PHILADELPHIA - The relentless punishment that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has endured this season finally caught up to him Sunday.
Coach Andy Reid announced Monday that Vick sustained a "pretty significant concussion" in the second quarter of a 38-23 loss to Dallas. Vick still had a headache as of Monday afternoon and will not practice when the team reconvenes at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday.
Unless Vick is able to make a remarkable recovery, rookie Nick Foles will make his first career start at Washington next Sunday. If he does, Foles would become the first Eagles rookie quarterback to start a regular-season game since Donovan McNabb in 1999.
"We'll probably know (Vick's status) in the next couple of days," Reid said during his weekly news conference Monday. "We'll go through the (NFL) protocol, but I'll tell you that he's got a pretty good headache and he's tired. The thing I'll tell you now is I think it's a pretty significant concussion.
"I don't see Michael being back by Wednesday, so it's important (Foles) gets in there with the starters (during practice). If he ends up being the starter (against the Redskins), he's going to need the work.
"Michael is our quarterback and I don't want to slight that part. At the same time, I have confidence that Nick will do a nice job if given that opportunity. If the kid has an opportunity to start, I'm excited to see him play."
Foles, the Eagles' third-round draft pick out of the University of Arizona, has not taken any practice reps with the starters since the end of the preseason. And until Vick got hurt in the second quarter against the Cowboys, he had not played in a regular-season game.
He made his debut with 7 minutes, 41 seconds remaining in the first half against the Cowboys. Vick was forced to leave the game on the previous series after his helmet smacked against the turf after a hit by former Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims.
Despite the lack of preparation, Foles delivered a decent performance that was marred by a pair of turnovers that resulted in Dallas touchdowns. He completed 22-of-32 passes for 219 yards. He threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin that gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead, and he led them on another scoring drive the next possession that ended with Alex Henery's 40-yard field goal.
But he made some costly mistakes.
Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr returned Foles first career interception 47 yards for a touchdown. Later in the game, Foles fumbled when he was sacked by Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher recovered it in the end zone for another TD.
"It doesn't matter who the quarterback is, the team has to keep working hard," Foles said Sunday after the game. "There are tough times in life and this is a tough time. We just have to keep fighting. I didn't get the job done, but I'm going to keep working every single day to get better and I know our team is going to do the same thing."
Reid cautioned that if Foles does start against the Redskins, however, it should not be taken as a sign that Vick's days as the starter are over. As soon as he is healthy enough to play again, Vick will be back in the lineup.
"I can't project the future," Reid said. "I'm just telling you that Michael is hurting right now. Nick is going to step in and be the quarterback and we'll take it from there. Mike is the quarterback, Nick comes in and he is a relief pitcher and does his thing."
One of the reasons Reid would resist turning the offense over to Foles is that he still believes the Eagles have a chance to save their season.
The loss to the Cowboys - the Eagles' fifth consecutive defeat - left them at 3-6. But despite the setback, they didn't lose any ground in the NFC East standings. The first-place New York Giants (6-4) also lost Sunday, leaving the Eagles 2 games behind them.
A wild-card berth would be much harder to attain. Only Carolina (2-7) has a worse record than the Eagles among NFC teams.
"I absolutely believe we can still make the playoffs," Reid said. "You don't count anybody out in the National Football League. I feel good about this team. We just need to tighten some things up."
Tightening up all the problems would require a giant wrench.
The offense got off to a great start against the Cowboys by scoring on its first series for the first time this season but failed to sustain the momentum. Offensive tackles Demetress Bell and King Dunlap combined for four of the Eagles' six total penalties. Dunlap also forgot to join the field goal unit during Henery's kick.
Dunlap could be benched this week. Guard Danny Watkins, who has missed the last three games with chronic ankle soreness, is due to return to practice this week. If he plays right guard against the Redskins, rookie Dennis Kelly could slide over to replace Dunlap at right tackle.
The special teams surrendered a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown by Dallas' Dwayne Harris. Harris became the first player to return one for a TD against the Eagles since Miami's Ted Ginn Jr. in 2007. The defense played better, allowing 17 points, but also failed to protect the lead on two occasions.
"It seems like it's the same problems every week," defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said Monday morning. "We've just got to keep working."
New offensive lineman
The Eagles added some experience to their offensive line Monday by signing eight-year NFL veteran Jake Scott to a one-year contract.
Scott, 31, started 121 regular-season games and nine playoff contests with Indianapolis (2004-07) and Tennessee (2008-11). He started all 16 games in each of the last seven seasons.
While with the Colts, the 6-foot-5, 292-pounder played for current Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd. He was part of the Colts' team that won the Super Bowl in 2006. He could wind up starting at right tackle for the Eagles at Washington on Sunday.
To make room for Scott on the 53-man roster, the Eagles released guard Julian Vandervelde again. Vandervelde is expected to be re-signed to the practice squad today.
Extra points: Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant (strained hamstring) is not expected to play against the Redskins. Tackle Jason Peters (ruptured Achilles' tendon) won't practice this week.
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