Vick gets chance to prove himself
Twice this season, Michael Vick has been called upon to clean up damage done, in large part, by Geno Smith. It came as no surprise that Rex Ryan would name Vick to start this weekend in Kansas City.
But Vick’s first start of 2014 will be about more than just helping the Jets (1-7) end a seven-game losing streak.
Sunday will be an audition for the 34-year-old, who hasn’t started a regular-season game in more than a year. Not only will he have the chance to prove he should remain the starter for the rest of the season, but his performance also could go a long way toward securing a job somewhere else next year.
“It is very important,” Vick said Monday. His last start was Oct. 27, 2013, when a hamstring injury forced him to leave during the second quarter of the Eagles’ 15-7 loss to the Giants.
“I think any time you step on the field in professional sports you are always auditioning, whether it is for the next week or the next season. You have to take it all seriously.”
Vick may not be the long-term answer for the Jets. Nor is the 12-year veteran a guaranteed fix for their wayward season. But he’s fast, he can sling it and teammates believe he gives their offense a spark.
So does Rex Ryan.
“I felt the energy on the sideline,” Ryan said, referring to his decision to insert Vick against the Bills after Smith threw three interceptions in a six-snap span. “And I think given an opportunity that he really hasn’t been given, which is really run with the first team all week. We will see how it plays out.”
Vick, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has completed 26 of 56 passes for 200 yards and an interception.
COWBOYS: Tony Romo’s dramatic return from his latest back injury doesn’t mean he is cleared to face the next opponent.
Coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday that Dallas was waiting on additional testing for an injury he says is unrelated to the herniated disk Romo sustained in Washington last December, when surgery kept him out of a season-ending loss to Philadelphia with a playoff berth on the line.
Romo hurt his back against the Redskins again Monday night, getting what Garrett called a contusion on a third-quarter sack. X-rays were negative, and Romo took a pain injection before returning for the final series of regulation and a failed possession in overtime of a 20-17 loss that snapped Dallas’ six-game winning streak.
After saying on his radio show earlier in the day that he anticipated Romo being ready to face the Cardinals (6-1), Garrett was more evasive when he met with reporters. The coach said Romo “seemed good” when they spoke by phone, but he hadn’t seen the quarterback before Romo went for a CT scan.
LIONS: Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, who has missed the team’s past three games with a high-ankle sprain, said he thinks he will return to the field after the bye and play against the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 9.
“Definitely expect to play,” Johnson said. “Looking forward to the game, playing some old teammates. So that makes it all that much better.”
The three-game absence marks the longest of Johnson’s career. Johnson suffered the injury late in the game against Green Bay in Week 3. He played sparingly and mostly as a decoy the next two weeks, visibly aggravating the injury on his only catch against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5.
EAGLES: Nick Foles isn’t close statistically to where he was last season. He’s near the bottom in several passing categories and some are wondering if Mark Sanchez should get a chance to start for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Not coach Chip Kelly.
“I think you rate your quarterback in terms of, ‘Are you winning, are you losing?’” Kelly said. “Nick is 5-2.”
Foles surpassed all expectations in 2013 when he came off the bench in Week 5 and ended with 27 touchdown passes and only two interceptions, setting an NFL record for best TD/interception ratio. He completed 64 percent of his regular-season passes for 2,891 yards and his passer rating of 119.2 was the third-highest ever.
Things aren’t going quite so smoothly for the third-year pro. Foles already has nine interceptions and he’s lost three fumbles. His completion percentage (59.2) and his passer rating (80.7) both are sixth-worst in the NFL.
“I have to do a better job,” Foles said. “Words can’t describe it. I have to keep working on fundamentals, footwork and decision-making. I’m going to keep studying film and keep working. It’s all correctable and I can fix it. My words don’t mean anything. I have to go out there and prove it.”
BAILEY: Veteran cornerback Champ Bailey won’t be joining an NFL team. The 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback is retiring from the NFL, his agent, Jack Reale said.
Bailey worked out for Baltimore earlier this month, but wasn’t signed to a contract as the team went with Dominique Franks instead.
Bailey, 36, is regarded as a likely future Hall of Fame selection. He was cut by the New Orleans Saints after he struggled with injuries. Since being released, Bailey also worked out for the Detroit Lions, but he wasn’t offered a contract.
Bailey recorded 983 career tackles, 52 interceptions, 235 pass deflections, nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries. He was the leader in interceptions among active cornerbacks.