Redskins linebacker London Fletcher started making exaggerated gestures to the sideline, waving medical personnel out to attend to Vick, who later said his only problem was dirt in his eye. If you were watching at home, wondering why Fletcher seemed so concerned, Andy Reid provided a pretty good explanation yesterday.
"Their No. 59 is a smart guy," Reid said. "I love the way he plays. He tried to bring attention to things. Mike was trying to pull away from him, and he made sure he held on to him and tried to get him out of there. Mike was OK, and right when he came to the sideline he said he was fine."
"Concussion" is the magic word in the NFL of 2011. The Eagles already have lost a game they seemed to have in hand when Vick left with one, against Atlanta. If Vick had been tested and found to be concussed Sunday, under NFL guidelines, it would have been Vince Young's game the rest of the way. And judging from Young's performance in the one series he played before Vick was pronounced OK, I think we have a pretty good idea how that might have gone.
This is an old discussion. We all know Vick doesn't want to slide, yada, yada, yada. But here's the thing: If Vick doesn't start playing smarter when it comes to contact, the Eagles have no shot at making the postseason. They burned through their margin for error with the 1-4 start. They can't survive losing a couple of games because Vick gets sidelined.
Sunday, Marty Mornhinweg and the offensive line did everything they could to minimize Vick's exposure. Three-step drops, two-tight-end sets, valiant blitz pickup. And he still went out and banged helmets with a safety.
"He's going to continue to work on that," Reid said after his news conference. "I think he knows. It's just those competitive juices, you know? Sometimes they get going."
Competitive juices or no, this is not sustainable. I asked a follow-up question, about how likely it would be to make it through 10 more weeks like this. Reid wasn't going to give me a flashy quote, but he nodded in agreement.
"I understand," he said.
More than anything else that still needs to be fixed, the season might hang on Vick understanding.
DEVELOPING STORY LINES
* Andy Reid acknowledged that "everybody's calling everybody" in the hours leading up to the 4 p.m. trade deadline today. Reid said he wouldn't be surprised either way - if the Birds stand pat or if they make a move. He added that bringing in someone midseason, you'd prefer they come from a system that wouldn't be too big an adjustment. Seems likely, with Brandon Graham (ACL tear) ready to start practicing again, the Eagles might try to get a low-level draft pick for a reserve defensive end (Juqua Parker? Phillip Hunt?) they might have to cut when Graham returns to the active roster anyhow. Wouldn't be a shock to see someone depart from the crowded CB corps, if that brought something of value.
* Reid said there is a good chance Jason Peters (hamstring) and Trent Cole (calf) will be ready when practice resumes Monday.
* The 2-4 Eagles are outgaining opponents by an average of 100.5 yards per game. That's why you don't have to be Pollyanna to think this team can still salvage its season. Serious flaws, yes, stupid mistakes in spades, but more than enough talent to contend.
* The Birds no longer have the NFL's worst turnover margin. Sunday's plus-2 took them to minus-8. The Steelers, of all people, are now below the Eagles and worst in the league at minus-10, going into last night's action.
That an Andy Reid team would ever feature the NFL's fourth-leading rusher, 6 weeks into the season?
That was where Shady McCoy stood going into last night, his 569 yards on 105 carries trailing only Darren McFadden, Fred Jackson and Maurice Jones-Drew. Shady ranked just ahead of Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson, despite having fewer carries than any of the other runners in the top six.
Shady McCoy again - didja know he led the NFL in first downs going into last night? By a healthy margin - his 45 (36 rushing, nine receiving) were eight better than Matt Forte (23 and 14) and Wes Welker (1, 36). Nobody else even had as many as 30 rushing first downs.
Didn't have to listen to talk radio very long yesterday to hear a caller complaining about Andy Reid giving the Eagles the bye week off.
Now, I'm the guy who just a week ago made a case for firing Reid if the season doesn't turn around, on the basis that management will need to do something to get the fan base excited again. Andy and I will not be hanging out together during this break. But really. Reid has been handling the bye this way at least since I started covering the Eagles in 2002. In fact, seven times in his tenure, the Birds have hit the bye coming off a loss, usually a really galling loss, like that Tennessee debacle last season. He always gives the players the week off.
And you know what? Reid is 12-0 the week after the bye. In this area, at least, I think we have to concede he knows what he's doing.
"I want them to get away and take a deep breath, and get their bodies and minds back where they're able to relax," Reid said. "I think the bye comes at a good time."