Saturday, September 20, 2014
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Can Vick stay in the pocket?

If you're wondering where the focus will be at Eagles training camp, just look at what coach Andy Reid is watching. That'd be the defense.

Can Vick stay in the pocket?

The Eagles still want Michael Vick to use his athletic abilities, but they need him to stay healthy. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
The Eagles still want Michael Vick to use his athletic abilities, but they need him to stay healthy. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

If you're wondering where the focus will be at Eagles training camp, just look at what coach Andy Reid is watching. That'd be the defense.

Reid spent the bulk of the hour-long morning walk-thru watching silently as the rookies and selected veterans performed under defensive coordinator Juan Castillo's direction.

Rookie free agent Ryan Rau was the signal-caller for the defense, for what that's worth this early in camp.

A bigger transition is under way on the offensive field, though, where all four quarterbacks rotated through the drills, with Michael Vick getting the majority of the snaps. While it would seem there wouldn't be much new for Reid to see there, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg expects a change in Vick's style.   

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"I still want him to use his natural, unique abilities, but we want him to stay healthy," Mornhinweg said.  

Part of that responsibility falls to the line, under offensive line coach Howard Mudd. "Michael really started to get 'it' at the end of last year," Mudd said. "It's all about trusting the line. We want him to start at one spot and know we'll protect it as best we can. But we don't want to take away his athleticism.  

"He's highly motivated to succeed, he's a great athlete with a great arm," Mudd said. "And he wants to--and he works really hard to--overcome his instinct to take off. He wants it and that's critical." 

Mudd puts the pressure on his lineman to provide spacing for Vick, particularly when it comes to clearing sight lines for the 6-foot quarterback. 

"The only thing we really stress is the depth of the pocket," Mudd said. "When Mike sets up, we want a real separation from the line." 

It's not much, but it's a start: With no oncoming defense, Vick hit his marks in the morning walk-thru. 

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For news, stats, video, live chats and more, Red Zone is the place to find Eagles coverage you can't get anywhere else. Reach Jimmy at jkempski@philly.com.

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