Vick gives Eagles playoff shot

The quarterback has performed well in his limited opportunities.

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"I told Andy the other day, 'We have a great chance to win this thing,' " Vick said on the team's website. (Clem Murray / Staff Photographer)

At this point it's as plausible as any scenario in the NFL: Michael Vick is going to lead the Eagles into the playoffs.

Two months ago, such a statement might have drawn cockeyed looks and the international sign for "He's cuckoo" - forefinger making circular motions next to the head.

But what's so crazy about the NFL's leading passer - if you discount his lack of pass attempts - guiding his 4-3 team into the postseason?

Vick seems to think the Eagles are capable of even more.

"I told Andy the other day, 'We have a great chance to win this thing,' " Vick said on the team's website last week.

(Make circular motion next to head.)

OK, so the Super Bowl is out of the question.

But the playoffs are a very real possibility, and it's not as if Vick hasn't been there before. In fact, he reached the postseason twice during his five seasons as the Falcons' starting quarterback. So he knows how to get there.

Plus, you have the new-and-improved, 2.0 version of Vick, the one more content to stay in the pocket and run the offense as it was designed. In two full starts, against Detroit and Jacksonville, Vick was workmanlike in producing victories.

But the sample was a small one, and it wasn't a very good one. The Lions and Jaguars have two of the worst defenses in the league. And when it came time to face an NFC East rival in Washington, Vick ran into a non-blitzing, cover-2 defense that contained him through a quarter-plus.

His two wins also came in favorable conditions - much like the conditions he played under in Atlanta and in the NFC South: indoors at Detroit and in warm Jacksonville. A truer test will come in November and December, when the temperatures dip and those road divisional games aren't played in benign weather.

There's also Vick's health to consider. His ribs should be 100 percent, or at least close to it, when the Eagles return from the bye and host Indianapolis next Sunday. But even Vick has said he won't know for sure how he feels until he's been hit.

The Eagles' shaky offensive line will put that to the test. Vick can stay statuesque as much as he likes, but when pass rushers are bearing down, his instinct will take over as it did against the Redskins, when he scrambled for a near-touchdown and was sandwiched by two defenders.

That's where Kevin Kolb could come in.

The heir unapparent proved during Vick's absence that he can start in this league and do it pretty well. But he still has a lot to learn, as was evident in the Tennessee loss.

So while decisions beyond 2010 remain on hold, it's fair to assume, judging by their early-season injuries, that Kolb will get another shot.

Which poses this question: Can Kolb lead the Eagles into the playoffs?

 


Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jeff_McLane.