Vick to remain the starter in Philly, for now

Michael Vick

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If Eagles coach Andy Reid has decided to switch from Mike Vick to Nick Foles at quarterback, Reid hasn’t told anyone else yet.

As pointed out earlier today by Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles released an updated depth chart on Tuesday.  It showed that Vick is still the starter.

Also, Jeff McLane of the Inquirer reported that neither Vick nor Foles have been informed of a change at the position.

Still, Hurricane Sandy has sheltered Reid from meeting with the media.  When he does, it’s likely that a clear, truthful answer will be provided.  Owner Jeffrey Lurie made it clear after the 2011 season that he expects Reid to be candid and forthcoming, explaining that a habit of saying things that may not have been the truth were aimed at protecting players.  Regardless of whether there was a benevolence to the B.S., Reid likely won’t be saying one thing and doing another.

The question becomes how candid he will be.  Will he admit that he considered a change?  Will he say that a change is still possible?  Will he address whether Vick could be benched at halftime, like Donovan McNabb was during a game against the Ravens in November 2008?

Giving Foles a crack at playing away from Lincoln Financial Field makes sense.  Then again, as Peter King pointed out during a visit to The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday, using Foles under circumstances in the Superdome that likely would require use of a silent count may not be ideal. Read more…

Eagles expected to bench Vick

Michael Vick

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

If Howard Eskin’s report of the impending Vick-for-Nick switch for the Philadelphia Eagles is accurate, it’s not something that just popped into coach Andy Reid’s head in recent days.

A source with knowledge of the dynamics in Philly over the past two seasons believes firmly that Reid has been considering benching Vick since the middle of last season, when the Eagles slumped to a 3-6 start. Reid was hoping, we’re told, that former backup Vince Young would play well enough during a three-game injury absence from Vick to justify doing to Vick what Reid did to Kevin Kolb in 2010.

Young didn’t.

Regardless of when or if Vick gets benched, it’s now becoming a foregone conclusion that Vick won’t be back in 2013, especially at a salary of $15.5 million.

And for those of you asking whether the Eagles would trade Vick, given the two-day extension to the trade deadline, here’s a great point raised by a source with direct knowledge of the situation: “Who would trade for him?”

That’s a great question. The Vikings arguably could use him, but they’re tied to 2011 first-rounder Christian Ponder. (Besides, we think Joe Webb is a much better Plan B. And a better Plan A.)  Read More…

Time catching up to Michael Vick?

Michael Vick

Early in his career, Michael Vick’s God-given skills allowed him to avoid contact by outrunning it.  Now that he has gotten older, he can’t simply turn on the jets and speed away from other players.

As a result, a major flaw in his game is becoming more and more evident:  He lacks the basic awareness to avoid contact.

Vick can’t and won’t slide, for example, not because he lacks the ability to do it, but because he lacks the ability to know when to do it.  As I’ve said once or twice (or more often) this week, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III displayed in his first NFL game the ability to know when to hit the deck after running a read-option play and getting into a position where he could have tried to blaze past defenders but opting to simply slide.  49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did the same thing out of the same formation on Sunday.

For Vick, it’s not a question of flipping a switch.  The switch simply isn’t there.  For all the great things he has, the one thing he doesn’t have is an innate sense of when and how to protect himself. Read more…

2012 NFL playoff predictions

(6) Chicago Bears vs. (3) San Francisco 49ers  
Patrick Willis (52) and the 49ers’ defense proves to be too much for Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and the rest of the Bears’ offense.

Both teams come into the 2012 playoffs having already clinched a playoff berth weeks ago. The 49ers proved to be a tougher team at home in 2011, and are just as tough a home team in 2012. The Bears’ offensive line troubles hurts them, as defensive end Justin Smith and linebackers Aldon Smith, Navorro Bowman, and Patrick Willis help limit Matt Forte’s production and pressure Jay Cutler enough to seal the victory. 49ers over Bears 

(5) Green Bay Packers vs. (4) Atlanta Falcons: 
Familiar playoff foes, the Packers enter the 2012 playoffs on a two-game winning streak, and the Falcons enter having clinched the NFC South division in the final week of the regular season. Last time these two teams met in the playoffs in Atlanta, the Packers defeated the Falcons, 48-21, en route to a victory in Super Bowl XLV. Don’t expect the same kind of game, but expect a similar result for Aaron Rodgers and company.
Packers over Falcons
(5) Green Bay Packers vs. (1) Detroit Lions 

In the last two seasons, the number-one seed hasn’t fared well in the divisional round, as the NFC’s top seed has been outscored 85-41 in the last two divisional round match ups. Although the Packers are only a couple of years removed from a Super Bowl win, the Lions utilize Megatron, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, to their full-advantage and edge the Packers in a close and high-scoring match up in the motor city. Lions over Packers

(3) San Francisco 49ers vs. (2) Philadelphia Eagles
The “dream team” finally makes an appearance in the postseason, and stand toe-to-toe with the NFC West champion 49ers in Philadelphia. With LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Michael Vick, the Eagles have too much offensive fire power for the 49ers to handle, and defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole make life miserable for 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, as the Eagles do not disappoint and reach the NFC Championship game for the first time since the 2008 season. Eagles over 49ers
(2) Philadelphia Eagles vs. (1) Detroit Lions

A potential exciting and explosive match up including some of the NFL’s greatest playmakers, the Eagles and Lions will execute big plays in exciting fashion. The NFC Championship will come down to which team has the stronger pass rush. The Lions possess a deep defensive line which includes Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Corey Williams, Cliff Avril, and Kyle Vanden Bosch, while the Eagles’ defensive line includes Babin, Cole, Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Antonio Dixon, and Darryl Tapp. Which line do I have my money on? The Eagles, as the wide-9 gives Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offensive line a rough day. Eagles over Lions

Read the AFC predictions here…

Vick must change to avoid injury

Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick avoided broken ribs on Monday, but reminded the Eagles of the constant injury risk that comes with his style of play.

According to wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Vick knows that he needs to try something different in order to stay on the field. Jackson recounted his halftime conversation with Vick during an interview on ESPN in the second half of the game against the Patriots.

“He’s sore and bruised up a little bit,” Jackson said. “He’s just like, ‘Man, I can’t keep taking hits like that.’”

Doing so will take a fundamental change to the way he plays. Vick got hurt on Monday night because he tried to make a play when the more prudent thing to do would have been to throw the ball away. The throw was a heave downfield as well, a ball that could wind up being intercepted, and that only adds to the reasons why Vick would have been wise to make another choice. Read more…

NFC teams that may have turned the corner

The NFL is, by nature, a very unpredictable league. This makes the games that much more exciting, as a team can come from nowhere and have a very strong season. Turnarounds like the Dolphins had from 2007 to 2008, where they improved their record from 1-15 to 11-5, keep fans of every market interested no matter how bleak things may look. Just last year, the Giants started 6-6 before rallying over the next four games to make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl.

This year, expectations are high for several teams. The Giants will obviously look to repeat, and mainstays such as the Saints, 49ers and Packers will try to make it back to the top of the pile. There are several teams, though, who might just surpass all of them. These are three NFC teams that didn’t even make the playoffs last year – but have a legitimate shot to win it all this year.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles become a bit of a media punching bag last season after Vince Young remarked that they were a Dream Team in the making. To an extent, this was actually true. The individual pieces were all there: The team had made stellar acquisitions in Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Comartie, and they were adding their new weapons to an arsenal that already included LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. Michael Vick was also coming off of a very impressive 2010 campaign, although injuries ended up as an issue.

For the 2012 Eagles, the issue isn’t talent. They have plenty of individual pieces. The goal will be to make those pieces work well together and actually resemble a team. McCoy is a great running back and Asomugha is a great corner, but the chemistry was missing on offense and defense. The team has a head coach with plenty of experience in Andy Reid, although the recent passing away of his son may impact his ability to stay focused and lead his team. If the Eagles find their center, they could be a team that nobody wants to play against. Read more here…