Okay, a lot to get to before we prep the big home game in Philly on Sunday with the Falcons...and yes, wouldn't it be nice if all the hype surrounding "Will Vick?" or "Won't Vick?" play would turn into a modern version of Cinderella?
Fact is, I think it's a done deal Kevin Kolb will start at QB for the Eagles. But we're not supposed to know that. See, the NFL is often about "mind games"...So that's why you see Vick out there on local TV and on the NFL Channel saying he's ready to go, even though he hasn't officially practiced all week. The tactical posture the Eagles have taken is to keep Atlanta guessing...that way, the Falcons have to burn practice time preparing for Vick as well as Kolb.
So goes the conspiracy theory. But when I posed this notion to the committee members of the Board of Fan Comments at PE.com's On the Inside today, I was quickly brought to order:
Eagles Eye: "I will run this by the Bored: my angle on the "Will Vick Start vs. Falcons?" smoke out there:: I suspect Vick is hurting worse than we are supposed to know...however, Eagles organization put it out there: "Vick might start..." Okay, then why isn't he practicing this week? "Well, I don't need to practice, and I'll be ready..."-- says Vick as he bluffs one for the team... now the Falcons have to game-plan for both Kolb and Vick...AR completes the PR/poker masterpiece by giving a front-page comment to the Atlanta newspapers today: "Falcons are the class of the NFC..." Brilliant gamesmanship? or see-through rubbish? Me not know..."
GateKeeper Brizer: "Neither,.guvna'....AR never denigrates any team and gives All props,...there's always speckles of truth in Andyspeak."
JerkedUp: "Vick can brush his hair now, obviously that's the signal that he'll start. Honestly though, I'm kinda hoping he does play Sunday, but I have a feeling it will be Kevin starting with Vick getting the nod next week. Hey, I bet Jerome Harrison gets touches in his very first game, what do you all want to bet?"
Eagles Eye: "OK, seems like the 'Will Vick Start?' headlines out there are more about selling newspapers than the actual football truth of the matter. My take from the Bored on this, from what I read here: Kolb will start..."
Leo Pizzini: "I think AR might take the opportunity to get another look at Kolb even if Vick COULD go... maybe just to be a little safe and maybe to see what Kolb can do with yet another game under his belt... its a good excuse for AR to take another peak... but in the end... I agree witcha... Kolb will start!"
Thank you, gentlemen. Indeed, if throwing Vick out there as a possible starter is a ruse, then Andy Reid should be congratulated for the ruse getting this far. But as GK Brizer says, it's probably something Andy hasn't completely ruled out anyway... which means, there are "speckles of truth" in the alleged plot.
Meanwhile, we've had inquiries about the sudden acquisition of Jerome Harrison, just acquired from Cleveland in a trade for Mike Bell.
Jerome Harrison, RB, 5-9, 210, age 27, 5th year, Washington State
Now here's an interesting mid-season trade. Harrison ran for a whopping 561 yards and five touchdowns in the final three games of the 2009 season. Still, the Browns clearly didn't buy into Harrison, who has been dealing with a thigh injury in recent weeks, as a long-term answer at running back. He played in 51 games for the Browns, compiling 1,401 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 302 carries (4.6 average). He also racked up 61 catches for 444 yards and three touchdowns. In his most recent game, and his last as a member of the Browns, he rushed six times for 6 yards this past Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. The tough Peyton Hillis has taken Harrison's old job.
Okay, so no need to get excited. Cleveland head coach Eric Mangini said that the Browns' motivation for acquiring Mike Bell in exchange for fellow RB Jerome Harrison is that he is a better fit for the team's downhill run schemes. In terms of playing time, Mangini seems to view Bell initially as a complement to Peyton Hillis, but the implication is that he was brought in because he can do many of the things the bruising Hillis does. With Hillis banged up this week, but likely to play, Bell may be worked in slowly, but he is an injury away from a big role in an offense that plays to his strengths. "I think as Peyton's role has expanded and the things he's done, the plays we have for him have expanded and Mike Bell's a guy who really complements and is more a fit for the plays we have for Peyton," Mangini said.
Jerome Brown99 had the final word on the trade: "Eagles fans, you'll love Harrison. He's a super quick jitterbug that hits the hole fast. He's tough and can do it all, incuding run between the tackles. I heard he had pass protect issues... but that was long ago. Real good fit for us. Seems like he used to return kicks in the past... "
"My Browns fan pal said there was something going on... Said Harrison and Mangini just didn't like each other and the damages were unmendable. He said Harrison actually half-arsed it in a couple of games this year... clearly showing less effort than in the past. He said Harrison was letting Steeler LB's walk through him without any effort and was laying down on runs and whatnot. In other words... Harrison wasn't gonna play there anymore. My pal said Cleveland had to trade him. We may have gotten a steal... but I doubt he'll take a long term deal... he'll test FA almost for sure. He may get a good payday. === The best news is... we run similar O's... so both Bell and Harrison can be factors quickly."
Thanks again , good to get that inside perspective, JB99. And certainly, the Browns and Eagles are not shy about making deals with one another. It's beginning to remind me of the old Kansas City Athletics shuttle relationship to the New York Yankees in the '50's and '60's. As you may know, Browns' General Manager Tom Heckert, who held the same position with the Eagles, orchestrated a deal this past offseason for Eagles linebacker Chris Gocong and cornerback Sheldon Brown. In return, the Browns sent linebacker Alex Hall and two draft picks (fourth- and fifth-round selections) to the Eagles.
Meanwhile, Andy Reid was paying high compliments to his next opponent, the Atlanta Falcons (4-1), as quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"You have to look at them as the top NFC team right now by the way they are playing," Reid said Wednesday. "Not just by record, but by their production. They went into overtime with Pittsburgh in the first game, and since then, they've been flawless...Realistically, they could be undefeated had things worked out better in the overtime against Pittsburgh."
Andy's not just blowing smoke. The Falcons really are a good team, with a troublesome offense and an extremely quick and deceptive defense. This is shaping up as a tough game for the Eagles. The Falcons rank second in the league in interception percentage, picking off 10 passes in 168 attempts (6 percent), or one in every 16.8 attempts. ... The Falcons'11 sacks tie them for sixth in the NFC and eighth overall in the league. ... In 56 possessions, the Falcons have had only 10 drives ending with a three-and-out. The Falcons rank third in the NFL in third down percentage, converting 46.3 percent of its third downs.
This game is even tougher for the Eagles because they're without their All-Pro left tackle, Jason Peters. Yes, I know, you could slide Todd Herremans over to tackle, and maybe put the recovering Nick Cole or the veteran Reggie Wells in at LG... but Reid says he's going with King Dunlap to start at LT....I hope for the best for the 6-8, 320, 3rd-year vet out of Auburn, but Dunlap is clearly still a work-in-progress...and I'm a little concerned he will be ripe for the picking by the Falcons' sack-happy defensive scheme.
We'll take a longer look on Saturday at what the Falcons are bringing to Philadelphia on Sunday. Meanwhile, here's our Fan of the Week,
Billy Lim, with his prediction for the Falcons vs. Eagles on Sunday:
"Eagles 20, Atlanta 14..."
Hey, I could live with that!