Michael Vick is entering his fourth season with the Philadelphia Eagles. He's had some ups and downs ever since he and Andy Reid shocked the Philadelphia fanbase when he signed here on August 13th, 2009.
With training camp around the corner and the Eagles about to embark on arguably their most promising season since 2004, Michael Vick will be the most important piece of the puzzle. Therefore, let's not think about the big questions still surrounding him and focus on the positive.
And what better way to start doing that than by looking back at his best moments wearing an Eagles uniform? There have been several electrifying plays by No. 7 the past two years, but I want to look at the ones with a little more significance.
Some of these could be on a "most exciting plays" list, but most of these probably meant something a little more personal to Vick himself.
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Back in 2009, when Vick was being eased in as a "wildcat" option, he scored his first touchdown as an Eagle against the Falcons in his first return to his former his former stomping grounds.
It was a simple five-yard scramble that put the Eagles up 20-0 and on cruise control down in Atlanta.
He also threw his first touchdown pass a little bit later on a five-yard strike to Brent Celek. These were his first two NFL TDs in over three years and came against the only team he knew prior to joining Philly.
I'm sure that was a special feeling for Mr. Vick that day.
We all know the story of how Kevin Kolb was sacked and suffered a concussion around the middle of the second quarter on opening day in 2010. Kolb would actually go on to play the rest of the first half before giving way to Vick in the second half.
Therefore, Vick's actual first play after officially taking over the quarterback position was not until the third quarter. He took over with the Eagles down 13-3 and his first play was a 23-yard scramble on first down.
It looked as if he was going to ignite the Eagles' first TD drive of the season, but unfortunately that was snuffed out by an Eldra Buckley fumble two plays later. Vick ultimately did lead the Eagles to their first TD of 2010 on a 17-yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin in the fourth quarter.
However, it that first play when he took it around the left-end for 23 yards that we knew the old Vick was back. In what was mostly just one-half of football, he went 16 of 24 for 175 yards and one TD, plus ran it 11 times for 103 yards.
Under the new concussion rules, Kevin Kolb was not ready to play so Vick got his first start as an Eagle in Week 2 of the 2010 season against the Detroit Lions.
It only took the Eagles five plays to score their first touchdown. On Vick's third pass of the game, he connected with DeSean Jackson on a 45-yard TD pass that sent the offense off to the races.
In his first start, he would lead the Eagles to a wild 35-32 victory and passed for 284 yards and two TDs.
It was this performance and his performance the following week against the Jaguars that made Andy Reid put the brakes on the Kevin Kolb experiment.
This may not have been a big deal to some folks, but to me, beating Manning was a significant accomplishment.
In Manning's three prior games against Philly, he absolutely whooped them by a cumulative score of 124 - 51,or an average of 41-17 per game. It seemed no matter how good we thought we were, Manning would just rip us apart.
Well, that finally changed with Vick at the helm. He led the Eagles to a 26-24 victory and even came out with a superior QB rating: 93.8 versus just 67 for Manning.
Perhaps just as important, it was Vick's first game back from injury and came after a disheartening loss to the Titans the week before (with Kolb at the helm). To me, this game solidified Vick as our starter.
It also set the stage for...
Do I really need to say anything more about this one? This is the game where Canton—aka, the Pro Football Hall of Fame—called and requested Vick's jersey afterwards.
I've never witnessed such a remarkable display from the quarterback position like I did that night. Just as a reminder, Vick set an NFL record with 333 yards passing and four TDs to go along with 80 yards rushing and two more TDs.
That's six...count em', SIX touchdowns in one game. Simply incredible.
In the third quarter of a rather dismal game against Buffalo last season, Vick took off on a 53-yard run that broke Randall Cunningham's record for most career rushing yards by a quarterback.
Since the Eagles lost the game and were mired in an incredibly frustrating season, this kind of went by the way-side. However, once it's all said and done, this will be a significant moment in Vick's career that he will look back on with pride.
Vick appeared to get a little emotional when asked during an interview this offseason about Andy Reid being on the hot-seat and possibly getting fired if the Eagles don't make it to the playoffs or beyond.
Here's what he said, courtesy of Pro Football Talk:
“I hate to think about it. I hate to think about it. That’s part of the reason I –” Vick said, appearing to take a moment to gather himself because he was becoming emotional.
“Let’s just say that won’t happen,” Vick continued. “Not on my watch. And I’ll say that in front of the whole world.”
I bring this up as a top moment for Vick because it shows his loyalty to Reid and that he truly cares about doing right by him.
For the first time in his career, Vick seems to be comfortable, focused and dedicated to football. He finally seems to "get it" and no longer takes things—and people—for granted. He genuinely wants to take care of the man who gave him a second chance in the NFL.
And that is probably his true "top moment" as a Philadelphia Eagle.
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