Michael Vick Injury: Philadelphia Eagles Must Sit Vick If He's Not 100 Percent

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Michael Vick Injury: Philadelphia Eagles Must Sit Vick If He's Not 100 Percent
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Word out of Philadelphia on Monday suggested that Michael Vick will be back on the field when the Eagles face the Miami Dolphins in Week 14 of the 2011 NFL season.

Whether he should play is a different story entirely.

Vick has missed Philly's last three games while recovering from a rib injury suffered against the Arizona Cardinals. The Eagles have gone 1-2 in his absence, with Vince Young assuming the position under center.

Vick claims that he's feeling better and that he wants to return in time to help the Eagles build toward next season, with the current campaign already lost. As he told the Philadelphia Daily News:

"Threw the ball around a little bit and just gained confidence in the areas where I'd felt hampered a little bit," Vick said. "It feels like I haven't played in a month or so ... I'm happy that I completed practice, and I'm looking forward to a great week."

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However, Vick would not go so far as to suggest that his broken ribs were feeling 100 percent better, saying only, as James Brown once did, "I feel good."

Be that as it may, the Eagles would be foolish to put Vick back in the lineup if he's not yet fully healed. At 4-8, Philly won't be playing for anything more than pride the rest of the season—something that DeSean Jackson seems to have missed the boat on. As such, whatever the Eagles do over the final month of the 2011 season will be building toward another run at a "dream" season in 2012.

Vick would presumably play a significant part in that effort, or at least the team would prefer him to. Why else would Andy Reid and Howie Roseman have inked him to a five-year, $80 million deal before the season started?

That being the case, it's in the Eagles' best interest as an organization to do everything to protect their investment, to make sure that Vick is ready to go next year and that the team is ready to take care of him. Anyone who watched Vick play this season will tell you that the squad, as currently constituted, is in no position to do so. Philly's offensive line has more closely resembled a high-risk game of musical chairs, in which Reid and offensive line coach Howard Mudd have shuffled around a hodgepodge of hogs, hoping to find a combination that worked while never allowing for any sort of chemistry to coalesce.

As a result, Vick was among the most sacked, hit, hurried and harassed quarterbacks in the NFL before he was sidelined, getting his bell rung and/or the wind knocked out of him on numerous occasions.

Not to mention the fact that the lack of protection left Vick far less than effective on the field—11 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, eight fumbles, a 60.3 percent completion rate, a QB rating of 79.8.

Jay Drowns/Getty Images

And it's not as though things have improved up front since Vick went down. A return to the lineup would only mean more mediocrity from and pain for Vick amongst a team that's seemingly given up on the season already.

If anything, Reid would be wise to consider starting Vince Young, as poorly as he's played, or even Mike Kafka until Vick can say unequivocally that he's back to full strength.

And even then, the coaching staff should think twice about putting Vick back in.

Because, at this point, the Eagles are playing for next year and they're far from ready to take care of Vick this year.

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