Vick's goal entering training camp was to see more of, and conquer, the blitz. Attacking Vick was the only way to slow him down in 2010, so Vick dedicated himself through hours of self-sustained study during the lockout to full sessions of blitz recognition and the necessary adjustments during training camp.
"I've come a long way," said Vick. "The blitz and handling it is something I needed to work on."
This is how Vick does things, how he is dedicating himself to making the right decisions on and off the field. He is the face of the Eagles' franchise, a huge step forward from 12 months ago and light years from where he was when the Eagles signed Vick off the streets two years ago.
We are blessed, aren't we? You look around the NFL and see the mess that is the quarterback position in many cities and you step back and thank Andy Reid for doing it right here. He hasn't been without a quarterback, and a plan, since he became the head coach in 1999.
With Vick, veteran Vince Young and second-year man Mike Kafka, the Eagles have an enviable situation. Just a few minutes before Vick stopped and talked to the media after the team's final practice at Lehigh University on Tuesday, Young held court. He has made, he said, significant strides in learning the offense the last couple of weeks. Step by step, Young said.
"It's not going to happen at all once," said Young. "It's a complicated offense, so you have to be in your playbook and you have to learn it day by day. I feel a whole lot better now than I did a week ago. It's coming, it's coming. I know I'm making good progress."
Step 2 of the preseason four-pack happens on Thursday night in Pittsburgh (seen nationally on FOX, 8 p.m.) as the entire country tunes in to see Vick lead the offense for the first half and Young for, likely, much of the second half. The Eagles have as potent and as accomplished a 1-2 punch at quarterback as any team in the league has had in many seasons, with the requisite tremendous cast of talent around the horn on offense.
Playing an aggressive Steelers defense is a challenge, always is, but it's one that Vick embraces. He is a far better quarterback than he was a year ago. His passes have much more accuracy. His timing is superior. There is no player in the league in better shape physically and mentally.
Vick knows that 2011 is the perfect time to take that Super-sized leap forward.
"I have a vision. I've had a vision since the start of the summer about how things are going to be this season," said Vick. "I have great expectations for this team. That's what I will say. We have a chance to have a great season. We're putting in the work and we have a long way to go. We know that. It's hard work. You work hard every day and you get the results you want."
The offense still has its question marks, of course. King Dunlap starts at right tackle on Thursday, hoping to stabilize a position that hasn't been solid throughout training camp. Winston Justice could return to the practice field in the next few days and that would be a welcome sight for a position that has started the likes of Dunlap, Fenuki Tupou, Evan Mathis and Ryan Harris in three weeks of training camp. The team still needs to show it can convert inside the 20-yard line and score touchdowns in goal-to-go situations.
All of that is ahead. Vick is the man with his finger on the pulse of the situation.
"I like what I've seen," he said. "We have the right approach. We have the work ethic. Of course, the talent is there. It's just a matter of putting it all together and sustaining it."
The great ones say the right things, too, and Vick has that down as well. He is the complete package. The transformation has been rapid and remarkable. Two years ago, the Eagles signed Vick as the public debated -- loudly -- the merits of the move. Nobody questions it now.
Vick, the face of the franchise, the quarterback of the present and the future, has the team right where he wants it, a comforting feeling to those who want greatness ahead for the Eagles.