Rick Burkholder painted a stark picture of what the week was like for concussed Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
"He's had symptoms all week, since the [Dallas] game," the Eagles' head athletic trainer said Friday. "He's had a headache, which has gotten better during the week. He's foggy - he's not very alert right now in terms of, he just doesn't have that energy. He's tired all the time. He's slept a lot, he's not getting rid of the fatigue. I would consider him heavy-eyed.
"When you talk to him, he's just not the Michael Vick that you know when he's healthy."
As alarming as all that sounds, Burkholder contended it meant only that Vick remains in Phase 1 of his recovery, unable to move on to the next step, which would be exercise. After that, he would have to be symptom-free and pass neurological testing, then get the OK from team doctors, then have his return endorsed by an independent neurologist. The temptation was to infer this process will take weeks, at least, given the lack of progress so far, but Burkholder said that wasn't necessarily so.
"We've had guys that have come out of Phase 1 immediately, and have been stuck in Phase 2. I've had guys who have gotten to Phase 3, and then 2 weeks later, they couldn't get out of Phase 3," Burkholder said. "There's no way to determine [how the recovery will progress]. We come back here Monday and he could be fine, and then I can progress him through the next couple of phases.
"You just don't know, and that's why you don't judge or speculate with the coaches when he'll return. It's not fair to him, and it's not fair to them. You have to take it day-by-day. None of us will do anything crazy then, and he won't have pressure . . . all that kind of stuff."
Burkholder said Vick underwent imPACT testing Friday.
"He's below baseline, so that's another indicator that he's not ready to play," Burkholder said. "We did it today, knowing that we would have 3 or 4 days before we test him again. It's an indicator for us to give it to him again Monday and see where he's at."
This is Vick's second concussion as an Eagle. Burkholder was asked whether it is one of the worst he has seen.
"They're all different," he said. "Every player is different. The two he's had since he's been with us are different. I don't know whether it is more significant or not. He's got a concussion, and that's significant to me."
Vick has taken a terrible beating this season; after he missed time in the preseason with yet another rib injury, fans and reporters thought an injury would happen much sooner than it did, but until his head banged the turf early in the second quarter of the Dallas loss, Vick hadn't missed a snap. As he waits for his symptoms to clear, Vick must be aware he has opened the door for Foles, who might not give the starting job back.
"I know that was one of his goals, obviously, not to get hurt and [to] make it through this season," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "Mike is a very considerate guy. He feels like he lets people down and his teammates down, and that's not the case. He's hurt.
"[Vick is] one of the toughest guys I've been around, though. One of the most competitive, toughest guys."
At least Reid finally did make it official that rookie Nick Foles will get his first NFL start Sunday at Washington, in place of Vick.
"I feel comfortable," Foles said at the end of his first week of preparation as a starter. "I love this offense. I love my teammates and my coaches."
He said he thinks his biggest challenge will be "trying not to do too much . . . trusting my reads . . . play natural . . . trust the preparation."
Foles recalled that his first college start, at Oregon State in 2009, also came several games into the season. Foles threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Arizona Wildcats to a 37-32 victory.
"This is a little bit different, but with anything, you just have to trust yourself," he said.
Reid reiterated that he is not thinking about adding a quarterback to the roster at this point.
The Eagles used practice-squad wideout Marvin McNutt to simulate Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III this week.
McNutt, a sixth-round rookie, was recruited to Iowa to play quarterback, then moved. He said he did his draft prep with RGIII and got to know him well.
"I'm lefthanded, he's righthanded," McNutt said, but he thought he gave a good simulation otherwise.
"He's a great guy," McNutt said of Griffin. "He always works hard."
Andy Reid acknowledged: "You're not going to have that full effect until you do it live."
Danny Watkins practiced fully all week, but the Eagles listed him as "questionable" for Sunday on the ankle that has kept Watkins out of the last three games. If Watkins can't go, rookie Dennis Kelly might move back inside from right tackle, or newcomer Jake Scott could play right guard.
"What you end up getting with [a high-ankle sprain], you get tweaks in there and it hinders your lateral mobility," Andy Reid said. "He's making progress, so we'll just see how he does here in the next couple of days."
When Kelly was moved to guard a few weeks back, he said he liked being able to concentrate on one position, instead of shifting between guard and tackle. Now he's shifting again.
"It's a little difficult," Kelly acknowledged, but he said it gets easier as the season goes on and he learns more about both spots.
Kelly said quotes in this week's Sports Illustrated that portrayed him as critical of Michael Vick's ability to read defenses and adjust were taken out of context.
"Two quotes were combined that weren't necessarily together," Kelly said.
Wide receivers Jason Avant and Mardy Gilyard are out with hamstring injuries. Riley Cooper, coming off a strong game, figures to get Avant's reps, with Damaris Johnson in the mix . . . The Redskins have lost their last eight outings against rookie QB starters, dating back to Vince Young for Tennessee in 2006 . . . Andy Reid noted that Nick Foles got experience with the silent count in preseason games at New England and at Cleveland . . . Reid said new guard Jake Scott "looks like he's in pretty good shape."