Vick's Eagles are back in business

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick passes against the Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field in...

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick passes against the Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Penn., Oct. 30, 2011. (CHRIS TROTMAN/Getty Images/AFP)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:55 PM ET

TORONTO - Four weeks ago all of Philadelphia wanted to run Andy Reid out of town.

Three weeks ago defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, a Reid appointee was to blame.

Today, the Eagles are just fine and nobody has to go.

Such is the fishbowl existence of pro football ... pro anything for that matter.

The best team money can buy is looking like the best team money can buy again and everyone can keep their jobs.

Reid, for all his poor clock management and odd in-game decisions is still the kind of coach today’s professional athletes will play for.

Even when the cries of ‘Fire Andy’ were loudest, the players within the room backed him.

Castillo didn’t get the same kind of love even though he pre-dates Reid’s arrival in Philly by four years but then Castillo has never been the head honcho either.

It isn’t that Reid and Castillo woke up a few weeks ago smarter than they had been when they went to bed.

Both men knew they had plenty of talent to work with but getting it healthy and on the same page took some time.

Castillo too was learning a new job and figuring out how best to utilize all the talent he had been provided.

The first sign that things were starting to gel came three weeks ago when the Eagles went into Washington, against a Redskins team that was playing very well at the time, and came away with a 20-13 win.

It wasn’t a dominant performance but it was one that was much needed. The bye week followed and allowed the Eagles to get a little more healthy.

When they returned to the field this past weekend it was with Trent Cole back at defensive end, Jason Peters back anchoring the offensive line and a fully healthy Cullen Jenkins back on the defensive line having put his triceps injury to rest.

Outside of Peters the offence hadn’t been hit as hard with injuries but like the defence had not quite gelled, the offensive line in particular.

The Dallas Cowboys found out rather quickly how in synch the entire Eagles outfit was by Week 8 as Philadelphia jumped out to a 24-0 lead by halftime and never looked back.

LeSean McCoy was unstoppable — Peters return to the offensive line was a huge part of this — and Michael Vick didn’t give the ball away.

It was as good a football game as the Eagles have played this season and there is reason for optimism.

As far as the team itself is concerned, this was only the start.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Vick told reporters after the game. “This was a win to be proud about, and there should be jubilation throughout the locker room. We deserve to take a moment and enjoy this, but at the same time understand our position. We’ve got Game 2 next week, the start of our new season.”

As bad as the early part of the season was for the Eagles, you can understand why guys like Vick only started counting the games from Week 6 on.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

A couple of oddities in the standings these days. Check out the division-leading and as of now playoff-bound Saints who own a 2-3 record within their own conference. Then there’s the as-of-today playoff bound Bears who are 1-2 within their own division. It just doesn’t seem right ... Linebacker LaMarr Woodley’s hamstring injury is not believed to be serious. The Steelers are calling it a week-to-week injury but are not ruling out Woodley suiting up this weekend for Sunday night’s big game with Baltimore ... John Fox couldn’t say for sure Sunday whether Tim Tebow would get another start but it now appears he will. Tebow, however, is said to be on a short leash with Brady Quinn next man up if Tebow doesn’t improve ... Javon Ringer played a bigger role in the Titans’ win over Indianapolis on Sunday than big bucks running back Chris Johnson. Ringer, for the record, says he’s still the backup to Johnson despite Johnson’s paltry 2.8 yards per carry average. Head coach Mike Munchak, clearly trying to avoid any controversy, is telling reporters that every game will be different and the flow of each game will dictate who gets the bulk of the carries ... When the actual score of the Bills win over Washington on Sunday in Toronto is long forgotten, there may be one lasting reminder of the game. If rookie lineman Marcell Dareus continues to respond to the his shift to nose tackle the way he did on Sunday, he may never line up at defensive end again. Dareus has been good all season, but until Sunday’s game he really hadn’t sparkled like a third overall pick should ... Already down Peyton Hillis, the Cleveland Browns revealed on Monday that backup Montario Hardesty tore a calf muscle and will be out for at least a few weeks. Hillis travelled with the team to San Francisco but did not play ... Here’s a good reason for John Fox to re-think that decision to stay with Tim Tebow for another week. This was an unnamed member of Detroit’s defence describing Sunday’s game to Yahoo.com. “Can you believe 15? Come on — that’s embarrassing. I mean, it’s a joke. We knew all week that if we brought any kind of defensive pressure, he couldn’t do anything. In the second half it got boring out there. We were like, ‘Come on — that’s your quarterback? Seriously?’” ... That 100-yard rushing game by the Dolphins’ Reggie Bush on Sunday. It was the second of his career. Both have come against the New York Giants.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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