Michael Vick Comfortable in Back-Up RoleBy: Brian Powell - July 31, 2014
Today marked the eighth day of training camp for the Philadelphia Eagles and also the first day where veteran quarterback Michael Vick received zero snaps with the first team offense. Instead, second-year player and perennial controversial decision Geno Smith took all of the snaps under center. And while some may think that former four-time Pro Bowler and NFL rushing leader for a quarterback Vick would take exception to such a scenario, one must think again.
”I’m cool with it. I understood the situation coming in and I knew it was Geno’s job and my job was to push Geno. The thing I’m going to be is, I’m going to be a guy that’s going to be able to help Geno,” stated Vick following a practice earlier in the week. “But if this team needs me to play, I’m going to be ready to play.”[timeout]
Michael Vick speaks the truth, saying his job is to push #Jets QB Geno Smith. Sure, he’s competing but… said it’s Geno’s job
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 26, 2014
And play he can. The most exciting and promising play at quarterback this week for the Jets was a 50 yard, flick-of-the-wrist pass over the outstretched finger-tips of cornerback Dee Milliner and into the arms of wide receiver Clyde Gates – a play Vick himself was quite pleased with: “Oh, you saw that? Dropped it in the bucket, baby!” Vick told USA TODAY Sports.
Adding more frustration to Vick’s situation was his head coach Rex Ryan’s admission that he saw the play as well and was quite pleased: ”He can still throw it now, like, wow, can he throw it. It’s amazing how God touches people differently and, certainly, he gave this young man so much ability.”
And while Vick knowingly acknowledges that the Jets have already chosen Geno Smith as its starting quarterback, it doesn’t make the situation any easier.
It’s a very fine line. I accept this role and I embrace it and I appreciate it. But I know this is not my football team. So that’s why I’m able to deal with it. At the same time, I feel like I’m one of the best quarterbacks in the league. That’s the way I feel… I still feel like I can move, I can throw the ball and make good decisions. I still have that confidence. It’s a fine line, but hey, this is where I’m at in my life right now. We’ll see.
However, if anyone can live through such a scenario and persevere, it’s Vick.
Last season, life was looking good for Vick as it appeared that he had finally made his way back to a prominent position in the NFL as starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Just ten weeks into the season, though, Vick suffered a hamstring injury which would sideline him for the rest of the year. Rather than sulk and despair, Vick chose to become a much-needed mentor for rookie quarterback Nick Foles – a relationship which would help Foles to post one of the highest quarterback ratings for a season in NFL history.
Keeping a chipper attitude about not being the starting quarterback (especially when you know you are better) is not always easy, however. During a Q&A media session after Thursday’s practice, Vick was asked whether or not the coaches had made a decision on whether or not Smith was going to be the starter – a question to which Vick simply replied, “I’m outta here. Have a good one,” while walking out of the press room and smacking the reporter on the butt.[timeout]
Michael Vick walks out of group interview and offers no answer when asked if he thinks coaches have already made QB decision.
— Darryl Slater (@DarrylSlater) July 31, 2014
In the end, the attitude being taken by Vick at the Jets training is perhaps the best attitude to have. We all know what Geno Smith is and is not capable of doing as an NFL quarterback. As long as Vick keeps a smile on his face and doesn’t piss anyone off, he will most likely find himself in the role of a starting quarterback once again.
Image via Twitter