We were told that Michael Vick would be starting for the Eagles against the Giants this Sunday but that plan is still only a tentative one according to Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly.
“Mike took some snaps in team, which was the first time in two weeks,” Kelly said via conference call today. “He had done some seven-on-seven before that. He looks like he’s progressing and we’ll evaluate as we go through Wednesday, Thursday and Friday here and see what he can do and can’t do.”
With Nick Foles, who led the Eagles to victory three weeks ago vs the Giants likely out (concussion), Kelly is hopeful Vick can go. If not, rookie Matt Barkley would get the call. Judging by his performance vs Dallas last week (0 TD, 3 INT), Barkley would face similar struggles vs the re-energized Giants’ defense.
Kelly is aware that the Eagles are in the throes of a nine-game losing streak at home. He just doesn’t want to acknowledge it….
“I don’t think we talk about it. Obviously, we want to give our fans what they deserve and we’ve had an unbelievable home crowd in the games that we’ve been home this year. I just got in this year. I wasn’t part of it last year, but there’s that tremendous support at home and we’re itching to go out there and get a victory in front of our home crowd.”
The Giants broke their own losing streak on Monday and have no intention of making it easy for Eagles to snap theirs. The Giants’ are cognizant of their turnovers and have cauterized the bleeding, for now. They also have Jon Beason running the show this time around.
“He’s had a big impact, as we look at it. Herzlich was down in our game and it looked like they had to play Pays (Paysinger), Williams, and Rivers a little more,” said Kelly. “I think it gives them a true (Mike?) linebacker. I think in the two games that he’s played, the Bears and the Vikings, he’s been outstanding. I think he’s been the leading tackler. Obviously he’s a talented player, an All Pro player. I think he’s a big upgrade on the defensive side of the ball and that’s where it’s not the same team, at least from a defensive standpoint, or even offensively with Peyton Hillis over there. We didn’t play Linval Joseph the last game because he was hurt. We anticipate him being back. Even though it’s been a three-week span between the two teams playing, I think there’s some personnel changes that are going to be different for us, going to be the first time we’ve seen them. I think Beason has been playing very well right now.”
Speaking of Paysinger, who Kelly coached at Oregon at the collegiate level, he has blossomed as an undrafted player at linebacker. Kelly was asked if he is surprised that “Pays” is a starting LB in the NFL…
“No, I’m not surprised at all. Pays was awesome when I coached him at Oregon. He was a real leader of our defense, a true three-down guy that can play in nickel situations. He’s got great coverage ability. He’s an outstanding special teams player. I always thought Pays was a guy that, for some reason, was probably more underrated in college than he should have been. He was really the glue for us on the defensive side of the ball. I’m not surprised at his production. That’s the Spencer Paysinger that I know. He was the backbone of our defense that took us to a National Championship game and he’s doing the same thing in the NFL.”