Vick's improving, but Reid noncommittal about role

The Eagles' Michael Vick was able to throw during practice, but Andy Reid wants to see more before starting him.
The Eagles' Michael Vick was able to throw during practice, but Andy Reid wants to see more before starting him.
Posted: October 14, 2010

Michael Vick stood at his locker and ran a tan-handled brush through his thick, black hair.

It may have seemed like a common post-shower act, but for the Eagles quarterback it symbolized something much more: He's getting better.

Vick said that he threw Wednesday for the first time since he suffered cartilage damage to his ribs 11 days ago and that he's "got a shot" at returning in time for Sunday's game against his former team, the Atlanta Falcons.

"I've made progress every day," Vick said. "Last week I couldn't brush my hair, but now I can brush my hair. So that's a good thing."

Vick's improvement was counterbalanced by the news that Jason Peters will require arthroscopic surgery Thursday after he suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee Sunday. Eagles coach Andy Reid said that his left tackle is out against the Falcons and that King Dunlap - he of the three surrendered sacks against the 49ers - will take Peters' place and earn his first career start.

"I have confidence that King will be fine out there," Reid said.

Vick, meanwhile, did not practice Wednesday. Kevin Kolb, who performed admirably in Vick's absence, continued to take all the first-team repetitions under center. Before practice and before Vick threw on the side, Reid said that his starter had "made big jumps, big strides over the [last] few days."

Still, Reid was noncommittal about Vick returning to practice this week. And if Vick can't practice at all leading up to the Atlanta game, the coach said he wouldn't likely be able to play.

"If he can't practice throughout the week, then I probably wouldn't do that," Reid said.

Vick sang a different tune.

"I don't need no practice to play," he said. "Honestly, I really don't. Not to be arrogant or sound arrogant, but I don't need practice to play."

He does need the time to recover from the injury that knocked him out of the Washington game and gave Kolb another chance at reclaiming his old job. Reid said that the swelling near Vick's broken cartilage had gone down, but that "he still has pain."

Vick, who said that he had his throwing motion back, intimated that the only thing keeping him from playing is being able to deal with the pain and "working out the little kinks."

Kolb, meanwhile, is preparing as if he's the starter. Since filling in for Vick, he has completed 43 of 66 passes for 454 yards; tossed two touchdowns and only one interception; has an 88.8 passer rating; and, of course, helped guide the Eagles past San Francisco.

Reid, who has maintained that Vick will not lose his job as he recovers, said that Kolb's steady play would not influence how the team handled Vick's return.

"We don't do that," he said. "If a guy was going to be able to play, he could play. It doesn't matter who's in there. We don't force guys out there."

If the righthanded Kolb gets his second-straight start, Dunlap will again be responsible for protecting his blind side. Against the 49ers, three of the four times that Kolb was sacked came when pass rushers got around Dunlap.

"I have a lot of confidence in King," Kolb said. "I thought he did a good job the other night. He got beat the one time, but that was partly my fault, as well."

Dunlap's primary job against the Falcons will be to block defensive end John Abraham, a three-time Pro Bowler who has 93.5 career sacks, including four this season. A third-year player, Dunlap has been called on to fill in for Peters on the several occasions that the starter has left games with injuries over the last two seasons.

The results were less-than-satisfactory, as ends were able to get under the 6-foot-9 Dunlap with bull rushes and knock him over. He added more than 30 pounds in the off-season and now weighs 335, but he still has trouble positioning himself to get leverage.

"There's not too many guys that are 6-9," Dunlap said, "so I got to get down with the rest of the world."

Last season, Todd Herremans, once he returned from foot surgery, replaced Dunlap as Peters' backup. He simply moved over from left guard. Reid said he considered moving Herremans to left tackle again, but ultimately decided to stick with Dunlap.

Continuity may have played a part in Reid's decision. The Eagles have allowed 19 sacks this season, which is tied for second most in the league, and the offensive line has been a sieve.


Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jeff_McLane.

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