Starting Vick a good move for Eagles
Every week, the experts of FOX NFL Sunday will candidly reveal their observations and make their opinions known as they prepare for the top-rated pregame telecast — seen each Sunday at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. We’ll share with you some of the highlights from Curt, Terry, Howie, Jimmy and Michael grabbed from their weekly conference call with insider John Czarnecki.
This week, Czar probes the FOX NFL Sunday crew on the Eagles’ QB situation and the Dallas Cowboys.
Czar: Andy Reid said after he looked at the film of their win over Detroit, he had to stick with Michael Vick. What do you all believe?
Howie Long: I think a lot of things went into his decision. I think the injuries to the offensive line, the loss of Leonard Weaver, maybe realizing he couldn’t protect Kevin Kolb. He probably showed up to work and got a sense of the locker room and realized he had to start him.
Jimmy Johnson: I said it on the show last week. Vick is the best player and he has to play him. Andy made the right decision.
Curt Menefee: I have to think that Kolb sees it, too.
Terry Bradshaw: I’d love to know what Andy would have done if Donovan McNabb was still his quarterback. I mean, would he have started Vick over Donovan? I mean, he’s doing it to a young quarterback that he has been tooting his horn and telling us how good he’s going to be. But the bottom line is they really don’t have much on Kolb to suggest that he’s really special. They just think he’s going to be a great talent. They don’t really don’t have anything to base that on. The bottom line is that Andy Reid wants to win games and he could see that Kolb might have been sacked 10 times last week and Vick wasn’t. I think Andy never should have told anyone that he was going back to Kolb regardless of how Vick played.
Czar: OK, so now what do you think of the McNabb trade?
JJ: I think the jury is still out there.
HL: Donovan looked great last week. But can he keep it up? He’s lost weight and looks good.
JJ: What hasn’t been said a lot is that if they were going to keep McNabb they were going to have to pay him a ton of money.
HL: He wanted the same money that the top three quarterbacks are getting. But if Vick plays well, they will be able to sign him to an extension.
JJ: Remember, it was a problem with McNabb every time they put Vick in there last season, too.
HL: The other thing is that Michael has made great progress as a quarterback.
JJ: He’s throwing the ball better than he has ever thrown it.
Michael Strahan: One of their receivers told me last week that he equates the way Vick throws the ball to the way Ken Griffey swings a bat. Just so smooth, so effortless and so natural. I agree with Jimmy. It is just so much fun to watch him play.
JJ: If Kolb was starting this week, nobody would watch this Jacksonville game. But Vick gives me a reason to turn the TV on.
MS: With Vick there is always a chance to see something exciting.
Czar: What should the Jets do with Braylon Edwards? Bench him, deactivate him or just play him?
MS: It depends on how much you like the guy. The only reason to put him down is public perception that you are doing something. I think teams have to consider that a lot of fans and people in the media look at athletes and believe they are being treated differently than other people. They have a big game (in Miami) this weekend and need him.
HL: They aren’t going to start him. They will sit him as long as they can. That’s what they will do.
CM: Teams can’t punish him under terms of the collective bargaining agreement. One time the Steelers punished Santonio Holmes by simply deactivating him. That’s how they got around that suspension thing.
TB: After watching "Hard Knocks" I can’t tell if Rex Ryan is really serious about disciplining his guys. I just don’t know. I figure he’s going to play, especially if their game plan is about throwing the ball.
Czar: Well, the Cowboys are 0-2 again and how do they fix things. Jimmy, you have a State Farm feature on this.
JJ: Well, offensively I think they need to dial it back. I think they have to forget about making sure their superstars touch the ball so many times and just return to fundamental football. They need to simplify things and pound the ball. I mean, the Dallas offense has been so wide open it’s almost like sandlot play. I don’t know who the runner should be, but they should stick to one and run the ball. They need something to hang their hat on.
TB: Jimmy is right. They don’t excel at anything. I don’t believe we have overevaluated their players. They have a lot of good ones.
MS: When I used to play them, you were always worried about their physicality and how you were going to stop this running game. But they seem to have totally gone away from that. They don’t have that identity as before.
HL: Just watching their training camp, you know, from San Antonio to Oxnard, and Jerry wondering how many people his team gets at camp, they have looked worn out. Just being a player with the typical media demands just has to be exhausting, above and beyond all the practices, meetings, extra film work, treatment, workouts and then add to that walking through a gauntlet of thousands fans every day. It’s a carnival.
CM: It’s always a carnival around that team. When I visited them in Oxnard when camp was winding down, a couple of their players told me the team was exhausted. But besides the three different training sites, they also played in the Hall of Fame game. They had that extra week of camp. If you start the season exhausted maybe that explains their poor start.
HL: At the end of the season, they have gotten better and better. You just are waiting for them to finish a season like we all think they are capable of.
MS: Everything about the Cowboys is like it is always a show. It’s like they have be on 24-7. It is almost too much. It’s like being a Cowboy is simply too much.
JJ: One of their biggest problems is that everyone is telling them all the time how good they are. They have to quit listening to that stuff. Like I have said, we need to revoke their country club memberships and put a shovel in their hands to where they can start working because they have really dug themselves a hole.
Czar: How do you guys feel about Houston playing Dallas? Remember, the Texans beat them in the preseason.
TB: Everybody is saying that Dallas is going to turn around their season. So are you saying that Dallas is going to live up to its hype and go into Houston, who has looked great the first two weeks, and win this game? I have to think that the Texans are starting to think they are a pretty good team. If Houston goes 3-0, I wouldn’t want to be around Dallas next week.
HL: The effort and the talent are there for the Cowboys. They just don’t look prepared at times and to me that’s just a shock. But with Houston, this team may have the best receiver in football and Matt Schaub threw for more yards than any quarterback in the league last season. They are pretty good now.
TB: I would like to see the Cowboys fired up and anxious to play. I would like to see that. But we haven’t thus far.
HL: The preseason loss has to be in the back of their mind, but you can block that out.
JJ: The key to that preseason loss was that Dallas was beaten badly in the third preseason game which is usually the one every team wants to win.
Czar: The 49ers played very well against the Saints in a losing effort. Do you think Alex Smith can keep playing well?
HL: He keeps playing like that and the 49ers run away with the NFC West.
TB: The thing about Alex is that he came in ill-prepared for the NFL. He was the first player taken and he went to the worst team at the time. I really liked watching him play on Monday night. I hope he can keep this up and I don’t know why he can’t. You get a lot of confidence when you play that well against such a hard defense like the Saints. I don’t know him, but everybody tells me he’s a really good kid. I mean, he’s been pulled in and out throughout his career and he’s had numerous coordinators and that’s hurt his growth. Urban Meyer’s offense isn’t great for building NFL quarterbacks.
Czar: How big of a loss is Reggie Bush to the Saints’ offense?
HL: He means a lot. They lose explosive plays, check down passes and punt returns.
TB: His presence also dictates coverage to the opposing team. This should help the Falcons. I mean when they put him out wide or at wingback, he certainly gets your attention more so than anyone else in their backfield.
JJ: He is a matchup nightmare for defenses because Sean Payton does a great job matching him on safeties and linebackers. There is no way in the world that you cover him on drag routes and underneath digs.