Still wondering what is going to happen with the Eagles quarterback situation ... Michael Vick made his appearance in Baltimore on Tuesday night to receive his Ed Block Courage Award and displayed the same class and dignity that he showed in his first season with the Eagles. Vick has been nothing but a changed man since he came to Philadelphia -- a hard worker on and off the field and a cooperative person in every phase as a teammate.
There have been few players embraced in the locker room as was/is Vick. His teammates saw only the Michael Vick of 2009 and not the first draft pick overall who didn't apply himself properly in and around the game when he played in Atlanta. Of course, they didn't see the Vick who made so many mistakes away from the field, and they didn't see the Vick who spent nearly two years behind prison bars paying for his mistakes.
The Eagles saw the Michael Vick who became a reformed man, and no matter how many public and private theories that suggest Vick was a disruption to the locker room, to the flow of the team, the truth is that Vick in his first year as an Eagle was a humbled, hard-working teammate who held his head high in the face of some sometimes-nasty public scrutiny.
There was, in fact, no debate and no question of which player the Eagles would vote to win the Ed Block Courage Award. It was a landslide, reportedly unanimous. The players voted based on what they saw and experienced in 2009, and not in the previous years. And if you watched the Eagles all season, and particularly in the win in Atlanta, you saw a team embrace Vick as a teammate, as a man and as a friend.
Moving on, we all wonder what is going to happen with Vick in 2010. As each day goes by, I am leaning toward the idea that he will remain. As the days pass, honestly, I wonder how much will change at all with the quarterbacks. I've written this before and hear we go again: I think it will be a highly-unusual situation for the team if the Eagles bring back all three quarterbacks to play in the final year of their contracts. Something has to give somewhere.
In the meantime, Vick remains an Eagle. It is no secret -- and Vick is lobbying for the chance -- that he wants to start in the NFL in 2010. Vick has come a long way in a short time working with Eagles quarterback coach James Urban and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. Vick has worked hard on his mechanics and is a better quarterback now than he was in the pocket when he played for the Falcons.
The future? We shall see. Vick remains an Eagle and, clearly, a very popular one ...
The reports that say Stacy Andrews and the Eagles have come to an agreement on the restructuring of his contract lay the foundation for Andrews to claim the right guard spot on an offensive line that isn't exactly settled at the moment. The Eagles have high hopes for Andrews, who was a franchise player of the Bengals a few seasons ago. The investment in Andrews did not pay off in 2009, no doubt about that. It was disappointing that he was unable to get on the field. But Andrews is a very hard worker who is highly motivated to play well here. If he can deliver -- and there were five other teams interested in him when he became an unrestricted free agent last year -- the Eagles will have some power on the right side of the line.
- One guy I'm watching in the off-season is Winston Justice. He made such great strides in 2009, and now needs to take the next step from a good right tackle to a dominating right tackle. From everything I hear, Justice has improved greatly in his techinique and his approach to the game. Another off-season, this one imbued with confidence, could do wonders for Justice.
- It didn't take Will Witherspoon long to find a job. He landed a nice contract in Tennessee, so let's keep an eye on his performance and see if the Eagles made the right decision to move on without him this season.
- I didn't mention Kevin Curtis in an article about the wide receivers the other night, and that was my mistake. He said at the end of last year that he is fully recovered and now he'll get his chance to prove it. Curtis can help the Eagles as a depth receiver who has great quickness and hands and precision in his routes. Even though there's plenty of optimism surrounding Curtis' return, I still think the Eagles will add a veteran receiver, and I think it could happen soon.
- Just a note: There were 12 players with 8 sacks or more last year in the NFL. Juqua Parker was one of those players. Now, I'm all about adding more star power to the defensive line, but I bristle when it is suggested that the Eagles have a "glaring" hole at left defensive end. Parker is a good player. The young man who needs to step up the most is Victor Abiamiri, who has battled injuries his entire career. That said, the Eagles would be wise to keep their eyes open in the draft in what is predicted to be a draft deep in talent.