The Return of Mike Vick

The Return of Mike Vick

After missing three games with a rib injury for the second consecutive season, Michael Vick returns to the lineup on Sunday to lead the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked against the Miami Dolphins. Although it's doubtful he can save their season, the next four weeks are very important for the Eagles quarterback anyway.

As Always, Your Postseason Update
Wouldn't it be funny if, after everything that's happened, the Eagles wind up making the playoffs? No? You've seen that one before? Well technically it is still possible. Here goes...

If the Birds win out, and neither the 7-5 Cowboys or 6-6 Giants finish better than 8-8, Philadelphia miraculously becomes division champs.

Sounds like a fairy tale in contrast with how they played all season, but you never know when Vick will capture lightning in a bottle. After Miami, the Eagles have the Jets (7-5), Dallas, and Washington (4-8) -- not a real imposing slate, so they'll play these out and hope for some help.

Vince Young, You're Fired
Regardless of whatever is left to play for, it doesn't seem like too many people will be sad to see VY back on the bench. There may not be a more unlikeable player on this team, and he bottomed out last week in Seattle, heaving four picks.

His stretch of relief probably wasn't as bad as how it will be remembered. All the same, we've seen enough.

Get What You Paid For
Even if the season were mathematically over -- and once it officially is -- Vick is the franchise quarterback. He doesn't get to hide on the shelf inside the trainer's room until the nightmare is over, pretending his 14 turnovers never happened.

Win or lose, Vick can still put on a show with the best of them. It's a show the fans have already paid their hard-earned money to see, and a show the Eagles are handing over sacks with dollar signs on them to Vick to perform.

Not that we're accusing Vick of ducking games. The man has a competitive spirit to rival the best, and if he can play, he wants on that field. This is just in case there is any notion out there the Eagles should shield him from further injury, and get ready for next year.

What Do We Have Here?
Last and perhaps most important, these final four games it's critical to evaluate Vick. There is no denying the sharp decline in the quarterback's play since he's taken over the job. He's gone from MVP-caliber to puzzling remarkably fast.

Vick is 3-8 over his last 11 starts, committing 19 turnovers during that span. By comparison, he's thrown or rushed for 15 touchdowns over the same stretch. On the whole, his passer rating has plummeted to 79.8 in 2011, only a few points better than what he posted for his career in Atlanta.

Obviously, Vick is coming back next season. His salary is fully guaranteed, and the very soonest they could even consider getting out from under his contract is 2013.

That scenario isn't out of the question though. If Vick doesn't elevate his play over these final four games, the Eagles have to give serious consideration to what the future at their quarterback position is. Given the prospect of a top 10 pick in April, they should even consider drafting somebody right away.

Which guy is he -- the one who energized the Eagles' record-setting offense for the first three-quarters of last season, or the guy who hasn't been able to get out of his own way ever since? The ball is back in Vick's hands now.

Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

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Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 0

BOX SCORE

The Phillies were beaten, 4-0, by the Washington Nationals on Monday night, but wins and losses don’t matter as much as development in a rebuilding season, so there was a bright spot: Rookie right-hander Jake Thompson finally broke through with a good start in holding the Nats to two runs over seven innings.
 
The Phillies’ offense was not good. It produced just four hits on the night.
 
Washington got all the offense it needed when Jayson Werth, the second batter of the game, homered off Thompson in the first inning.

The Nats lead the NL East at 76-55. The Phils are 60-71.
 
The crowd of 16,056 was the smallest of the season at Citizens Bank Park.
 
Starting pitching report
Thompson had struggled in four starts – 9.78 ERA – since arriving from Triple A and there were questions whether he’d even make this start. But he put together a nice outing. After giving up two runs in the first inning, he pitched six straight scoreless innings, finishing his outing with three strikeouts, the last of which came on his 111th pitch when he froze Trea Turner with a breaking ball with two men on base. Thompson allowed seven hits – four in the first three innings – and walked one.
 
Washington right-hander Tanner Roark pitched seven shutout innings to improve to 14-7. He held the Phils to four hits and a walk and struck out five.

Bullpen report
Frank Herrmann gave up two runs in the ninth.
 
At the plate
Odubel Herrera had two of the Phillies’ four hits.
 
Werth’s homer in the top of the first was his 19th. Anthony Rendon drove in a run with a two-out single in that inning. Clint Robinson and Turner had RBI singles in the ninth to push the Nats’ lead to 4-0.
 
ICYMI
Herrera is staying in center field for the remainder of the season, Pete Mackanin said. (LINK)
 
Up next
The series continues on Tuesday night. Jerad Eickhoff (9-12, 3.87) pitches against Washington right-hander Max Scherzer (14-7, 2.92).

Eagles sign Soul DT Jake Metz following workout

Eagles sign Soul DT Jake Metz following workout

Jake Metz has gone from the Soul to the Eagles.

Soul majority owner Ron Jaworski on Monday night tweeted a congratulatory message about the defensive tackle signing with the Eagles.

Metz and Soul wide receiver Darius Reynolds, fresh off an ArenaBowl title last Friday, worked out for the Eagles this afternoon before practice. Metz is the 74th player on the roster, which means the team is still below the next cut line — which is Tuesday at 4 p.m. — of 75. The Eagles' roster has to be at 53 by 4 p.m. on Sept. 3.

Metz, 25, graduated from Souderton Area High School and played his college ball at Shippensburg University. For the Arena Football League champions, Metz posted Soul highs in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (10).

Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

Pete Mackanin says Odubel Herrera will stay in CF this season — but beyond?

A couple of weeks ago in Los Angeles, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said there was a chance he could look at Odubel Herrera in a corner outfield spot over the final weeks of the season.

Scrub that idea.

“Not this year,” Mackanin said Monday. “If we decide we're going to do that, we'll encourage him to play a corner in winter ball and then in spring training, if that's what we decide to do.

“I thought about doing that. But I don't know if we want to do that now. We’ll just let him get back on track offensively. I won't say it won't happen here or there. But we're not going to make that move right now.

“Let's try to keep his mind as uncluttered as possible right now. It looks a little cluttered.”

The Phillies have thought about moving Herrera to a corner spot because they have a top center field prospect in Roman Quinn. Also, Aaron Altherr is an excellent defender in center.

Quinn seemed to be on target for a call up after the Eastern League playoffs, but that could be in doubt now that he’s on the disabled list with a concussion.

Still, Quinn may be this club’s centerfielder of the future. And behind him is Mickey Moniak, this year’s top draft pick. He’s a ways away. But it’s worth wondering if the Phillies believe Herrera’s future is at a corner outfield spot. Or whether Herrera will be wintertime trade bait.

Mackanin was asked if he believed Herrera’s future would be in a corner spot.

“You know, I'd rather not really even comment on that,” he said. “I don't want him to think that we're not pleased with him. I just want to keep him confident the rest of the season.”

Herrera’s defense in center field has slipped this season.

“He was better last year defensively,” Mackanin said. “He's made a lot of mistakes this year. I think we've all seen that. But that doesn't mean he's not going to play center field anymore. There's another month left to see what happens.”

Herrera was the Phillies’ lone representative in the All-Star Game. He hit .294 with a .378 on-base percentage and a .427 slugging percentage before the All-Star break. Since then, however, he was hitting .252 with a .314 on-base percentage and a .378 slugging percentage entering play Monday night.