Last week it was Michael Vick and the Eagles' defense. This week it was the offensive line.
Despite a steadier performance from both the quarterback and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo's unit than a week ago, the Eagles offensive line took a step back in a 24-14 preseason win over the Browns Thursday night.
The primary point of concern was at center and right guard, where rookies Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins had their struggles, especially in the first quarter. Vick spent half the time running for his life, the other half on the turf.
"Regardless of who it is I'm going to give defenses fits anyway," Vick said after the unrest on the line. "It's just plain and simple. Saying it out of confidence, not arrogance."
Eagles coach Andy Reid said there was some confusion early on. Kelce was getting his first preseason start as he and veteran Jamaal Jackson continued their competition for the starting center spot.
"It was a combination of things," Reid said. "It was a combination of the set-up for the quarterback and a combination of the blocking scheme up front. That's about as detailed as I can get for you."
Despite the confusion, Reid said that he remained confident that he would have the right side of his offensive line -- and you can throw the center in there, as well -- in order before the season opener on Sept. 11. King Dunlap started at right tackle for the second straight game and seemed to fare well.
Reid said he wouldn't make a decision on whether to give the nod to Kelce or Jamaal Jackson until after he watches tape of the game.
"Mike got hit too much, you never like seeing number seven being hit like that," Kelce said. "It's our job to keep him clean. ... It’s like the bottom of your stomach just falls out" when Vick gets hit.
Vick stuck up for Kelce.
"You can't expect a guy to come in and be a Pro Bowl player in two games," Vick said. "That's just not the way this thing works."
Jackson played briefly in the third quarter with the second team.
Vick, meanwhile, was asked after the game about the ESPN Magazine story that asked "What if Michael Vick Were Vick," and was occompanied by a graphic picture that depicted Vick as a white man.
"What if you were white?" a reporter jokingly asked. Vick laughed and said, "I'm out of here" as he walked off the podium after his post-game press conference. Later, he told a reporter that he did see the photo illustration and that he thought it was "crazy."
-- Reid said that he hadn't yet made a decision on whether he will rest his starters for next week's preseason finale against the N.Y. Jets. "I have to see the tape first," he said.
-- Joselio Hanson did not play much against the Browns. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played the nickel and Brandon Hughes played the dime. "I know what Jose can do," Reid explained.
-- Defensive tackle Trevor Laws missed another preseason game with a hip flexor injury and hasn't practiced since the first week of training camp. Reid said the recovery time for such an injury is 3-5 weeks. Reid was asked if Laws is out for five weeks had the fourth-year player done enough in the past to earn a roster spot. "He's in the mix for the competition," Reid said. "We'll have to evaluate that. We don't have to do that today."
-- Reid was asked if he had considered bringing free agent linebacker Lofa Tatupu in for a look-see. "I'm not there," Reid said. "We look at all the guys, but I haven't done anything there, haven't had any contact with him."
-- Reid said that tackle Austin Howard had knee inflammation.