The news on Michael Vick Saturday was very positive. He is now symptom free and has moved into Phase 3 of the Eagles’ concussion program, where he can resume normal lifting with the strength coaches and take part in more intense workouts. Head trainer Rick Burkholder anticipates that Vick will return to non-contact football-related activities as early as Sunday.
While he still needs to pass the IMPACT test and be cleared by both an independent neurologist and team doctors, it is conceivable that Vick will be healthy enough to play in the near future.
The Eagles — and Vick — must decide on how to proceed from there.
Andy Reid has maintained that Vick is the starter when healthy. Meanwhile, the organization is rapidly approaching the crossroads and must choose a direction. The anticipation is that they make a change at head coach. The other major decision is at quarterback. Vick? Nick Foles? Door Number Three?
Foles has played six quarters so far and has struggled, completing 55 percent of his throws with a touchdown and three interceptions for a 58.9 quarterback rating. But growing pains are expected, especially when you are playing for a bad, injury-riddled team. To make any kind of sound evaluation, there needs to be a bigger sample size.
The 6-5 rookie will start Monday night against the Panthers, as Vick has been officially ruled out. Will Foles go back to the bench against Dallas next week? Or against the Bucs after that?
Management and Reid need to get on the same page and figure out what is best long-term, and then put the plan in motion.
There are two ways to look at it from the Vick perspective. On one hand, you may want to get back on the field ASAP to prove both that you are past the head injury and a better quarterback than what you showed over the first nine games. This way, you can help control the narrative.
On the other hand, the narrative is going pretty well for Vick at the moment. With every errant Foles throw, the stock creeps up an inch. All while he rests out of harm’s way.
Given Vick’s competitive spirit, it is hard to envision him slow-playing this. If he is cleared, he is going to want to play even if his camp is against it (and some of them are).
That puts it back on the Eagles, who will soon be faced with a critical decision. In a hopeless, lifeless season, it is about all the intrigue that remains.
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