Why I Think Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick Could Play All 16 Games in 2012

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

One of the major stories throughout the National Football League during the preseason was the inabiltiy of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to stay healthy.

Vick played in exactly six snaps against the Pittsburgh Steelers before he was knocked out of the game with a thumb contusion. He played exactly six snaps against the New England Patriots the following week before he was knocked out of the game with a rib contusion.

This came after a dreadful 2011 season in which he was injured a total of four times.

In week two, he was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons with a concussion after his head slammed into the back of offensive tackle Todd Herremans. Backup Mike Kafka finished the game, and the Eagles lost 35-31.

Vick returned from his concussion to play in week three against the New York Giants, but he was knocked out in the fourth quarter when his non-throwing hand collided with the helmet of defensive lineman Chris Canty. He left the game, which the Eagles lost 29-16, after leading 16-14 at the start of the fourth quarter.

Vick again managed to play the following week when it turned out that his hand was only badly bruised and not broken. But he was knocked out for a play against the San Francisco 49ers when defensive end Justin Smith dislocated one of his fingers. He returned, and the Eagles blew a 23-3 lead and lost 24-23.

Vick’s final injury of the year came against the Arizona Cardinals in week 10, when he took a hit to the ribs from linebacker Daryl Washington on the third play of the game. Vick played for the rest of the game, but turned in a dreadful performance, and the Eagles blew yet another fourth quarter lead, losing 21-17.

After the game, it was revealed that Vick suffered a pair of broken ribs. He missed the next three games, which ultimately ended up costing the Eagles the season.

So why now, after Vick suffered four injuries in 2011 and two more in the 2012 preseason, do I think that Vick will play the entire season without suffering an injury?

One word.

Kevlar.

That’s the type of rib padding Vick is wearing by Unequal Technologies. He began wearing their padding after he broke his ribs diving towards the goal line against the Washington Redskins in week 4 of the 2010 season, and he’s continued wearing it ever since.

In fact, he also wore it over his thigh after he took a vicious hit early in the game against the Minnesota Vikings in week 16 of the 2010 season. The Eagles lost the game 24-14, likely because Vick’s mobility was greatly restricted, and lost out on a chance at the second seed in the NFC playoffs.

But after Jermaine Cunningham bruised Vick’s ribs in the second preseason game, the 32-year old quarterback was presented with an even newer and more improved form of padding by Unequal Technologies.

CEO Rob Vito boldly guaranteed that Vick will stay healthy for the entire season. That’s how confident he is in the new padding.

And so far, Vito looks like a genius.

Against the Browns, Vick took 16 hits, the most by an NFL quarterback in a single game since the start of the 2010 season.

Not once was Vick slow to get up. Not once did I see him holding his ribs or wincing in pain. He withstood every blow, stayed in, finished the game, and led the Eagles to a victory.

I’m not going to say that Vick can’t get hurt this season, obviously. That would be stupid.

He could tear his ACL, sprain his knee, or break a thumb. He could get a concussion. He could slip and fall walking off the field and break his leg.

But I bet he doesn’t hurt anywhere between his neck and his waist. If he’s still wearing the padding on his thigh(s), I bet he doesn’t injure the upper portion of his legs.

I was really reassured by Vick not getting hurt on Sunday. 16 hits and he wasn’t slow to get up once? Does it get better for Eagles fans?

It was almost like Vick didn’t even try to avoid taking hits because he knows he can’t get hurt. Maybe that’s why he refused to slide even though he told President Obama that he would. (Headfirst slides don’t count as slides in my book.)

It actually reminded me of the giant elbow pad that former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds would wear in the latter stages of his career.

It was like Bonds knew he couldn’t be intimidated if he crowded the plate because he had protection. Maybe Vick feels the same way.

Or maybe I’m completely wrong and he just got lucky and none of the 16 hits hit him in the right spot, or should I say wrong spot.

So we’ll see over the next 15 games, and possibly beyond.

I’ve said this before, but if Vick does stay healthy, and the Eagles win the Super Bowl, Rob Vito deserves a portion of the winner’s share, a ride on the float during the parade, and his own statue outside Lincoln Financial Field.

This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. You can follow Bryn on Twitter by clicking here and here. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.


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