Philadelphia Eagles News

Vick Connects with Receivers

The combination of a tremendous scheme, a lot of talent and dedication to the craft have Vick at the top of his game. Settled and secure with his long-term contract in place and his perch among the NFL's elite, Vick looks for the only step that now matters: The one that paves the path for the parade down Broad Street.

"It's exciting and I can't wait to get it started," says Vick. "We've been waiting a long time for this. We didn't even know if we were going to play a couple of months back and now it's time to get out there and start playing. It's a great feeling."

Vick is coming off a season in which he stepped in for an injured Kevin Kolb and changed the direction of a franchise and, certainly, his career path. Great things are anticipated. Vick has taken care of his business in the months that followed the playoff loss to Green Bay, and here he is.

The next step is waiting.

Opening in St. Louis is a challenge for any quarterback. The Edward Jones Dome is loud. The Rams have an aggressive scheme designed to put pressure on the quarterback. St. Louis has a wealth of talent and its defense plays hard and fast.

Add to all of that the fact that the Eagles are lining up an ever-changing offensive line and, well, Vick is in the crosshairs on Sunday. Make no mistake about that. When the Rams put together their game plan, Vick was the first priority to contain. Vick dominates this offense as any great quarterback does.

That's the way it has always been for Vick. He has always been the most talented player on the field, the most difficult to contain.

You get the sense, though, that the Eagles hope their offense is multi-dimensional enough to withstand any plan to take Vick away. If he is bottled up, the next order of business to let any of the other star players take charge of the football, and the game.

Never before has Vick or any modern-day Eagles quarterback has the multitude of weapons the Vick has at his disposal.

It is going to be so much fun watching this offense play, watching Vick take the football from center and make great things happen.

"We know what we have and we know the great things Mike can do, so it's a matter of going out and executing," said tight end Brent Celek. "We're capable of a lot of things. When we get a chance to make plays, we have to take advantage.

"I see so many guys here who are great players. We all want the same thing. We want to win a championship. There is a lot of hard work to do to accomplish that goal. Sunday is our first step."

Vick hasn't had a lot of time with his receiving corps since the NFL's lockout ended. Jeremy Maclin has practiced for two weeks. Steve Smith hasn't played but for a handful of practices, really. DeSean Jackson missed time in training camp.

Make no mistake, though: Vick beamed on Friday when asked about his receivers. His answer left no doubt about how he feels.

"I am very comfortable with my receiving corps, comfortable and confident in their abilities," said Vick. "They've been in this league for three, four years, all of them, so they know what to do.

"I can't really say that the preseason is irrelevant, but it's the regular season that counts. It's going to be great to get back out there. I'm just excited right now. Our entire team is excited."

 Maclin has said all week that he is good to go and feeling 100 percent after missing training camp with his illness. Maclin expects no decline in his play. Jackson has been quiet all week while reporter wait to grill him about his contract status, and Smith is eager to take a hit and get back on the field after having microfracture surgery last year.

The subplots here are fascinating.

"I'm here to play my part, whatever that becomes," said Smith, a Pro Bowl receiver a couple of seasons ago who had an injury-shortened 2010 with the Giants. "I'm ready to play. It's been a good few weeks here and I think I'm going to fit in well. It's different than what I did before and I'm being used differently, but that's fine with me."

With Jackson as the stretch-the-defense receivers and Smith and Jason Avant punching the underbelly, Maclin does some of everything to give the Eagles four top-shelf talents at receiver. Second-year man Riley Cooper is the big body, the strong young guy with the great hands who is going to move the chains and threaten in the red zone.

Vick is there to distribute, to make plays with his legs and, most important, to win a lot of football games.

"Everybody thinks they can win it all. You start playing and you take it play to play, week to week," said Vick. "I love being where I am and what we're about to do.

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