Vick, offense encounter first preseason struggles

Vick, offense encounter first preseason struggles

August 25, 2013, 1:45 am
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Mike Vick completed 15 of his 23 attempts for 184 yards, a touchdown and an interception Saturday night. (AP)

Michael Vick showed the trademark zip on his fastball when he fired one to Riley Cooper in the end zone for a touchdown and on the 22-yard strike he pitched to DeSean Jackson down the right seam.

But there were other parts of Saturday’s preseason game against Jacksonville, Vick’s first as the team’s official starting quarterback, that didn’t paint the prettiest of pictures of the Eagles’ first-team offense and its chief component.

This much, Vick admitted.

“I think we could have done a better job of finishing,” he said after the game, a 31-24 Eagles comeback win (see Instant Replay). “I thought we put some good drives together but I think they fell apart in the end. We had a couple turnovers. I had an interception in a crucial moment of the game. Other than that, I think we did a good job.”

Vick mentioned that tempo could have been faster, noting that Jacksonville’s defense threw some looks that he and the Eagles could have handled better. He lamented some mistakes and bad decisions, but overall, he expressed optimism that these wrinkles would be ironed out in time.

“The good thing about the game is there are a lot of things we can work on,” he added. “There’s a lot that I learned tonight that could help me out down the road.”

Vick, who was announced as Chip Kelly’s starter on Tuesday after weeks of battling with Nick Foles, played deep into the third quarter, the longest outing of the preseason for he and the first offense. He completed 15 of his 23 attempts (65 percent) for 184 yards, was picked off once and rifled a 14-yard touchdown to Cooper.

Once again, he completed a high percentage of his passes and made sharp throws when the pocket protected him. Though his 86.1 passer rating was his lowest of the three preseason games, it’s still a respectable one.

But there were times when the offensive line struggled against an aggressive Jags front seven, which led to Vick rekindling some bad habits. On his interception, Vick heaved the ball downfield off his back foot while trying to avoid the oncoming rush of mammoth tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, which led to his wobbly pass landing in the hands of Jags corner Dwayne Gratz.

On another dropback, Vick tried to throw the ball away as defensive end Alan Branch was in the process of dragging him to the ground, easily his most dangerous and head-scratching decision of the game. The ball went straight up in the air, but the referees had whistled Branch for the sack. After the game, Vick said he most regretted that lapse in judgment and needs to just accept throwing the ball away sooner.

“I look at my performance and I think I did some good things out there," he said. “It’s not always going to be perfect. We’re not perfect. But I can get better.”

Kelly seemed generally pleased with Vick’s overall game, especially the run element Vick provided.

“A couple times they did a good job in coverage. I don’t think he did -- besides the one he tried to throw away -- he didn’t force the football,” Kelly said. “I think he did good job of making them honest and picked up some real good yardage running after they kind of did a good job early in coverage.

“If you can do that, the quarterback can hurt you with his feet and I think Mike did that. That’s an encouraging thing when you have a guy back there that, when they do have good coverage on you, that we can then beat them on our feet, and that’s what he did.”

Vick most likely played his final preseason snap, unless Kelly takes the unconventional route and plays starters in the finale on Thursday against the Jets. You never know what Chippah has in store.

Vick sure sounded like someone who had just wrapped up an intense preseason, saying that he’s was proud of how he handled his competition with Foles and how the daily grind prepared him for the Sept. 9 season opener against the Redskins.

Asked if he’s ready to get the season rolling, Vick said he’s full steam ahead.

“I’m ready tonight,” he said. “I feel like I’m ready. I can’t wait.”

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