A lot of effort and air has been expended in explaining how the mere presence of quarterback Mike Vick makes the Eagles offense a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.
Less of the same has been spent examining the cost of getting Vick involved for the rest of the Eagles offense.
Thursday night, the Eagles’ first offense was too often sloppy and out of sync in the first half against the Jaguars.
After the game, Donovan McNabb took care not to tread on the implementation of plays involving Vick. But he also clearly stated that shuffling Vick in and out — at least in this first game — was disruptive.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer relayed this answer from McNabb when asked if he felt the Eagles’ offense needed to get back to basics near the end of the first half, after Vick was sprinkled in liberally during the first few drives.
“Absolutely, absolutely. I did,” said McNabb. “In that situation, it’s needed. I know what we were trying to do [with Vick] and we were able to get that done. I thought it was time for us to kind of get our offense going.”
McNabb then pointed out that, running their normal offense, the Eagles began to move the ball better.
“I think that’s very important in a game, whether it’s in the regular season or the preseason, to get that rhythm going. If you’re going to show different looks, make sure it’s the right time. That’s what the preseason’s for to make sure you know when that time is and we’ll get that time together. I thought it was important at that time to get out and run our offense.”
When asked if it was hard to get a rhythm with Vick mixing in, McNabb said, “It was tough. I think in any situation, honestly, when you’re trying something new, it’s important that you get into a rhythm first and then try to work it in there in the offense. Offensively, we just can’t get that going consistently and I thought we did some great things that presented pressure to the defense but at some point you have to get into a rhythm and get things going down the field and move the chains.”
Eagles coach Andy Reid was asked about the rhythm of the offense regarding Vick and said, “If you’re going to use that a little but, then you have to work it in there. That’s what we’re going to do as we go down the road here. I expect the guys to make that part of the rhythm and make it work. That will happen there.”
Certainly this was a night for trial-and-error in Philly. And it will likely get tuned up. But it’s also worth pointing out that, the third preseason game is the one in which you want your team to closely resemble what it’s going to be when the regular season starts.
The Eagles are implementing gadgetry that would have been better worked in during OTAs, minicamps, and training camp. But it wasn’t. And it’s worth wondering: (1) how long it will take; (2) how much it will impact a team with Super Bowl aspirations in the early part of a season that, for the Eagles, begins in 16 days.