Quarterback Michael Vick never thought that he would return from the Eagles' bye week without his starting job.
Last Tuesday, head coach Andy Reid said that Vick was his quarterback "as I sit here today" while adding that he was still continuing the evaluate the entire team. The Eagles returned to practice for the first time on Monday and it was Vick who was out of the field leading the offense.
"There were never a time where I didn't know exactly if I was going to be the starter or not. Quite frankly, I know what I can do when I'm out there. I know what has to happen when I'm out there on the football field," Vick said after practice. "That's just my approach now; to go out and get the job done and we'll see what happens."
Vick said that he and Reid spoke this morning and they exchanged their thoughts about what has happened and what things need to happen. There was also never a question within the locker room about who the quarterback would be.
"No, not at all. I'm not sure anybody in the locker room was wondering that," running back LeSean McCoy said. "We pretty much know Mike is the quarterback. He's our guy. He's our leader."
The Eagles entered the bye week with a 3-3 mark as Vick has endured an up-and-down season. He's completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 1,632 yards with eight touchdowns against eight interceptions. He's also rushed for 205 yards and a touchdown. But in addition to the interceptions, Vick has also lost five fumbles this season.
Despite having an offense that is ranked seventh in average yards per contest, the Eagles are 30th in scoring with just 17.2 points per game. The turnovers and a red zone offense that ranks tied for 26th have plagued the Eagles.
"You just have to stand tall. It's not the first time I've been in this situation," Vick said. "I understand the most important thing is for me to go out and continue to do my job and try to help this football team the best way I can."
There is plenty of reason for optimism coming off the bye week. In the past two seasons, Vick is 11-4 in the remainder of games following the bye week. Last year, Vick had arguably his best performance of the season after the bye week. In a 34-7 rout of the Cowboys, Vick completed 75 percent of his passes for 279 yards with two touchdowns against no interceptions for a season-best 129.9 passer rating. He also had 50 yards on the ground.
Of course, there's also Reid 13-0 record after the bye week. And, for good measure, Vick is going against his former team, the last remaining undefeated team, in the Atlanta Falcons at home.
"I can't recall the strategies coming out of last year's bye week," Vick said. "I do know it's a time to clean up things and figure out what we do best, what works. Pretty much the same thing this time around. We'll see what happens. We'll make the most out of it; keep pushing, keep fighting."
Vick understands the urgency of needing to get the team back on track after a two-game losing streak. The dismissal of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo last week offered concrete evidence.
"You certainly know things are being evaluated, people are being evaluated, players. That's the way this game goes," Vick said. "I think everybody has to look at the film and you'll see who's doing it right and who's not. That's pretty much what it is. This game is not that complicated."
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