Vick has support, needs patience

Posted: September 28, 2009

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Whitlock, Jason; Wyche, Steve

Re: MV7

Here in Philly, as you might imagine, public opinion on Michael Vick has been split. A lot of people, including diehard Eagles fans, don't want him on their team, yet from what I could hear, Vick got a pretty big ovation when he took the field for the first time against the Chiefs. Jason, you've never been at a loss for words as a columnist at the Kansas City Star, and Steve, you've covered Vick for years, including the last year for nfl.com. Are you guys happy Vick is back? And what did you think of the way he played?

From: Wyche, Steve

To: Fox, Ashley; Whitlock, Jason

Re: MV7

What's funny about this question is I still live in Atlanta and Vick still has a huge fan base down there, so I hear a ton of support for him every day. As far as my opinion, I think he served his time and has done what's been asked of him, so, like any citizen, he deserves a right to earn a living. He is being afforded an opportunity, and it's up to him to capitalize. Knowing how competitive Vick is, I'm sure he's glad to be back in the league, but I'm pretty sure, at some point, he'll wish he'd be put in more situations to have a big impact. That's a dilemma Andy Reid is going to have to figure out, especially once Donovan McNabb returns.

As for how he played, Vick was OK. He really wasn't asked to do a whole lot, and frankly, I thought the way he was used disrupted the offensive flow. Kevin Kolb really had a few nice drives going, and when Vick was inserted - mostly to hand the ball off - it seemed to junk up the tempo. I don't know if this was just a means to get Vick some playing time in game situations, but at some point, Vick either needs to be put in difference-making situations, or people are going to wonder why he is here.

From: Whitlock, Jason

To: Fox, Ashley; Wyche, Steve

Re: MV7

I'm very excited for Mike Vick and what he represents. I'm rooting for him. He's an ex-con trying to work his way back into the mainstream. This is an important issue for African Americans. I'm really proud of Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid for extending Vick this opportunity. I hope Vick has reasonable expectations, because from what we saw today, it's going to take some time before he's really ready to contribute. His biggest contributions might come in practice and supporting McNabb in the locker room.

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Whitlock, Jason; Wyche, Steve

Re: MV7

Granted, Vick has been away from football for an eternity, but did either of you see anything from him that made you think he still has it? Or is that asking too much? And how long do you think he'll be happy in this Wildcat role? Seems to me he will be itching to be a starting quarterback sooner rather than later.

From: Whitlock, Jason

To: Fox, Ashley; Wyche, Steve

Re: MV7

Vick showed very little against one of the NFL's worst teams. His pregame interviews concerned me. He seems to have a strong desire to be a starter sooner rather than later. And he's not all that interested in the Wildcat. The Eagles have young weapons - DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, and Jeremy Maclin - who can help McNabb win big right now. Vick is a project. I hope he can contain his ego and play whatever role helps the Eagles win this year. Proving he can be a good, mature, supportive teammate will do more for Vick than rushing on the field and getting exposed as unprepared.

From: Wyche, Steve

To: Fox, Ashley; Whitlock, Jason

Re: MV7

I thought the reason he was here was to take advantage of his special skill set. Maybe today was the possum game, when Andy Reid wanted to get Vick used to playing in front of big crowds again before he unveils something bigger down the road. However, Vick, as I've said before, is one of the toughest competitors I've ever seen. On every play, he'd like to do something special to help his team get a first down or a touchdown. If he's going to be used in such a limited role, I don't see him being too happy about that as time goes on.

I also don't see Donovan McNabb being overly thrilled about Vick taking eight to 10 snaps a game from him and DeSean Jackson or Brian Westbrook taking four or five more from him. Right now, things are all good, but Reid and his staff are going to have to figure out how to make things work for the long term. They always seem to find a way, but it's going to take some sacrifice on the part of his quarterbacks.

From: Fox, Ashley

To: Whitlock, Jason; Wyche, Steve

Re: MV7

What comes first, Jason, a Vick TD or a Chiefs W? Wow, that's a spectacularly bad team you've got to watch every week.

From: Whitlock, Jason

To: Fox, Ashley; Wyche, Steve

Re: MV7

A Vick TD way before a Chiefs W. We may not see a Chiefs victory in 2009.

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