Vick is grateful that Reid gave him a chance

Vick is also enjoying success under Chip Kelly, who has tailored the offense to fit his playing style.
Vick is also enjoying success under Chip Kelly, who has tailored the offense to fit his playing style. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: September 20, 2013

The debate in Philadelphia about Michael Vick now is whether he should block after handoffs. The polarizing arguments center on whether he can stay healthy for a full season. The controversy that involves his head coach is whether he should call a timeout to reinsert Vick into a game.

This is Vick's career in 2013. It has evolved into this because of the decision Andy Reid made in August 2009.

Reid rescued Vick from NFL exile and gave him a lifeboat after two years away from the game and 19 months in federal prison. The coach spent the first season putting Vick through quarterback graduate school. It changed the perception of Vick from an athlete who underutilized his tools to a more refined passer.

"I'll never forget the opportunities that had been given to me by this organization and by Andy Reid," Vick said Tuesday. "Andy Reid is a guy who will go down in history in my book as one of the great coaches of all the time and one of the greatest men I've ever met."

Vick made the comments two days before facing Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, and two days after a game in which he threw for a career-high 428 yards. It was the type of performance coach Chip Kelly sought when he decided to bring back Vick in 2013.

"He's playing as good as he's ever played," Reid said.

This is lofty praise from Reid, who coached Vick in 2010 when the veteran was in a contract season. It was the only time in Vick's career that he completed more than 60 percent of his passes. This season, he has completed 62.6 percent through two games, with four touchdowns and no interceptions. His 119.0 quarterback rating is his best ever.

Reid credited Kelly, whose offense and coaching style prompted Vick to say he "fell in love with football again." Kelly has made the offense fit Vick's playing style, and Vick agreed with his former coach that this is as well as he has ever played.

"But I also feel I can play better," Vick said. "The things we do, the opportunity I've been giving on the football field, I'm taking advantage of, as far as plays coming in and executing. I really like what we've been doing."

The one area Vick identified for improvement was the "decision-making aspect" of the game. There are multiple options on each play, and Vick must quickly scan the field and determine the best option. That often has been DeSean Jackson during the first two games.

Vick's percentage could be higher if he didn't misfire on a few passes.

"Everything is not going to be perfect," Vick said. "I may make mistakes this week that I may not make next week, or mistakes last week that I won't make this week. There's always things to grow on and always things to improve on."

The big plays are a major part of this Eagles offense. Vick and Jackson connected on one deep pass against the Chargers, but they had two more that just missed. Vick said the key is being on the same page as the receiver and understanding what the defense presents.

It has helped that Jackson has played like a complete receiver, adept in the middle of the field as well as on deep passes. Vick lost Jeremy Maclin to a knee injury in training camp, but he still has been able to put up gaudy numbers during the first two weeks. And the more the complementary receivers establish themselves, the more opportunities there will be for big plays.

"At some point, you'll get your shots," Vick said. "Every concept we have has some form of a deep shot. . . . We just try to make sure that when there's an opportunity, we don't miss it. That comes with film study and knowing exactly what the defense is giving you."

Reid said that Kelly's offense is not a fluke and that Kelly has found a way to maximize his players. That starts with Vick, whose NFL life was extended because of Reid. Vick improved under Reid, but his best football could still be ahead of him.

"He was so open to everything you would teach him, and he's doing the same thing with Chip," Reid said. "He's absorbing everything and doing a heck of a job."

Extra points

The Eagles signed cornerback Roc Carmichael off the Houston Texans practice squad and placed cornerback Brandon Hughes on injured reserve. Carmichael, 25, was a fourth-round draft pick in 2011. He has played in only six NFL games. Hughes injured his hamstring in last week's game and is expected to be released once he recovers. . . . The Eagles have six players who are listed as probable. No one is questionable, doubtful, or out. . . . Tight end Anthony Fasano (ankle) is doubtful for the Chiefs. Cornerback Brandon Flowers and tight end Travis Kelce are questionable.

Contact Zach Berman at Follow

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