THE WORD on Michael Vick and his dinged ribs is this, after a day of practice at the NovaCare Complex:
"Still sore," he said.
"Feels a lot better," he said.
"Just working through it," he said.
There would appear to be little question now that he will be the Eagles' starting quarterback when the season opens on Sept. 9 at Cleveland. But there will be one addition to his equipment: a Kevlar flak jacket/vest kind of thing that is made from a different material and covers up more of his torso than the one he was wearing when he took that helmet to the ribs in the second exhibition game at New England.
"I really can't explain what goes into the type of material," Vick said. "I'm just trying something different - that's all I can tell you . . .
"It's Kevlar," he said, adding that it is a lighter version than the first one he tried. "I'm looking forward to it . . . to give me more protection and just to see what comes out of it. It's going to be custom fitted and fitted to protect all across my sternum, across my ribs. I think it'll be a better fit."
Quarterbacks have been wearing flak jackets for 30 years. Some of them are bulkier than others, and more restrictive. Some quarterbacks have found them to be an annoyance, but Vick does not foresee a problem.
"You can barely feel them, the way we get them fitted," he said.
Eagles coach Andy Reid said that these players would not play in Thursday night's exhibition finale because of injury issues: safety Nate Allen (hamstring), defensive end Jason Babin (calf), wide receiver Riley Cooper (collarbone), linebacker Casey Matthews (ankle) and quarterback Mike Kafka (hand). The most interesting of these is Kafka, who is fighting for a roster spot now after a great camp by rookie Nick Foles and a solid camp by veteran Trent Edwards.
Reid actually said that Foles is now the backup - "He's in that position right now," he said - which is not news (not for anyone with eyes, anyway). Foles will play the first quarter Thursday against the Jets and Edwards will play the final three quarters.
What does that mean for Kafka?
"I'm going to hold him out unless something drastically changes there," Reid said.
But what does that mean for his future here?
"I've got enough time with him to be able to make that evaluation," Reid said. "The main thing for him right now is, it's tender for him right now. He took some snaps [Monday] and he could feel them . . . "
From what Reid said, no starters are likely to play against the Jets (except for maybe newly elevated outside linebacker Akeem Jordan, who might get a series or two). It really figures to be a skeleton crew overall, as has become the custom. Others mentioned as not playing will be wide receiver Jason Avant, defensive linemen Darryl Tapp, Derek Landri and Fletcher Cox, and fullback Stanley Havili.