ARLINGTON, Texas - The Eagles' concerns over hits on Michael Vick finally were addressed last night.
Last play before the first-half 2-minute warning, Vick clobbered from the blindside by Anthony Spencer, pass flutters away incomplete. Flag, unnecessary roughness, first time all season. On replays, it seems Spencer made helmet-to-helmet contact, as did defensive end Igor Olshansky.
Alas, two plays later, Vick would threw a long interception down the middle to Gerald Sensabaugh, making the call inconsequential.
The Birds have been talking about the targeting of Vick for more than a week. Last night, Vick took a couple of unfortunate early hits; when Spencer clearly was a touch late launching a shove of Vick as Vick ran out of bounds earlier in the second quarter, Eagles coach Andy Reid ripped off his headset and jumped up and down in front of an official, demanding a call. He didn't get one.
In the first quarter, Vick took a massive blindside hit from DeMarcus Ware, after a particularly unfortunate attempt at blocking by fullback Owen Schmitt, but there was nothing the officials could have done to lessen the blow there.
Eyes on the prize
In a conference call with New York-area reporters last night from Detroit, where the Giants will play the Vikings tonight barring further calamity, Giants quarterback Eli Manning said he isn't thinking about the Eagles yet, even though New York hosts the Birds next Sunday at the end of an unexpectedly short week.
"I know sometimes coaches will do that, but as a player, you don't want to start flip-flopping. The Eagles are a team that, obviously, we played already, and know them pretty well. My focus is on Minnesota," Manning said.
Bob Costas asked Andy Reid during the pregame buildup about how he keeps going, as Reid approaches the 12th anniversary of his arrival in Philadelphia.
"I love the game," Reid said. "I think the NFL today is a little different, where you have change, you have an influx of the young guys. With these young guys, you have this youthful energy. It finds that little bit that's left in you . . . These guys find a way to pull out some of the youth and excitement left in you. I'm fired up to go to work every day."
Reid said he thinks he will know when he no longer has the necessary enthusiasm, "and I'll get out."
The already-inconsistent Eagles defense absorbed a huge blow in the first half, when middle linebacker Stewart Bradley left the game with a dislocated right elbow. Mildly interesting that former starting linebacker Omar Gaither, Bradley's backup, was among the Eagles' inactives, which indicates the tenuousness of Gaither's roster spot, in his fifth Eagles season. Rookie Jamar Chaney saw rare action, and looked like a rookie who hadn't played much. Gaither last was inactive Sept. 26 at Jacksonville. The Birds also dressed both running back/receiver Chad Hall and receiver Riley Cooper; usually it's one or the other . . .
The other interesting activation situation came on the offensive line. With starting right tackle Winston Justice back home in Philadelphia, and King Dunlap starting, you'd think the remaining tackle, Austin Howard, would be active. He was not. Guard Reggie Wells, inactive the previous five games, was active. Perhaps the idea was that left guard Todd Herremans could move to right tackle if something happened to Dunlap, with Wells playing left guard.