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Michael Vick expects to remain Eagles’ starter after bye

By Les Bowen, Philadelphia Daily News –

PHILADELPHIA — Was LeSean McCoy surprised that the Eagles stuck with quarterback Michael Vick, following Andy Reid’s comprehensive bye-week review?

“Not at all,” McCoy said following the team’s return to practice Monday. “I’m not sure anybody in the locker room was wondering that. We pretty much know Mike’s our quarterback, he’s our guy, he’s our leader.”

But almost in the same breath, when McCoy was asked what has to change for the Eagles’ offense, ranked 31st in scoring, he said: “Just the amount of turnovers. Being more consistent. Turnovers and penalties.”

Vick, of course, has his fingerprints on 13 of the Eagles’ 17 turnovers in six games. But Vick said Monday he didn’t sweat Reid’s review, that he neither expected nor got any sort of call or text informing he would remain the starter ahead of rookie Nick Foles.

Vick first said he “can’t spend time worrying about what (Reid’s) decision is going to be on Sunday. The thing that I know is I’m putting everything into each and every game and I’m giving it my all. That’s all I can do.”

Then, asked if he had been uncertain where he stood, Vick said: “No, it was never a time when I didn’t know whether I was going to be the starter or not. Quite frankly, I know what I can do when I’m out there and I know what has to happen when I’m out there on the football field.”

Vick was pressed about surely being aware of speculation that he might be next, after Reid dismissed defensive coordinator Juan Castillo a week ago, then said Vick was his starter “as I sit here today.” Reid was not available to reporters Monday.

“You just have to stand tall,” Vick said. “It’s not the first time that I’ve been in this situation. I understand that the most important thing is for me to go out there and continue to do my job, and try to help this football team any way I can.

“We talked this morning. We spoke this morning about his feelings and his thoughts and my feelings and my thoughts about certain things. We’ll keep that conversation private, but it is what it is.”

Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was asked about Reid not having given Vick a firm vote of confidence.

“I think the fact that Mike is still the starting quarterback is your ‘yes’ right there. So, it doesn’t matter how firm (it is) or however you want to look at it, Mike’s still going to be the guy,” Maclin said.

We might never know how much Reid’s decision had to do with confidence in Vick and how much of it had to do with more pragmatic concerns — such as the likelihood of Foles succeeding behind an overwhelmed, patchwork offensive line.

Feeling secure in his position didn’t keep Vick from pondering how the Eagles, who started 3-1, got to 3-3 in final-seconds losses to the Steelers and Lions.

“I thought about a lot of what-ifs — what could’ve happened, what should’ve happened, what didn’t happen. A lot of things that you just have no control over,” he said. “You just have to keep pushing in this game. Keep pushing and keep playing.”

If Castillo’s firing was any kind of shot across Vick’s bow, an indication that Reid won’t back off from messy decisions, Vick didn’t seem to take it that way.

“I don’t know as far as anybody else, but you know that things are being evaluated and people are being evaluated. That’s the way this game goes,” Vick said. “I think everyone just has to look at the film, and you’ll see who is doing it right and who’s not. This game is not that complicated.”

Eagles fans might be cheered by the fact that the last two seasons the Birds have gone 12-7 for the remainder of the season after the bye. In fact, Reid is 84-39-1 after the bye during his 13 seasons, just 45-45 before it.

“I think the coaches use the bye to figure out what works and what doesn’t — what are we excelling at and what we can get better at. That is just coaches and their philosophies and the way they think. It definitely helps and it’s something that you have to do. Hopefully, we can get this thing turned around, and I’m optimistic that we will,” Vick said.

Among those offering free bye-week advice was former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who said he played “pissed off” following his 2008 benching, McNabb then leading a surge that took the Eagles to the NFC Championship Game and bought him another year as the starter.

At 32, with Foles in the background, Vick might be in a similar situation.

“I always play pissed off,” Vick said. “More so now than anything.

“Everybody just taking care of their job. Not panicking, taking each game at a time.”

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