Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Eagles' Michael Vick not practicing
ESPN.com news services
PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Vick is not practicing Wednesday because of broken ribs, and it's uncertain whether the Pro Bowl quarterback will play when the Philadelphia Eagles host New England on Sunday.
Vick broke his two lower ribs on the second play of the Eagles' 21-17 loss to Arizona on Nov. 13 and missed last Sunday's 17-10 win at the New York Giants. Vince Young filled in and threw two touchdown passes.
Eagles coach Andy Reid says Vick threw a little on Tuesday and that he's "getting better" but is "not there yet."
"(Vick) won't practice today and then we'll just take it day by day, see how it goes here," Reid said in a conference call with Boston-area reporters. "Vince will take reps and we'll see how (Vick is) doing tomorrow. He threw yesterday and (will do a) little more as we go on here."
Having Young allows the Eagles (4-6) not to rush Vick back. Young overcame three interceptions against the Giants and threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 2:45 left. He led Philadelphia on an 18-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 8:51, finishing it off with an 8-yard TD toss to Riley Cooper.
With Vick held out of practice and his status for Sunday's game uncertain, New England will be forced to prep for both him and Young.
"Both of them are great players," Patriots cornerback Antwaun Molden said of Young and Vick. "You know Vince, (2006) Rookie of the Year and he still has that talent. Both of them can run and pass, and both of them have strong arms."
Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington cautioned that the differences between Vick and Young run deeper than their throwing arm.
"They are not the same player at all," said Arrington. "Vick has a good arm and he's a little bit faster, a little more dangerous running the ball. Young, he did a good job managing the game (in last week's win over the Giants) and had a heck of a drive at the end there. We just have to be ready, study a lot this week -- put in good preparation and try to come out and execute."
Young spent five up-and-down seasons in Tennessee after being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2006 draft. He signed a one-year deal to be Vick's backup, knowing that he could improve his overall skills while learning from Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
Young could get an opportunity to be a starter somewhere next season if he continues to play well. But all he's focused on for now is this year.
"It's not about me," Young said. "My biggest goal is to just get here and just to learn from Coach Andy Reid and Marty, respected guys across the league, continue to get myself better and better as a quarterback."
Before facing the Giants, Young had thrown just one pass -- an interception -- since his last game with the Titans on Nov. 21, 2010. He impressed his teammates with his poise and leadership ability, helping the Eagles stay alive in the playoff race with a victory over the first-place Giants.
"Anytime you go into a game with a guy who hasn't really played yet, and you come out with a win like that, especially late in the game when you persevere through it, that breeds confidence in his abilities," center Jason Kelce said. "I don't want to say that I was ever not confident that Vince could do it, but I'm definitely more confident now, having been through the (Giants) game."
Young's overall career statistics are so-so, but he's 31-17 as a starter. He won't get the chance to play much in Philadelphia unless Vick is injured. The Eagles gave Vick a $100 million, six-year contract that includes $40 million guaranteed after he led them to the NFC East title last year and was a Pro Bowl starter.
Vick's inconsistency this season, however, is a big reason why the Eagles have failed to live up to their enormous preseason expectations. Vick has 11 interceptions, five more than he had all of last year.
No matter who lines up under center, players are confident they can beat any team.
"We believe in the quarterbacks we have in this room, and no matter who plays, we believe they can go out and get the job done," wide receiver Jason Avant said. "I thought Vince did a great job giving guys opportunities last week. He had some interceptions, but a couple of those plays could've been made better by the receivers, so we have confidence in anyone that plays. Hopefully, we'll go out and execute our game plan and make some plays for Vince and our team."
Vick broke his two lower ribs on the second play of the Eagles' 21-17 loss to Arizona on Nov. 13, though he stayed in the entire game. He hasn't practiced since, but is making some progress.
"Well, he's gone from last week he couldn't throw the ball at all to where he at least can throw it a little bit," Reid said. "I'm just taking it day by day. You can't guess on these things."
Notes WR DeSean Jackson missed practice because of a bruised foot. ... CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie isn't expected to play against New England because of a high ankle sprain. ... WR Jeremy Maclin returned to practice after missing one game with shoulder and hamstring injuries.
Information from ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg and The Associated Press was used in this report.