Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, given a strong endorsement Thursday by head coach Andy Reid, said he needs to regain his aggressiveness, to get his "swag" back, as the Birds prepare for Monday's visit with the New Orleans Saints.
"When I watched the tape from Sunday, I just thought I didn't play aggressive enough," Vick said after Reid told reporters he did not seriously consider benching Vick and sees him as the quarterback for the remainder of the season. "There's a lot to learn from on that film. Probably moreso than any other loss we've had all season."
Vick and other Eagles said they felt a players-only meeting held Wednesday might help give the team the energy and focus it seemed to lack in its last two losses. Vick called the meeting, but several veterans spoke, players said.
"I'm very comfortable with this offense," Vick said, responding to DeSean Jackson's comment Tuesday about Vick not looking comfortable. "I'm only human, just like everybody else. I think I was just trying to cater to certain things, trying to be what everybody wanted me to be ... I gotta get my 'swag' back, get back to playing football the way I love to play it."
Reid tried to explain his statement Sunday that he would evaluate everything, including the QB, which led to Vick being asked a question Sunday that led Vick to say Reid was "obviously" considering a quarterbacking change.
"There's a time and a place when you're upset, and I was upset after the game," Reid said. "Not at Michael Vick. I was upset, starting with myself not getting my team ready to play, and working from there. But I've learned to step back and evaluate, so that was my point to you. My point wasn't that I was gonna bench Michael Vick, it was that I needed to step back and evaluate before I came to you with something.
"I mentioned to you yesterday (in a statement) that Michael was the quarterback, is the quarterback and will continue to be the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles," Reid said, chuckling slightly. "I can't make it any more clear than that."
The Sunday drama seemed a little odd in that Vick managed not to turn the ball over, for only the second time all season. The main culprit in the loss was new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles' unit, which allowed Atlanta to eat vast stretches of clock while scoring the first six times it had the ball. There wasn't much Vick was going to do about that, from the sideline.
"Honestly, Michael played, I thought, one of his better games," Reid said. "He takes a lot of responsibility on himself. He knows that I'm on board."
"He is the leader of the team. He understands that."
Reid said guard Danny Watkins (ankle) will struggle to be ready for Monday's game at New Orleans, meaning a second successive start for rookie Dennis Kelly. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins will sit out practice today with a knee hyperextension, but Jenkins and Reid said they think he will be OK for the game. Reid said Damaris Johnson will return punts against the Saints, with Mardy Gilyard sidelined by a hamstring problem. Defensive tackle Mike Patterson might make his season debut vs. the Saints, Reid and Patterson said.
Asked about the players' meeting, tight end Brent Celek said:
"We gotta turn this thing around. We gotta turn it around quick. This season's not lost, but there needs to be some drastic changes, and we need to do it. It needs to be shown on the field.
"I think things just need to get cleared up. Nothing major; I'm not going to really get into specifics about what we talked about, but quite a few things needed to get cleared up, and it happened, and it was good for our team.
"I think anytime you have some kind of issue in life, if you talk about it with somebody and clear the air, it makes things better."