The day the Eagles' season was saved
Months from now, Sept. 26 may be considered the day the Eagles' season was saved. A day earlier, the Eagles lost to the New York Giants, 29-16, but the more crushing blows - in terms of the future - were injuries to Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin.
Months from now, Sept. 26 may be considered the day the Eagles' season was saved.
A day earlier, the Eagles lost to the New York Giants, 29-16, but the more crushing blows - in terms of the future - were injuries to Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin.
Vick seemed to have a broken right hand, and Maclin had a hamstring strain that coaches privately feared would keep the wide receiver out of the lineup for an extended period.
But on the next day, Sept. 26, a CAT scan of Vick's hand revealed only a bone bruise, and a magnetic resonance imaging of Maclin's thigh showed only a "little spot," as Eagles coach Andy Reid called it.
Vick and Maclin went from almost definitely out for Sunday's game against San Francisco to more than likely in, and four days later that remained the case. On Friday, both practiced - Vick for the third consecutive day, Maclin for the second in a limited role - both were listed as "probable," and both said they were playing no matter what.
"It's about showing up," Vick said at the NovaCare Complex. "It's easy to say, 'Oh I can't play, I'm going to sit this one out'. But we [gave] blood, sweat, and tears all through training camp, each and every practice and in here every day in the building trying to get better.
"And we want to accomplish that one common goal, and the only way we're going to do it is by doing it together, sticking together, and believing in one another."
If Vick sounds a tad anxious, it's because the Eagles are facing a must-win situation in Week 4. They are 1-2, in last place in the NFC East, and will travel to Buffalo and Washington - two teams that are better than expected - after hosting the 49ers.
So it's fair to say that Vick will start, bruised hand or no, less than 100 percent or not.
"It's sore, it's real sore," Vick said. "But you know what? I feel like I've played through worse, and I think the most important thing is to just go out and play and be conscious of protecting it but at the same time just letting it all go. And if it's too much that I can't bear and something's really wrong, then I'll probably come out of the game, but hopefully not."
Vick will wear a protective glove that he said the company for which he is a paid spokesman, Unequal Technologies, was making with Kevlar padding. He wore a regular glove with a padded insert during practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but went barehanded Friday.
If Vick suffers a setback or does have to leave the game - he's been knocked from the last two - Vince Young is his likely replacement. Young did not dress for the first two games because of a hamstring strain but said Thursday that he agreed with Reid's assessment earlier this week that he is 100 percent healthy.
Asked whether it was difficult sitting while third-string quarterback Mike Kafka was called on in relief of Vick the last two weeks, Young said: "It wasn't hard at all. You've got to take care of your body."
Despite sitting out Wednesday's practice and participating in the next two days on a limited basis, Maclin was confident about being ready for the 2-1 49ers.
"They monitored me pretty good this week and eased me back into it," he said. "When I got out there and went today, everything felt fine, so I'll be playing on Sunday."
Maclin leads the Eagles in receptions (19), receiving yards (260), and touchdown catches with two. With DeSean Jackson struggling to connect with Vick over the last two games - he has only four catches for 51 yards in that span - Maclin has solidified himself as the quarterback's No. 1 target.
Six days ago, their status for Sunday was in doubt. By Friday, they were playing catch for the second straight day.
"The throws were all there," Maclin said. Vick "seemed like his normal self. This week, we focused on tempo, so I think everybody's looking forward to getting out there, getting back on track, turning this thing around, and putting some points on the board."
Injury update. Darryl Tapp was listed as doubtful for the game. The defensive end has missed the last two games with a pectoral strain but practiced some this week.
If he can't go, he will join defensive end Juqua Parker on the sideline for the second straight week. Parker is out with a high ankle sprain.
Before Sunday's game against the Giants, Reid said that defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins could line up for a few snaps at end. He did not. Instead, Trent Cole and Jason Babin played most of the downs at end, with Phillip Hunt spelling them.
Reid said he didn't think that Cole and Babin wore down in the fourth quarter, which he said was the case the previous week against Atlanta.
Cornerback Brandon Hughes (hamstring) will not play Sunday, Reid said. Depending on whether Tapp dresses, either safety Jaiquawn Jarrett or cornerback Curtis Marsh could dress for his first NFL game.
Reid said Jarrett got more special-teams repetitions this week than Marsh.