MARTY Mornhinweg said yesterday that "it's going to be the death of me" to get Michael Vick to protect himself a little better.
Vick practiced yesterday, after sitting out Wednesday, and is expected to be the starting quarterback this Sunday against the Jets. He smiled when his offensive coordinator's concern was relayed to him.
"Just my style of play, I take a lot of hits," Vick said after practice. "It doesn't affect me. I get up from it. When I was a young man, I played football in the backyard and got hit probably 6 million times . . . It's something I'm accustomed to. Me getting knocked to the ground is like me walking. It's nothing."
That hasn't been the case this season, though. Vick left two games early with injuries, and disaster ensued, the Eagles blowing fourth-quarter leads and losing both times. Then he missed three games with broken ribs, and the Eagles went 1-2.
As a reporter tried to remind Vick yesterday, he's 31 now.
"So what? The older you get, the better you get," Vick responded, his manner playful but basically serious.
This is the nub of the Eagles' problem - convincing Vick that injuries are not random occurrences, that the more you expose yourself, especially when you don't have to, the more you invite injury. Last week, he proclaimed he had gotten the message. Yesterday, he backtracked.
"I do think he's gotten better, but not nearly as good as he needs to be for, first of all, the best interest of the team, and secondly, for the best interest of him," Mornhinweg said. "So he's working on that."
Despite taking four sacks against the Dolphins, Vick said he came out of the game feeling pretty good about the hits. He said that afterward, he didn't feel like he had played a whole game.
"I guess that's a credit to my offensive line and myself, trying to protect myself. The coaches did a good job of calling the game; I was able to get the ball out of my hands," he said.
Vick acknowledged his ribs remain tender.
"It's a little sore when I throw, but I can tolerate it," Vick said. "Every day I'm getting treatment and feeling better about it."
DeSean Jackson consented to answer a few questions yesterday for the first time since the Seattle game, probably because the NFL requires players to speak with the media at least on occasion.
After that Seattle loss, Jackson reacted angrily when asked about the NFL Network's portrayal of him in that game - as being aloof, giving little effort on the field and ignoring teammates on the sideline. Eagles coach Andy Reid vehemently defended Jackson the next day, saying he was a decoy on the routes the network showed him supposedly loafing on, and that in one sequence where Jackson seemed to be not listening to quarterback Vince Young at the bench, Young actually was addressing Riley Cooper.
"Next question," Jackson said yesterday, when asked if he felt the network had treated him unfairly.
Was it good to see Reid stick up for him?
"Next question," Jackson said, surely knowing he was echoing the words of his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, 6 years ago, after the Eagles' suspension of Terrell Owens was upheld. It's not clear why Jackson would think that might be an image he would wish to evoke.
Asked if the Jets have the best cornerback tandem he has seen this season, in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, Jackson said: "They're good corners. I'm not going to put nothing past that, though. It's the NFL, so that's what we expect."
Asked about possibly being marooned on "Revis Island," Jackson said: "I don't get caught up in that."
Jackson said with Vick playing on sore ribs, it's important that receivers "be in the right place at the right time," that the timing of patterns be right.
Asked if it felt good to score in Miami, for the first time since October, Jackson said: "It was good to win. That's all that matters. Good to win the game."
Less is more?
LeSean McCoy said he felt like he tried to do too much against the Dolphins' suffocating run defense.
"Trying to break too many tackles and spin out, just trying to do extra stuff. In this league, you can't do too many things like that and be successful in the run game," McCoy said.
He was held to 38 yards on 27 carries, a season-low 1.4 yards per carry. He said he is still learning, in his third season, and one of the things he has to learn is to take what's there, instead of looking to create something spectacular by bouncing outside.
"I hate negative plays, you know?" McCoy said. "I try to make sure I'm progressing every run. In this league, you can't. Them guys on defense, they get paid, too."