Mike Vick, Leader

Mike Vick, Leader

While a pair of extensions to the NFL's collective bargaining agreement are cause for optimism that a new deal can be reached, the Eagles' signal caller is still preparing for the worst. Mike Vick, who signed his one-year franchise tender on Wednesday, has a contingency plan in the event of a lockout: he'll organize his own workouts.

"Wherever we agree to be collectively. It may be Florida, it may be Hawaii. We'll get our work in," Vick said. "Being on the same page, timing, which is very important. I think everybody has to be on one accord, all thinking the same. Practice and film study are important, but just familiarizing ourselves with each other, that's going to be big for us."

One of the primary concerns with an extended lockout is the absence of off-season workouts, possibly even a shortened training camp and preseason. Those programs are especially important to new and developing players, such as free agent acquisitions, the incoming class of rookies, and the slew of second-year players already on the roster.

Many view the upcoming camps as vital to Vick's growth as well. This is the first off-season he enters as a starting quarterback since returning to the league.

Vick had an abbreviated summer in 2009, joining the team after they had already played their first preseason game. Last year he worked behind Kevin Kolb, who took the bulk of the snaps and coaches' instruction in practice. And while Kolb was gaining rapport with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, Vick was throwing passes to Chad Hall and Jordan Norwood.

This being Vick's third year in Andy Reid's system, he's expected to take the proverbial next step. Obviously, there is no replacing the environment at Lehigh or the NovaCare Complex, but any progress in lieu of that structure would be welcome.

Maybe most important at all, this is another sign that Vick "gets it." Not that there were any doubts about his new and improved work ethic or desire to win, but now he's going above and beyond the call of duty. Privately organized workouts are not entirely unusual—Donovan McNabb routinely invited the wide receivers to his home in Arizona—but it serves as yet another example of Vick's maturity.

Thankfully, it may not come to this.

While it's still anybody's guess whether owners can settle their differences with the players union in the next week, the fact that they extended the deadline at all is a sign negotiations are at least serious. Funny... as soon as the ruling came down that owners violated the current CBA and may not receive money from their television contracts during a lockout, suddenly they seem very motivated to get a deal completed.

>> Vick: Long-term pact depends on 'actions'on and off the field' [NFL.com]
AP Photo

Penn beats Dartmouth, 37-24, behind Torgersen's 3 TDs

u-penn-alek-torgersen.jpg
USA Today Images

Penn beats Dartmouth, 37-24, behind Torgersen's 3 TDs

HANOVER, N.H. -- Alek Torgersen threw a touchdown pass and ran for two more scores as Pennsylvania rolled to a 37-24 victory over Dartmouth in the Ivy League opener for both teams on Friday night.

Torgersen finished with 188 yards passing, and bounced back from having his 17-game TD-passing streak snapped in a 31-17 loss at Fordham last week. He capped the Quakers' opening drive with a 28-yard scoring strike to Christian Pearson. Torgersen also bullied in from the 4 and 3-yard lines to help stretch Penn's lead to 35-10 late in the third quarter.

Tre Solomon ran for 107 yards on 29 carries and had scoring runs of 1 and 7 yards for Penn (1-2, 1-0).

Jack Heneghan was 27 of 43 for 289 yards passing, and threw two touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter to lead Dartmouth (2-1, 0-1).

It was second-year Penn coach Ray Priore's first win against Dartmouth.

Instant Replay: Mets 5, Phillies 1

usa-maikel-franco-nosedive-mets.jpg
USA Today Images

Instant Replay: Mets 5, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

The Phillies returned home from a bad road trip Friday with only three games to play and the only thing to play for being the role of spoilers.

With the New York Mets in town looking to put a stranglehold on a wildcard spot, the Phillies, as another losing season finishes out, could be a thorn in the side of their rivals.

Alec Asher looked like he was playing the part, retiring the first 11 hitters he faced, but the Mets rallied, got behind starter Robert Gsellman, and turned back any Phillies sabotaging on this night, beating the home team, 5-1.

Starting pitching report
Asher retired the first 11 Mets hitters he faced before running into trouble in the top of the fourth inning. With two outs, his brief perfect game bid was ended with a single from Yoenis Cespedes. That was followed by another from Curtis Granderson. 

Jay Bruce then worked a full count but Asher couldn’t put him away. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Bruce singled home Cespedes to tie the score. 

A fourth consecutive single, this time off the bat of T.J. Rivera, allowed Granderson to cross the plate for a 2-1 Mets lead.

Asher’s night and season ended with a Jay Bruce home run to lead off the top of the seventh.

Asher, 24, went six-plus innings Friday, throwing 104 pitches while allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out four and walked zero.

His 2016 finishes with a 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 27 ⅔ innings pitched. He struck out 13 and walked four.

Bullpen report
Michael Mariot relieved Asher after the Bruce home run.

After getting through the seventh, Mariot got into trouble in the eighth inning. Back-to-back singles from Alejandro De Aza and Jose Reyes put a pair of runners on base. Two batters later, Cespedes hit a pop up into the wind and Ryan Howard couldn’t quite make a play on it, allowing the ball to fall on first base and bounce away far enough for De Aza to score for a 4-1 lead.

Mariot was then removed for Joely Rodriguez, who promptly allowed an RBI single off the bat of Bruce, who had three RBI on the night.

At the plate
The Phillies struck first Friday night. In the bottom of the second, Maikel Franco led off with an infield single and was nearly brought around when Howard hit a double off the wall in center field. 

Franco crossed the plate on a Cameron Rupp sacrifice fly but the Phillies couldn’t do any more damage against Gsellman.

The Phillies had two runners on in the fifth inning with one out but failed to score.

In the sixth, Jimmy Paredes nearly tied the game with a fly ball to the wall in dead center. 

Gsellman and the New York bullpen took care of the rest.

The Mets didn't allow a hit from the final 12 hitters they faced. 

Goodbye Ryan
The theme of the weekend, of course, is the Howard farewell to the home crowd. The longtime slugger was greeted with a standing ovation before his first at-bat. He then promptly doubled off the wall in center field. If not for the wind, the ball likely would’ve gone over the fence for his 25th home run.

Pete Mackanin has said all along Howard will play this weekend to give a proper exit for both player and the fans.

Howard, who went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts, was treated with loud ovations all night, and that trend is expected to continue through the weekend.

Freddy exits
Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis left the game in the seventh inning with what the Phillies called “right hamstring tightness.”

Pete tossed
Mackanin wasn’t happy with first base umpire Will Little in the top of the eighth inning and was thrown out of a game for the first time this year. Mariot threw a fastball in on Cespedes and Cespedes appeared to lose control of the bat through the strike zone. When appealed to, Little ruled Cespedes did not swing, and out came Mackanin.

Up next
The three-game series continues Saturday with a 1 p.m. start. Mets righty Bartolo Colon (14-8, 3.42 ERA) faces Phil Klein (0-1, 8.22).

The season wraps up Sunday with Jerad Eickhoff (11-14, 3.72) scheduled to face Mets ace Noah Syndergaard (14-9, 2.60), but if the game is meaningless for New York, Syndergaard will likely be held back for the wild card playoff game.