“If you finish with four or five wins, there’s nothing to be happy about,” the Eagles quarterback said after Sunday’s 42-7 loss to the Giants. “There’s nothing to be proud of. You don’t go through training camp to go…5-11?”
A reporter reminded him he was one win too generous, and that the Eagles actually finished 4-12.
But the truth is, when you have a season like the Eagles just had, your record stops mattering long before Week 17.
Playing for the first time since suffering a concussion on Nov. 11, Vick went 19-for-35 for 197 yards, a touchdown and an interception. In many ways, Sunday’s outing looked like his first nine starts of the season.
Performance is one thing, but effort is a different matter entirely. After the game Sunday, a frustrated Vick seemed to question the effort of his teammates.
The question posted to Vick: In the locker room, a lot of players talked about a lack of fight for this team today. How does that happen, and why did it happen?
“I don’t know how that happens,” Vick said. “You watch us play, and we don’t [exude] the things that we do in practice. I don’t know where that comes from. I know it’s frustrating. It’s difficult because me, I leave it all out on the field, and I give it everything I got. Sometimes I wish I could play other positions, but I can’t, so you do the best you can. That’s all you can ask of yourself. Football means a lot to a lot of the guys in the locker room, and I know it means a lot to me. I give it everything I got whenever I step out on the field, regardless of the situation. Coming back after eight games? I don’t care, I give it everything I got. That’s something I can be proud about.”
Minutes later, Vick tried to reel his words back in.
“Let’s clear this up,” he said “I’m not saying my teammates gave a lack of effort, and I noticed it. I just know that we can play better. That’s what I’m saying.”
But what was said was said. And after the press conference, Vick told CSN’s Derrick Gunn that he did see a “lack of effort” by a lot of guys.
Going forward, Vick is unlikely to be playing with the same Eagles teammates he was talking about. The club has until Feb. 6 to let him go, or Vick will be owed a $3 million bonus. The quarterback decision will be made by the new coach, but odds are, Vick has played his final game as an Eagle.
“I don’t know,” Vick said, when asked if he wants to return. “I have to just take some time to think about everything that happened this season and reflect on it. I can take the positives away as far as what I was able to accomplish. Ultimately, I wish we could have accomplished more, for my teammates. I don’t know right now. I just need to get some rest.”
The Vick era began in August of 2009. The next year, he took over as the starter for Kevin Kolb. The Eagles finished 8-3 in games that Vick started and made the playoffs. The following year was up and down. Vick missed three games due to injury, and the Birds finished with a .500 record.
And then there was this season. 2012 was billed as the year Vick would get to work with the Eagles’ coaching staff for a full offseason and finally show what he could look like as a finished product. Instead, the Eagles delivered a 4-12 record – the worst mark of the Andy Reid era.
“I can’t even say it was ups and downs,” Vick said. “It was dismal. It wasn’t what we thought. We came into this season with high expectations, and we didn’t perform to the best of our abilities by any means. We’ve got to look back and see what we didn’t do correctly, and at some point in our futures, we all have to correct it and do it differently.”
For Vick, that process is likely to take place in a new city, with new teammates.