Philadelphia Eagles News

On Vick, Offense And Huge Game

You know the stories from the old football stories about the player who fumbles so much that coaches make him carry the ball around all day, or they tape the football and demand that the player doesn't lose contact for a week. You understand where I'm going with all of this ...

Anyway, Michael Vick has been doing it on his own this week, carrying a football with him all over the building -- to meetings, to meals, throughout the halls of the NovaCare Complex. He's had teammates come up to him and try and punch the ball loose, or rake it free. Playfully, of course. Not with the force of a Sunday afternoon.

It's a neat story and one that Vick was quick to share with reporters after Friday's practice and, naturally, the media went with it. Took it and ran high and tight with it, frankly.

Why not? Vick painted an enticing picture of him and the football, together all week.

"Breakfast, to the meetings, lunch. Everyone thought it was funny, but I didn't," he said. "That's how much I care about this team and that's how much I care about our success and winning on Sundays. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that I take care of my responsibilities."

And as much as the story made for an easy day for the media, the part I liked was Vick's obvious sense of team first here. He feels awful about the turnovers, about the mistakes. He feels like he is letting down his teammates, his coaches, the organization and the fans. And you know what? I like that my quarterback feels that way, and that he expresses it so often. I like that Vick cares so much about the team.

The hope here is that all of these turnovers that Vick has been reminded about every day for the last year and a half aren't in his head, and won't be in the back of his mind starting Sunday at 1 p.m.

"I don't think it'll be a concern once the game starts. The thing you don't want to do is to go out and worry about things that can happen," he said. "You want to go out there and make it happen - just being in the moment and taking care of the football and doing the right things for my team is what's important. That's what I'm going to try and do."

It may not mean a thing in the long run, but maybe it will. Vick's teammates want to go to bat for him. They know that he's in the trenches with them, not off somewhere looking in the mirror and worrying about his statistics.

Here's another raise of the soda glass to Vick and a toast of best of luck that he plays a superior game on Sunday. The man is doing all he can to become the best quarterback and team leader he can be. That doesn't always happen, trust me. It's appreciated from this perspective ...

  • About the offense ... huge game. The Lions are capable of being extremely disruptive, particularly up front with a deep and talented front four. Danny Watkins and Dallas Reynolds have duty on Ndamukong Suh inside and the tackles, tight ends and running backs have to be great against Detroit's edge speed. The Eagles are going to throw the football, you know they will, and Vick has to get through his progressions.
  • The Eagles are 43-22-1 in the week after losing during the Andy Reid era. That is great to know, and with the Lions a desperate 1-3 team coming to town for Sunday's game, worth noting for this team. The Eagles have to play equally urgent football.
  • Keep this in mind about Detroit's offense: The Lions rank third in the NFL with 412.3 yards per game and are second in the league with 322 passing yards per game. This is a dangerous, explosive team challenging Juan Castillo's defense.
  • I remember that game in Detroit when these teams last played. It was a wild game, filled with big plays and Vick heroics and a rash of Eagles defensive breakdowns. The Eagles barely held on to win, 35-32 at Ford Field. I mention this because LeSean McCoy had 16 runs for 120 yards, averaging 7.5 yards per carry, and scored 3 touchdowns. And DeSean Jackson had a huge game. And so did Vick. The offense was awesome. Let's see a repeat on Sunday.
  • We've noted the challenges both special teams have had this season, and Sunday figures to be a "something-has-to-give-game" for both teams. Let's hope the Eagles' NFL-longest streak of not allowing a punt return or a kickoff return for a touchdown since 2008 is not broken. Dallas' Felix Jones returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown on Sept. 15, 2008 in Dallas.
  • Good health for the Eagles, and that means some questions as to who is up and who is down. The Eagles opted not to have a true backup center last week with Steve Vallos inactive. Had something happened to Reynolds, Evan Mathis would have been the emergency center. Riley Cooper hasn't played, and there is no indication that he will suit up this week. Mardy Gilyard has done a good job in special teams and will continue in that role. How many linebackers will be up? Running backs? Is Bryce Brown still the No. 2 back or will Dion Lewis step up? Some things to watch ...
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