Eagles' Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy unlikely to face Panthers
Jeff McLane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Thursday, November 22, 2012, 2:28 AM
Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy were both still in Phase 1 Wednesday as they recovered from concussions and appeared unlikely to play Monday night when the 3-7 Eagles host the 2-8 Panthers.
If they can't go, their replacements will be a pair of rookies - Nick Foles making his second consecutive start at quarterback and Bryce Brown making his first career NFL start. Both took first-team repetitions Wednesday.
"You go in and you practice with the other kids and let them play," Andy Reid said. "So Bryce and Dion [Lewis], they'll be in there at running back, and Foles will be in at quarterback, and we go. Until the players are there, then you go with the guys that are out there."
Reid said that Vick, who suffered a concussion in the Nov. 11 game against the Cowboys, was "getting close to Phase 2," which would involve physical exercise. Vick watched Wednesday morning's walk-through and attended meetings for the first time since the injury.
"He is such a presence, and it's definitely helped," Foles said of having Vick around.
Vick still has a number of hurdles to clear. The result of his Impact test on Monday was below the baseline. Reid said he would have another test sometime in the next few days, at which point trainer Rick Burkholder would update the quarterback's condition.
On Friday, Burkholder said that Vick was still "foggy," "tired," and "not the Michael Vick that I know when he's healthy."
The big question, of course, is what will happen once Vick is healthy. Will he remain the starter or will Reid stay with Foles? The coach reiterated that Vick was his starter. But when he was asked about balancing the front office's possible desire to see more of the rookie against staying with Vick, Reid gave no assurances.
"I've got to analyze that and look at that," Reid said. "If [Foles] plays this week it will give him another opportunity to get better and then we go from there. And then, the important thing with Michael is that he's healthy. I think, No. 1, you don't want to put him at risk."
McCoy suffered his concussion late in the Eagles' 31-6 loss to the Redskins on Sunday. Reid said the following day that his running back's head injury wasn't a significant as Vick's, but McCoy was nowhere to be seen at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday.
Brown, the Eagles' seventh-round draft pick, has played in every game this season and has rushed 32 times for 141 yards. He has gotten better as the season has progressed and has improved as a pass blocker. Lewis, now in his second season, could see a few carries if McCoy is out.
Foles, meanwhile, was answering questions at his locker stall as if he was the starter. After showing some signs of promise in his emergency relief of Vick against Dallas, the rookie struggled in Washington. He didn't get much help from his teammates, either. The blocking all around was substandard, and several receivers dropped passes.
Foles, though, threw two interceptions - one not his fault - and fumbled the ball three times, although the Eagles did not lose possession. He has four turnovers in a little less than two games.
"There are a couple of things that were fast for him," Reid said, "where you've got to get your feet around. You've got to get your eyes around a little sooner, and then all of the throws, all the mechanics, they fall in, and you make nice throws and nice decisions."
There were a few pass attempts, including the one that resulted in Foles' second interception, in which he threw off his back foot. Foles was asked if he needed to step more into his throws.
"I think sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't," he said. "To be an accurate thrower, you always have to be on balance and you need to have your feet underneath you."
Foles, Brown, Reid, and the Eagles could face a hostile Lincoln Financial Field crowd if they struggle early against the Panthers.
"I always said they're on the same page with all of us," Reid said of Eagles fans. "We're stinking it up. We understand that. They understand it. When we're doing well, they understand that, too, and we understand it."
Contact Jeff McLane at email@example.com or on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.
Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
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Posted 22 November 2012 - 10:03 AM