It's amazing what one weekend of preseason football can do to a team and individual players. From the time the offseason officially began, Michael Vick and the Eagles were known through the media as the "Dream Team." A title thrown out by Vince Young and blown up in the media like an M80 on the 4th of July.
All the hype came crashing down last week when Philly flew into Pittsburgh and got their butts handed to them by a score of 24-14. Was it just one game? Was Pittsburgh that fired up after being embarrassed against Washington in Week One?
Those questions and many more have been floating around the last few days. But the biggest question that owners have asked me is "What do you think of Mike Vick now?" After he threw three interceptions and nearly got his head cut off after tackling Troy Polamalu, the biggest question marks surrounding the Eagles have been mainly about Vick.
Head coach Andy Reid rarely tips his hand in the preseason. He runs one of the most vanilla playcalling in the NFL. I truly believe that may be one of the reasons. Guys missing their blocks, not running the right routes and coaches experimenting will cause a catastrophe on the field. But it might not be that simple.
I asked Ray Tannock, who follows the league's quarterbacks and keeps the Quarterback Rankings up-to-date, what he thought of the game and Vick:
The Steelers showed that there may be a concern with Vick facing teams who run the 3-4 defensive set. Vick was forced into some throws, contained on the inside, and otherwise pressured the entire time he was out on the field. This was, however, only the second preseason game with a bevy of veterans sitting, so we certainly don't want to jump the gun here. I would advise to hold on Vick for the moment, but also keep in mind that Vick does have 9 games on his plate that features teams who run the 3-4, and a single matchup with a Cardinals' team that runs an old variant of the 3-4 called the 5-2, which is slightly worse.
So there you have it. Like Ray said, it was only one preseason game that could mean a lot, or mean absolutely nothing. The good thing about the game is that the Eagles will use it as a tool to help Vick's pass protection and his ability to read those pesky blitzes. And with a game coming up against the Browns, I am sure we will see Vick's fantasy value go right back up again and owners will jump right back on the bandwagon. However, 3-4 defenses killed Vick and the Eagles last year when they lost to the Packers in the playoffs. If they don't fix their errors, those games where they do face 3-4 defenses are going to be rough going.