Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Look for Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb together on a field near you

by Nick Fierro
Monday August 17, 2009

We haven't seen it yet and probably won't in any of the practices the rest of the way, but we will see it in games. That much is as close to a certainty as the utter mindlessness of Tweeting.
Eagles quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick will be on the field at the same time.

Whether it's in the Wildcat formation or Vick lining up as a receiver or McNabb lining up as a tight end with Vick under center or a single-wing shotgun, it will happen.

McNabb as a tight end?

"I told you at the press conference (after the preseason game against New England Thursday night) I could play receiver," McNabb said. "I'll be a receiver. I might be a tight end, I might be running back. You never know where I'll be."

McNabb was joking, of course. But he appeared to be dead serious earlier, when he said he would have no problem with Vick getting on the field for a few snaps at quarterback each week, so long as it's helping the Eagles win.

"As you can see, it helped Miami last year, from winning one game to winning 11 or 12 games last year," McNabb said. "If that was the direction we were going in, I wouldn't have a problem with it at all."

If that means some exotic trickery designed to make use of Vick's legs, which are just as dangerous as his extraordinary left arm, then that's what the Eagles will do to make the shocking signing of perhaps the most controversial personality in their history worth it.

Either way, expect a handful, though probably no more, of plays for Vick every week, adding to the angst of opposing defenses that already would have had trouble matching up with the Eagles' skill players before Vick entered the picture.

Monday, in a spirited, smack-talking, overall testy practice at the NovaCare Center, Vick lined up only at quarterback and was limited to less than 10 repetitions. Vanilla stuff all the way.

The spice will be added behind closed doors and in the one practice a week that is closed to the media once the season begins. The dimension he'll add on Sundays is only in the speculative stage at this point but most people are thinking the same kinds of things.

Safety Quintin Mikell hinted how Vick lining up as a Wildcat quarterback could actually affect a change in some teams' defensive philosophies.

"More than likely you are always thinking, in my opinion, 'make them throw the ball (when you see the Wildcat),'" Mikell said. "I want to see you throw the ball before I let you run all over me, so we are going to stop the run first. If you can throw it, then you say, 'OK, he can throw it too,' and we'll go from there. Having Vick on our team, that obviously adds another threat because he can throw and he can run."

For his part, Vick is willing to do whatever is required to get on the field. The way things are going, they might have to plug him in at left tackle before long.

Seriously though, there is a twisted irony to the sudden issue of the breakdown in protection of McNabb's blind side that was thrust into the spotlight Thursday night. Vick, a left-handed thrower, would be better suited to spot it and better equipped to avoid it as well.

However, Vick knows best of all that he's not close to being able to start again in the NFL, that he could well remain in a backup role at best even if something happened to McNabb long-term.

"Kevin Kolb is the No. 2 quarterback, and that's where we're at right now," coach Andy Reid said Saturday. "It wasn't because he got the (knee) injury (that's kept him out of practice since last week) or anything. That's not why we did this. Kevin has proven to this football team that he's a good quarterback."

Hey, his words.

The Express-Times


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