As the Eagles began preparations Wednesday for Sunday's game at Pittsburgh, Michael Vick said the major adjustment he made in playing without a turnover in last week's game against the Giants was to settle down and run the offense.
"Sometimes you just get in situations where you just try to force things and make things happen," Vick said to a huge media throng crowded around his locker stall. "Sometimes that can be Kryptonite for a quarterback ... you try so hard, you don't let it come naturally ... you get into a rhythm, learn to play within the system, try to do that over and over again."
Earlier, Eagles coach Andy Reid said everyone but LB Akeem Jordan (hamstring) and DT Derek Landri (knee swelling) would practice Wednesday. He again tiptoed around a question about whether LT King Dunlap, back from a two-week hamstring injury absence, would start this week over Demetress Bell. Reid noted that Bell, the guy the Eagles signed as a free agent to start at left tackle when Jason Peters tore his Achilles', played well against the Giants. "That gives me a little time to see how King's doing," Reid said.
Asked about the decision to cut linebacker Brian Rolle, who started 13 games last season as a rookie, Reid said: "Brian's going to hook on with someone else and do a good job. For what I ws trying to get done here, he wasn't the right fit."
The Eagles replaced Rolle on the roster with veteran linebacker Adrian Moten, who was with the team in preseason and has more special teams experience. Their kickoff coverage is next-to-last in the league.
"You never know how the NFL goes," Moten said. "One week you're playing linebacker, next week you're not. I think a lot of people see me as a special teams guy and a good linebacker. There's no real key to coverage on special teams; it's all about being a ballhawk."
Reid said the difference between losing a lot of close games early last season and winning them so far this season "comes down to attitude and push, trusting one another, pushing through the tough times, knowing each other like the players know each other now. A lot of moving parts last year. We weren't as comfortable with each other."
This week, the Eagles face a huge challenge -- literally -- in the Steelers' 6-5, 241-pound quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, who might be playing the best ball of his career at age 30. Roethlisberger has completed 68.3 percent of his passes through three games, with eight touchdowns and one interception. He has a 109.2 passer rating.
Reid said Roethisberger "extends plays -- he's very strong in the pocket, and he has mobility. He always keeps his eyes down the field. If you have that one quality that's a little different from some of the other quarterbacks, this one guy here keeps every play alive. As a secondary player, you'd better continue to play your player until the play is history, until it's over, or he's going to find that guy and make you pay for it."
Among those practicing Wednesday, as he has the past few weeks, is WR Riley Cooper, who suffered a broken collarbone early in training camp. Asked why he seems in no hurry to get Cooper back in the lineup, Reid emphaisized how much work Cooper missed, and said WR Mardy Gilyard has done well on special teams in Cooper's absence.
"It allows Riley to get out there and practice, and that's what he needs right now," Reid said. "He needs to continue to do that. We'll see how he feels this week, and evaluate it as we get further in the week."
Second-round rookie defensive end Vinny Curry hasn't been active yet this season. Normally, that might invite some scrutiny, but everyone assumes the Eagles' amazing depth at DE is the problem, not a lack of skill on Curry's part.
This still isn't exactly what Curry envisioned when he arrived, though.
"I wouldn't say it's frustrating, because you know these guys are doing a good job. If they'd been slacking on the job, then I would say it'd been frustrating. These guys are phenomenal, right?" Curry said.
Curry said he tries to stay plugged in at games, even though he's in street clothes. "If I see something, I'll let these guys know," he said.