This Sunday at Giants Stadium mercifully ends the Philadelphia Eagles season and is presumably the finale of Andy Reid’s tenure as head coach. But also barring an unforeseen miracle, this is the last game for Michael Vick in an Eagles’ uniform. Vick, who would be guaranteed $16 million if he’s on the roster after February 6th, will be the starting quarterback vs. the Giants.
What’s serendipitous about all this for Vick is, that he wasn’t supposed to take another snap for the rest of the season after suffering a concussion in week 10 against the Cowboys and Nick Foles was named the starter for the rest of the season. But as luck would have it for Vick, Foles sustained a broken hand last Sunday in the second half of the Eagles 27-20 loss to the Redskins. Now once again Vick gets the starting job due to an injury, but this time, probably more than ever, the rest of his career will depend on how he plays in this game.
Unlike when he was released from prison and signed by the Eagles in 2009, Vick was only looking to get back in the league and work his way back onto an NFL roster. He had to re-acclimate to the game after almost a three-year hiatus and at 29 years-old, his body didn’t have the wear and tear of one.
Vick went from a wildcat quarterback to starter in 2010 after then-starter, Kevin Kolb, was face-planted by Packers linebacker, Clay Matthews and suffered a concussion in the season opener. He played exceptionally well, adding a spark to the offense (credit Reid/Mornhinweg) and started all but three games due to a rib injury. Vick made the Pro Bowl, was named Comeback Player of the Year and Kolb was traded to the Cardinals. Vick became the only player in league history to sign two $100 million contracts, but after all the success of 2010, teams adjusted to his style of play and he and the coaching staff could not counter. In 2011, Vick and the Eagles had a very subpar 8-8 season and the constant pounding Vick endured, resulted in a noticeable loss in speed and further magnified his deficiencies in deciphering a defense.
This preseason started with Vick being smacked around and injuries forced him to only six quarters of action and no offensive production. He looked below average in most of the regular season games and the beating he was taking behind that makeshift line seemed to age him overnight. The then 29 year-old with body and wear of a 26 year-old in 2009, now at 32, has the look of a quarterback who’s 35 in 2012.
Vick still believes he can still be a starter in this league. And from what I can see, there are only a handful of teams that need one. The Cardinals in the NFC and the Chiefs, Jets, Jaguars and possibly the Bills in the AFC.
So Vick has to see himself as fortunate, because he’ll get another break to showcase whatever he has left in this Sunday’s audition in New York. And if he can somehow bring some of the magic from 2010, maybe he’ll book another starting role when next season premieres.