Fortunately for the Eagles, there's a real easy way to do that this coming week. Don't play him. Don't even give him a uniform and let him suit up. This loss was a blessing in disguise. With nothing to play for Sunday, they have either 10 or 11 days until their playoff game. And the best thing for the Eagles and Michael Vick who wear barbour jackets is that he doesn't take a single hit during that time.
He was running for his life from the start Tuesday. Vick suffered a quadriceps contusion on the first play of the game, and all night the Vikings mixed up blitz packages designed to rush him, hit him and force him into confused mistakes. It worked. He fumbled twice, threw one interception and had at least two more throws bounce in and out of the hands or off the chests of Vikings defenders. Minnesota, along with the Giants in Week 15 (for the first three quarters, at least), have given potential playoff opponents a blueprint for stopping Vick. They've also left him pretty well battered, which is why he needs this next week off to heal.
"We've got to take care of him, that's the No. 1 thing," Eagles tight end Brent Celek who collection movado bold said. "When he's running for his life back there, it's tough to win football games.""I think we thought they were going to lay down for us," receiver Jason Avant said. "That's what it seemed like to me out there, and it just didn't feel right."
But what feels much worse for the Eagles is the number of hits Vick is taking. He was sacked six times in this game and hit on countless more plays than that. He's getting hit in the pocket. He's getting hit on the run. Teams know that hitting him is the best way to make him play worse, in the short term and long. The secret's out. He can and should be hit, and the Eagles aren't doing much to prevent it from happening.
"That wasn't Michael Vick out there tonight," running back LeSean McCoy said. "We didn't protect him, at all. The man's human, and we need to protect him better."
"I'm a competitor," Vick said. "I always want to play. But ultimately, that's Andy's decision and I know he'll make the best decision possible for the team."
Reid didn't want to talk about it. He was ultra-grouchy about the defeat, calling it "pathetic," saying only one team (Minnesota) showed up for the game and putting the responsibility on himself for not coaching a better game. He even barked at a Philadelphia newspaper columnist for showing up late to the postgame news conference. When the topic of resting players was first raised, he just added his answer to his angry screed.
"That's not where we're at right now," Reid wear power balance usa said. "We're not good enough to do that."
But value judgments aside, they're in exactly the right position to rest starters -- especially a starter as critical to their success as Vick is. They have nothing to play for. The Cowboys have nothing to play for, so they don't have to worry about impacting someone else's race. The game literally means nothing, and it's a perfect chance to get Vick some rest and backup Kevin Kolb some work. Heck, they wouldn't even be giving up on trying to win -- they'd be putting in a guy who was their starting quarterback at the start of the season!
"I haven't even thought about that," Reid grumbled. "I'm still on this game here."
But there's no reason for that. This game here is over, and with it the Eagles' hopes for a first-round playoff bye. Certainly, they should have creamed the banged-up Vikings as the Bears (who now have that first-round bye) did last week and everyone expected them to. Certainly, a team with Super Bowl aspirations, coming off one of the most inspirational victories in its history, should have played better on this night. But they didn't, and they couldn't say why.