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Philadelphia Eagles

2010 Comeback Player of the Year: The season it all came together for Michael Vick

Louie DiBiase

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Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY

In honor of Michael Vick who celebrated his 38th birthday this week and getting ready to hit the field this month for the new AFFL Flag Football League, we look back at the 2010 season that resulted in Vick winning Comeback Player of the Year, and finally putting it all together as a quarterback.

The Debut

Lincoln Financial Field September 12th 2010: It’s the season opener for the Philadelphia Eagles as they take on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1960 NFL Championship victory, the Eagles are sporting the Kelly green vintage uniforms, on top of sporting a brand new franchise in Kevin Kolb.

Lets fast forward to the second quarter. The game is all tied up at 3. Its 3rd and 14 for the Eagles on their own 18 with a little under 8 minutes to go. Kolb rolls to his left and what happens next changed the course of the season and Michael Vick’s career.

Kolb ends up suffering a concussion and was unable to return, opening the door for Vick to tear up the Packers defense in the second half, and nearly lead the Eagles to a come from behind victory before finally falling 27-20.

Vick was the talk of the week. Not only did he run for 103 rushing yards in his breakout “I’m back” performance, but he suddenly looked like a player that understood how to throw from inside the pocket, going through progressions and keeping his eyes down the field when he needed too. Vick went 16 of 24 (66% completion percentage) for 175 yards and 1 touchdown. His passing efficiency shocked analysts, coaches, and fans alike as the former first overall pick was always known for his incredible speed and athleticism, but never put it together as a passer.

It was always “could you imagine if Vick became as good of a passer as he was a runner?” Suddenly….he was. And he lit the NFL on fire.

Vick becomes the guy

Following the loss to the Packers, Andy Reid officially announced Michael Vick would be his starter moving forward. A surprising turn of events considering Reid traded his franchise quarterback of 12 years in Donovan McNabb because Kevin Kolb showed enough promise in 2009 for the Eagles to believe he could be the next face of the franchise.

Vick looked so dominant in two and a half quarters of play that Reid was willing to end the Kolb-era just a quarter into it. It ended up being the right call.

After being declared the starter, Vick put together two MVP-like performances against the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

@Detroit: 21-34 284 Yds 2 TD 0 INT 8 carries 37 rushing yards 

If anyone needed confirmation that Vick’s Atlanta-like mobility was back, this game not only confirmed it but also showed a evolution to his mobility. Creating with his legs to open up the passing game.

@Jacksonville: 17-31 291 Yds 3 TD 0 INT 4 carries 30 rushing yards 1 TD

Kolb almost takes the job back 

The Eagles were at 2-1 and rolling on offense. Then in a game that featured the return of Donovan McNabb who was starting for the Washington Redskins, Vick suffered broken ribs after getting hit by two Redskins defenders at the same time. This injury sidelined Vick for three straight weeks where Kevin Kolb nearly took the starting job back.

Kolb went 2-1 in place of Vick, looking sharp in back to back wins over the 49ers and Falcons. Perhaps if the Eagles take down the Titans in Week 7 and win three straight, Vick doesn’t come off the bench.

Reid however stuck with Vick after the bye as the Eagles got ready to take on the Peyton Manning-led Colts.

Vick went toe to toe with Peyton Manning as the Eagles upset the Colts 26-24. Vick finished with 218 yards and 1 touchdown through the air, while also posting 74 rushing yards and a score on the ground.

It was a game where Vick’s accuracy was on display. Never before had we seen Vick make such incredible touch passes down the field, throwing with anticipation and the power of that left arm that may be the most underrated in NFL history.

This wasn’t THE game however that we remember when looking back on what was a mind blowing season from Michael Vick. There were a lot of games that featured highlight, spectacular plays from Vick throughout the season. The one that stands out has to be the Monday Night Massacre in Washington against the Redskins which might not only be the best of that season, but one of the most memorable in Eagles history.

The most unstoppable performance we have ever seen? 

That statement has to be accurate when talking about dominating individual performances from a player. The 59-28 blowout against the Redskins was the best display of offensive football Eagles fans have ever seen, and maybe the NFL has ever seen.

This was THE Michael Vick game. 20 of 28 333 passing yards 4 touchdowns 80 rushing yards 2 touchdowns. Not only Eagles fans remember this game. Fantasy owners that year that picked up Michael Vick also remember what probably was one of the more lopsided victories of their fantasy careers. Vick record six….SIX touchdowns against the Redskins in one night.

It got going from the get-go. A scrum before the game between both rosters built the hype up.

Property of ESPN

And on the first play, Vick and DeSean Jackson blew the hype out of the building.

Vick put it all together in this game. He simply broke the will of Washington. From the deep touchdowns to Jackson and Maclin, picking the Skins apart in the red-zone, and using his legs to convert third downs, Vick in this game looked like the “Ultimate Weapon” more than even Randall Cunningham ever did in his Eagles career.

This game showed what the Eagles could be when clicking on all cylinders. They had one of the most talented offensive groups ever (maybe until 2017?) with Vick, Jackson, McCoy, and Maclin all on one unit and at least for one night it all came together.

It didn’t even seem fair how Vick toyed with the Redskins. It was the closest thing Vick got to his 2004 Madden self in real life.

The Miracle

Vick had his tests throughout the season. He failed to close out the comeback against Green Bay Week 1, he held on against the Lions Week 2 by one score, he narrowly defeated Peyton Manning by 2 points.

With each one of these games having a close score, it never seemed like the offense was the problem or had any chance of being shut down. There is a reason the Eagles a year later attempted to jack up their defense with big name free agents (you know….the Dream Team), the 2010 defense had many holes that often let teams back in games.

The toughest challenge Vick faced in his Comeback Player of the Year campaign was the Miracle in the New Meadowlands against the New York Giants.

In a big Week 15 battle for first place in the NFC East, both the Eagles and the Giants were at 9-4 in what was a must-win situation. On the road, the Eagles offense finally looked beatable.

The offense only got 3 points on the board heading into half-time, while the Eagles defense did Vick no favors as New York led at halftime 24-3.

It seemed all but official with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter that the Eagles were going to suffer a crucial loss to the Giants and fall to second place in the division after Eli Manning hit Kevin Boss in the back of the end zone going up 31-10.

And then Michael Vick happened.

(Starts at final drive 1:38:56)

His final drive was something out of a painting. Escaping the pocket, running the football, sticking in the pocket in front of the blitz to get that pass to Maclin. It might have been Vick’s most impressive moment as a quarterback.

Looking back, what could have been Vick’s last big moment in the NFL, he stepped up to the challenge. He maxed out his abilities and showed why at any moment he was capable of taking over a game.

If the Eagles did not defeat the Giants in this game, there would have been no playoff appearance for the Birds.

The Eagles end up falling to the Packers in a close Wild Card match up, and despite Philadelphia’s efforts to quickly build a Super Bowl contender around Vick over the next two seasons, they wouldn’t return to the postseason with Vick under center. Injury issues plagued Vick for the rest of his Eagles career, and it was the main reason the 2011 Eagles missed the playoffs by a game at 8-8.

Even if it was for just one season, Eagles fans and the NFL got to see what it would be like if Vick had put it all together. At one point not long before, nobody thought they would even see Vick in an NFL uniform again let alone taking his elite speed and athleticism, and combining it with a refined, developed, lethal arm and passing abilities.

The 2010 Michael Vick story will go down as one of the most electric, exciting seasons we have had in the NFL.

With Vick turning 38 this week and growing his football career outside the NFL in the AFFL and becoming an offensive coordinator for the AAF (a new upstart football league), this is a great time to reminisce on one hell of a season.

Louie, an Eagles, and NFL enthusiast all his life has finally found his home to share his thousands of takes on the Philadelphia Eagles with Locked on Eagles. Louie also works in Buffalo sports radio as a producer for WGR Sports Radio 550 the official home of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, in addition to working as the Sports Director for 91.3 FM WBNY Buffalo. He may be far from the nest, but Louie bleeds green just like the rest of Eagles Nation. Fly Eagles Fly.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Bell over Brown is an obvious choice for the Eagles

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

It’s almost fishing season in the NFL as all 32 teams look to catch some nice pieces for their roster through free agency, the draft, and the trade market. While the biggest fish don’t always tend to swim in those waters, every year a few big names suddenly become available for a team looking to spend.

This year, it just so happens two of the best at their position are up for grabs, and they both are coming from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Star offensive weapons in RB Le’Veon Bell and WR Antonio Brown will both be in different jerseys next year for the first time in their careers. Bell is set to become a free agent, while Pittsburgh and Brown agreed a trade is in the best interest for both sides.

On paper, the Eagles could make sense for both. Adding weapons around Carson Wentz will always be a priority. However if Howie Roseman and the front office decide they want to go after one of these expensive play-makers, Bell makes much more sense for a number of reasons.

 

Bell doesn’t come with the baggage Brown does

Don’t let this fool you. Talent beats culture. It is why the Steelers were consistently atop the AFC despite a chaotic locker room. Coaches like Chip Kelly flamed out because they prioritized scheme and a robotic culture.

Despite that, Brown’s antics off the field are a real concern. He quit on his team with the season on the line. Pittsburgh needed a win and a Baltimore loss to make the postseason in Week 17 but Brown was MIA.

The temper tantrums on the sidelines, ghosting your team with the season on the line, that kind of behavior despite six straight seasons of 100+ receptions is eye opening.

Bell doesn’t have that stench to him. While Steelers fans will tell you Bell was selfish and uncommitted to football, it is unfair to say he has character concerns because he didn’t want to risk his long term health in a contract year. He wanted to be paid like the star he is and Pittsburgh wanted to pay the position not the player. Can’t blame either side.

 

Brown would require trade assets AND a big contract 

Some people love to scoff at the idea of paying any significant resource for a star RB like Bell. While it wouldn’t be smart to kill the salary cap for the do-it-all weapon, it is far more reasonable to pay Bell rather than pay Brown big money and give up the trade assets it would take to get him from Pittsburgh.

What sounds better to you? $14+ million a year for Bell or $14+ million a year for Brown and perhaps a 2nd round pick + Nelson Agholor?

Bell, Agholor, and the rookie taken with that 2nd round pick sounds a lot better than just Brown.

The report Bell wants $50 million in the first two years is scary. He turned down a 5 year $70 million deal with the Steelers but perhaps when the market develops Bell will have to temper his expectations.

 

Bell’s age and position is more attractive to the Eagles

Two other major elements in deciding between Bell and Brown would be age and position.

By the start of next season, Brown will be 31. Bell will be be 27. Bell has four years on Brown.

If Bell could maintain his productivity into his early 30’s, the Eagles could be set at RB for 5-6 years.

Being a running back also makes him a more attractive option. Doug Pederson’s offense is in desperate need of a talented RB.

Having a weapon like Bell in the backfield that can be your top runner, a top receiver, and efficient pass blocker puts this Eagles offense on a level only the Saints and Rams can match in the NFC.

It also makes the offense less predictable. Using a committee with featured grinders like Ryan Mathews, LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajay, and Josh Adams to go along with the clear pass catchers in Darren Sproles and Corey Clement can be a good way to keep your backs fresh, but it is clear what the offense plans to do on 3rd and 4 when Sproles is out there.

It is easier to predict what Pederson will do on 3rd and 2 when Blount was out there. Someone like Bell keeps the defense guessing in any situation.

While the Eagles could use more speed on offense, Brown would be a luxury. A luxury that could cost high draft picks, players, a high cap hit, and potential baggage.

Is that worth it for a team that already has at least four quality receiving options? Can’t imagine Brown would be happy not seeing 13+ targets a game.

 

Conclusion

History tells us the Eagles won’t go after either Bell or Brown. However with an aggressive front office that has shown a commitment in surrounding their franchise QB with weapons, it wouldn’t be suprising to see one of these two in midnight green. Especially with Roseman’s ability to perform magic on the salary cap.

If they decide to pursue one, it should be Le’Veon Bell.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Offseason Options: Wide Receiver

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles have plenty of weapons for Carson Wentz to throw to in 2019. The WR position, however, could use more speed to compliment the bigger weapons in Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, and Dallas Goedert.

If Golden Tate, Mike Wallace, and/or Jordan Matthews leave the Eagles this offseason, what options does Howie Roseman have in free agency and the draft when it comes to pass catchers?

Louie and Gino give some big name options in the draft and free agency, as well as some receivers that could fly under the radar in both offseason periods.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Offseason Options: Running Back

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It is time for the Eagles to add some serious talent in the backfield. What are their options if they want to add a big name free agent? What about a high draft pick?

If Howie Roseman sticks to his strategy of lower-priced free agents or draft picks, who could be a diamond in the rough?

Our “Offseason options’ series begins with RB on the Locked on Eagles podcast!

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