Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NFL: Eagles’ Michael Vick stays home with ‘pretty significant’ concussion

(PhatzRadio / USA Today) — PHILADELPHIA — Rookie Nick Foles will likely get his turn to change the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback narrative the remaining seven games of a lost season.
Coach Andy Reid said Monday that Michael Vick suffered a “pretty significant concussion,” forcing Foles to enter Sunday’s 38-23 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Vick was home, resting with “a pretty good headache,” Reid said, and the quarterback will remain in communication with team trainer Rick Burkholder until his symptoms disappear to the point he’s ready for league-mandated independent neurological testing.

That means the Foles era likely begins Sunday against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

How long Foles keeps the job likely depends on how well he performs, meaning he could end Vick’s stay in Philadelphia by showing signs of promise. Until Vick was injured, Reid had resisted starting Foles, a third-round pick, despite cries from fans and the media.

“Michael is hurting right now, and Nick is going to step in and be the quarterback until that point comes (when Vick is cleared), and then we take it all from there,” Reid said. “I can’t predict the future. (Foles) is going to practice Wednesday. Preparation is very important.

“We’re going up against a good football team, the Redskins, another NFC East rival in a loud place. It’s important that he has the silent count down; that he has the fundamentals down, and he knows the game plan. I don’t see Michael being back by Wednesday.”

Reid said he will know more about Vick’s status “in the next couple of days.” But he made a point of adding, “The thing I’m telling you now is it’s a pretty significant concussion.”

At 3-6, the Eagles are a team without a purpose as the season plays out. Foles could provide one. With his job in jeopardy, Reid has nothing to gain from playing Vick the remaining seven games — even when Vick is medically cleared to return to practice.

Instead, the Eagles — whether with Reid in 2013 or without him — can find out whether Foles can be Philadelphia’s next franchise quarterback. Vick, 18-15 as Eagles regular-season starter, is guaranteed $3 million next season.

Reid drafted Foles, a strong-armed, 6-foot-6, 243-pounder who is the University of Arizona’s all-time passing leader. on Sunday, Foles showed poise and anticipation by sliding away from a Cowboys blitz to hit Jeremy Maclin for a 44-yard touchdown strike.

He finished 22 of 32 for 219 yards with a touchdown but also had a deflected interception and a goal-line fumble that the Cowboys turned into touchdowns. His postgame demeanor was exemplary.

“Right now, I’m praying for Mike’s health,” Foles said. “Mike’s the leader of this team, and he was doing a great job and it was unfortunate.”

Reid was asked what he saw in Foles before selecting him 88th overall in April.

“He’s smart, got an active arm, has good size and was productive at the college level,” Reid said. “I thought he had good leadership ability for our team.’

Reid said he thought his team’s effort was there against Dallas.

“I feel good about this team as a group,” Reid said. “We just need to tighten some things up.”

But the writing appears to be on the wall regarding the end of the Reid era. Several fans held up a banner near the end of Sunday’s defeat until they were forced to remove it by Lincoln Financial Field security. It read: “Andy. Quit. Your team has.”

Reid disputes that charge.

“I didn’t feel that way about this team and I surely didn’t feel that way (Sunday),” Reid said. “They were very upset after the game. So I feel like they’re all in.”

The record says otherwise. The Eagles haven’t won since Sept. 30. The five-game losing streak is the longest in 14 seasons under Reid. What has the nightmare been like?

“It’s tough,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “You want to get a win. You get tired of getting asked the same questions every week. You get tired of giving the same answers. You feel just stuck in the same day.”
Sunday, they’ll turn to a quarterback who could signal the start of a new day.

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