Vick, calling this opportunity "a dream come true," said he didn't need Ryan's reminder to know what he needs to do to help the Jets (1-7) snap a seven-game losing streak Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
"Last week, I got too greedy," Vick said Wednesday, 48 hours after he was named to replace Smith. "I was trying to play like a 24-year-old Mike Vick. ... You've got to play with some type of control."
Vick, 34, committed three turnovers in three quarters last week, but the desperate Jets are trying to rally around him. Such is the state of their quarterback position.
Smith started 24 consecutive games, many of them poor to mediocre, and the organization finally ran out of patience after a three-interception debacle in the first quarter against the Bills.
The sense in the locker room is that it was time for a change.
"I think the biggest misconception is we don't believe in Geno, that's not it at all," guard Willie Colon said. "I think sometimes, when things get rocky, you need a change-up. In the position we're in as a team, sometimes you have to call a guy in from the bullpen and try to change things up."
Smith's turnovers (12) have contributed to a league-worst turnover margin -- minus-15. The Jets are on pace to set the post-merger (1970) record for worst margin in a season, held by the 2000 San Diego Chargers (minus-28).
So the last thing they need is for Vick to put the ball on the ground.
"Absolutely, it's a concern, yes," Ryan said. "I've talked to Mike about it. It has to get better, we have to improve in that area and he has to improve. Even though he's a veteran quarterback, he just can't turn the ball over like that.
"As we found out, this is a formula for losing if we keep turning the ball over like we've done," he added. "Clearly, we have to get better in that area."
In his prime, Vick was known for his reckless style. He has 95 fumbles (43 lost) in 134 games, partly because of his refusal to give up on a play by sliding.
By his count, he has slid only once in his career -- while playing for the Atlanta Falcons. That's probably an exaggeration, but he recognized he has to play with more control.
"At some point, I think I'm going to have to find a way to get down and slide," Vick said. "Part of the process with me, and the stage I'm in ... trying to get that second or third yard isn't always going to be to the best benefit. I think I try to do too much at times, and that's when things get out of hand."
No one knows Vick better than Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who gave Vick a second chance after prison and coached him for five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"I joked to our media that he's going to be 50 years old and still be the fastest guy on the field and the best arm on the field," Reid said on a conference call with the New York media. "He's an amazing guy that way. You never slight Michael Vick."
Meanwhile, Smith's status is uncertain. Due to an ailing throwing shoulder, he was unable to throw in practice. Ryan said he's hopeful that Smith can be the No. 2 quarterback Sunday. Smith was less confident, saying he's day-to-day. They may have to sign Matt Simms from the practice squad.