PHILADELPHIA — Eagles coach Andy Reid has no plans to bench quarterback Michael Vick.
Vick will be in the lineup Sunday night against the New York Giants and will remain there for the foreseeable future.
Reid had indicated a change might be considered when he said the situation will be “evaluated as we go along” during his Monday news conference following the Eagles’ 27-6 loss at Arizona on Sunday.
“I talked to Mike about it because it was the way it was interpreted,” Reid said Wednesday. “(Possibly benching him) was not what I had in mind. It was bad semantics. Michael is our starting quarterback.”
Vick has struggled to protect the football so far this season, committing nine of the Eagles’ league-high 12 turnovers.
He already has thrown six interceptions, which is tied for the league lead with Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler and Cleveland rookie Brandon Weeden, and has also lost three fumbles.
Those mistakes have left him ranked near the bottom of the NFL in quarterback efficiency. His rating of 66.3 is ranked 29th, ahead of only Weeden (60.7), Cutler (58.6) and Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill (58.3).
“I’m very concerned about the turnovers,” Vick said Wednesday. “Being the competitor that I am,
I understand that you have to protect the football. I cut back on the interceptions last week (he had none against the Cardinals) and had the two fumbles, but that’s something that I know I can get corrected.
“The way to correct is to just not do it, but it’s hard. This game is tough and it’s not as easy as it looks. You look around the league and there’s a lot of guys struggling right now. It’s tough. Defenses are getting better, they’re scheming. We just have to make sure we do what we have to do in the moment.”
If the Eagles can’t find a way to keep opposing defenders from punishing Vick, Reid may not have a choice about replacing him with rookie Nick Foles or Trent Edwards.
Vick missed three games in each of the past two seasons with broken ribs. He is wearing a flak jacket with extra padding this season but has been taking a pounding. Cleveland, Baltimore and Arizona combined for nine sacks and 28 quarterback hits. Vick has been hit more than any other quarterback in the league. Washington rookie Robert Griffin III is next with 23 hits, followed by Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers with 22. Baltimore’s Joe Flacco has been rarely touched. He’s been hit just six times in three games.
“My body feels good,” Vick said. “I’m still standing upright, so I’m ready to get onto the next game.”
The Eagles likely will use the same makeshift offensive line against the Giants. Dallas Reynolds will remain the starting center in place of Jason Kelce, who is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Left tackle King Dunlap’s sore hamstring kept him out of practice Wednesday. If he can’t play, Demetress Bell will replace him again.
Reynolds’ ability to recognize defensive formations and make the proper blocking calls will be pivotal.
“Not having Jason is tough,” Eagles guard Evan Mathis said. “He just has that knowledge and experience of making the calls. Dallas is very good at it, but he’s not Jason Kelce. The rest of us are going to have to try and help him out.”
Vick also is going to have to help himself. Not all of the 13 hits he took from the Cardinals were caused by protection breakdowns. There were also occasions when the line provided plenty of time, but he simply held onto the football too long.
“I think the big thing is we have to protect him,” tight end Brent Celek said. “We have to do a better job protecting him and he has to protect himself. We’ve all got a hand in that.
“It’s not just Mike and it’s not just the O-line. It’s everybody involved in that. We just have to go out and execute better. Then Mike won’t be on his back as much.”
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