Will Vick be Vick?

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Vick: 'I'm out there, I'm full go.'
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Michael Vick: 'I'm out there, I'm full go.'
Posted: October 25, 2013

WHAT SORT of Michael Vick will the New York Giants see Sunday?

The Eagles quarterback said yesterday he wants to run "100 yards as fast as I can" today before declaring himself officially ready for his first action since Vick strained his left hamstring, also against the Giants, on Oct. 7.

Unofficially, all week, everyone in the locker room has expected Vick to play. If his "stress test" doesn't go well today, it seems likely Vick will just play anyway, and try not to run hard; there has been no hint that Eagles coach Chip Kelly has done much to get rookie Matt Barkley ready for what would be Barkley's first NFL start.

"I'll let coach Kelly make that determination," Vick said, when asked what he'll do if today's run doesn't feel right.

We have heard that Vick plans to try to play, though Vick won't quite say so and Kelly pretends to have no idea what might be in the offing beyond the next practice. What's harder to know is how Vick plans to try to play. Will we see pocket-passer Vick, moving around only to sidestep sacks? Will we see a QB even more limited than that, who makes handing off to LeSean McCoy the focal point of the offense? Or will we see the guy who had gained 79 yards on seven carries before pulling up lame in the second quarter of that other Giants game?

"The winner. That's what I expect," corner Cary Williams said. "I expect to see a guy that's out there playing all four quarters, with everything he's got. He hasn't cheated us one game this year when he's played. I think he's played with passion. I think he's played with fearlessness, I think he's played with a tremendous tenacity.

"What he brings to the table is vital to the success of our offense, I think. When you put him in the offense, it becomes more of a dynamic situation."

But does it really become that this week?

"I think he'll do it when he needs to," Williams said.

"I think he's going to do what he's been doing," right tackle Lane Johnson said. "He's been effective with his legs a lot, when coverage breaks down, he gets pressure, he can make us yards like he did against the Giants. That's what I've been seeing at practice; I don't see anything that's been limiting him."

"I expect him to be able to do everything he's done in the past," tight end Brent Celek said. "You'd have to ask him how he feels, but I think he feels good and is ready to go. Otherwise, I don't think he'd be out there."

Kelly spoke with reporters before practice and said he hadn't talked to Vick about Vick's plans to sprint today.

"Just putting a game plan in, getting - right now it's Mike and Matt - getting them comfortable with what we're doing, and then we'll see where Mike is," Kelly said.

"I'm thinking right now it's going to be a positive situation," Vick said. He said he has run at "three-quarter speed" so far in practice. Does he think he'll be at 100 percent by Sunday?

"I can't say," Vick said.

"I have to assume he's 100 percent," Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell told New York reporters.

"I'm out there, I'm full go," Vick said, when asked if the injury will be in the back of his mind as he plays. "I'm giving it everything I've got. Y'all know me. Y'all know how I play. I don't hold anything back. I give it everything I've got."

You could argue that the Eagles should start Barkley this week and let Vick back up, if his hamstring isn't going to be completely healed. Hamstring injuries can linger, and while the Eagles haven't done nearly enough with Barkley since the start of training camp to prepare him to start an NFL game, there's the prospect of losing with the rookie on one side of the scale, and there's limping through the second half of the season on the other side.

Nick Foles seems to be very early in the concussion-recovery process. What happens to the season if Vick really rips up his hammy Sunday? What kind of year are we looking at if Vick doesn't reinjure it but clearly is limited, and stays in that mode for weeks, with no chance to heal all the way?

"I'm hoping that we can clean it up and our guys in the strength room are doing some different things with him from that standpoint so that this thing doesn't occur again," Kelly said.

Asked about factoring in Vick's injury history - he has missed 15 of a possible 55 games since becoming the Eagles' starter - Kelly ridiculed the question.

"I don't know what I would go off of," he said. "Am I going to say to Mike, 'I don't think you should play this week, because 3 years ago you got hurt'? I go based on how he is today and how he's performing today."

Speaking of how Vick is performing today, in his last three appearances, Vick's passer ratings are 49.4, 83.6 and 69.0. In those games he has completed 33 of 71 passes, 46.5 percent, and thrown for exactly one touchdown. You might recall, those struggles had a lot to do with the fan base getting all excited about Foles' NFC Offensive Player of the Week performance against Tampa.

Kelly spoke yesterday of this game being won up front, in one-on-one battles. That result obviously can influence who wins the battle of the QBs. Eli Manning is having a nightmare season, including three fourth-quarter interceptions in the previous meeting, but he avoided turning the ball over Monday night, as the Giants gained their first victory of the season, against Minnesota. Can Vick outplay Manning?

"He's so smart, he's so intelligent, he's going to get the ball out to the right people," Kelly said, when asked about Manning. "But playing quarterback, playing any position, a lot of it is what's around him, and I know a lot of times he's had some guys up front banged up, and sometimes he hasn't had time to get to the top of his drop and throw the ball. They protected him a lot better in the Vikings game. I thought he played really well in the Bears game [the week before, a 27-21 loss]."

Vick said he expects to see the tight man coverage that he has struggled to beat.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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