The importance of Michael Vick's health cannot be stressed enough. In order to keep "7" healthy, it's going to take a combined effort from the entire team.
It begins with Vick, who needs to make a conscious effort to play smart football in 2012. In a recent interview with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic, Vick made a promise to his fans.
I want to make a promise to all my fans that I'm going to make a conscious effort, a cognitive effort, to make sure that I protect myself. And you know my motto has been this for the last six months, and I repeatedly said to myself: Get the next yard on the next play. You know, whether I'm running the football or scrambling or trying to do something improvising. Get the next yard on the next play. That's why you have second down and third down, and possibly fourth down. So you can give yourself opportunity.
If you're not on the field, then you don't have that chance. So I just want to give myself ample opportunity. Praying to God that I can play 16 games. I know that's the key to the season. I know deep down in my heart. And even though I believe in the players behind me, the players around me, I know what I can do, and I know what I can bring to the table each and every Sunday, so I know it's paramount that I'm out on the field.
The Eagles need to help Vick, though. He is fragile, and his style of play leads to a plethora of nagging injuries. By using maximum-protection blocking schemes, it will help give Vick an extra blocker on passing plays.
The "Birds" could also help Vick by having a better special teams unit. If they can give him better field position to start with, there's a much better chance of him staying healthy. The addition of Boykin and a happy DeSean Jackson should certainly help.
The defense can also help the cause by forcing more turnovers in 2012. There is no better friend to a quarterback than turnovers recovered by his defense. With the improved secondary and front seven, it is very possible that this could occur. The Eagles have a dominant defensive line.
This isn't the first time we've heard Vick say he's going to try to play smarter. This is the year he needs to actually go out and do it. If we witness a few slide attempts at Lehigh this summer, we might know if he's actually being serious this time around.