And I don't think it's gonna work.
More video after the jump.
Notice #91, second year DE Derrick Harvey out of Florida, patiently stay with the ball. He almost gets sucked in on the second video, but he recognizes the play and is athletic enough to recover and prevent a big run from LeSean McCoy. In Harvey's case, he defended a ton of option in college, but it speaks to a larger problem with the offense the Eagles attempted to run with Vick: defenses are prepared for it and the players are fast enough to stop it.
It's not as though we expect Reid to have Vick alternate snaps as often as he did Thursday night. Clearly this was a test drive, a chance for the coaches to throw the kitchen sink at their opponent and evaluate what might work. If a preseason game against the Jaguars is any indication though, the benefit of having Vick on the field as often as possible will be minimal.
For one thing, the offense never seemed to get in sync with constant substitutions. Again, Thursday was probably an extreme example of what will actually take place on gameday, but anybody suggesting this is going to be a seamless transition was wrong. It's not that Vick wasn't prepared; they had a particular set of plays ready, and execution was never an issue. None of it made the offense go though, and the less Vick came into the ballgame, the more smoothly the offense appeared to run.
The main issue was the actual plays the Eagles chose. Our main complaint using Vick as anything other than a QB in preseason was showcasing a gameplan that was originally used to catch opponents by surprise. Not only were they unable to achieve that advantage, the plays themselves were mostly simple options. There's a reason Eric Crouch never made it in the NFL.
If we were to grade Vick's first night as an Eagle, we'd have to go with a C-. It's not that he played poorly; Vick did everything the coaches asked, and did it mistake-free. The results were lacking though. Maybe the coaches weren't imaginative enough. Maybe they were holding back, and the plan was never to do anything more than get Vick back into the flow of the game.
The third preseason game is supposed to be the closest simulation to Sunday though, and they used a lot of it to run a bunch of goofy plays that failed to inspire. If the point was to defeat the other team, they went about it all wrong. If the point was simply to get Vick into as many snaps as possible, why couldn't they do that next week with Kevin Kolb?
Defenses are going to be gameplanning for this stuff every week as more and more teams try to get the Wildcat advantage. Jacksonville had no way of knowing exactly what to expect, but they obviously had a pretty good idea. It will be interesting to watch how the Eagles attack this going forward.
We'll have the full game autopsy on Monday.