Vick sticks up for Reid

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:42 PM ET

TORONTO - In Philadelphia the sports fans are screaming mad and in a funk.

The Phillies were supposed to win the World Series and they got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.

The Eagles were supposed to win the Super Bowl and instead they have lost four in a row and are on the verge of being out of a playoff race.

The criticism is mounting on Eagles head coach Andy Reid but at least he has the public backing of his star quarterback Michael Vick. It’s not Reid that is the problem, Vick says, it’s the players.

“We’re going to fight for him every minute,” Vick told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “It’s not coach Reid’s fault. Coach can’t go out and hold onto the ball, coach can’t throw the ball down the field. Coach can’t go out there and do it, he can only give us what we need — the recipe for victory, and that’s what we’re getting.

“It’s the little things that’s killing the game. It’s not on coach. I know the game of football and I’ve been around the game for a long time and I know the intricacies and the ins and outs, and it’s not coach. Bottom line. Put the heat on the players, you can put it on us. Don’t put it on him.”

There, now don’t you feel bad for criticizing Reid?

WAITING ON HAYNESWORTH

Big things were expected from Albert Haynesworth after he got a second chance to shine as a member of the New England Patriots.

After bombing out with the Washington Redskins, the thinking was that Haynesworth would regain his Pro Bowl form as a member of the Patriots.

So far, though, it hasn’t quite gone that way. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that doesn’t sit well with Haynesworth either.

To date, the 6-foot-6, 350-pound defensive tackle has contributed two tackles and one quarterback hit in three games. He missed two other games with a back injury.

“I wouldn’t say I’m satisfied,” Haynesworth said. “If I ain’t making every tackle, every sack, every pass defence, I’m not satisfied. So, I’m OK with it, but I want to definitely increase and get a lot better and want them to see what I can do.”

To make his presence felt, Haynesworth needs to play and needs his health. Five games in with his new team and he still hasn’t found his rhythm.

“The more I play, the more familiar I can get,” he said. “Coach (Bill Belichick) is not going to rush anything, and he wants me to get my feet under me so I can play well.”

“I feel OK. I’m still trying to shake some things or whatever. As time goes, I’m feeling better and better and more comfortable in the whole scheme of things and how I’m doing.

So, when does he think he’ll be back to form?

“Only God knows that question,” Haynesworth replied.

And he wasn’t referring to Belichick.

GROSSMAN NOT WOWING 'SKINS FANS

The timing was pretty good for the Washington Redskins to have last week as a bye week as they gained an added week of rest to get ready for their key home game on Sunday against the reeling Philadelphia Eagles.

Skins’ quarterback Rex Grossman used the time to reflect on his performance in his his first four games where he led Washington to a 3-1 start.

Grossman was the surprise winner of the quarterback competition in training camp and to date has not wowed the fans by his performance. The team is winning but it’s not due to any kind of special play from Grossman who has completed 83 of 143 passes for 989 yards. He has thrown six touchdown passes but has also tossed five interceptions and fumbled twice.

So, the fans have yet to embrace him. In fact, more of them are waiting for him to fall apart.

“Overall, it was good, but I can definitely play better,” Grossman told the Washington Times when asked about his performance. “We can play better as an offence, and we are going to play better.”

Offensively, the Redskins have yet to light it up as they’ve failed to score 20 points in each of their last two games.

Grossman knows he has to do more, starting Sunday.

“As long you’re doing your job and trying to accomplish your task and keep getting better, that’s all you should focus on,” he said. “I’m happy with where we are at 3-1, and I know we can be better, which is exciting.”

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE

No quarterback this side of Ben Roethlisberger has taken more of a pounding than the Bears’ Jay Cutler.

When he isn’t being sacked — and he’s already hit the turf 18 times — he’s running for his life.

That’s par for the course in Cutler’s short career with the Bears and he says it isn’t affecting him physically. Mentally? That’s a different issue.

“Physically, it’s not that big of a deal,” Cutler told reporters. “Mentally, it just speeds up my clock. It just makes me uneasy in the pocket. You take your eyes from downfield and you kind of check to see what’s going on in front of you, so (it’s more) psychologically and mentally (challenging) than anything. I don’t want to take the sack. I’m just trying to get rid of the ball as fast as possible.”

Cutler isn’t the fleetest of quarterbacks but he has shown a good survivor skill. He added that changing up the offence, to have him roll out to help keep the rush off his back, isn’t in the cards.

“This offence isn’t really geared for a lot of rollout, play-action type stuff,” Cutler said. “We just don’t do that. So to implement that six games (into the season) is kind of hard.”

Instead, he’ll have to keep running for his life.


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