Micheal Vick’s terrible day

Image source: Browns Facebook Page

I was there in Cleveland to witness Micheal Vick’s terrible performance and the usual collapse by the Browns. Vick is getting plenty of heat, for good reason, while some like Jason Whitlock called Andy Reid a “moron” for relying to much on the passing game when LeSean McCoy.

Both Vick and Reid deserve the blame. Reid has always relied too much on the pass, and Micheal Vick continues to play with a reckless style that makes it hard to envision him ever getting to a Super Bowl. Vick always wants to make a play, so he’ll throw across his body into coverage, and he’ll run without sliding. He’s very talented, but he has little discipline. Forget about all those ridiculous predictions early in his career that he would revolutionize the quarterback position. Instead, he’s become the poster child of what not to do as an NFL quarterback.

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Eagles beat Cowboys but Vick is still taking too many hits

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 12: Quarterback Michael Vick  of the Philadelphia Eagles runs for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on December 12, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Here are a six-pack of observations on the Eagles’ slim 30-27 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night.

1. Michael Vick is still taking too many shots.
I don’t know who asked the question, but Cris Collinsworth relayed a comment by Vick that was interesting. Vick said that if he was defending himself, he would do what the Texans and Cowboys did the past two weeks: keep hitting him. Even he knows the best way to stop him is for the defense to deliver as many clean shots whether he’s in or out of the pocket. While he went on to complete 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns, he threw two interceptions (one wasn’t his fault as the catchable pass went off his receiver’s hands and into the arms of a defender) and 151 of those 270 yards came on two plays (a 60-yard reception to DeSean Jackson on the first play of the game and a 91-yard touchdown to Jackson at the start of the fourth quarter). On a whole, Vick wasn’t spectacular and you have to wonder if the pounding he’s been taking is starting to add up. His sizzling numbers in the middle of the season were bound to drop, but he’s looking mortal with each passing week. Andy Reid did a better job of getting LeSean McCoy more involved on Sunday night. But he and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg still have work to do when it comes to figuring out a way to protect Vick.

2. Jackson is electric but he needs to mature.
DeSean Jackson once again showed how incredible a player he is by racking up 210 yards and one touchdown on just four catches. As previously mentioned, two of his catches went for 151 yards and the play he made in the fourth quarter on his 91-yard touchdown reception was thrilling. But once again, he flashed his immaturity. On the 91-yard touchdown, he stopped inches short of the goal line, put his back to the end zone and as defenders were closing in, he laid back with his arms outstretched and fell backwards into the end zone. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth debated whether or not he should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct (he was), but it really doesn’t matter. The gesture was unnecessary and while I know the kid is just having fun, what’s the harm in racing into the end zone, flipping the ball to the ref and celebrating with your teammates sans the penalty? This is the third time since high school where he’s played around at the goal line and with the playoffs coming up, it would be nice to see DeSean kick this nasty habit. He’s such a good player; I would hate to see his antics at the goal line take away from his talent.

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The Eagles better figure out a way to protect Michael Vick

Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing brings Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick down on the Houston 18-yard line after a 6-yard gain during second quarter Philadelphia Eagles-Houston Texans game action in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field December 2, 2010.  UPI/Eileen Angelino Photo via Newscom

How many times can Michael Vick take a big hit, stumble to his feet and limp back to the huddle before Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg figure out a way to protect him?

Vick was once again impressive in the Eagles’ 34-24 win over the Texans on Sunday night. He completed 22-of-33 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 48 yards and another score. He still doesn’t see the whole field well (late in the second quarter he missed a wide open DeSean Jackson in the red zone after the receiver made a great move on the defender) and he did throw his second interception in as many weeks, but he’s light years ahead of where he was in Atlanta in terms of a passer.

That said, he also takes too many hits. He’s a running quarterback so to some degree, he’ll always be pulling himself off the ground. The Eagles don’t want to take that part of his game away because that’s what makes him so dangerous, but if you combine what the Bears and Texans did over the last two weeks they’ve laid out a blue print on how to stop Vick.

Not every team has a defensive line like the Bears do, so not every team will be able to rush four, drop their linebackers and safeties into coverage and still get pressure on Vick. But even the Texans, whose D-line is good but not to the level of the Bears, were effective because they were able to hit him throughout the game. After the third time Vick got up gingerly on Thursday night, Reid and Mornhinweg should have started calling more run plays. It’s not like “Shady” McCoy wasn’t doing just as much damage as Vick was to the Texans’ lousy defense, so he should have been more involved.

I know the Eagles won and I know I may be nitpicking, but they’re an incredibly dangerous team that nobody will want to face in the playoffs. But what makes them so dangerous is Vick and if he’s on the sidelines come January, then obviously they take on a much-different look as a team. Reid and Mornhinweg have to figure out a way to minimize the blows their quarterback is taking right now or we’ll be seeing Kevin Kolb again at some point.

Vick, McCoy injured as Eagles inquire about Marshawn Lynch

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 03: LeSean McCoy  of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball past Rocky McIntosh  of the Washington Redskins on October 3, 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, quarterback Michael Vick does not have broken ribs but he was diagnosed with a rib cartilage injury. The newspaper also reports that running back LeSean McCoy suffered a rib injury in Sunday’s loss to the Redskins.

“We’ll see how he feels,” Reid said. “This is going to be one of those day-to-day, week-to-week things … Rick [Burkholder] and our docs will keep a close eye on it.”

Reid said Vick is “sore” today.

“We’ll see how Michael does here,” Reid said. “If he is as sore as he is today, then Kevin will take the snaps [Wednesday].”

Vick at least was not grimacing as he walked from the NovaCare cafeteria to a meeting. Walking seemed painful for him yesterday. “Better,” Vick said when asked how he felt.

Meanwhile, running back LeSean McCoy has a broken rib suffered in the second quarter. “He played through it,” Reid said. “He’s a pretty tough kid. We have to see. It’s a comfort thing. They are doing a couple of other things.”

In related news, Reuben Frank of the Burlington County Times reports that the Eagles have inquired about the availability of Bills’ running back Marshawn Lynch. According to Frank, Philly contacted Buffalo after receiving word about McCoy’s injury.

There’s no doubt that McCoy’s injury leaves the Eagles thin at running back. Mike Bell is listed behind McCoy on Philly’s depth chart and he didn’t play a down on Sunday against the Redskins. He has just 20 yards on 12 carries through four games and could struggle mightily against the 49ers next Sunday.

Maybe Buffalo GM Buddy Nix will get that third rounder after all. It just depends on how desperate the Eagles are.

Report: Brian Westbrook facing retirement

A great career might end on a sad note, as Philadelphia sports radio host Howard Eskin is reporting that Eagles running back Brian Westbrook is considering retirement.

From SB Nation.com:

Earlier in the season, rumors swirled that the oft-injured running back was considering retirement, but those were attributed to his concussions, two of which he suffered this season. Eskin reports that it’s the left knee that is hampering Westbrook, which was surgically repaired in the past.

Eskin says there is “almost no chance” Westbrook plays another game for the Eagles — he has one year left on his contract — and that the knee is in such bad condition, Westbrook may not even me able to pass a team physical to play elsewhere.

Looking at this realistically, the Eagles already drafted Westbrook’s replacement last April when they took LeSean McCoy in the second round. McCoy is a near replica of Westbrook, so there is no reason for Philly to pay the $7.5 million that is owed to the 30-year old back next season.

There will definitely be teams interested in Westbrook as a backup or platoon player, but if he can’t pass a physical then obviously he won’t be signed. If he does retire, it’ll be a sad way to go out for one of the league’s most productive backs over the last decade.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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