Is The Giants' Secondary Ready For The Eagles' Newest Wide Receiver?
About ten minutes ago, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Michael Vick.
When Mike Tirico broke the news during Thursday's Cardinals-Steelers preseason game, color commentator Ron Jaworski was stunned.
"What is Donovan McNabb thinking?" Jaworski erupted.
I don't want to sound presumptuous or anything, but I'd guess McNabb's thinking something along the lines of: "WHOOPEE!!!"
Jaworski assumed that Vick, the former Falcons quarterback who has been temporarily reinstated by Commissioner Roger Goodell, would vie for the Eagles' quarterback job.
But Vick is only allowed to play in the final two preseason games, and he will only be allowed onto the active roster in mid October.
That's barely enough time to learn a high school playbook, let alone the myriad protection schemes, hot reads, and several hundred plays that typically constitute an NFL-caliber West Coast offense.
Instead, it's far more likely that Eagles coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg are planning to use Vick another way: as a wide receiver.
Vick's abilities as a quarterback were being debated well before he was arrested on dogfighting charges, but his athleticism has never been. In the open field, Vick is a touchdown waiting to happen, one of the most electric playmakers in NFL history.
Up until today, the Eagles offense knew it would have some hurdles to overcome. Jeremy Maclin is sure to suffer from rookie growing pains, Desean Jackson is likely to face double coverage all year, and Brian Westbrook is already playing on a creaky knee.
But if the Eagles can trot Vick out into the slot, defenses will have to change their game plans entirely.
Imagine him getting a free release off the line of scrimmage. Imagine him taking the ball on an end-around. Imagine him catching the ball in the flat, with nothing but a weak-side linebacker to stop him.
To make opponents' matters worse, Commissioner Goodell's conditions for Vick's reinstatement give the Eagles a golden opportunity to turn their newest signing into a top secret weapon.
Vick might not even officially be reinstated until week six, and it's highly unlikely that the Eagles will put him on the field before the stretch run of the season.
There's no sense in the Eagles revealing their season's biggest surprise until it really counts.
If there's one silver lining to be found here, it's that the Giants' secondary has been dominant in training camp. The defense has snapped up 22 interceptions in just 14 practices, and everybody from Corey Webster down to Stoney Woodson has looked confident, aggressive, and capable.
Let's hope they're ready for a dog fight in the playoff because the Eagles were one step away from the Super Bowl; and this signing may put them over the top.
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