Michael Vick: I'm still a premier quarterback

On the first day of New York Jets training camp, reporters flocked to SUNY Cortland to get their first taste of Gang Green's much anticipated quarterback duel. With Geno Smith ahead out of the starting gate, Michael Vick isn't exactly conceding the starting position just yet.

It’s no secret that the New York Jets starting quarterback battle is Geno Smith’s to lose, but veteran gunslinger Michael Vick is charging hard to put heat on the second-year signal caller. On the first day of training camp, Vick, the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft thinks he can play at an elite level even at the age of 34.

"I still feel like I'm a premier quarterback in this league," Vick said from SUNY Cortland.

The Jets have been searching for a franchise quarterback since they released Chad Pennington prior to 2008 training camp and this year is the same old story. General Manager John Idzik has a vested interest in seeing his handpicked quarterback succeed, while if it were up to Rex Ryan he would prefer to start the proven, but oft-injured old-timer in Vick.

With the stage set for both men under center to battle it out, Vick understands it’s not necessarily an even playing field.

"The thing that popped up when I heard that is, it's going to be very important for me to get mental reps," Vick said. "For any athlete out there in the country, when you're not getting the reps with the 1s, mental reps with the 2s are just as important. I can't lose sight of that."

Unlike last season, Ryan and company have sky-high expectations and a fourth consecutive playoff-less season could spell the end for the loveable, but bombastic Jets’ head man. With a renewed sense of hope and optimism swirling around the Green and White, Vick is trying to keep things in perspective.

“In football, you’ve got to have confidence,” admitted the veteran quarterback. “You’ve got to be able to toe the line between confidence and arrogance and I think this team has felt for a long time like they can get it done. That’s the right mindset and that’s how we feel and that’s how we want to approach this season.”

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