By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — He took just 12 snaps this summer but Michael Vick says he’s ready and feels fresh for the Eagles’ 2012 season opener at Cleveland this Sunday. Vick’s health will be the cornerstone of the Eagles’ success, and it continues to be the pressing ominous query that hovers over Vick, Eagles’ coach Andy Reid and the Eagles’ anxious fan base.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work and preparation this week, the Cleveland Browns are a good football team and we have a lot of respect for them,” Vick said to the gathered media on Wednesday. “I feel good going into this game. I feel like I’m 100-percent, with no nagging injuries. I think I’m fully recovered and the last two weeks [off] have helped me get there. I’m just ready to go and ready to give it everything I’ve got.”
Vick hasn’t taken a snap since August 20, when he came out six plays into the Eagles’ preseason game against the New England Patriots on August 20 with bruised ribs. He also doesn’t feel the time off will affect him.
“Not at all,” Vick said. “I played in a ton of preseason games and been through training camp. I know what it feels like being in the pocket and moving around. I kind of know where I am. I’ve been through this plenty of times before. Obviously, I wish I could have been there in preseason but I just couldn’t make it. I’ll be ready to go in Week 1.
“I feel fresh right now, I feel good. My arm is in great shape, my body is in great shape. I’ve conditioned myself to feel this way. I’m extremely happy that I feel this way and where I am.”
But Vick did admit there is some added heat in keeping Reid his job. Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie has openly said that 8-8 won’t be acceptable this season. That nothing short of a playoff berth and obviously an NFL championship could cost Reid his job.
“We’re going out and playing for our coach, but we’re not only playing for Coach Reid,” Vick said. “We’re playing for this whole organization, the Philadelphia Eagles, and we want to represent the best we can for this team and these player. We’re all playing for coach and one another. We have to take the proper steps to get off to a good start.”
The fact that Vick hasn’t played in a few weeks may be helpful, Reid thinks.
“He’s very healthy right now,” Reid said about Vick. “He’s coming in and feels good and is throwing the ball well. He’s humming it and he feels good. I would say that would be a positive. He didn’t have a whole lot of snaps this preseason. I’m okay with that. That’s what it is. Would I have liked to have had a few more with him? Absolutely. But he has enough experience where I expect him to go in and perform well. We put a good base game plan in today and we’ll see how he does with it out there at practice.”
Reid also addressed the left tackle position, where King Dunlap has emerged as the starter over Demetress Bell. Reid said it’s an area that’s going to be okay.
“I’m not” concerned, Reid said. “I’ve got trust in King and he’s been here a while and I know him. He’s played well in the preseason here. The opportunities he got to play here before where quality starts for him when either Jason [Peters] went down or one of the other people went down. I’ve got confidence in him.”
8-8 Isn’t Acceptable: Andy Reid backed up his comments he made Wednesday morning with Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP about finishing the same way the Eagles finished last year, when they went a disappointing 8-8.
“Going 8-8 itself is not good enough, none of us are shooting for 8-8,” Reid said. “Nobody in this building is shooting for 8-8. That’s how I feel and I’m not worried about all of that. My concerns go right toward the Cleveland Browns and making sure we get ourselves right.”
The Boykin Decision: Andy Reid said he chose rookie cornerback Brandon Boykin over veteran Joselio Hanson, who the Eagles released after six seasons and who was picked up the Oakland Raiders, because Boykin was a little younger and may add fresh legs and some speed to the Eagles’ secondary.
“Nothing against Jose, we have a lot of trust in Jose, like we do Boykin who is a bit younger and possibly a little more athletic right now in his career,” Reid said. “I’m happy for Jose that he got a chance to hook up with the Raiders, and I’m sure he’ll do a good job out there.”
Notes: Injury wise, Riley Cooper and Colt Anderson will not play this week against Cleveland, Andy Reid said.
“I look forward to the challenge of playing the Cleveland Browns,” Reid said. “Neither team, I think, showed a whole lot the last time; and they got themselves healthy. We’re expecting a hostile crowd, which we know that happens in Cleveland, we know they’re loud and aggressive. Again, we’ll prep for all of that and be ready to play.”
Haden Eligible: The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Wednesday that Browns’ cornerback Joe Haden will likely be eligible to play on Sunday against the Eagles after appealing a four-game suspension.
“Browns cornerback Joe Haden was on the practice field today, which means most likely he’s not suspended for Sunday’s opener against the Eagles. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said today in an email that if a player is practicing on Wednesday, he’s generally available for that week. Haden is awaiting a decision on his suspension appeal, according to Browns President Mike Holmgren. He stands to miss four games for reportedly testing positive for the stimulant Adderall unless he can get the suspension overturned or reduced,” according to the Pain Dealer.
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.