He’d be a severely injured man, that’s what. The offensive line was brutal last night when it came to pass protection. Well, specifically rookies Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins.
Yesterday I wrote a piece about how the offensive line could be the fatal flaw in the Eagles’ plans this year and last night only fueled those concerns. Michael Vick was under quick and constant pressure on numerous plays.
And this was against the not-so-vaunted Cleveland Browns defensive line. Vick would be in the ICU right now had they played New York, Dallas or Green Bay.
Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins both seemed confused in their blocking assignments. I noticed several times when they, especially Watkins, seemed to pick the wrong guy to block while leaving someone else with a free run to the QB.
Vick was hit nine times by Browns defenders, including one sack that caused a fumble and recovered by Cleveland. There was also that crunching blow Vick absorbed on a play where he threw an interception that was called back by a defensive penalty.
That was the type of hit where you see many QBs get injured. If Vick keeps taking hits like that, his season will be a brief one.
Another thing I’d like to point out is that you may have noticed that Vick’s protection appeared to get better as the game went on. If you thought the line started playing better, that’s not exactly the case. What happened is that they started keeping Brent Celek in to help out.
However, the offensive line’s performance wasn’t a complete disaster. Jason Peters and Todd Herremans, the Eagles’ two best guys, played well. King Dunlap, whom I have much concern over, was a very pleasant surprise last night.
Dunlap held his own on all the plays I can remember looking at him specifically. The Kelce-Watkins tandem was the break in the dam that let the gushing rushers get through.
There were positives for those guys too though, all was not lost. Kelce looked good on screens and pulls where he could show his athleticism. Watkins blocked well when he actually did pick the right guy to block.
Most of their problems appear easily correctable with coaching and experience, although Kelce looked a little overpowered in pass protection at times.
The problem here is how long will it take them to get their act together? Will Vick survive until they do? Will it cost them games at the beginning of the season?
Those are very legitimate concerns right now. If Andy Reid and Howard Mudd decide to start Jason Kelce over Jamaal Jackson, they will jeopardize the season in more ways than one.
If Michael Vick goes down, so does any chance of a championship. His health is of the utmost importance. The offensive line is challenged enough with Watkins and Dunlap. Don’t make it worse by throwing a sixth-round rookie in there as well.