start against Kansas City [on Nov. 2] and I just really wanted to take advantage of it.''
The 34-year-old Vick's big break came at the expense of Smith, 24, who hasn't started a game since the Jets' last meeting with the Bills on Oct. 26, a 43-23 loss.
Vick and the Jets (2-8) now have a chance to prove they're much improved against the Bills (5-5).
Today's scheduled game between the AFC East rivals was moved to Detroit's Ford Field on Monday at 7 p.m. because of the historic snowstorm that swept across western New York. Orchard Park -- the site of the Bills' practice facility and Ralph Wilson Stadium -- was hit with six feet of snow this week, trapping several players in their homes for days. On Thursday night, the NFL announced the date and venue change for the game and on Friday, the Bills sent snowmobiles to rescue players before boarding a plane to Detroit.
The Jets, meanwhile, had a whole week of practice after their Week 11 bye.
Even though their record is disappointing, changing quarterbacks has been a boost, according to players.
"Obviously, Mike has given us the spark we needed,'' right guard Willie Colon said.
And Vick relishes this opportunity more than anyone knows. The four-time Pro Bowler was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in 2007 and served 23 months in a federal prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring. After his suspension was lifted in 2009, Vick signed with the Eagles. But he got injured in 2013 and lost his starting job to backup Nick Foles.
"I have embraced each and every day,'' Vick said. "Not just the games, not [just] the practices, the meetings, the travel, the preparation, everything that came along with it. I didn't know if I was going to ever have this chance again.
"I just don't want to let my teammates down. I don't want to let myself down. I set high expectations for myself and I'm just trying to fulfill that and have fun doing that at the same time.''
Vick hasn't thrown an interception since he was named the Jets' starter the day after they lost to the Bills. But tomorrow night's game isn't about personal redemption, per se. Vick sees it as another chance to get better, to grow as a quarterback and to lead his teammates to victory.
With six games remaining, Vick has the potential to be a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season. Opportunities can be fleeting in the NFL. But Vick has proved he has a knack for making the most of second chances better than almost anyone else. And he doesn't want to let this one go.
Said Vick: "I look forward to each and every day that I get up. One thing I never do is I never take it for granted again.''