Eagles re-sign Michael Vick, but will he start?


Eagles re-sign Michael Vick, but will he start?

From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Michael Vick took a significant pay cut to stay with the Philadelphia Eagles and compete for a starting job.The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback agreed Monday to a restructured three-year contract with the Eagles, just two seasons after signing a 100 million extension that included 35.5 million in guaranteed money. The new deal is essentially for one-year, however.A source familiar with the contract said Vick could earn up to 10 million in 2013 if he meets all his performance incentives, and the team will void the remaining two years on March 15. That person spoke on condition of anonymity because the terms haven't been released.Vick was slated to earn about 16 million next season, including a 3 million roster bonus. He lost his starting job to rookie Nick Foles last season, but new coach Chip Kelly will give him a chance to win it back."I am grateful and proud to be a Philadelphia Eagle," Vick wrote on Twitter. "My heart is in Philly and this community is important to me."Vick had a breakout year in 2010, leading the Eagles to the NFC East title, winning The Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year award and starting in the Pro Bowl. But he's battled injuries and inconsistency the last two years."What I look at is skillset first and foremost," Kelly said. "What he can do, how he can throw the football, how he can beat people with his feet. There are a lot of different factors he has. And you have to look at the landscape for other quarterbacks. I guess the best way I can put this is I agree there is a change of scenery going on here. For Michael Vick, there is a change of scenery, but not a change of address."Since the Eagles hired Kelly to replace Andy Reid, there's been plenty of speculation about which quarterback will run his aggressive, up-tempo offense. Though Kelly has been effusive in his praise for Foles, the slow-footed, pocket-passer isn't an ideal fit for a zone-read offense. Kelly, though, said he will cater his offense around his players' strengths. After all, he's known for being an offensive innovator who had tremendous success at Oregon."I don't think what we do offensively can be said in one or two words that we're either this or we're this," Kelly said. "We're an equal-opportunity scoring operation. Whether we run the ball over the goal line or throw the ball over the goal line really doesn't bother me, it's how do we move the football."There have been games we've had to throw it in our league 50 times and there are games we have to run it 50 times. You need to be built for the long haul. There is a skill set that Nick has that really excites me about him. I think we've got an older quarterback in Michael who is 32 now, and have a younger guy in Nick who is going into his second year, and I think it's the ideal situation for us moving forward this season."Kelly didn't rule out a trade, however."I don't rule anything out, I don't rule anything in," he said. "But I know moving forward we, as an organization, had to make a decision on what to do with Michael, and I want Michael to be part of this team."Vick has missed 11 games because of injuries over the last three seasons. He sustained a concussion in Week 10 last year and Reid decided to let Foles play the rest of the way because the Eagles were in last place. They finished 4-12.Vick returned to start the season finale against the New York Giants because Foles was hurt. He finished the year with 2,362 yards passing, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and also lost five fumbles.A former No. 1 overall pick by Atlanta, Vick was signed by Philadelphia in 2009 after missing two years because he was in federal prison. He came in as the No. 3 quarterback behind Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb.After McNabb was traded and Kolb was injured in the season opener in 2010, Vick took over and was outstanding. He had career highs in yards passing (3,018), completion percentage (62.6), touchdowns passing (21), touchdowns rushing (9) and passer rating (100.2).But he hasn't come close to playing up to that level. There are questions, of course, about his durability and his age -- Vick will be 33 in July."He's younger than (Dallas quarterback) Tony Romo, and he's right about the same age as (Giants quarterback) Eli Manning," Kelly said. "The only reason I say that is because I told Michael that this morning, and he didn't know."Vick is undersized and stubborn about playing it safe. He usually takes on tacklers instead of running out of bounds and dives headfirst instead of sliding."I looked at the films, and studied the tape. When you look at Michael, it's his toughness. That cannot be overrated at all," Kelly said. "We looked at his skill set. He still has that skill set. He can still throw the football."He's got an unbelievable release, and it's our job as coaches to make sure he can get the ball out quickly."The Eagles scored just 280 points last season as they endured an eight- and a three-game losing streak. Only Arizona (250) scored fewer in the NFC.When asked whether Vick or Foles would work with the first-team offense in training camp, Kelly smiled and quickly showed he's going to be able to handle the Philadelphia media just fine."We'll go alphabetical," he said with a grin. "First name? Last name? We'll flip a coin."

Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots


Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots

Before I make the following point, I'd like to make one thing clear to my sensitive readers: I do not believe the Denver Broncos are better than Patriots. I do not believe they have “passed'' the Pats. Please, Patriots fans, when New England goes into Denver and wins on Dec. 18 and/or the Pats beat them again in the playoffs, save your emails and calls. Don't get your panties in a bunch. You're still the best.

However, as we assess the pathetic state of brainpower across the NFL, the Broncos are one of only a few teams that deserve mention alongside the Pats. Perhaps they're the only one.  As their recent handling of their quarterback situation shows, especially from a coaching standpoint, Gary Kubiak and John Elway have proven they know what they're doing -- and how many teams in the league can you say that about?

In Denver, Brock Osweiler actually looked like a quarterback with a future. In Houston, he barely looks like he belongs in the league. That's about coaching, scheme and culture. It seems that somewhere between the silly letterman jackets in Houston and his second crack in Denver, Kubiak got a clue. Last year, he managed Osweiler to a 5-2 record before sitting him and somehow winning a Super Bowl behind the noodle-armed Peyton Manning. This year, he has another marginal talent, Trevor Siemian, off to a 5-1 start in his first season under center.

There are many NFL coaches who didn't hit their stride until their second job, and you have to wonder if Kubiak falls in this camp. I actually saw him put down his playsheet with his offense on the field the other night and thought, maybe he's starting to get it. He looked more like a head coach and just a little less like an offensive coordinator. 

Either way, Kubiak has displayed an excellent touch with a string of mediocre quarterbacks. And from the original decision to shut down Manning, to the insertion of Osweiler, to the reinstatement of Manning, and then the ultimate handing of the job to Siemian, he and Elway have pushed all the right buttons. If Paxton Lynch turns into a player down the road, look out.

Of course, Kubiak hasn't had much to do with his defense, which has been the domain of Elway, the architect, and to a lesser extent, Wade Phillips, the coordinator. Elway remains one of the few executives to build a championship team largely through free agency, and some of his moves have been so cold-hearted, so debated at the time, that only Bill Belichick could relate.

Who else fires a coach who led you to four division titles and a Super Bowl berth (John Fox), and then follows that up with a title? Who else lets go of BOTH quarterbacks who led you to a title and follows that up with a division lead?

It's moves like those that led ESPN to display a stat montage late in the game on Monday depicting Elway as ``the Don.'' (Wonder where they got that idea from?). Think about it.  Who else in the league -- what coach, executive or owner -- gets that kind of ``mastermind'' treatment? I don't think anyone else deserves it other than Belichick and, in second place, Elway. Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore would be a distant third; or perhaps Pete Carroll and John Schneider in Seattle deserve mention.

Regardless, as the ESPN graphic showed, the Broncos' record since Elway took over in 2011 is now 63-24, second in the league over that time only to the Pats (67-20). Denver is also one of just four teams to make the playoffs every year during his tenure (the Packers, Pats and Bengals are the others). Like the Pats and Seahawks, he's been to two Super Bowls and won one. And like the Pats, he has won his division five straight years.  

Perhaps that all comes to an end this year, and it sure looks like Denver will be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to earning home field over the Pats come December. But for now, in a league where there are no equals to Belichick, it's almost refreshing (to me, anyway) to consider someone who at least belongs in the conversation. 

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN New England.


Belichick: A lot of teams around the league are 'kind of reluctant to trade'


Belichick: A lot of teams around the league are 'kind of reluctant to trade'

FOXBORO -- It's not easy to pull off trades in the NFL around the deadline. Just look at how many are completed in the final days leading up to the deadline every year. Yet the Patriots have worked two already, and they have until Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. to execute another.

One of the trades they pushed through earlier this week saw them send a sixth-round pick to the Lions in exchange for a seventh-rounder and linebacker Kyle Van Noy. What helped that deal cross the finish line was the relationship between the front offices in Detroit and New England. 

Lions general manager Bob Quinn spent the majority of his professional career working for the Patriots under Bill Belichick, serving most recently as Belichick's director of pro scouting until being named to his current position in Detroit. 

Belichick acknowledged on Wednesday that there are times when having a long-standing relationship with someone can help a trade get done.

"I mean it could, yeah," Belichick said. "I mean, you know, there are a lot of teams that don’t . . . they seem kind of reluctant to trade -- this time of year, especially. But it’s one of those things that came up fairly quickly and just worked out. It wasn’t something we had talked about or anything like that previously. As I said, it kind of came up so we were able to work it out.

"Look, Bob's great to work with. But we made another trade with another team in our conference so if it’s there to be made, it’s there to be made. If it’s not, it’s not."

That other trade saw the Patriots send tight end AJ Derby to AFC rival Denver in exchange for a fifth-round pick. 

Belichick doesn't seem to care much about who he's trading with -- "We’re trying to make our team better," he said, "that’s what we’re trying to do" -- but because of the league's reluctance to deal, it seems that if the Patriots are looking for help at tight end, along their offensive line, or at pass-rusher, they may be more likely to find it by calling old friends in Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Houston or Atlanta, where former Belichick protegees are now employed.