Here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles:
ESPN's John Clayton doesn't think the whole Michael Vick/Roger Goodell/Bengals/Bills/Eagles thing was that big of a deal:
Goodell is considered a hard-nosed commissioner because he hands out tough suspensions to enforce player conduct. He shouldn't be criticized for handling a punished player with a delicate hand. The Vick story is a success story. A commissioner, particularly through a smart consultant such as Tony Dungy, can make suggestions. The suggestion to go to the Eagles instead of the Bills and the Bengals was the right one. Vick found a stable environment and great coaching. Although he might have received good coaching in Cincy or Buffalo, his arrival could have caused more of a circus environment, one that might have made it hard for him to be as successful. Vick needed to sit out most of his first season to get his body ready for football. The Eagles had to have patience. The commissioner and Vick should both be applauded for making the smart move.
Dan Pompei of the Natoinal Football Post offers his take on the GQ article:
His initial hesitancy about signing with the Eagles and preferring the Bills or Bengals shouldn’t surprise us. It’s probably the way most players would have felt. When players have these kinds of choices, they are almost always motivated by money first, opportunity second. And not much else. In Vick’s case, opportunity was especially important because he viewed his first contract after prison as a stepping stone to a second. The organizational stability, coaching, environment and prospects for long-term success rarely are given as much credence as they should.
I've written in this space before about how Vick is admired by his peers. In an interview with SI.com's Peter King, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew was discussing Chris Johnson's situation, but Vick's name came up:
"How many true game-changers are there in pro football? he said. "Six, seven? Let's figure it out. Manning. Brady. Brees. Aaron Rodgers. Roethlisberger. Let's see. Matt Ryan, maybe. And Vick, of course. Matt Schaub? Maybe. But let's say there are seven of them, guys who you have to account for and who can beat you almost by themselves. And you look at every other player in the game and tell me if there's anyone who changes the game like Chris Johnson. I don't think there is."
Michael Lombardi of NFL.com thinks the Eagles' loss to the Steelers could have been a good thing for Andy Reid:
Eagles coach Andy Reid has to be smiling today. Why? Because his team looked so bad in Pittsburgh last week and this horrible performance will allow him to get his entire team's full attention this week.
Playing well in the preseason is important, but it's more important for a coach to keep his team completely focused on daily improvement. That can be hard to do if the team plays flawlessly in preseason games. No one remembers a team's preseason record, but they do remember poor play -- which can signify a specific weakness in the team. Remember the buzz that the 2008 Detroit Lions created when they went a perfect 4-0 in the preseason? The Lions didn't win a single game the rest of way, finishing 0-16. So much for looking great in the preseason.
Matt Bowen of the National Football Post says Vick's mistakes against the Steelers are correctable. He describes what happened on each interception, starting with the first one:
Didn’t force FS Ryan Clark to hold his alignment. If you are going to throw a 9 route (fade) up the numbers, the QB has to hold the FS on his landmark and cut down the angle to the football. That is all about “eyes” for Vick. Lock in on a vertical route vs. a veteran safety like Clark and he will break before the ball is even thrown. That’s too easy.
Dan Graziano of ESPN.com thinks Asante Samuel might have to learn to play without Quintin Mikell:
Samuel bit on a move and a fake that Brown and Roethlisberger didn't make on that 29-yard touchdown. It was a pure guess, and a bad one -- the kind that's worth taking if you know you have a responsible veteran safety backing you up. But the safeties were elsewhere on that play, and the new scheme plus the absence of the veteran Mikell (who signed with the Rams) could mean Samuel has to take more responsibility for playing the receiver he's covering instead of trying to jump a route to get an interception.
Tom Flynn of The Patriot-News in Harrisburg recently caught up with former Birds quarterback Rodney Peete, who offered his thoughts on the 2011 version of the Eagles:
"Having Michael Vick in his third year with the team and under Andy Reid, it’s going to be great for him and the whole organization," Peete said. "What they did with that defense, it’s going to be hard for other teams to score on the Eagles this year."