There were a lot of people cursing the Eagles today for their decision to give Michael Vick a job. But one of them wasn’t Osi Umenyiora.
The New York Giants’ Pro Bowl defensive end applauded the Birds for their willingness to give Vick a second chance at an NFL career.
``It’s hard for me to say this,’’ Umenyiora said between practices at the Giants’ Albany, N.Y., training camp. ``But I’m proud of that franchise. That was a big step they took. A lot of people didn’t have the – what’s the word I’m looking for? – cojones to make a move like that that. But they did. As much as I hate to say this, I’m happy for them. They did a good thing.
``And I’m happy for Michael. He might’ve overpaid his debt to society, in my opinion. This is a good thing for him.’’
Umenyiora’s linemate, Justin Tuck, also was glad to see Vick get an opportunity to resume his career.
``He deserves another shot,’’ Tuck said. ``Unfortunately, he went to a team that we’ve got to play twice. But we’re looking forward to the competition. The last few years, it’s been either us or them coming out of the NFC East. We did some upgrading in the offseason and they did the same to keep up with us. Hopefully, we can find a way to continue to have an edge over them.’’
The Eagles are expected to use Vick in Wildcat sets, as well as possibly a receiver/running back in spread formations.Since the Giants don’t play them until Week 8, they’ll have a chance to see what the Eagles’ plans for Vick are.
``I don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing that we don’t play them until later in the season,’’ Tuck said. ``By mid-season, (Vick) may be in tip-top form. If we got him early, maybe he’d make a few mistakes here and there.’’
Both Umenyiora and Tuck said there is no question that the addition of Vick has made the Eagles a better football team today than they were yesterday.
``Anytime you add a player like that to a football team, you have no choice but to get better,’’ Umenyiora said. ``Michael is a phenomenal football player.’’
Said Tuck: ``Absolutely, they became better. When you give a quarterback like (Donovan) McNabb an offense like they already had, and now give him a weapon like Vick, there are so many more options with him now. That’s kind of what we’re trying to accomplish with our defensive line. We have so many options that it’s tough to gameplan for us. How do you gameplan for him (Vick)?
``We’ll be able to watch them in the first couple of weeks and figure it out. But it definitely gives them more options and is going to keep defenses on their heels. You’re going to have to do a lot of vanilla things against them because you can’t really take chances. I mean, I’m already ciphering up how things are going to look with him, (Brian) Westbrook), DeSean Jackson and (Jeremy) Maclin out there. That could be kind of tough to defend.’’
Interestingly, Giants coach Tom Coughlin picked Friday morning to have his defense get some work in against some Wildcat formations.
``It just so happened it was inserted this morning,’’ Coughlin said, making it clear that it had nothing to do with the Eagles’ signing of Vick. ``You know you’re going to see it this year.’’
Does he expect to see a lot of Wildcat from the Eagles?
``I have no idea what their plans are,’’ he said. ``We play Philadelphia relatively middle (Week 8) and late (Week 14). Hopefully we’ll have a chance to see what their plan (for Vick) is by then and be prepared for it.’’
To read our earlier post about Vick's news conference, click here
To read a transcript from Les Bowen's philly.com chat, click here.