Vick As a Runner? ‘I Will Be a Threat’

Michael VickMichael Vick had a playful response today for reporters who constantly pepper him about his inability to stay healthy.

“You guys act like I get hurt once a week,” he said with a smile. “You all did that to me, changed the way I played my game.”

Now that he’s been named the starter, Vick no longer has to deal with questions about competition and instead spent his media session discussing a variety of other topics, like injuries, turnovers and the new offensive scheme.

The injuries are a tired, yet important, issue. And Vick was his usual self, unable to make up his mind about how he would approach each game.

One minute, he was saying: “I still have to protect myself and that’s most important. I have to be very cautious.”

The next minute? “You’ve gotta play the game all out and give it everything that you got. I think when you go into a football game not wanting to get hurt, or try not to get hurt, it doesn’t allow you to play the way that you want to play.”

If we’re to draw any conclusions here, the safe bet is to expect Vick to play how he has in the past, unless he proves otherwise.

But he is directing a new offense.

Told that the general public assumes he’ll be used more as a runner this year, Vick said: “That could be very true. I’m gonna have my opportunities to do what I like to do in this offense and to run the football. And yes, I will be a threat. That’s exciting. That’s what I’ve worked hard this offseason for. I’ve built the strength up in my legs to be able to do that. I’ve tested myself with Shady and passed that test, so now I’ve just gotta outrun linebackers and safeties.”

By my count, Vick has sustained five major injuries in the past two seasons. In 2011, all four occurred while he was in the pocket delivering the football. The concussion last year was sustained when Vick took off to run against the Cowboys.

Last year, several playoff teams – the 49ers, Seahawks and Redskins – had quarterbacks who could hurt defenses with their legs. While Vick’s considerably older than Colin Kapernick, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III, he took notice and is excited about being able to use his entire set of skills.

“Watching those guys, you just see how far the game has come and the evolution of the game and this position,” Vick said. “It’s accepted now. Teams want dual-threats, and those teams were in the playoffs and deep in the playoffs.

“The mobility, it just gives you an extra facet of the game that is kind of hard to stop at times.”

Earlier in the day, Chip Kelly praised Vick for being the team’s top performer in the offseason conditioning program. Vick said he and Jeremy Maclin were at the team facility every day working out together.

“I never felt like I was out of shape,” Vick said. “I felt like looking back now and the way I feel as of today, I think I was kind of under weight and could have been a lot stronger.

“Coach challenged me to get back into tip-top shape and to get back to playing from where he knows I can be successful at.”

If teams combat the read-option by sending the unblocked edge defender to hit the quarterback, Vick said he believes the added weight will help.

“We have something for that,” he said with a smile. “That’s 220 pounds you’re staring at right here, soaking wet.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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