Michael Vick is going to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, because that's what Michael Vick does. Chances are he'll have a good game against a defense lacking in playmakers, but mostly I'm hoping he doesn't hurt the offense with his excessive freelancing.
We interrupt your regularly scheduled quarterback controversy.
We've probably spent enough time on that topic for one week, so let's move on for now. If there is one player we should absolutely see more of this Sunday, it's LeSean McCoy.
Speaking from a practical sense, it's just smart football to hand the ball off a little more when the backup quarterback is in the game. Take the pressure off of Vick so he doesn't feel like he has to do everything. Under ordinary circumstances, asking Andy Reid to put it on the ground is like requesting Asante Samuel wrap up ball carriers, but we have seen the gameplan become more conservative in similar situations in the past.
Plus, McCoy has looked excellent with the rock. He's more decisive than he was as a rookie, and he's running with a nice mix of power and agility. He turned his seven carries against the Packers into 35 yards for a solid 5.0 average and a touchdown, and he had a few nifty runs in the preseason as well. (I throw away a lot of what I see in preseason, but you can usually get a pretty good read on running backs.)
Here's the kicker though. While most of the post-game discussion from last week's Lions-Bears encounter centered around the touchdown-catch-that-wasn't, one of the big stories that's been lost in the shuffle is how RB Matt Forte torched Detroit's defense.
Forte didn't have a particularly great game on the ground, rushing 17 times for a meager 50 yards. However, the multi-purpose back proved deadly as a receiver, finishing with seven receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns. The Lions had no answer. Forte scampered 89 yards on a screen pass for his first score, then caught the game winning touchdown in the end zone, 28 yards downfield.
Obviously the Lions coaching staff will attempt to address the issues they had covering the running back, but the truth of the matter is they may not have the personnel. The Eagles should come up with ways to exploit this, especially because it ultimately results in easier throws for the quarterback.
It would be nice to see what Shady can do given a greater number of opportunities. He had the kind of rookie season that showed some promise, but didn't exactly knock anybody off their feet. Now he's the man, more so than ever with Leonard Weaver out, and utilizing the running back in the passing game has been a staple of this offense from the beginning.
Regardless of who was going to be under center this week, it was time to get back to basics. McCoy turned five receptions into 47 yards last week. If the coaches can find ways to get him into space, he might be able to double or even triple his production.
Photo by Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images