Saturday, August 29, 2009

McNabb and Vick

Thursday night's sloppy win over the Jacksonville Jaguars featured Michael Vick's debut with the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick appeared in six plays. He completed four passes, with the longest completion being for 13 yards. His debut surely didn't live up the massive hype that led up to the kickoff.

Donovan McNabb, on the other hand, threw for 244 yards in less than three quarters of playing time, including four completions to prized rookie wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. It also does not appear that Donovan is terribly excited with the whole Michael Vick Wildcat formation thing. When asked if he thought that the Wildcat formation disrupted the rhythm of the offense and whether the offense needed to get back to basics during the first half of the game with Jacksonville: "Absolutely, Absolutely," McNabb said. "I did. In that situation, it's needed." McNabb apparently demanded that the experiment be curtailed due to the disruption to the offensive flow, and Reid went along with it. That does not bode well for a rosy relationship between the hyper-competitive Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick. Even if they keep Vick, that raises a different set of questions about whether Kevin Kolb really is the heir apparent to Donovan McNabb, or whether Vick will now be appointed the heir apparent.

Andy Reid has said that Vick will get a few snaps at quarterback in more conventional formations during this week's final pre-season game with the Jets.

The good news is that, for the first time in years, it looks like the Eagles have an abundance of offensive threats at the wide receiver position. The duo of DeSean Jackson and Maclin looks like it's going to be a very effective one that gives the Birds two legitimate deep threats, with sure-handed Kevin Curtis doing what he does so well as a possession receiver. I look forward to seeing how this trio fares when it counts. It also means that Hank Baskett and Reggie Brown are now trade bait, since they may not be needed once the regular season begins.

The down side is that while Shawn Andrews is finally ready to begin playing, the rest of the offensive line remains plagued with injuries. Fortunately, Reid has a great deal of confidence in his back-up guards, because I suspect that they're going to see a lot of playing time this year. Time will tell.

There are a lot of questions that remain unanswered:

1. How will the Eagles defense handle losing Jim Johnson?
2. How will the Eagles defense handle losing middle linebacker Stewart Bradley for the season?
3. How will the Eagles defense handle losing spiritual and emotional leader Brian Dawkins?
4. Will the offensive line gel?
5. How is Brian Westbrook's surgically repaired knee? Will he be the same offensive triple threat that he has been for his entire career?

The answers to these questions, of course, won't be known until the end of the season. We time will tell.

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