Jets quarterback Michael Vick believes that the team could have won more games this season if he had been the starting quarterback at the beginning of the season.
Second-year pro Geno Smith started the first eight games of the season, leading the team to victory in the season’s opener and then losing his next seven starts. He threw seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His 65.6 passer rating is last among qualifying NFL quarterbacks.
Vick has started the past two games, including Sunday’s 20-13 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"In my heart, I feel like on any team, I can be the starter,” Vick said. “As long as it's not Aaron Rodgers or Ben Roethlisberger. And I'm not saying those guys are better quarterbacks. I'm just saying that I'm confident in my abilities. If there's an opportunity there, then, yeah.”
Vick said he understood why the coaches made the decision to start Smith, as they needed to develop their 2013 second-round pick and Vick being brought in to mentor him seemed like the right decision.
Vick took over for an ineffective Smith in a 43-23 Week 8 loss to the Buffalo Bills after Smith threw three interceptions on three straight possessions.
In his first start this season against the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, Vick completed 21 of 28 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown.
Vick threw for 132 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh and with his 39 yards rushing, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to have 6,000 career rushing yards.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan said he didn’t regret benching Smith, but then admitted that maybe he should have started Vick earlier in the season.
"Yeah, I should have," Ryan said. "(Vick) played great. There's no question. But you know what? I believe in Geno Smith as well and that's the truth."
The Jets (2-8) go on the road to take on Buffalo (5-4) on Sunday.
- Scooby Axson