It’s only five games into Philadelphia’s season and three games back into Michael Vick’s NFL career. But it’s clear the Eagles still haven’t figured out what to do with Vick.
This news won’t crush the Falcons. The Eagles are another potential NFC playoff team (or at least so we thought until they managed to lose at Oakland Sunday). The Falcons never would admit this publicly, but the last thing they want to see is their former quarterback make a significant contribution to a conference rival. But Vick played only two snaps at Oakland — and neither as a quarterback. He lost four yards on a run and was a decoy on another play.
Here’s something else interesting. I spoke Monday night to Tony Dungy, Vick’s post-prison, quasi-mentor. Dungy reiterated what most believe — that Philadelphia was a good organization for Vick to go to because of the organization’s long run of success and stability. He said he still speaks to Vick, “once a week, and we text back and forth. He’s doing well.”
But when the subject turned to football, Dungy clearly was less certain about Vick’s future.
“I don’t know what the future holds for him on the field, but off the field I know being with someone like [Eagles coach] Andy Reid in Philadelphia was the best thing for him,” Dungy said.
“You never know about the football part of it. You have to get with the right team and have the right opportunity, and there’s just not that many places to go. There aren’t that many teams looking for starting quarterbacks. Then there’s the aspect of whether he can come back after two and a half years of not playing.”
Question: Does Dungy believe Vick will succeed in football again?
Answer: “That remains to be seen. That’s the wild card question. I think he’ll give it 100 percent. Emotionally I think he’ll give it more than he’s ever given. It remains to be seen if he gets it back physically.”
Vick has played in three games. He is one for five passing (for one yard) and has six rushes for 13 yards. He has been a non-factor in Philly’s version of the “Wildcat” (or “Spread Eagle”) offense.
Columnist Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a scathing review of what the Eagles have gotten out of the Vick signing so far. An excerpt:
Since Vick has been eligible to play, he hasn’t been used much at all, and the Spread Eagle is little more than a funny-shaped curiosity stuffed into a corner of the offensive attic with a bed sheet over it.
There have been hints that much more is to come – could there somehow be less? – and that they have “only scratched the surface of its possibilities,” much as a dog tentatively investigates its ear with a hind leg.
One would think that Sunday provided a perfect opportunity to crank up the Vick plays and see what would happen. The Eagles were not moving the ball against a bad team. Their offensive line was down to seeds and stems. Brian Westbrook was gimpy again. McNabb was taking a beating and not looking particularly mobile.
It was a situation that yelped for trying something different, and even those who have wondered if all the Vick upheaval was worth it – present typist included – figured this was what Reid had in mind all along.
Well, we’re still waiting.
Final note on this: If nothing else, the PETA-fed circus that figured to follow Vick has been relatively low key, although there were about 30 protesters outside of the Oakland Coliseum for Vick’s first road game. Here’s a flashback for you: an airplane circled the stadium, pulling a banner that read: “Dog Fighter Go Home.”
I’m guessing you don’t miss those days.