PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Vick punctuated his remarkable comeback story with a sensational performance against the New York Giants in Week 15 two years ago.
Since then, Vick has been Mediocre Mike.
The Philadelphia Eagles are just 9-9 in Vick’s starts since he led them to an NFC East title by bringing them back from a 21-point deficit with 8:17 remaining to beat the Giants 38-31 on Dec. 19, 2010. DeSean Jackson finished off that stunning rally with a 65-yard punt return on the final play, but it was Vick who put the Eagles in position to win.
Vick threw for 108 yards, and ran four times for 94 yards in the last three scoring drives to set up Jackson’s clutch return. He finished with 242 yards passing and 130 more rushing.
Those were the days.
Vick has been so inconsistent lately that coach Andy Reid is asked weekly if he would consider benching the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback for rookie backup Nick Foles. Reid’s answer to that question earlier this week was seemingly innocuous.
“Right now we’re with Michael and that’s what we’re doing. We’ll evaluate as we go,” he said.
Still, it was misinterpreted by some reporters. That led to speculation Vick’s job was in jeopardy. So, Reid clarified his remarks Wednesday.
“Michael is our starting quarterback,” Reid said. “That’s not what I had in mind. Bad semantics there.”
Vick didn’t need the vote of confidence.
“I heard it, but I really don’t pay attention to what’s being said unless I’ve heard from coach himself,” Vick said. “We talked about it and it’s all about me going out and getting ready for this week against New York. It wasn’t anything serious.
“We’re in the position where we have to look forward to this week, we have to get ready for this game, that’s what’s most important. Outside distractions, we can’t let that be a deterrent to this team. We try to move forward and get ready for the next game.”
The Eagles (2-1) have a tough test against the defending Super Bowl-champion Giants (2-1) at home Sunday night. They’re coming off a 27-6 loss at Arizona that underscored several of the team’s deficiencies.
Turnovers were a major problem against the Cardinals and have been the first three weeks. The Eagles have 12 turnovers, including nine by Vick. He’s thrown six interceptions and lost three fumbles.
“Everything is good with our offense, everything is in sync, everything is intact,” Vick said. “We just have to get better. If we eliminate the turnovers and start fast, we give ourselves a chance to win the game.”
Vick has completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 905 yards and three touchdowns to go with all those turnovers. He also has 94 yards rushing and one TD. His passer rating of 66.3 is fourth-worst in the NFL.
After that incredible comeback against the Giants in 2010, Vick was considered an MVP candidate with two games remaining. He had a 63.2 completion percentage, 20 TDs, just five interceptions and a 103.6 passer rating in 11 games.
But Vick followed that up with a poor effort in a loss to lowly Minnesota that cost the Eagles a first-round bye. He threw a game-ending interception in the end zone in his next start, a playoff loss against Green Bay.
Last year was a disaster for Vick and the rest of his teammates. He started this season off by leading the Eagles to two 1-point victories with final-drive TDs, but had six picks in the two wins.
Overall, in his last 18 starts, Vick has 23 TD passes, 22 interceptions, nine lost fumbles with a passer rating of 80.1 and a 58.5 completion percentage
“I know it can be corrected,” Vick said of the turnovers. “That’s the most important thing. I know I can get my job done week in and week out. As a whole, you know you have to put it all together and that’s what I’m focused on, nothing in between. I pretty much expect us to put it all together at some point.”
Vick has plenty of support in the locker room.
“We’re always behind Mike 100 percent,” tight end Brent Celek said. “It’s a team game. It’s not that he’s doing anything to make us lose a game. It’s a team.”
Vick takes criticism for his decision-making, attempting ill-advised throws, holding the ball too long and not reading blitzes. But there’s plenty of blame to go around.
An injury-depleted offensive line has struggled, causing Vick to get knocked around quite a bit. Sometimes the running backs have failed to pick up their blocks on blitzes. Other times, the playcalling puts the offense in situations where there are more rushers than blockers.
“We have to keep Michael clean, we have to give him time to make throws,” guard Evan Mathis said. “He knows we have full confidence in him.”
Notes: WR Jeremy Maclin practiced Wednesday after missing the loss to the Cardinals because of a hip injury. … WR Riley Cooper also practiced. He hasn’t played this season after breaking a collar bone in training camp. … LT King Dunlap (hamstring) and long snapper Jon Dorenbos (high-ankle sprain) didn’t practice. Demetress Bell started in Dunlap’s place vs. Arizona. Kyle Nelson would get the call off the practice squad if Dorenbos can’t go. Reid said he’s making progress and wasn’t limping.