Philly fans worrying about Vick

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:51 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA - If worry and angst were a commodity to be bought and sold, you'd think that the City of Brothery Love was attempting to corner the market.

Despite the fact that the Eagles are the NFC East division champs, are playing host to a wild-card team and have been selected as a 2 1/2 point favourite by the sharp guys in Las Vegas, the citizens in this friendly borough are approaching Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers like jittery cats.

The problem, their problem, is quarterback Michael Vick.

It's a decidedly odd choice given the fact that three weeks ago, Vick was being hailed as a hero for the ages, a gift from the gods, thanks to his stellar play all season topped by the incredible comeback he engineered against the New York Giants over the final eight minutes of that game that slew the Giants of Gotham and sent them tumbling into Hades.

But that was then and this is now and in between came a ratty performance against the Minnesota Vikings where all the warts he previously displayed as a youthful member of the Atlanta Falcons resurfaced.

Vick looked confused by the multi-blitz package that the Vikes threw his way; he held the ball too long, carried it in a nonchalant way and he was slammed around by the Vikings, beating him to a near pulp and sending him limping from the game.

Vick was pummelled to such a degree that coach Andy Reid sat him out of last week's finale but that just seemed to ratchet up the doomers and gloomers who are wringing their hands in despair.

If the Vikings can do that to Vick, they moan, just how will he survive the onslaught that the speedy Packers and their high-octane pass rush and blitz packages will bring?

Vick didn't ease the fans' concern much when on Monday, a reporter asked if he felt he had to make adjustments, given how it appeared as if the various defences he faced had adjusted to his play and reduced his effectiveness over his final six games.

"I don't have to do nuttin' ," Vick said in a jaw-dropper of a reply. "I'm still going to be me. I'm still going to play my game, still play with confidence, still try to rally the guys around me, and make sure they're focused and in tune with what we're doing, what we're trying to accomplish.

"That's what's important. You can't change your game around this time of the season. You just go out and play your best football. It's the playoffs."

Prior to Wednesday's practice, Vick kept to the same mantra, was easy-breezy in his responses and didn't appear to have a worry in the world.

"I think on Sunday, I'll definitely be 100 percent based on the way I feel now," Vick said.

"I'm confident. I give a lot of credit to the trainers in helping me get back to a position where I can go and compete and I'm thankful."

It will be Vick's second game against the Packers this season, but his first start against them.

The teams met on the opening week and in that game the Packers linebacker Clay Matthews sacked Kevin Kolb knocking him from the game to bring in Vick. He responded by throwing for 175 yards and one touchdown while running for 103 yards.

"Based on what they've done, I think we may get some different looks," Vick said.

"I think they've definitely gotten better as a defence. We'll really have to be conscious about what they're trying to do."

While the loss two weeks ago to Minnesota blew them out of any chance at a No. 2 seeding, Vick believes it could be beneficial given the blitz packages they used and the similarity to the ones the Packers employ.

"I think the Vikings loss was a loss that helped us," he said.

"I think it was humble pie enough for us to focus and realize that you can't go out and play games with any team and not expect to get burned without focusing and concentrating.

"So, the Packers do the same blitz, and they're better at it. So, we'd be better ready for it."

As far as the game and his emotions, Vick believes he's ready.

"I'm going to be very calm, excited to be out there, but very calm at the same time," he replied.

Coach Andy Reid didn't seem to have any concerns regarding his quarterback, either.

"I think he'll be fine," Reid said. "He'll play."

In Philly, they're holding their breath.

mike.rutsey@sunmedia.ca


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