For Vick, old habits die hard

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Vick scrambles with the football during the second quarter against the Jaguars.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Vick scrambles with the football during the second quarter against the Jaguars.
Posted: August 27, 2013

JACKSONVILLE - Early prediction: This is how it is going to be in 2013, with the Eagles, the fans and the quarterbacks.

Michael Vick threw a bad interception, generally held onto the ball too long, and ended up taking some unnecessary hits in Saturday night's 31-24 preseason victory over the host Jacksonville Jaguars. Vick also made a lot of good plays, but the bad decisions, and particularly the seven hits Vick took in the first half, were a pungent reminder of 2011 and 2012, in which Vick was healthy for only 23 of a possible 32 starts, and turned the ball over 33 times. There is no way the Vick we saw Saturday stays upright for 16 games.

Vick skeptics reacted viscerally, especially since this performance - though Chip Kelly said he wouldn't use the word "regress" - came just 4 days after Kelly declared Vick the winner of the quarterbacking competition against Nick Foles. Wasn't Vick's botched throwaway pick Saturday night the exact same thing Foles did against Carolina, which in the eyes of some observers, proved definitively that Vick should be the starter? Did their contest conclude too quickly? Hasn't Foles completed 84 percent of his preseason passes? (He's 21-for-25 for 208 yards, but no TDs.)

Vick's defenders also were out in force on social media, some discerning agendas and outright racism in any criticism of the 33-year-old quarterback. Can't the man make a bad throw or two in a preseason game without the world coming to an end? Didn't he finish the night 15-for-23 for 184 yards and a touchdown, while running seven times for 53 yards? Didn't he avoid hits on every one of his runs? Wasn't the offensive line less than stellar?

We can go around and around like this forever, and we will, after every loss and probably even after wins, when Vick looks less than commanding. Kelly says he gives no weight to anything that happened before he got here, but the rest of us did not start this process with a blank slate.

Still, Kelly has made his decision, and even after Saturday's bad taste of Vick-will-be-Vick, it was probably the right one, given his options. Now that Kelly and Vick have some film to watch together that does not show Vick doing everything perfectly, we're a step closer to seeing if the coach really can make this work, if he can change Vick where others have failed, or if this is going to be yet another year on the familiar Vick roller coaster.

"I'm not perfect. I can do better. There's a lot that I learned tonight," Vick said. And if that really turns out to be true, well, screw the lid back on the Haterade. But we have heard him say something similar so many times, in the wake of so many frustrating outings.

"I thought he did a good job keeping plays alive at times," Kelly said, "but there are other times when you have to cut your losses and get us back to the line of scrimmage and get the next play off."

Foles, playing with and against third-stringers, led the Birds to a 15-0 fourth-quarter advantage, capped by a 99-yard touchdown drive.

Game observations * 

Rewatching the first half yesterday, Mychal Kendricks played even better than I'd thought. Nice blocked pass, excellent strength inside for a guy who isn't huge.

* The Michael Vick throw was an awful decision, but Todd Herremans really seemed to lose his man, leading to Vick's intercepted attempt to throw the ball away.

* LeSean McCoy gained 15 yards on his first carry. He finished the evening with 9 yards on five carries. Left guard Evan Mathis and center Jason Kelce talked about the slanting, angling and anticipating the Jaguars did up front, to which the Eagles eventually adjusted, but Shady was out of the game by then. "They had a very strong scheme; Gus Bradley knows what he's doing," Mathis said. The Eagles were about to hire Bradley as their coach when Chip Kelly reconsidered. "This will be really good to see on film," said Kelce, who said the Jags did things the Eagles didn't see from the Patriots or the Panthers.

* Jason Peters played for the first time since 2011 and said he felt great, no problems with his twice-repaired Achilles'. "I felt a little rusty," Peters said. "My hand placement was bad on some of the run plays. My hands weren't as crisp on some of the pass plays."

* Several Eagles couldn't get off blocks when unheralded Jaguars running back Jordan Todman cut back to the right and rambled 63 yards for a touchdown, but rookie safety Earl Wolff didn't get blocked, he seemed to have Todman lined up and took a much too shallow angle, allowing Todman to get past him. "I was too aggressive, man. Something told me he was going to cut back right into me, and I sped down too fast," Wolff said. "I'm not known for taking bad angles, but it happens. I'll be more patient next time . . . I know I should have made that play, and it's eating me alive right now."

Last Linc practice

The Eagles will open the Linc to the public for free for the last time during the preseason today at 11:40 a.m.

DN Members Only : A video analysis from Derek Sarley on why Vick was out of sync, and the concerns about Trent Cole.

On Twitter: @LesBowen