Philadelphia Eagles News

No Need To Restrict QB Vick

There is another set of conversations going on that wonders about Vick's style of play and how the Eagles could possibly curb his aggressiveness to keep him on the field longer and, thus, increase this team's chances of winning the Super Bowl.

These are worthy talks and they make the time go faster between now and Sunday, but they have little relevance in the world in which Vick lives. Fact is, neither idea makes much sense to me.

Vick is on course to return to the starting lineup on Sunday against the Giants. He was a full participant in Thursday's practice and is likely to be one on Friday, too. If there are no setbacks, he will run through the tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday announced as a starter, and he will take his familiar place with the first-team offense against their NFC East rivals.

Then it is up to Vick to play the way he has played that has gotten him to this point, with some improvements, of course. Always, some improvements.

But let's backtrack here for a moment. Vick has been cleared to practice after the Eagles followed the disciplined protocol established by the NFL, one that is put in place to protect players from taking the field with any lingering effects of concussions. Vick has passed all of the tests, including one from an independent neurologist on Thursday required before he could participate in practice.

There is no reason to sit Vick for another week just because. He is, at this moment, healthy enough to practice. And if he continues to make progress and suffer no steps back, he will be fine to play against the Giants.

Certainly, there is a risk in Vick playing simply because, well, football is a nasty, violent, awful game that we love so much for those very reasons. And being hit in the head and suffering a concussion is a risk that every player understands going in.

If he is cleared to play, Vick should play. He wants to play. He loves to play. He is a football player because, way back when, he fell in love with the game of football and made the mental commitment to give his all to the game.

So there is that. Holding Vick out for a week to lessen the risk of another concussion isn't going to reduce the risk of another injury. Football isn't going to suddenly become less violent should Vick miss this Giants game.

Vick's style is one of playing the game fast and using his athletic ability to beat teams. He needs to get better when he is on the field -- the turnovers, the only statistic that truly matters with Vick, need to be reduced -- but to suggest that Vick should temper his style and play a "safer" quarterback is foolhardy thinking. The man just isn't wired to play that way. You aren't going to see a robotic Michael Vick on the football field.

What you are going to see, and hopefully see on Sunday in the home opener, in the splendor of Lincoln Financial Field, is Vick forcing the Giants defense into uncomfortable commitments because they just don't know what to do with his dynamic skills. New York will blitz Vick as it did last season (and did very well, in fact) and the defense is going to try to hit him. I would love officials to review every dropback Vick has in the course of the football season and count the late hits for which they should have thrown flags. I have never seen a quarterback hit late as often as I have seen Vick hit late.

That's part of the game, though. Vick is going to get hit, whether he is in the pocket, or rolling out of bounds, or 25 yards down the field. Defenses know that if they take Vick out of the game, the Eagles are a different team. If you need any reference, check the last 15 minutes of the game Sunday night in Atlanta.

If there is one area in which Vick needs to change his game, it is the giveaways. He has had too many of them this season -- four in two games -- and dating back to the last handful of games in 2010. Vick needs to be more aware of defensive hands trying to swat away the football that he too often carries with one hand in the open field, or in the pocket. He doesn't need to force throws to make big plays.

Instead, Vick must demonstrate just a tad more patience in his game. The big plays are going to come. Boy, oh boy, are they going to come with this offense. Vick must refrain from trying to stick a throw into traffic on second down, because there is always another play ahead to make something happen.

Ball security is the only aspect of the game that matters with Vick. Not completion percentage. Not how many rushing yards he gains. Not how many touchdown throws he has. The only number that matters on the road to victory in the stat grid is Vick's giveaways.

If the Eagles don't turn the football over, the offense is going to be very difficult to shut down over the course of 60 minutes. Make opposing offenses use the entire field. Give the Eagles defense some rest and stitch together some clock-eating drives.

Just don't give it away, as the Eagles did on Sunday night.

Certainly, the defensive meltdown allowing two 80-yard drives in the fourth quarter were painful to see in Atlanta, but the Eagles would have never been in that position had they not 1) fumbled the football away on first and goal at the Atlanta 4-yard line; 2) Fumbled on a late first-half drive that could have ended in points and a momentum swing; 3) Thrown an interception to start the third quarter that led to a Falcons touchdown, its second after a takeaway.

The giveaways aren't all on Vick, but he's the quarterback and you know how it goes with quarterbacks. They get the credit and they get the blame.

Anyway, all eyes are on Vick. He is in line to play Sunday, and that's a great thing. The Eagles are a better team with Vick at quarterback and, in fact, they are a championship-contending team with Vick at quarterback. The sooner a healthy Vick is on the field, the better.

Can't wait to see him play against the Giants.

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