Vick to dress for first time this season

Updated: November 28, 2003, 11:09 AM ET
Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Michael Vick will be in uniform for the first time this season Sunday, standing by as the Atlanta Falcons' backup quarterback at Houston.

Michael Vick

The Pro Bowl QB, sidelined since breaking his right leg in preseason, practiced for the second straight day on Thursday.

During a two-hour workout, Vick rolled out on pass plays after working exclusively in the pocket Wednesday. He also stopped, started and took cuts.

"It felt pretty good," Vick said. "I'll just keep taking it day by day and see how it feels tomorrow. I am making progress."

Doug Johnson will start Sunday when the Falcons (2-9) visit Houston (4-7), but Vick will be available.

"He will definitely be the No. 2 quarterback unless there are any setbacks tomorrow," coach Dan Reeves said. "He was able to move around and scramble. I was surprised by how well he looked, especially compared to where he was last week."

The team has a two-hour workout scheduled Friday morning.

Vick practiced Wednesday for the first time since spraining his right ankle in a walkthrough Nov. 12.

In three days of practice two weeks ago, Vick worked exclusively with the scout team, but he took snaps for the first time Wednesday with the first- and second-team offense.

Now that he can move out of the pocket and elude tackles, Vick doesn't feel so vulnerable. He hesitated to return until he could make sudden moves to his right without feeling too much pain.

Most of the soreness is in his Achilles' tendon, but he hasn't been hindered on pass plays.

"I've still been in the film room and paying attention to the game plans," Vick said. "I didn't lose sight of what got me to where I am now in the passing game. The passing game really isn't a problem right now. Making the reads and everything, I'm comfortable with, so that's why I look pretty sharp."

Atlanta advanced to the second round of the playoffs last year as Vick ran for 777 yards and set four NFL records for rushing by a quarterback. He threw 16 touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

But this season, Falcons QBs Johnson and Kurt Kittner have combined for the league's worst interception ratio: one every 18.1 attempts.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press