Michael Vick will get his first start this Sunday when the Eagles head up to Detroit to play the Lions. It will be Vick's first start in nearly four years, and his very first after being released from a federal prison on illegal gambling charges stemming from a dogfighting ring.
It could also prove to be Vick's very last start if he doesn't take full advantage.
Vick and the Eagles know that everyone will be watching this game. Any team with the slightest bit of worry over their quarterback will be watching Vick knowing he's in the final year of his contract with an uncertain future in Philadelphia.
If he plays well, it could open up a lot of doors for him around the league. Thirty years old is really only considered "old" for a quarterback in Philadelphia. Other teams around the league would love to have a by-then 31-year old quarterback who still runs like he's 25.
But that, of course, is contingent upon him still being able to play. He showed a lot in the second half of the Green Bay game, but he's got to show that with a full week to prepare -- and with the opposing team given a full week to prepare for him -- he can still get the job done.
If he comes out and throws a couple picks, takes some sacks he shouldn't, fumbles the ball once or twice, or just overall looks hurried, hesitant, indecisive, or any combination of those very negative adjectives, it could be his last start in the NFL.
He would be labeled for good as a guy who can't get the job done as a starter. The label started sticking to him during his final days in Atlanta, but it will be on and permanent should he falter against the Lions.
But if Vick understands what is at stake and plays the way he played against a much better team in the Packers, he should be just fine and able to use this upcoming game -- even if it turns out to be his last start of the season -- to help himself find a starting spot next season.
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