Eagles' Vick signing: Pros, cons and total shock

Posted: August 14, 2009

If Eagles coach Andy Reid was wondering what plays to draw up for his new offensive toy, Michael Vick, all he had to do was stand in the upper concourse during halftime of last night's preseason game against the Patriots.

"This is great, this is what this team needs," said Desmond Purnell, 30, of Vineland, N.J. "Man, you can line him up in the slot, have [Donovan] McNabb as the quarterback and have [Brian] Westbrook and [DeSean] Jackson and have that rookie [LeSean McCoy] out there . . . man, they won't know who to cover.

"You can use him in the Wildcat [formation], you can put him anywhere on the field. I love it."

By halftime of the game, fans filtering out of the stadium for refreshments were full of mixed emotions over the signing of Vick, who has been out of football since 2006 and served 23 months, 18 in federal prison, for conspiracy and running a dogfighting operation.

"I'm not happy about it. We're better off without a quarterback controversy. We don't need Michael Vick," said Judy Narley, 30, of Lancaster. "He's an athletic guy but I don't think we need the controversy. Look what happened when [Terrell Owens] was here. I think we're better off with what we got."

Signing a player with a tainted background seems to go against what the Eagles have been about during the Reid regime, many said. In fact, in his state of the team address during training camp this season, owner Jeffrey Lurie said: "We put a tremendous emphasis on character. I know we've had the best record in the NFC this decade and I really attribute it to having a very high character group of players."

Lurie also stated in that news conference that Vick "deserves a second chance and maybe he'll get it."

It just shocked fans that he got it here.

"I'm surprised, really surprised. Andy Reid doesn't tolerate much crap," said Wesley Tucker, 26, of Lindenwold, N.J. "But if the guy's gonna do something, then it's good. Nobody else wanted him and the Eagles did, so he's got to be worth something. If he's a nobody, then he's a nobody. But if he does something, they look like heroes."

The buzz around Lincoln Financial Field at the half far surpassed any reaction the fans had to the action on the field. It was all the talk at the break, many arguing whether it was indeed a good idea.

"I don't know, he hasn't played in close to 3 years," said Ryan White, 26, of Waterford Works, N.J. "No one has seen him in any preseason action. He hasn't done any kind of practicing. I'm glad they did it just in case the [knee] injury to Kevin Kolb is serious. A.J. Feeley is OK, but . . . "

Many wondered if Vick will be put on the roster as a quarterback or be listed at another position. Some wondered if he would return kicks. All had ideas.

"I'll tell you, this makes for a real dangerous offense," said Will Chaney, also of Vineland. "We're not going to use him as a quarterback, we're going to put him out as a wide receiver, as an athlete. His athleticism is remarkable.

"It's the last thing I thought that they would pick him up, but I'm happy for the whole situation. I really hope that this turns out to be a move that could really, really bring a Super Bowl here."

Just how Vick will be used is anybody's guess, though opinions were bountiful.

"Some guy just told me they were going to use him in the slot," Narley said. "Is that true? Is he not going to play quarterback?"

That is still to be determined by Andy Reid. But he has plenty of suggestions, if he needs them.

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