PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles is tackled by Darnell Dockett #90 of the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at Lincoln Financial Field on November 13, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The Philadelphia Eagles head to Miami this weekend to take on the Dolphins, and starting quarterback Michael Vick is expected to be under center for the visitors. Vick has missed the last three games for the Eagles as he recovered from two broken ribs he suffered against the Arizona Cardinals.
But, don't expect to see Vick diving for those extra yards, or challenging linebackers.
"I made a pact to myself this weekend that I was going to get down," Vick said, referring to sliding instead of taking on defenders. "No more diving, no more trying to get the extra yard if there's no reason to, to protect myself and be accountable for my team."
Vick admits he's still going to use his legs to gain yards. He's still going to try to hurt teams on the ground, as well as through the air. He's just going to be smarter about it.
"You'll still see me moving around and scrambling, but not taking unnecessary hits," Vick explained. "I told (teammates) that was it, that was the last unnecessary shot I was going to take. It's a challenge to myself, that's why it's a pact."
Miami head coach Tony Sparano, however, expects to see the Eagles offense get its spark back with Vick in the lineup. "The guy creates not like too many people I've been around or played against," Sparano said. "The hard thing with him is there is a fine line when you don't know when he's about to run it or throw it over your head. If you don't trust your eyes, you can get caught kind of peeking a little bit. I think as soon as you bite on him, the ball ends up over your head.
"That's why this team has the number of big plays they have. They lead the NFL with runs of 20-plus yards; I think they've got 29. They have chunk plays in the pass game largely due to what he does outside of the pocket. We have to do a good job of keeping him in the pocket but, more importantly, plastering receivers, staying on receivers as the play breaks down."