Decision on Michael Vick Could Be Coming for Eagles by Next Week

Decision on Michael Vick Could Be Coming for Eagles by Next Week

Up to this point, we can only speculate who Chip Kelly and
the Eagles will roll with under center next season. Nick Foles seems the
logical choice, if only because he’s under contract and has shown some potential,
but there is also talk coming out of the Senior Bowl that they could look to the
draft. Then there is Michael Vick, who some people still maintain would be a
fit for Kelly’s spread offense.

Believe it or not, the Super Bowl of all events could bring
some clarity to this picture. That’s because as soon as the clock hits zero on
the big game this Sunday, the timer starts ticking on a short three-day window where
the Eagles must release Vick in order to avoid paying him a roster bonus.

The Eagles have until Wednesday, February 6 to reach a decision
on Vick before they owe him $3 million. Assuming he isn’t part of the franchise’s
long-term plans, why give him another penny?

Of course, there is this belief Vick could play quarterback
in Kelly’s system, but even if that were the case, there are several roadblocks
standing in the way.

For starters, Vick has a base salary of around $16 million
in 2013, far more than the Eagles are likely willing to pay. Between his
inability to stay healthy and generally substandard performance, a 33-year-old
Vick simply is not worth that level of financial investment. He is unlikely to want
to renegotiate, too, whether out of personal pride or because he would prefer
to hand-pick his next situation.

It might be false to presume Vick would mesh with Kelly’s
philosophies anyway. That line of thinking seems largely based around the
notion this style of offense will require a mobile quarterback – not that injury-prone
Vick could withstand it anyway – but Kelly himself has nixed that idea. In
fact, Vick’s penchant for sacks and turning the ball over probably make him a
less-than-ideal candidate to run Kelly’s offense, or any offense for that
matter.

Vick doesn’t appear to have much working in his favor as far
as staying in Philadelphia is concerned. What about beyond the supposed
deadline though?

It’s possible. By NFL standards, $3 million isn’t a ton of
money, so the Eagles could conceivably pay that, and then… well that’s just it.
Think it over some more? As if the tape is going to show them something
different. Hold a quarterback competition? That sounds like a fine use of a $16
million player.

If the team is going to move on no matter what, why wait? After
all, the Eagles have never been an organization to pass up a savings.

The only other conceivable reason they would hold off is if
they were attempting to trade Vick, which will be easier said than done. The
Eagles are not the only front office that is going to have qualms about shelling
out that kind of money for a deteriorating quarterback who was vastly overrated
even at the pinnacle of his playing career. Unless Vick was willing to
renegotiate for another club, there is little chance of this happening.

And then what kind of return would the Birds get on Vick –
enough to merit playing this game of chicken? Is covering the $3
million roster bonus worth it to net a pair of mid-round draft picks that
wouldn’t earn that much combined over the entirety of their rookie deals?

It would be nice if they could get anything at all in return
for a quarterback that will probably move on and start someplace else for
another a season or two, but it may not be all that feasible. And maybe he can
play in the spread, maybe not, but that’s an awful lot of cash to commit to
maybes. The likeliest scenario is the Eagles let Vick go next week, because it might be the only scenario that makes sense.

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Carson Wentz goes through lengthy pregame warmup in Indy

Carson Wentz goes through lengthy pregame warmup in Indy

INDIANAPOLIS -- Carson Wentz isn't playing on Saturday night against the Colts, but the No. 2 overall pick might have a chance to play in the preseason finale on Thursday, which has been the hope all along. 

Wentz went through a lengthy pregame warmup -- about an hour -- on Saturday as his teammates prepared to face Andrew Luck and the Colts. Long after Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel went into the locker room, Wentz continued to throw. 

This week's pregame warmup was much more intense than the one he was put through last week in Pittsburgh. On Saturday, he dropped back to throw and looked smooth throwing on the run, even across his body. Quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo put Wentz through the hour-long workout on Saturday. Leaving the field after the workout, offensive coordinator Frank Reich agreed that Wentz looked good. 

The real test will be the X-ray, because no matter how good he feels or how much he lobbies, he'll need to be cleared before he's allowed to return. Shortly after the injury, Wentz said practice would be determined by his pain tolerance and game action would be determined by medical personnel. If he doesn't play against the Jets, it could be a while before Eagles fans get to see their quarterback of the future. 

Another hurdle is the short week of practice thanks to a Thursday game coming after a Saturday game. 

"It's interesting because next week we only got really two days of practice," Doug Pederson said earlier in the week. "We'll see. We'll evaluate him through the weekend. [We’ll] take him on this trip and work him out a little bit when we get to Indy [Indianapolis], and then again next Monday and Tuesday. We've got to at least get a day's work with him in order for him to go in the game next Thursday."

Along with Wentz, there are several other Eagles who won't play against the Colts: Aaron Grymes, Alex McCalister, Joe Walker, Jordan Matthews, Isaac Seumalo and Mike Martin.

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

Tonight's Lineup: After hitting 6th Friday, Odubel Herrera moves up to 2-hole

After watching his club get smacked around in a 9-4 loss to the Mets on Friday, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has tinkered with his lineup for Saturday's game at Citi Field.

Odubel Herrera moves up to the two-hole after hitting sixth Friday, while Aaron Altherr goes from second to third and Jimmy Paredes gets the start in left and bats seventh. Ryan Howard starts again at first base and bats fifth.

Herrera, who has been struggling since the All-Star break with a .257 average, has lost his leadoff spot to Cesar Hernandez but is starting to find his swing again.

In the last seven days, Herrera is 5 for 17 with a double and a run scored. In August, the centerfielder is hitting .288 with two homers and five RBIs.

Altherr, who played left field Friday, moves over to right field and Peter Bourjos gets the night off. Altherr is hitting .255 with four home runs and 19 RBIs on the season.

Here is the full Phillies lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Aaron Altherr, RF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Ryan Howard, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P

For more on tonight's's game, check out Steven Tydings' game notes.

Jake Metz, Soul credit strong 4th-quarter defensive effort for championship win

Jake Metz, Soul credit strong 4th-quarter defensive effort for championship win

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Despite the Soul leading by three touchdowns early in ArenaBowl XXIX, there was little cheering from the their bench.

Given the volatility that is Arena League football and the frequency from which teams can strike, the approach remained resolute and determined. Defensive tackle Jake Metz kept the mindset of a scoreless game and could not stop hearing words coming from Ron Jaworski, a highly vocal partner in the Soul’s ownership.

“He kept yelling that offense gets headlines but defense wins championships,” said Metz, who currently lives in Schwenksville, Montgomery County, and went to Shippensburg University. “That resounded with me, and brought the championship.”

Metz and his defensive teammates then went out and shut down a highly hazardous and explosive Arizona Rattlers offensive unit en route to a 56-42 win (see story). Led by quarter Nick Davila, the only three-time MVP in Arena Football League history, the Rattlers could manage only seven points in a critical fourth quarter.

At the same time, Metz recovered a fumble by Davila with the Soul holding a slim six-point margin with just under six minutes to play. That turnover was the key point in the Soul’s eventual win, and cemented the role of the defense as a shut-down unit.

On the subsequent possession, Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh connected with Shaun Kauleinamoku on a 30-yard scoring strike. That created a 14-point comfort zone and the final margin of victory.

“These players deserve this championship,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel said. “This is a first class organization and ownership gives the players a first-class experience. That way, we can attract great players, and with great players comes success.”

In capturing the league title Friday night, the victory was the second in franchise history. In 2008, the Soul and Phillies each won championships, and that was the last time a professional team captured a title in Philadelphia.

Metz remembers the Phillies' win over the Rays, and pointed out, “I went to those games as a kid.” That championship stuck with the 6-foot-6, 265 pounder, and helped to forge a championship mentality.

Early in the fourth quarter, Arizona caught the Soul at 42-42. From that point, Raudabaugh directed two scoring drives, and along with Metz’s important fumble recovery, carried the Soul to the title.

“It’s all about how you respond,” said Raudabaugh, who finished with 20 for 36 for 278 yards and six touchdowns. “Granted, they have a very explosive team, but we were never out it. They did come back, but we had an answer for them.”

The answer was a strong defense which Dolezel indicated was playing at their peak just prior to the title game.

Defensive back Tracy Belton, the AFL defensive player of the year and DB Dwayne Hollis, whose fumble recovery for a touchdown early in the game was another key defensive play, clearly showed how a defense can carry a team to a league title. That was the effort the Soul brought together in an environment as unpredictable as the Arena Football League.