PHILADELPHIA — Here’s a scenario that must have defensive co-ordinators scrambling to their chalkboards: Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick on the field together.
Though Vick has spent his three practice days with the Philadelphia Eagles playing quarterback, it’s more likely he’ll see most of his action in a non-traditional offence. With his speed and powerful arm, Vick is an ideal candidate to run a variation of the Wildcat formation.
Eagles coach Andy Reid isn’t revealing any secrets, but McNabb said Monday he wouldn’t mind if Vick took some of his snaps.
“I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it’s helping us win,” McNabb said.
If Vick lines up behind centre, McNabb won’t necessarily be watching from the sideline.
“I’ll be a receiver. I might be a tight end. I might be a running back,” he said with a smile. “You never know where I’ll be.”
It’s uncertain whether the Eagles would risk putting McNabb at an unfamiliar position and expose him to the defence. But it’s clear that Vick was brought in to add a different dimension to the offence, not to push McNabb for a starting job.
“Coach will think of something,” McNabb said.
So far, Vick has been mostly an observer at practice. He gradually works in behind McNabb, A.J. Feeley and undrafted rookie Adam DiMichele. McNabb’s backup, Kevin Kolb, is out with a knee injury.
Vick took nine snaps in team drills during a nearly two-hour session Monday afternoon. He completed 3-of-6 passes and handed off three times. Vick’s best throw came on his only play during seven-on-sevens when he fired a 25-yard completion to wide receiver Danny Amendola.
Again, Vick was the last player to leave the field. He spent 20 minutes working with offensive co-ordinator Marty Mornhinweg and two assistants after practice.
McNabb has been impressed with what he’s seen from Vick on the practice field and in the film room.
“He’s done a great job. You have to be excited about his work ethic and attitude,” McNabb said. “I see a guy doing whatever it takes to turn his life around. He’s going through the proper channels.”
McNabb said he first lobbied the Eagles to sign Vick a month ago. He said he approached Reid with the suggestion even before Vick was released from federal custody after serving 18 months of a 23-month sentence for his role in torturing animals and running a dogfighting operation.
The two have been friends since McNabb escorted Vick on a campus visit to Syracuse a decade ago — Vick chose Virginia Tech.
“I believe in second chances and I have strong faith in God that he forgives our sins,” said McNabb, a dog lover who owns two American bulldogs and a Belgian Malinois. “Yes, it was a bad thing and a malicious act, but somewhere in your heart, you have to have forgiveness.”
McNabb isn’t concerned that Vick’s presence ultimately will create a quarterback controversy. When McNabb went down with a season-ending knee injury in 2006, Jeff Garcia stepped in and led Philadelphia to a division title and a playoff victory.
But the Eagles didn’t re-sign Garcia after that season, and McNabb regained his starting spot once he was healthy.
“I’ve been through many situations here throughout my career when they’ve cheered for the backup,” McNabb said. “It happened with Garcia. It happened with Kolb. It happened with A.J. I’m used to that.”
McNabb, a five-time Pro Bowl pick, has led the Eagles to five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl appearance in 10 seasons in Philadelphia. He was rewarded with a US$5.3-million raise in the off-season when the Eagles tore up his old contract with two years remaining, and gave him a new deal worth $24.5 million over the next two seasons.
Vick signed a one-year, $1.6 million contract with the Eagles, who hold a $5.2 million option for a second season.
If Vick is a success with the Eagles, he could earn almost $8 million next season, with incentives. He can collect an additional $2.75 million in 2010 if he plays in 51 per cent of the offensive plays in 13 or more games next year, a person familiar with the contract confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Eagles have not revealed the terms of Vick’s contract.
If Vick does not reach the top incentive next season, he can still get an extra $850,000 if he hits the 51 per cent mark in at least nine games and $1.9 million if he does it in at least 11 games, the person said.
ESPN.com first reported the 2010 incentives on Saturday