Phil Sheridan: Is Michael Vick telling Andy Reid, 'Take Me Out, Coach'?

Posted: October 29, 2012

If Andy Reid wasn't seriously considering a change at quarterback based on Sunday's game, he may reconsider after Michael Vick's postgame comments.

"Obviously, he's thinking about making a change at the quarterback position," Vick said after the Eagles' third consecutive loss, a 30-17 beating by the Atlanta Falcons. "The thing I do know, when I go and watch the film and evaluate myself, I'm giving us every opportunity to win. I'm trying my hardest. Some things don't go right when I want them to, some things do.

"If that's the decision coach wants to make, then I support it."

Thing is, Vick was making a concession speech before the polls even opened. Reid was his usual chatty self after a bad loss. All he said about the quarterback situation was the usual folderol.

"I'll take a look at the tape," Reid said. "There are some things he could do better. I'll go back and look at it. I'm not going to stand here and make decisions. I'll go back and look at it and analyze it."

To hear Vick basically accepting a demotion - while pointing a few fingers at his teammates - could nudge Reid into going with rookie Nick Foles. The last thing the head coach needs is a deflated, defeated man playing the most important position on a desperate team.

"This is fixable," Reid said, all evidence to the contrary.

It is not a simple decision. It would be coaching malpractice to put a rookie behind the Eagles offensive line right now, especially on the road in the Superdome next Monday night. The game after that is against Dallas, at home. Given the mood of the fans during the last two games, that could be an even more hostile environment.

There was a time when we could at least factor in how Foles has looked in practice. But the cunning Reid closed practice to the media this year, citing the competitive disadvantage of reporters tweeting information. Since then, the Eagles' record is 2-4.

Unfortunately, we get to watch Vick.

He played his cleanest game of the season. There were no interceptions, no fumbles, no defenders running the other way. But the lack of head-slapping mistakes didn't translate into better results on the scoreboard.

It didn't help that Vick was playing against his former team, or that Matt Ryan put on a spectacular display of elite quarterbacking. The contrast didn't flatter Vick.

"I don't know if playing like a franchise quarterback means throwing three or four touchdowns week in and week out and doing everything right," Vick said. "But I know I've been there before. Despite it all, I feel like I do a lot of positive things out there. That's all I can ask of myself."

If there were elements of comedy in Vick's earlier turnover-prone performances, this one had more of a whiff of tragedy. Against his old team, he just looked old. He was run down from behind by 255-pound defensive end Kroy Biermann. He threw one pass right into the midsection of defensive end John Abraham.

Meawhile, Ryan was zipping the ball all over the field. When the Eagles finally scored to make the score 14-7, Ryan responded with a 63-yard strike to Julio Jones to keep the game out of Vick's reach.

It had to be frustrating, and Vick responded by pointing out some of his team's other problems.

"Football is the total team game," Vick said. "You have to put it all together collectively. The offense has to do their part, the defense has to do their part, the special teams has to contribute in some way, shape or form.

"When you don't get that - and other teams are doing that - you don't get as many points, you don't get as many stops, you don't create any turnovers, you don't win."

Vick wasn't wrong about any of that, but his teammates might easily note they'd be 5-2 if he hadn't turned the ball over 13 times in the first six games. And once you get to that point, with players looking elsewhere to assign blame, it's very hard to right a listing ship.

After a game like this one, it may just not be possible.

"This was a big game for us," Vick said. "It was one we needed."

And look at how they responded. Despite a bye week, despite a shakeup on the defensive coaching staff, despite everything - the Eagles were dreadful. There wasn't much there to suggest this team is capable of winning seven or eight of their nine remaining games.

Can a change at quarterback help? Reid will have to watch the game tape, and then he will have to watch tape of Vick's postgame comments, before deciding.

At this point, with the season slipping away, he doesn't have much left to lose.


Contact Phil Sheridan at psheridan@phillynews.com, or @Sheridanscribe on Twitter. Read his blog, "Philabuster," at www.philly.com/philabuster. Read his columns at www.philly.com/philsheridan

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