Welcome back to the Mike Vick Experience.
In his first season opener since 2006, the Eagles quarterback proved why the team made him a $100 million man. Vick brushed off a shaky start by his offensive line, then used his legs (100 rushing yards) and rocket arm (187 passing) to lead the self-proclaimed Dream Team to a 1-0 start.
“We knew No. 7 was going to be tough to stop,” said Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo.
But Vick was far from perfect, finishing just 14-of-32 with two touchdowns, but he made the throws he had to make. But it’s those throws, and those mistakes – Vick was sacked three times and fumbled the ball away – that he’ll be thinking about all week.
“The only thing I can dwell on right now is the things that we didn’t do so well,” Vick said. “I felt like I could have done better. I’m thankful for the victory, don’t get me wrong, but I could have been a little cleaner and I told Andy [Reid] that.”
Reid was also critical of his team’s overall performance, saying “there are plenty of things that we need to work on.”
The biggest challenge Vick is facing this year concerns the offensive line. In Howard Mudd’s new system, it’s up to the quarterback to diagnose blitzes and change protections around, much like Peyton Manning did in Indianapolis. Reid still has to watch the game tape, but his initial reaction was positive.
“He did good things with his legs and he also did some good things with his arm,” Reid said. “He made some nice calls up front and changed protection around, so that he could get a couple of balls off.”
LeSean McCoy, who caught a 7-yard screen pass from Vick to tie the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, is one of Vick’s biggest fans. He credited No. 7 for rallying the troops and keeping the huddle focused, even when they got down early.
“We got a lot of new stuff, a lot of hard stuff for him to pick up and Mike’s done a good job at it,” McCoy said. “I’ll tell you what, he’s an elite quarterback, and as far as not only athletic ability, man, but he takes extra time to study and make sure he knows the calls. It’s no surprise to me. He’s capable of doing it.”
After the game, Vick said hat he could have played four more quarters – and he was probably only half-joking, as he reflected on some of those missed opportunities. For now, he’ll take an 18-point victory in Week 1.
“We have a long way to go, but I’m excited about where we’re at right now,” Vick said.