Vick, Eagles need to do more than blame refs

For the moment, ignore the bitter irony of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick(notes) complaining about how he is being physically beaten up. It is enough to say that karma is the real deal.



Yahoo! Sports Radio: Michael Vick complains about not getting same calls as other QBs]

Once you get past the obvious social issues, there's a football question to consider as the Eagles try to figure out how to bounce back from a 1-2 start that has included a concussion and bruised right (non-throwing) hand for Vick.

How do the Eagles deal with the fact that Vick may not be able to play in Week 4 against the 49ers and, in a greater sense, how will they deal with his constant injuries? The answer is that they may have to turn to the guy who created the whole stir with his "Dream Team" comment in training camp.

Backup quarterback Vince Young(notes) is the guy who may have to keep the dream alive. Or perhaps they will lean on Mike Kafka(notes), the guy who has been around the team longer than Young. In either case, the initial reaction to this situation can be summed up in one word:


Again, all is not lost at the moment. Assuming Vick can figure out how to take a snap (full-time shotgun anyone?) with a bruised hand, he may be able to go against San Francisco. The bigger point is whether there is a way for the Eagles to protect him in the long run.

As Vick correctly noted after the game, he's spending way too much time on the ground so far this season. Unlike 2010, when Vick made his triumphant return to the field (yeah, he played in 2009, but nothing like last season), Vick is getting beaten down time and again. On Sunday, as he was knocked out of the loss to the New York Giants with the bruised hand, Vick complained about the situation while trying to say that he wasn't complaining.

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"I'm trying to protect myself. I didn't get a flag. That pretty much has been the story the last three weeks," Vick said. "Something catastrophic is going to happen … Not to blame the refs, but more precautions should be taken when I'm in the pocket. If you look at the replay, I'm on the ground every time. I'd be lying, if I told you I wasn't frustrated right now."

When asked if he doesn't get calls that other quarterbacks get, Vick said, "Absolutely."

(Somewhere, members of PETA are rejoicing.)

When asked to explain the situation, Vick was incredulous: "Why? You all see. There's no reason for it. I'm not going to go into a big dissertation about why I'm not getting the calls. … The refs have to do their jobs as well. … Everybody seen the game. I'm on the ground constantly, all the time. All the highlights, watching film every time I throw the ball, I'm on the ground.

"I don't know why I don't get the 15-yard penalties like everyone else does. I am not complaining. I am just pointing it out and hopefully someone will do something about it. … I'm not blaming the referee. Let's not get it twisted. Everybody on the field has to do their job. … I just want them to take notice."



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Who really should take notice is Philadelphia coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. What Vick is going through should have been anticipated when the Eagles watched him play last season and then tried to do too much with the offensive line in an abbreviated offseason.

For instance, the Eagles brought in brilliant offensive line coach Howard Mudd, whose 37 years of NFL experience included 11 as the line coach in Indianapolis designing schemes to protect Peyton Manning(notes). The problem is that Mudd didn't have time to work with the Eagles linemen because of the lockout. Mudd's greatest talent in molding offensive lines is figuring out how the individual players should work best.

That gets back to Reid and Mornhinweg, who have to figure out a way to corral Vick's tendency to force too much action. Vick has to get back to what he did best last season: Get back in the pocket quickly and get rid of it even quicker. There's no other easy solution.



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Furthermore, when you have DeSean Jackson(notes) and Jeremy Maclin(notes) at wide receiver, that shouldn't be too hard. Throw in the improved running of LeSean McCoy(notes) and the Eagles should have enough balance in terms of talent to protect Vick, even without a great offensive line.

And even without much help from the refs.