All eyes in the Philadelphia sporting world were turned to Lincoln Financial Field tonight to see Michael Vick’s debut in an Eagles’ jersey. It was an abbreviated appearance in his first time under center in two years, but there were brief moments that may give Eagles’ fans renewed hope.
Vick received an overwhelmingly warm reception from the largely late-arriving crowd at the Linc. And fans didn’t have to wait long to see him on the field, as he was in the backfield on the second play from scrimmage, tossing a four-yard shuttle pass to LeSean McCoy out of the Wildcat package.
Here’s a rundown of each of Vick’s trips onto the field:
First Series (Start at Own 27)
2nd & 10 from Own 27 (second play of drive): Vick shuttle pass to LeSean McCoy, gain of four yards.
Drive result: three plays, four yards, punt.
Second Series (Start at Own 19)
1st & 10 from Own 33 (second play of drive): QB keeper by Vick imitating a broken play for one yard.
2nd & 8 from Own 45: Vick split out wide, McCoy inside handoff (play nullified by holding penalty)
3rd & 2 from Jac 29: Vick on field, play clock runs down forcing the Eagles’ to call a timeout (coincidence?). Vick doesn’t come back out on the field after the timeout.
1st & 10 from Jac 27 (ninth play of drive): McNabb out, Vick in shotgun for a 13-yard completion to Hank Baskett. It was a tight throw zipped in nicely, and a tough catch by Baskett.
Drive result: 13 plays, 69 yards, 31-yard field goal by David Akers
Third Series (Started at Own 27)
2nd & 10 (second play of drive): Vick in the shotgun, McNabb out wide. Vick completes swing pass to DeSean Jackson for no gain.
Drive result: 3 plays, -1 yards, punt
Fourth Series (Stared on Own 25)
2nd & 15 (second play of drive): McNabb split wide, Vick in shotgun. Shuttle pass to McCoy for two yards
Drive result: 3 plays, 4 yards, punt
Final stats on Vick: 4-4, 19 yards passing; one rush for one yard (only one pass over the line of scrimmage), used once as a decoy.
At the time Vick left the game, the Eagles had put together one scoring drive out of four series, and really looked out of sync most of the time. Once McNabb was in to stay without having to worry about the QB shuffle, the offense started to get into a groove and, were it not for several bad turnovers, they first-team offense would have put up some impressive numbers.
As it is, McNabb finished with 244 yards on 21 of 36 passing with a touchdown and an interception. At the time Vick left the game, however, McNabb was 7-13 for 63 yards. Also, McNabb seemed a little off his game due to Vick’s influence, going 3-5 passing for a pedestrian 17 yards on the five plays after Vick was in the game. Granted many of those situations were third and longs (partially by Vick’s doing), and Vick has only been in the offense a short time, but it may be that the new wrinkles created by his presence are unsettling to the offensive plan. Only time will tell if that’s the case.
Another important thing to note is that while Vick did look good on the pass to Baskett, he only threw one pass in front of the line of scrimmage. But the broadcast team of Kevin Reilly, Herm Edwards, and Hugh Douglas, amidst a litany of ill-preparedness and inaccuracies (seriously, Herm might still think he’s coaching, and if he referred to the Eagles as “we” one more time, my remote was going through my television set), did come up with one valid point. Douglas mentioned in passing that Vick showed, “just enough to make defensive coordinators around the league to lose sleep”.
Maybe at this point, that power of diversion is the biggest thing Vick brings to the table.
–Matthew DeGeorge ’10