Fuss over Vick much ado about nothing

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It has been exactly two months since Michael Vick(notes) signed with the Eagles, creating a stir that shook the boredom out of the preseason. Breathlessly, we all pondered what would happen next.


Vick had four carries for 10 yards against the Buccaneers on Sunday.

(Eric Hartline/US Presswire)

Would Vick, in a Wildcat-type role, emerge as a potent weapon in an already prolific offense? Would he push Donovan McNabb(notes) and, if the veteran were to struggle, supplant him as the Eagles' franchise quarterback? Would animal-rights activists turn Sundays at Lincoln Financial Field into a made-for-CNN circus?

We now know the answer to all of these questions was a resounding, "No," and I'm wondering how this notorious and polarizing player turned out to be such an afterthought.

In his prime, Vick was exceptionally elusive. Eerie as it now sounds, Brett Favre(notes) once told me that "if you put him in a six-by-six cell with 11 guys, it'd take them an hour to touch him." But even when he was serving a 20-month prison sentence stemming from his participation in a federal dogfighting conspiracy, I never thought the man would become invisible.

I know plenty of people still detest Vick for what he did, but if there are protesters at his games or outside the Eagles' training facility, I haven't heard about them. And in his cameo appearances in the two games since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell lifted his suspension, Vick hasn't done anything to cause a commotion, either.

It's now clear that the odds of Vick starting a game for the Eagles are roughly equivalent to those of coach Andy Reid being named Mr. Universe. McNabb has played brilliantly in his two starts, reaffirming his status as The Man. During the two games McNabb missed with a fractured rib, third-year backup Kevin Kolb(notes) repositioned himself as Philly's quarterback of the future, throwing for more than 300 yards in each of his first two career starts, something no NFL passer had ever accomplished.

So that makes two quarterbacks who Reid would definitely start over Vick, and I'd be willing to bet there's a third, Jeff Garcia(notes), who isn't even currently on the Eagles' roster.

It's starting to look like the Eagles' signing of Vick was essentially a courtesy to a fallen star, a chance to let him transition back into the league and break a slight sweat on Sundays without figuring in anything important.

The Eagles are probably good enough to afford that luxury. I'm not so sure how good Vick is anymore, or whether he'll ever get another chance to be an NFL starter. Those are questions that, barring a dramatic change of events, will be answered in another city in another season.

In the meantime, here are 32 queries to keep you busy in anticipation of Sunday's showdown at the Superdome between the top two teams in our unassailably riveting rankings:

1. New Orleans Saints: Will Jeremy Shockey(notes) get into the end zone against his former team, and if so, what are the odds he'll do something that will get him fined?

2. New York Giants: How stoked is Eli Manning(notes) for his homecoming Sunday – and can we officially conclude that he turned out to be a pretty proficient reader?

3. Philadelphia Eagles: If Jeremy Maclin(notes) can do to other secondaries what he did to Tampa Bay's on Sunday, how scary can this offense be?

4. Indianapolis Colts: Is Austin Collie(notes) already better than Anthony Gonzalez?

5. Minnesota Vikings: Is ("This is the best team I've ever been on") Favre trying to get Packers fans to boo him when he returns to Lambeau on Nov. 1?

6. Denver Broncos: Is Josh McDaniels really that tight with Bill Belichick, or was the mentor privately a bit disgusted by the young coach's ebullient victory celebration?

7. Cincinnati Bengals: What's up with the wheels on Carson Palmer – and how far can this team ride his right arm?

8. New York Jets: Who was more nauseated by Braylon Edwards'(notes) command performance Monday night in Miami – Browns fans or UCSB women's basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb?

9. New England Patriots: If Randy Moss(notes) has as many catches on offense as he does as a Hail Mary defender, is it a sign that he might not be playing as hard as he could be?

10. Atlanta Falcons: When John Abraham(notes) told his fellow defensive linemen to "man up" last week, who knew he had unearthed the Biermann?

11. Baltimore Ravens: Can Ed Reed(notes) be cloned and deployed at cornerback?

12. Green Bay Packers: After watching Aaron Kampman(notes) look lost in the 3-4, do we now have a better understanding of his offseason frustration?

13. Chicago Bears: Is Greg Olsen(notes) going to bust out and become a legitimate downfield threat, or was that just a bunch of preseason hype?

14. Pittsburgh Steelers: Would offensive coordinator Bruce Arians benefit from a viewing of Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story"?

15. San Francisco 49ers: Is it fair to say that "Dre's going to be Dre" – unless Mike tells him to be contrite?

16. Dallas Cowboys: Did Miles Austin(notes) really save Wade Phillips' job on Sunday, and if so, will the wideout receive better treatment than Gus Frerotte(notes) did after doing the same for Brad Childress last season?

17. Arizona Cardinals: Yo, Bidwill family: when it comes to game-ending goal-line stands, how valuable is a great defensive lineman like Darnell Dockett(notes)?

18. Miami Dolphins: Who was more excited when No. 19 made that fourth-quarter touchdown catch Monday night – me, Cam Cameron or Ted Ginn's entire family?

19. San Diego Chargers: If they lose to the Broncos on Monday night, will A.J. Smith just come out and call Shawne Merriman the P-word?

20. Houston Texans: How determined was Andre Johnson(notes) on that tying touchdown against the Cardinals – and, in retrospect, shouldn't his number have been called on the fourth-and-goal play that decided the game?

21. Carolina Panthers: Given that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson recently fired his sons, isn't it logical that John Fox might fear for his job security, too?

22. Seattle Seahawks: How happy is T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes) that Matt Hasselbeck(notes) is back in the lineup?

23. Jacksonville Jaguars: If Mike Sims-Walker(notes) and Maurice Jones-Drew(notes) have children who marry one another and procreate while sharing their fathers' hyphenation sensibilities, how confused will the grandkids' teachers be?

24. Washington Redskins: Is it fair to say Carlos Rogers(notes) won't be dining with Daniel Snyder at N9NE Steakhouse anytime soon?

25. Tennessee Titans: What do The King and The Freak have in common?

26. Kansas City Chiefs: Can I sign Maurice Leggett(notes) and Mike Brown(notes) for my touch football team?

27. Detroit Lions: How many Lions does it take to stop one Silverback?

28. Cleveland Browns: Can you believe that this team has scored just three touchdowns in its last 128 possessions – one less than the Giants scored in their first four possessions last Sunday?

29. Buffalo Bills: Will Captain Checkdown go down with the ship?

30. Oakland Raiders: Counterintuitive as it may seem, is Tom Cable's lousy job of motivating his team serving as a distraction from the accusations that he assaulted defensive assistant Randy Hanson?

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Has Raheem Morris secretly been replaced by Nicolas Cage?

32. St. Louis Rams: If Rush Limbaugh buys the team, will the pain pills in the training room get more potent?