Mike Vick left Sunday's game against the Giants. Nick Foles will likely take his place against the Buccaneers. (USA Today Images)
If it was a first-round playoff game, Michael Vick would probably dress.
If it was the Super Bowl, no question.
But the Eagles are playing the winless Buccaneers on Sunday in Tampa and Vick was still working out some tightness in his left hamstring Thursday, so the Eagles’ quarterback painted a pessimistic picture of starting at Raymond James Stadium instead of Nick Foles.
“To say I can go on Sunday, I can’t sit here and make that type of statement,” he said. “If I had to [play], yeah.”
But he doesn’t. Foles, who took over for Vick against the Giants and led the Eagles to a comeback win, has taken almost all of the first-team reps so far this week in practice while Vick remains limited.
Vick said he worked with the first, second and scout teams during Thursday’s practice as he still tries to work past some lingering tightness.
“It’s still in there, but I’m working it out,” he said. “Every day it gets better and better. [Thursday] was another stepping stone to my progress, so I’m looking forward to getting back real soon.”
Earlier in the day, Chip Kelly said he could wait until 12:59 p.m. Sunday - one minute before kickoff - to decide on his starter. Vick said he would test the hamstring on the field before the game.
The decision, he added, ultimately comes down to the training staff. Vick said he’s preparing like he’s the starter, but only because he does that regardless.
“Yes, I’m preparing as if I’m going to play. I prepare every week as if I’m going to play,” he said, “even if I’m the backup. I’ve just got to get ready, got to stay mentally involved, stay in tuned with the game plan and what we’re doing.”
Would he go at less than 100 percent? Not likely.
“I think it’s important to be 100 percent,” he added. “This type of injury, if you do anything out of the ordinary you can prolong the recovery process. I’m just trying to make sure I’m being smart about it. Our training staff is as well.”
Vick said he felt “10 times better” than he did from Wednesday, and seemed much more optimistic that he’d be back on the field next Sunday for an NFC East showdown against the Cowboys at the Linc.
Kelly has said Vick would remain the starter when healthy, although he also didn’t slam the door shut on Foles keeping the job if the second-year pro plays out of his mind against the Bucs, who have the NFL’s eighth-best scoring defense.
“I think if I wasn’t to play this week I’d be able to play next week,” he said. “But it still remains to be seen. You never know what can happen tomorrow.”