Michael Vick has his swagger back.
When last season ended, Vick was beat up physically and worn down mentally. He was uncertain of his future with the Philadelphia Eagles and his confidence was shaky.
Then Chip Kelly showed up, Vick stuck around, and the rejuvenated quarterback has never looked better than he has in the first two preseason games.
"I'm having fun playing football and I fell in love with the game again and I am thankful for that," Vick said after going 9 for 10 for 105 yards in a 14-9 win over Carolina on Thursday night.
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"You've got to play this game with intense passion and purpose and I thank Coach Kelly for what he has done for me and that's just giving me that confidence that I felt like I was losing at some point in my career. You just have to keep working hard and when you do that, you get the results that you want. But I can't be satisfied with this performance. It's a long season and we have a lot of work to do and I understand that and I can't lose sight of that."
Vick has outplayed Nick Foles, who also looks sharp running Kelly's up-tempo offense. Through two games, Vick is 13 of 15 for 199 yards, one TD, one desperation-pass interception and a passer rating of 113.1. Foles is 11 of 14 for 96 yards, no TDs, one pick and a passer rating of 65.7 in two games.
Bills 'D' key in win
With no Adrian Peterson to worry about, Jerry Hughes and the Buffalo Bills' defense thoroughly stymied Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings in 20-16 preseason victory Friday night.
Hughes had two sacks and forced a fumble, and backup linebacker Jamie Blatnick recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Hughes was starting in place of defensive end Mario Williams, who was held out after complaining of soreness following practice Wednesday.
Rookie quarterback EJ Manuel then took over in the second half to seal the win in continuing to inch his way toward securing the starting job after veteran Kevin Kolb struggled in the first half. Greeted by cheers as he took the field, Manuel hit all six attempts, including a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brad Smith, to cap a 14-play, 80-yard second-half opening drive.
The Bills improved to 2-0 in the preseason under new coach Doug Marrone, following a 44-20 win at Indianapolis on Sunday. They've combined to score 62 points in two games, which is five more than they managed in four preseason games last year under Chan Gailey.
Newton to quell frustration
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has a plan to become a better leader: He intends to keep his frustrations in check because in the past they have been a distraction to his teammates.
Newton took mistakes hard, his competitive drive leading to him getting down on himself — during and after games. But Newton says with the help of his coaches he's getting better.
He's changing his approach, and his new motto is: "Next play."
The third-year pro's has put up record-setting numbers, but said he's learned the public sulking that has plagued him — and drawn much criticism — "can be a turnoff" and isn't helping the team.
Newton said his goal is to help the Panthers reach the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and become a consistent playoff contender. He believes this year's team has the talent to reach the postseason after going 6-10 in 2012 and 7-9 last year.