The Philadelphia Eagles are trusting Michael Vick for one more season, despite all his flaws. The Eagles particularly suffered when Vick got hurt, as his own high-risk style and his poor offensive line made him vulnerable at all times. Yet Vick promised that this wouldn’t happen in 2013, since he will stop worrying about getting hurt.
Vick talked to ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on Feb. 12, a day after being resigned to a restructured one-year contract. He vowed that he will make it work with new coach Chip Kelly, whose option offense is likely the only reason that he is still in Philadelphia.
But to thrive under Kelly’s attack, Vick has to stay healthy, which he couldn’t do over the last two years. Even when he didn’t get hurt, he wasn’t as explosive as he used to be, as age and all his past injuries seemed to catch up with him. However, he explained that “once you try not getting hurt, that’s when you get hurt,” and he will focus more on playing “lights-out football” in 2013.
When Vick played “lights-out football” he was more explosive, but much more vulnerable. The Eagles tried to minimize that risk and cut down on his running plays, yet he couldn’t deliver and usually still got injured anyway.
If Philadelphia scraps that plan and turns Vick completely loose, it might get more bang for its buck. Kelly is bound to let Vick run the ball more anyway, and may have more inventive ways for him to do it than Andy Reid did.
But when Vick played fearless football, it was in his prime. Now he is 32 years old and would have lost a step even if he was fully healthy. Given how vulnerable he is, letting Vick run free may be the worst thing that Kelly and the Eagles can do.
The fact that Vick got to stay reflects on how few options Philadelphia really has. If the Eagles really have no legitimate backup plan now, who or what will they turn to if Vick gets hurt again during the season? In that regard, his vow not to be so cautious may be more ominous than promising.