Already Under Pressure, Michael Vick Must Overcome Poor History vs. Giants

Already Under Pressure, Michael Vick Must Overcome Poor History vs. Giants

We know Mike Vick has been pretty bad so far this season, but sometimes it helps to run all the numbers together.

In three games, Vick has completed 55 percent of his passes (on 41.6 attempts per game), for an average of just over 300 yards, a 66.3 quarterback rating, three touchdowns and nine turnovers (six picks, three fumbles). Related to the turnovers, Vick, by himself, has tied the  Kansas City Chiefs for the second-most turnovers by a team through three weeks in 2012. The Eagles, of course, lead the NFL in that category with 12.

I don't mean to pile on. I only bring up these numbers in relation to the fact that even his coach's confidence may be beginning to waiver, Vick's contract is get-away-from-able at the end of the season, and the quarterback has struggled (mightily) against the Giants during his career in Philadelphia.

Sure, there was the "Miracle at the New Meadowlands," but the Eagles were down 24-3 at the half and 31-10 with 8:17 to play for a reason. That insane comeback caused many a media personality to scrap the barrage of articles and on-air segments that would have surely followed about how Mike Vick had already been figured out.

And it was the Giants who had figured him out — a month beforehand. One week after Vick looked like a world beater, scoring six touchdowns against the Redskins on Monday night, the Eagles advanced to 5-2 with a 27-17 win over the Giants. Vick finished the game 24 of 38 for 258 yards and a rushing touchdown. On their own, those numbers aren't bad.

But the Giants defense provided the blueprint for how to beat Vick in 2010. Whereas other defenses didn't have an answer for him, the Giants heavily blitzed Vick from his left, forcing the lefthanded quarterback to his right, so as to considerably limit options. Vick fumbled twice that day, and lost the football once.

Still, the Eagles survived and moved on to Chicago, where the Bears did the exact same thing to Vick the following week, again making him look ordinary, as they beat the Eagles, 31-26. And then — and then — there was The Joe Webb Game one week after the miracle comeback in Vick's second outing versus the Giants. You remember: the Tuesday nighter versus Minnesota where Vick turned the ball over three times and the Vikings' dropped three more potential interceptions.

Moving forward, Vick faced the Giants just once in 2011. (He missed the second meeting due to inury.) In that Week 3 matchup, Vick went 16 of 23 for 176 yards and an interception before exiting the game in the fourth quarter once the Giants fractured his non-throwing hand on what Vick called a late hit. He was hit 13 times in all that day. He also fumbled three times, but didn't lose any of them.

The point of this less-than-pleasant trip down memory lane is that Mike Vick's job is feeling increasingly on the line. That the details of his last meeting against the Giants sound way too familiar and commonplace at this point. And that now, one week after he, his coach and his teammates were embarrassed in Arizona, they're coming home to once again face the Giants under the lights on national television.

The Giants, the team who showed the league in 2010 the way to contain and even stop the runner-up the league's MVP award. The Giants, the team who knocked Vick out of a game in 2011. The Giants, who seem to have Vick's number.

Mike Vick is about to play one of the biggest games of his career against the team whom has most seemed to have his number.

It's time to see what, if anything, Vick has really learned over the last three years, and whether Andy and Marty are going to give him any help.

Related: Filmroom Friday: How Reid Is Setting Vick Up to Fail [T7L]

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Eagles training camp Day 1 notes and observations: QB reps, Agholor and more

Eagles training camp Day 1 notes and observations: QB reps, Agholor and more

Day 1 is in the books. 

The Eagles practiced on the fields at the NovaCare Complex at 8:40 a.m. on Monday in 90-plus-degree weather. It was the first practice under new head coach Doug Pederson, who said he had trouble sleeping Sunday because of excitement and the massive thunderstorm that rolled through the area. 

For now, there are just 38 players (out of 90) in training camp. The rest of the team won’t report until Wednesday and the first full-team practice isn’t until Thursday afternoon. Pederson said the team will be in pads for the first time Saturday. The plan is to have pads on for three days, then off one, on three, etc. 

Here are some notes and observations from Day 1: 

Figuring out the reps
Four of the 38 players in camp right now are quarterbacks: Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Carson Wentz and recently-re-signed McLeod Bethel-Thompson. During the spring, while Bradford, Daniel and Wentz worked with the first, second and third teams, respectively, they did split reps evenly. 

Eventually, the bulk of those practice snaps will need to go to Bradford, as he prepares to be the starter. But does Pederson have a plan during camp? 

“Well, I'm not officially there yet,” he said. “I do know this: Your first two preseason games, typically your starters don't play a ton; you're trying to save them for that third game and get them ready for the regular season. So we'll focus on the twos and threes probably a little bit more early in camp, probably give them the bulk of the reps. Then we’ll ramp the guys up who we think are going to be the starters opening day, we'll get them more reps towards the end of camp.”

Pederson on Agholor
Second-year receiver Nelson Agholor won’t be reporting to camp until Wednesday, at which time he’ll finally be asked about his involvement in an incident at a gentlemen’s club in June. He was accused of sexual assault, but the district attorney decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him. 

Pederson said he hasn’t spoken to Agholor since the incident; he didn’t think it was necessary to speak to him at the time. Pederson did say the two of them will have a private chat once Agholor returns. 

“I'm still not going to comment too much on it,” Pederson said. “I just know this, that everybody, we all make mistakes, we learn from them, we move on, and we just look forward to him getting to camp and getting ready to go.”

The first three days
Training camp won’t really look or feel like training camp until Thursday, when the entire team practices together. Until then, it’s just a bunch of rookies and quarterbacks. 

Boring. 

But what does Pederson hope to accomplish during these days? 

“First of all, it's a great three days to get acclimated, number one, to the schedule,” he said. “It's great for the coaches to kind of get back into the swing of football and thinking football before we get the rest of the team in here. And then I think thirdly, just getting the quarterbacks in here and getting their arms loose and kind of getting into a full lather before they really get cranked up Friday, Saturday and the rest of camp.”

Observations
Not a ton of observations thanks to the lack of numbers in camp right now. But here are a few: 

• Credit Quentin Gause for the first kinda-hard hit of 2016 training camp. He popped Wendell Smallwood after the rookie running back caught a pass from Bradford during 7-on-7s. 

• Aaron Grymes, the former CFL cornerback, made a nice play down the left sideline to break up a Daniel pass to Marcus Johnson. Grymes has a little edge during camp right now because of his professional experience. 

• Johnson couldn’t haul that one in, but the wideout from Texas had a pretty good day, eventually grabbing some long balls. 

• Wentz, like he did in the spring, showed off the deep ball again Monday. He doesn’t always hit those passes — and some of them are ill-advised — but he likes to throw it deep more than Bradford and Daniel. 

• Former Oregon running back Byron Marshall, who missed all of OTAs thanks to the NCAA/NFL graduation rule, had a pretty nice day aside from a fumble. He is especially good catching the ball out of the backfield. 

• Because of the small numbers in camp right now, quarterback Bethel-Thompson played some tight end Monday and didn’t look great. At one point, a pass came his way and it looked like Gause might have interfered with him, while taking him to the ground. That red jersey doesn’t mean much when Bethel-Thompson lines up as a tight end. 

• A good sign for Smallwood: Saw him pick up a blitz without hesitation Monday. That’s important because that’s probably the area of his game that needs the most improvement. 

• The difference in the pace of practice between Pederson and Chip Kelly is shocking. There’s just a lot fewer plays run under Pederson, who chooses to do his coaching on the field instead of in the meeting room. At one point, there was about a 30-second delay between snaps. If that happened under Kelly, his head would have exploded. 

The Daily Show has a weird obsession with the Phillie Phanatic

phanatic-dailyshow.jpg
Daily Show Instagram

The Daily Show has a weird obsession with the Phillie Phanatic

Welcome America! The 2016 Democratic National Convention rolls into Philadelphia today and that means the national media's spotlight is squarely on our beautiful and angry city.

It also means thousands of media types will descend onto Philadelphia to sample our cheesesteaks and ... I'm not sure what else, maybe check out Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.

The Daily Show took this opportunity to show their love -- and totally normal obsession - with the Phillie Phanatic.

So kudos to the Daily Show for being the leader in the clubhouse of DNC peeps pandering to Philadelphians. This is solid.

Watch out, Philadelphia. @desilydic has a dark secret... #DNCinPHI #Phanatic

A video posted by The Daily Show (@thedailyshow) on

Phillies-Marlins 5 things: Could be locked-in Hellickson's final start with Phils

Phillies-Marlins 5 things: Could be locked-in Hellickson's final start with Phils

Phillies (45-55) at Marlins (53-45)
7:10 p.m. on CSN

After three straight series losses to begin the second half, the Phillies head to Miami for three games with the Marlins. It's the second leg of a 10-game road trip that takes the Phils to Atlanta for four games later in the week.

Let's take a look at the series opener:

1. Hellickson's sendoff?
Jeremy Hellickson makes his 21st and potentially final start for the Phillies tonight in South Florida. The Marlins are one of the teams after him, so it's possible he could just switch clubhouses later this week. 

Hellickson has boosted his trade value substantially over the last five weeks, posting a 2.54 ERA with five quality starts in six tries. He enters Monday's game 7-7 with a 3.84 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Those are better and more consistent numbers than you'll find attached to many other pitchers on the trade market, rentals or otherwise. 

It was on this day last year that Cole Hamels threw a no-hitter against the Cubs which turned out to be the tipping point for the Rangers, who several days later traded the Phillies six players, four of whom were intriguing prospects now thriving in this organization. Hellickson isn't going to no-hit the Fish tonight, but if he has a similarly well-timed good start, it could result in a better return for the Phils this time around, too.

Hellickson's last start was against the Marlins in the only game in last week's four-game series that the Phillies won. He allowed one run on five hits over eight innings with eight strikeouts.

Hellickson's control has been superb this season. He's walked just 27 batters in 119⅔ innings, or 2.0 per nine innings. That's nearly a full walk per nine less than his previous career rate of 2.9. It's a major reason that Hellickson has been able to maintain a sub-4.00 ERA despite allowing 19 home runs in 20 starts.

2. Scouting Cosart
The Phillies will face their former farmhand Jarred Cosart, who is 0-1 with a 7.98 ERA in three starts this season. It's been a troubling year for Cosart, who missed a month with an oblique injury and has spent most of the season struggling at Triple A. He had a 5.22 ERA and 1.56 WHIP in 12 starts with Triple A New Orleans.

Way back in 2011, Cosart headlined the Astros' return in the Hunter Pence trade. Houston received Cosart, Jon Singleton, Josh Zeid and Domingo Santana for the rightfielder. None panned out in the Astros' organization, with Cosart getting traded three years later, Singleton continuing to struggle in the minors and Santana ending up in Milwaukee.

Cosart has disappointed the most of the bunch. After going 13-11 with a 3.69 ERA in 2014, his career has taken a downward trend. He's never been a big strikeout guy despite throwing in the mid-90s, and his control has always been poor. Cosart has walked 15 batters in 14⅔ innings this season and 4.3 per nine innings in his major-league career. 

He did have success, though, in three starts against the Phillies last season, going 1-1 with a 2.40 ERA and 12 strikeouts to three walks in 15 innings. But this lineup is much different than that one. 

Cosart is mostly a three-pitch pitcher who uses a cutter, sinker and curveball. The cutter is his main pitch, averaging 93 mph. 

3. Injuries piling up
In the span of just a few days, Maikel Franco was hit by a pitch on the wrist, Cameron Rupp was hit in the helmet and Andres Blanco fractured a finger. They've been three of the Phillies' five best offensive players this season.

Franco returned Sunday to replace Blanco, a good sign that he should be ready to go this week in Miami and Atlanta. But each Franco at-bat bears watching because wrist injuries can sap a player of his power. 

Rupp, too, could return to the starting lineup as soon as tonight after passing MLB's concussion protocol. He's hitting .276 with 17 doubles, 10 home runs and an .810 OPS in his breakout 2016 season.

4. Bourjos back to Earth
After hitting .410 in June, Peter Bourjos has hit .227 in July with a meager .263 on-base percentage. He's 4 for 36 (.111) over his last nine games with one walk, one RBI and 10 strikeouts.

Bourjos is another player the Phillies could trade this week to clear up room on the roster for Aaron Altherr and/or Nick Williams. In Bourjos and Jimmy Paredes, the Phils have replaceable outfielders who don't figure to factor too much into their future. It wouldn't simply be wishful thinking to say that by next week, the Phils' starting outfield could be Williams in left field, Odubel Herrera in center and Altherr in right.

Altherr's rehab assignment ends Wednesday. At that point the Phillies must decide whether to call him up or option him to Triple A. 

5. Almost Thompson time?
It's no coincidence that IronPigs ace Jake Thompson pitches tonight, the same night as Hellickson. Thompson would be a ready-made replacement for Hellickson in the rotation if/when Hellickson is dealt. Thompson is on a ridiculous roll at Triple A, having allowed just four earned runs over his last 62⅓ innings spanning nine starts. He's lowered his ERA from 4.23 to 2.29 over that stretch thanks to a sky-high rate of weak groundballs.

Even if Thompson were to struggle tonight, the Phillies would still likely turn to him to replace Hellickson. There doesn't seem to be much left for him to prove at Triple A, where every International League starting pitcher with an ERA even close to his 2.29 has been called up to the majors.