Michael Vick is officially a starting quarterback, if only for a week. The Eagles finally ruled the concussed Kevin Kolb out for this week’s contest in Detroit, an announcement that comes as no surprise. That gives Vick the opportunity to start for the first time since December 31, 2006, a 24-17 loss for his Atlanta squad here in Philadelphia.
The 30-year-old believes that coming on last week in relief of Kolb took care of the nerves you might expect in his return as a starter. “I think last week kind of broke the ice for me as far as getting the jitters out and going out there and playing when the game counted and it was on the line,” Vick said. “I’m not too nervous, just ready to get it going, ready to get out there and play.”
Last week, Vick threw for 175 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-24 passing. He also ran for 103 yards on 11 carries. But Vick knows he doesn’t have to do it all himself in Philadelphia with a supporting cast that includes the likes of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek.
“I just have so many weapons around me and so much talent, that you know, you don’t have to do it all by yourself,” Vick said. “At some point in Atlanta, I felt like I had to do it all, and really I didn’t, but you know, that’s just a growing process.”
What seems, at least on the surface, to be a new sense of maturity for Vick in his approach to the game also leaves him feeling better prepared than he has in past years. “Honestly, I feel better than I ever did in my career, physically and mentally. You know, I take care of my body, I prepare hard and study hard,” said Vick.
His head coach agrees, and doesn’t seem too concerned about the excitement or nerves that Vick will likely have on Sunday. “It’s the first time in a bit that he’s started, but it’s not the first time that he’s started in the National Football League,” Andy Reid said. “As we all know, he was one of the great quarterbacks in the league before being incarcerated. I think he knows how to prepare himself for a game and to keep his emotions under control so that he can function out there to the best of his abilities.”
That doesn’t mean he’s not feeling some emotions now, though. “It’s a surreal moment, honestly I just didn’t think it was going to happen this early,” Vick said. “As a backup you kind of get into a mode of thinking that you’re not going to play, you just have to be prepared for whatever happens.”
Whatever does happen on Sunday, the Eagles and the rest of the league will get a better idea what Vick is capable of than they’ve had in the last three years.
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