It’s that time of the year again.
Howard Eskin of 610 WIP in Philadelphia has reported that the Philadelphia Eagles will have interest in signing quarterback Brett Favre (yes, that Brett Favre) once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is agreed upon.
Eskin reports that the team could pursue the 41-year-old quarterback after they trade backup Kevin Kolb, who Adam Schefter suggests will be traded to the Arizona Cardinals shortly after the season begins. As funny as it is to joke about another offseason Favre saga, this move actually would make a lot of sense for both parties.
In preparation for the Packers-Eagles contest Sunday afternoon, I asked Philadelphia Eagles Examiner Gordie Jones five questions about the Eagles. Questions he asked me about the Packers can be found here. Here are his responses.
1. No one denies Michael Vick has had an MVP-worthy season in 2010, but is there any credibility to Andy Reid’s comments that he would consider pulling him if he fails to perform early?
I can’t believe he would ever do that. Kevin Kolb, who began the season as the starter, is a worthy backup. But I can’t envision a scenario (other than injury) under which Reid would pull the plug on the Michael Vick Experience at this point.
2. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems LeSean McCoy can get buried underneath the press and headlines Michael Vick and the Eagles’ high-octane pass attack gets. However, his split stats in wins and losses are extremely telling. Despite Vick’s prowess on the field, is it fair to say McCoy is the engine that makes the Eagles’ offense go?
Every Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers fan remembers where he or she was on January 11, 2004. The Packers were just one stop away from advancing to the NFC Championship game to take on the Carolina Panthers. All that was standing in their way was a 4th and 26 play. Green Bay’s “Cover 2” defense left the middle of the field wide open, and when Nick Barnett followed tight end Jeff Thomason instead of staying deep, Donovan McNabb found Freddie Mitchell on a post down the middle for 31 yards. David Akers would later kick a game-tying field goal on that drive as time expired and the Eagles went on to win the game in overtime.
The Packers were able to extract some revenge in their first trip back to Philadelphia since “4th and 26” with a 27-20 victory in Week 1 of this season, but the memories have far from faded in the minds of Packers fans. Sunday the Packers will travel back to Philadelphia in the first round of the NFL Playoffs in an attempt to fully erase that fateful play, but it will be no easy task.
With so many talented players in each league, it is a foregone conclusion that stars will be left off the Pro Bowl roster every year. After all, only three or four players from 16 teams can be selected for each position, meaning more than a handful of players inevitably will be “snubbed.”
Most times arguments can be made for and against players making or making the team, and the discussion in Green Bay is no different.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers posted a fantastic season in 2010 and have the Packers one home win against the Chicago Bears away from sealing up the No. 6 seed in the NFC. However, his season was only good enough in the eyes of the voters to warrant a first alternate selection for the Pro Bowl, meaning his name will only be called if someone at his position drops out or is playing in the Super Bowl.
In Rodgers’ case, his slow start and absence in two games down the stretch probably hurt him the most. Touted by many as ready to take the jump from great to elite, Rodgers’ numbers through eight weeks looked more like the former. With the team sitting at 5-3, Rodgers had passed for 12 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and an average of 251 yards per game.
Let’s take a look at the playoff picture in the NFC and how it’s all shaping up for the Packers. Obviously the loss to the Lions hurts in the ever-so-tight NFC, but the fact that it was a division (and conference) game makes it sting that much worse. The Packers now sit at 8-5 and are at the bottom of what now looks to be a race between threes teams for one spot in the playoffs.
Beginning in the NFC South, the Falcons took care of business over the Panthers to move to an NFC-best 11-2, the Saints got a big win over the Rams to get to 10 wins, and the Buccaneers hung on and used a last-second blunder by the Redskins to improve to 8-5. It’s almost a certainty that two teams will come out of this ultra-competitive division, with the Falcons and Saints fighting for the division spot and the other, most likely the Saints at this point, with a firm grasp on a wildcard spot. The Buccaneers are fighting a few key injuries on defense and did not look impressive, but 8-5 currently has them ahead of the Packers and one Giants loss tomorrow night from being in the playoff picture.
I’ll be the first to say I usually do not stand in players’ corners if they are not on my favorite teams. Outside of the Packers, Brewers, Marquette Warriors, Bucks, and Florida Gators football team (thanks, Tim Tebow), everyone else is just fair game and can act as they please.
However, I’m starting to really feel bad for newly acquired Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick. Signed two days ago, Vick will join a powerful offense that includes Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, Desean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin.
Offseason moves have made the Eagles front-runners for the NFC Title in some people’s eyes, while others wonder if their defense can stand strong for 16 games.
Slice or dice the Eagles any way you want, they become better with Vick on their squad. Whether they plan to use him as a quarterback or as a special back in the Wildcat offense, he adds a dimension to the team that will make defensive coordinators spend a little more time in the tape room than usual.
But the real story lies in the protest and outrage that is going on over Vick’s reinstatement and signing to the Eagles.
Everyone knew that signing Vick would come with a lot of baggage and upset people who believe Vick should not be allowed to play in the NFL. Those people believe what he has done can never be forgiven, and that the dogs he electrocuted, drowned, and murdered will forever and should haunt his past.
In April of 2007, an investigation of Vick’s unlawful dogfighting ring was implemented and the former overall number one pick was charged in the federal courts four months later. A 23 month sentence was the penalty, and Vick served his due time over the next two years.
Over the course of the last three years, Vick filed for bankruptcy and has lost millions of dollars from endorsements, lawsuits, and the two years of pay he lost while in prison. He was never a perfect citizen, even before the dog scandal, and admittedly has made a lot of mistakes in the past.
While not everyone has served time in a federal prison, we are all guilty of making mistakes in life. One thing that makes our country such a great place is the ability to obtain a second chance and make the most of it.
For 23 months, Vick served the penalty the legal system felt was just for his actions. Say what you will about him getting off easy or that he just accepted a plea bargain to get out as early as he could, the fact of the matter is that he did his time.
During this time, Vick claims that he learned a lot about himself and what he did. Is was a humbling experience for him to be in such a negative spotlight, to be away from his fiance, mother, and children while in jail, and to be away from the game of football during his prime years.
Some believe that while Vick might have paid his legal dues, he is not serious about his apology and that he is just sorry he got caught.
Kids who get caught by the police stealing candy from a department store are sorry they got caught. They apologize to the police, store clerk, and everyone else before going on their merry way. Lesson learned? No.
For Vick, his apology pre-prison would have fallen under the “B.S.” category. However, after 23 months of embarrassment, humility, and sitting in a prison cell all day and night, I am going to give Vick the benefit of the doubt and say he knows and FEELS that what he did was wrong.
Everything he has said in the media about understanding why fans are not going to forgive him, thanking the Eagles for the opportunity to come back, and saying that everything happens for a reason is making him look like he is serious about coming back.
Also, Vick has come back in perfect shape and is ready to perform at a high level for the Eagles. Over the last two months since he has been out of jail, he has maintained his weight and speed and feels in good enough shape to play right away.
In regards to the NFL, Vick isn’t going back to play time where he will mess around in Philadelphia. This is a job for Vick and, for a guy who has filed for bankruptcy, an important one at that. People who believe Vick should not be allowed to play football are saying that all criminals should just be locked up forever.
What if Vick took a job as a Best Buy employee? Should we burn him at the stake just because of what he did in the past? Just because he has played football before doesn’t mean that not letting him play is going to take away his fun. In actuality, Vick will probably work harder at football than most of us will at our jobs.
Andy Reid is taking a huge risk on giving Michael Vick a second chance, but remember that his own sons have been in and out of legal trouble and are no strangers to second chances.
What Vick did was terrible, disgusting, inhumane, and sickening. There’s no denying that what he did will make people angry for a long time and that he has to live with the consequences of his actions.
The truth is, Vick’s image will probably never be restored in full. Vick could win a Super Bowl, take the Wildcat by storm, and run all over Lincoln Financial Field, but he will still be known as the guy that killed all those dogs. Isn’t that bad enough?
He has already contacted the Humane Society to talk to young kids making sure they do not go down the same path he has. He just finished his first practice with the Eagles and looked good.
He still has a ton to prove to PETA, the Philadelphia Eagles, the fans, and most importantly himself. He has done all the right things to prepare on the field, and has said all the right things to get himself ready off the field. Let’s all give him a chance to do so.