Lang on NFL: To Vick or not to Vick

October 29, 2012, 7:09 PM

To Vick or not to Vick, that is the question of the day in Philadelphia. In Aug. 2011, the Eagles signed Michael Vick to a six year, $100-million dollar contract with $40 million in guaranteed money. Fourteen short months later and Vick’s job as the Eagle’s starting quarterback is on very thin ice.

Yesterday at Lincoln Financial Field the Atlanta Falcons pounded Philly 30-17. Vick had this to say after the game when asked whether or not Andy Reid might be making a change at quarterback: “Obviously he’s thinking about making a change at the quarterback position. The thing I do know, and I’ll go and watch the film and I’ll evaluate myself, is that I’m giving us every opportunity to win. I’m trying my hardest. Some things don’t go right when I want them to. Some things do. So if that’s a decision that coach wants to make, then I support it.”

The thought that the Eagles would start rookie Nick Foles and bench Vick for next Monday’s game against the Saints tells you all you need to know about how bad things have gotten in Philadelphia. At this point it would take a miracle for Reid to keep his job. Goodness knows there are legions of Eagles fans around North America who would like to see that happen.

Star of the week — Trent Richardson

Jason Witten received a lot of votes after catching 18 passes in the Cowboys loss to the Giants (The refs made the right call by the way; Dez Bryant was out of bounds). Tom Brady and Peyton Manning received their usual amount of votes after throwing four and three touchdowns respectively. While all three are worthy candidates, this week’s award goes to Browns running back Trent Richardson. The rookie out of Alabama had his best game as a pro, running for 122 yards and the winning touchdown in the Browns 7-6 victory over the Chargers. Browns legend Jim Brown, arguably the greatest running back ever, personally congratulated Richardson for his effort Sunday against San Diego.

Stiff of the week — DeAngelo Hall

The Washington Redskins cornerback was the unanimous winner of the award this week after his meltdown of epic proportions, losing his cool on a referee and getting ejected from the game.

Hall may have been frustrated that the Redskins were losing to the Steelers and time was running out in the game. But to completely lose it like that and go after an official is unacceptable and not the kind of thing Mike Shanahan tolerates. “You never put your team in that type of situation,” said Shanahan afterwards to reporters.

Rookie of the week — Vick Ballard

The Colts rookie running back caught one pass on Sunday, and it was a thing of beauty. Tied 13-13 with the Titans in overtime, Ballard took a swing pass from Andrew Luck and did the rest on a spectacular 16 yard touchdown.

Ballard did a fantastic job of contorting his body in mid-air to reach for the pylon and the game-winning touchdown.

By the way, the Colts are now 4-3.

Defensive player of the week — Tim Jennings

Bears cornerback Tim Jennings had yet another game-changing performance in Chicago’s thrilling 23-22 win over the Panthers. Trailing 19-14 in the fourth quarter Jennings intercepted a Cam Newton pass and took it all the way to the house for a 25-yard touchdown return. Jennings finished the game with two interceptions, knocked down three passes and added eight tackles. Thanks to Jennings’ heroics, the Bears now have six interception returns for touchdowns this season, more in the first seven games of the season than any team in NFL history.

The Ronnie Lott award — Larry Foote

Steelers’ linebacker Larry Foote wins the award for his fourth-quarter sack of Robert Griffin III and for the way he helped keep RG3 in check. Foote and the Steelers defence only allowed Griffin to run for eight yards on six carries. While it may have been a closer game had the Redskins receivers not dropped so many passes, credit must be given to Foote, who recorded six tackles, for the way he kept RG3 from beating the Steelers with any long runs.

The Steve Largent award — Demaryius Thomas

The Broncos top receiving threat wins the award this week for this amazing 41-yard catch in the Broncos’ 34-14 win over the Saints.

Thomas ended the day with seven receptions for 137 yards and one touchdown. Because of game breakers like Thomas, the Broncos are 3-1 in their last four and Peyton Manning has thrown 12 touchdowns and only one interception in that stretch.

Best touchdown celebration — Rob Gronkowski

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is already a folk hero in New England. After this touchdown celebration at Wembley Stadium in the Patriots 45-7 over the Rams, he’s sure to become a folk hero in London, England as well.

Most of us assumed Gronk was paying tribute to the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. But Tom Brady’s favourite target described it to reporters afterwards as “that little nutcracker dude that’s guarding the house”.

The unsung hero award — Jimmy Wilson

Dolphins safety Jimmy Wilson gets this award after a near perfect game in Miami’s pounding of the Jets. Wilson had a sack, two quarterback hits, he broke up a pass and blocked a punt that was recovered by Olivier Vernon for a touchdown. Wilson blew by an unsuspecting Tim Tebow as he blocked the attempted punt by Robert Malone.

The big injuries of the week

As per usual there were a number of concerning injuries around the NFL this past weekend. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill may be the biggest after the rookie quarterback suffered a bruised quad and a hyper-extended knee in the Dolphins win over the Jets. An MRI on Monday will determine whether he will be good to go next week against the Colts. Meanwhile, Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn suffered a head injury in their loss to the Raiders.

This and that

On behalf of football fans everywhere, please Mike Tomlin, burn those hideous throwback uniforms your Steelers were wearing on Sunday.

The “Fire Norv” rally is reaching a crescendo in San Diego after the Chargers could only muster two field goals in an uninspired 7-6 loss to the Browns.

Matthew Stafford came to life Sunday, tossing three touchdowns in the Lions 28-24 comeback win over the Seahawks. With the loss, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks are now 1-4 on the road.

With Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings out, the Packers really had to work for their 24-15 win over the Jaguars. Despite missing his top targets, Aaron Rodgers still managed to throw two touchdowns and no interceptions.

As bad as Jay Cutler played in the first half of the Bears 23-22 win over the Panthers, it should be pointed out he completed eight of nine passes for 52 yards to set up Robbie Gould’s 41 yard game winning field goal.

While the Raiders nation celebrates their 26-16 win over the Chiefs, the city of Kansas mourns the plight of their football team. If the season ended today, the 1-6 Chiefs would have the number one pick in the 2013 draft. You can bet they’d take a quarterback.

It’s safe to say the Dolphins 30-9 win over New York was the low point for Rex Ryan and the Jets. The Jets had a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and they were victimized by an onside kick. Meanwhile, Tony Sparano had a beleaguered Mark Sanchez throw the football 54 times against one of the better defences in the NFL. While Rex Ryan went to great lengths to defend Sanchez, the cry to insert Tim Tebow as the Jets starting quarterback is deafening. The Jets will now go on their bye next week before taking a trip to Death Valley, otherwise known as CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

What to watch for tonight

In Arizona the reeling Cardinals host the 49ers on Monday Night football. The Cardinals have lost three straight and their schedule only gets tougher after tonight. A win by the 49ers would give them a 6-2 record and the hammer in the NFC West. The 49ers are tied with the Bears for the best defence in the NFC and want to go into their bye week on a winning note. Alex Smith has struggled in his last two games and a big performance tonight against a solid Cardinals defence would give him a confidence boost heading into the bye week. With Kevin Kolb still injured John Skelton gets the nod at quarterback for the Cardinals.


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