Vick paves way for smooth transition to Foles

Posted: November 27, 2013

THIS WAS, as it turns out, the easiest part. Michael Vick had removed the last possible impediment to Nick Foles' permanent ascension on the depth chart when he said on WIP the other day, "I think in all honesty, in all fairness, how can you take a guy out of the game who has been playing so well?" But even that did not really matter. With the play of Nick Foles, the decision had become that obvious.

Earlier this year, though, there were a few significant moments when Vick did the same thing - that is, put the team first. During the summer, he used the strength and the power of his reputation in the Eagles' locker room to help begin the smoothing over of the Riley Cooper situation. Months later, he knowingly put himself in physical peril and played a game he shouldn't have been playing, on Oct. 27 against the Giants, because he felt the team needed him.

Both of these decisions were made with something larger than himself in mind, and everyone could see it. This last bit - his graciousness when faced with the indisputable reality that Foles had taken the job - will get all of the attention, but it is only the latest manifestation of Vick's attitude in 2013.

It is an attitude that has made the Chip Kelly transition easier - as well as the Foles transition. He has been a cheerleader for Foles, going beyond the minimum required support when reporters have come with questions. He has forged a relationship with Foles that the younger quarterback clearly cherishes.

In the first year of Life After Andy, the Eagles have enjoyed about as smooth a voyage as anyone could have predicted - especially when you consider the Cooper controversy, and the fact that injuries have required them to play three quarterbacks during the season. This speaks to a lot of things, and a lot of people, and to Kelly most of all.

But Vick has done everything in his power to hold up his end, and to prevent the creation of any extraneous distractions. It is a fact that should not be forgotten, even if we may have seen the last of Vick on the field in an Eagles uniform.

"I see things before they happen," Vick said. "You can't be naive. You've got to understand the situation. You've got to see and just know that the most important thing for you to do is to try to be there to support your team.

"I didn't want to make this a hard decision for coach. I didn't want to make it a hard decision for anybody. For myself, I can't be frustrated about it. I just wanted it to be a smooth transition and it was. Coach Kelly, when he sat down, he didn't even have to say much. We're always on the same page. You have to be that way with your head coach, especially at my age and with the time I've been in this game. It's only right."

Vick said he is 100 percent healthy again after suffering his second hamstring injury of the season. He says he did not regret coming back and playing against the Giants, even though he was not healed and reinjured himself almost immediately. Foles had suffered a concussion the week before against the Cowboys and Vick was playing and that was that. "I don't regret anything," he said.

But the injury opened the door again for Foles, and we all have seen the results. Foles had a higher quarterback rating in the month of November (152.8) than any NFL quarterback has ever had in any month. Ever. There was no way Kelly was going back to Vick and everyone has known it for a couple of weeks. Kelly kept the fiction alive, of a decision that needed to be made when everyone was healthy, just because he could. But there was no decision.

Anyway, Vick was asked if he was "disappointed."

"It's not disappointing at all," he said. "To answer your question, I can't even answer it. I'm still part of an organization who took great care of me, that gave me all the opportunities and possibilities that I could ever imagine. It's great to be a part of it. Obviously, as a competitor, you want to be out there, you want to play, you want to help your teammates out - but you can only control what you can control. So I just have fun just being a part of it."

He said he is not a selfish person, and that he has never felt "that the world revolves around me." He says the thing that keeps him going is the thought that he still has football left to play, here or elsewhere. Vick says he still believes he can be a starter in the NFL. During the offseason, the NFL will tell him if he is right.

But in the here and now, he is preparing to back up on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. At the same time, he is making an impression on his teammates that they will not soon forget. Going from locker to locker, from Brent Celek to Mychal Kendricks to Cooper to others, they all talked about Vick's grace.

The last word goes to cornerback Cary Williams:

"For him to come with the type of humility to just understand the situation, and to be a great leader, understand that it's about the team, it's not about his individual accolades, it takes a lot, man," Williams said. "I salute him for it. It's something I'm going to put in my book for later on in life."

On Twitter: @theidlerich


comments powered by Disqus