With a trip back to Atlanta in store for this weekend, Michael Vick will be on the road for the next two days speaking out against dogfighting.
The Eagles quarterback is in his hometown of Newport News, Va. today to address students at Huntington Middle School. He'll be in Newark, N.J. tomorrow afternoon at The Boys and Girls Club.
On Saturday, he travels back to Atlanta, where he spent the first seven years of his NFL career. After the Eagles' 27-24 win over Washington yesterday, Vick told the Associated Press that Atlanta was still "my city" and that he expected a "great reaction" from the crowd. There have been stories done before and after Vick's incarceration for running a dogfighting ring that showed the people of Atlanta still largely in Vick's corner.
Eagles coach Andy Reid was asked how he thought Vick would react upon his arrival in Atlanta.
“I’m sure there will be some emotions there," Reid said today. "Some experiences that he goes back through and thinks about. I know he has a lot of close friends in Atlanta on the team and the front office people and so on. I’m sure it will be an emotional situation, but he’s worked through some emotional situations and done pretty good with them. I think he’ll be fine as it goes on.”
Vick was on the field for three plays yesterday. He was stopped for no gain on third-and-one in the first quarter, ran down to the 1-yard line on second-and-goal from the Washington 5 later in the first quarter and threw an incomplete pass later in the half.
“He’s fine. He’s not the problem there. I’m sure the guys will tell you, we could have blocked a little bit better on his short yardage run. He probably could’ve done a little better job on his QB draw, just pulling it for another step. He’s excited to get a touchdown I think. Everybody has been giving him a bad time about scoring a touchdown here, so he was a little anxious on that one and the throw was off by a hair. It will be fine. He’s fine.”
Except for a 34-yard run last week at Chicago, Vick hasn't produced the type of big play some believed he would bring to the Eagles' offense.
In injury-related news, Reid said that DeSean Jackson's status for the Falcon's game was still undecided. The wide receiver suffered a concussion yesterday in the third quarter and did not return. Reid said Jackson was tested today and that he was feeling fine.
“He’s okay," Reid said. "He doesn’t feel bad today. We’ll just see how he does here. He did have a concussion.”
Reid was asked if the team was poised to add a receiver or if Kevin Curtis was ready to return from a knee injury. The coach said he was out, but wouldn't offer if the team was thinking about playing the veteran on IR.
“I’m going to meet with [general manager] Tom [Heckert] after this and go through all of that," Reid said. "We talked a little bit this morning. Right now that’s not what we’re going to do, but we’ll talk a little bit more this afternoon.”
Brian Westbrook, meanwhile, will undergo another round of tests in Pittsburgh to see if he still has any lingering symptoms from the second of his two concussions. Reid didn't actually rule out Westbrook for Sunday but it seems very unlikely. The running back complained of headaches last week after a workout.
“I’m not sure exactly what step the doctor will take him," Reid said. "I don’t know that. I’d like to tell you yes, but I don’t know that. We’ll just see what stage and phase that the doctor feels he’s at and then he’ll determine what [Westbrook] can do, the doctor will. If that’s going back out on the field then we’ll go with that, if it’s doing conditioning in the weight room or with Rick then we’ll go that route, whatever he says.”
Brent Celek has a thumb sprain, but Reid expected the tight end to be ready to play Sunday. Celek told teammates after the game that he had torn ligaments in his thumb. Reid said it was possible. Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley has an ankle sprain, guard Todd Herremans has an AC shoulder sprain, linebacker Will Witherspoon has a foot sprain and linebacker Tracy White has a chest contusion.
Reid said that tackle Jason Peters' sprained ankle was improving and that cornerback Sheldon Brown (hamstring) was OK. Linebacker Akeem Jordan has missed three straight games and his absence is really starting to hurt the defense. Reid was asked if his hyperextended knee was getting better.
On what Jordan needs to show him to get back on the field:
“He has to be able to run fast and not be in a position where we feel like he’s going to hurt himself, put himself in danger," Reid said. "I haven’t seen him run out on the field in pads or doing football the speed that we practice. I want to see that.”