Both Reid and head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder talked encouragingly of how Vick felt and reacted following the third-quarter play in which Falcons safety William Moore slung Vick into right tackle Todd Herremans. They did not rule him out of playing this week, or even out of practicing tomorrow when the Eagles begin preparing to face the Giants.
But as Burkholder repeatedly outlined, the decision is effectively out of the Eagles' hands now. It is all well and good for Burkholder to feel Vick was close to the point on the testing line, compared to his normal baseline, where he could have been determined not to have a concussion Sunday night, and for Burkholder to feel Vick was "pretty far along" in terms of steps that must be covered before activity resumes. But Vick must undergo an MRI, see an independent neurologist and pass Impact testing before he practices. If red flags are raised at any point, Vick won't be cleared.
"The test, that won't lie to us. The test is what it is," Reid said. "That's what it is, so you go by that. We're not going to fudge anything, if he's injured he's injured and we move on. I know he wants to play; I talked to him at length after we met the media, after I met with you guys [Sunday night], I had an opportunity to sit down with him and talk to him, and he remembered everything, recalled everything. I tried to quiz him a little bit on things and see where he was at. He was frustrated from the fact that he wasn't able to finish. Obviously, he had a little vested interest in finishing the game there, and wanted to and so on."
We don't know what symptoms Vick experienced or is experiencing, but Reid and Burkholder's description of him in the hours after the hit would seem to indicate he was less dramatically affected than Kevin Kolb was after suffering a concussion in last season's opener. That play led to Vick leading a late comeback in the opener and playing the whole way the next week, performances that became Reid's basis for making Vick the starter.
Reid said he hadn't begun the process yesterday of deciding who would play Sunday against the Giants if Vick can't, but Vince Young has been sidelined by a hamstring pull since the final preseason game, hasn't managed a full, solid practice running the offense in 3 weeks. Reid said yesterday that Young is close to 100 percent healthy, but not quite there yet. Young has been inactive for the first two games. If he remains unable to play, the Eagles would seem likely to sign a backup QB this week, but Reid said yesterday he wasn't ready to move on that yet.
Kafka's 7-for-9, 72-yard performance in his first carer NFL action, plus Reid's assertion yesterday that he should have trusted the rookie more and been less conservative in his playcalling, would seem to indicate Kafka as a more likely sub this week than Young.
Given the Eagles' concussion follies of last season, when both Kolb and then-middle linebacker Stewart Bradley initially returned to action right after being concussed in that season opener, you would think the team would err on the side of caution, and on protecting its recent $80 million investment. But there is precedent for Vick playing - last year, wideout Jason Avant suffered a slight concussion blocking for DeSean Jackson's historic punt- return TD against the Giants, and played in the next game, 9 days later, against the Vikings. That was the snowstorm-postponed game; we don't know for sure whether Avant would have played on the original date.
Burkholder talked repeatedly about letting Vick rest yesterday before beginning the evaluation process, but he did say he would like to get the MRI out of the way.
"Rest is one of the vital things we can give him," Burkholder said. "We try not to tax his brain or anything. We will go through protocol . . . There's a lot that needs to go on over the next 3, 4, 5, 7 days . . . We have it outlined. We have done this before. This is not our first go-round."
As to when Vick might be ready, Burkholder said, "We're not guessing . . . I'm not going to be back here [today] and tell you that's he's cleared."
"I can't give you a time frame on this," he said. "That's foolish on our part, medically, to put that out there. Everyone wants to know time frame. Everyone wants to know whether Mike is going to play. We're going to go through our protocol and when Mike's ready to practice, I will turn him over to coach and he will make the decision when he's ready to play. I keep emphasizing, we're 13 hours post-injury. There's a lot that has to go on between now and then to make that decision."
Kafka, a 2010 fourth-round draft pick from Northwestern, looked pretty solid running the offense in his debut. His only incompletions were Jeremy Maclin's fourth-down drop and the final play Hail Mary to the end zone. Reid said he felt his caution with the QB was unwarranted, and that it contributed to the loss.
"I think that sent a message to our football team, and not a positive message," Reid said. "For those first couple series that he was in, I did something that I normally don't do, in particular I do have trust in Michael and how good he is, and by sitting on the ball I think that sends a message to everybody, and it's not a positive message. So I'm kicking myself in the tail for that right now. It's my responsibility to make sure that we play reckless, aggressive football, and when the head coach doesn't do that, that's not a good sign."
Reid said it would be better, facing a complex defense such as the Giants, if the QB for tomorrow's practice was the starter Sunday. But he also said Vick has played the Giants before and might be able to compensate, if he had to.
Not quite so fine
Atlanta corner Dunta Robinson's prediction that he would not be hearing from the NFL over his helmet-first hit on the Eagles' Jeremy Maclin proved way off the mark. The league announced yesterday that Robinson was being fined $40,000.
But $40,000 is the repeat-offender minimum under the new collective bargaining agreement, and Robinson didn't get suspended, only got a note saying he might be if he does something like this again. Robinson was fined $25,000 (lowered from $50,000 on appeal) last season for a hit on DeSean Jackson that might have been more dangerous but looked far less premeditated.
Tight end Brent Celek suffered a low back strain, Andy Reid said, and defensive end Juqua Parker suffered a high ankle sprain. Will be interesting to see if defensive end Darryl Tapp (pectoral) is back this week; a roster move could be in order . . . Defensive end Trent Cole strained a tendon in his hand, which Reid said was no big deal.
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