Michael Vick is much maligned for a number of reasons, but one thing he can't be criticized for is his value as a teammate. Vick has been out of game action with a hamstring injury, but he's still been supporting the team from the bench. In his absence, Nick Foles has played pretty well, and it's pretty clear Foles will start for the rest of the year even if Vick returns to full health.
Vick, also knowing this, is handling the situation well. Here's a transcription of a recent interview Vick did on Philadelphia radio. You can listen to the whole 94WIP interview here on CBS Philly's website.
On what he saw from Nick Foles against the Redskins:
"I thought Nick went out and put up a great performance against the Redskins. He went out and showcased his talents and did everything the coaches asked him to do. The organization is extremly proud of him. That's what you want in a must-win game, and that's what the magnitude of that game was."
Did Vick believe before the season that the Eagles would be in the position they are now: primed to make the playoffs?
"Absolutely. I always thought that the team was good enough to reach the playoffs. I would have never come back if I felt like the situation would have been something different. That's because the type of talent we have, and then with the system, and Chip Kelly coming in. You know I knew everything was going to be and I also knew what it looked like, so I just felt like it was a good situation. So if you asked me this in May I would have told you the same thing, that's correct."
Is Nick Foles a definite starting quarterback in the NFL?
"Yeah, I think so. I've been working with him every day and working together, I mean, I can't say no. He had an opportunity to learn from me this year and last year and just sit behind me and pick my brain. He also went out and played some games. Now he's just taking that and everything is unfolding for him. He's going out there and putting everything he's worked for and put into his game, he's putting it to work and that's what you're seeing. So I think he's a starter, he can potentially be a starter in this for a long time. It's just about timing as of right now. As long as he keeps doing what he's doing, he's going to continue to build that case."
Vick talked about his mentor role:
"I enjoy the role of mentoring but I also like being in the action. I love playing football, I love playing quarterback. It's a great game. I take on that role because I feel like it's my responsibility when I'm in that position. You always want to play the game. Even when you're not out there, and you feel like you can be out there. Just the atmosphere of the crowd. Knowing that you know the gameplan and what could potentially be touchdown passes and great plays. That makes you want to get out there. You also have to understand your time will come."
If Nick is playing well, does Vick understand it's his job to watch, help, and advise, but not start again?
"I think in all honesty and all fairness, how can you take a guy out of the game who's playing so well? I've been in this stage before and I know what it's like. I understand the position that this team is in. The one thing I never want to do is be a distraction or put our team/coaches in a position where they feel like they're not doing the right thing or I feel like they're not doing the right thing. I trust what's going on. I enjoy being a part of it. I love it. I love the game of football in general. It's important for me to be there and support and be ready if my name and number is called again.
It's a rough position for the veteran quarterback. Michael Vick is one of the toughest competitors to ever play the sport. Sometimes his competitiveness is a weakness, but not in this case
But when things like this are said:
Is Mike Vick real? He's OK with Foles starting? I wouldn't be.— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) November 22, 2013
It's silly. Vick's comments are sincere. Believe it or not, Vick and Foles are friends. Remember the joint press conference? Remember the moment this week in Sound FX where Vick runs over to Foles on the sideline to congratulate him on the touchdown?
Vick's behavior is very representative of a good teammate. It's not like Vick is sitting on the bench content as can be. We all know if he had his way, he would be out on the field. So would virtually every non-starting quarterback. That's how it should be.
Vick is a smart guy. He's aware of the situation in Philadelphia. Foles is playing well and there's no reason to turn away from him if the team is winning. He knows it. And the reality is that Vick has handled this situation perfectly. He's doing and saying all the right things.
No matter your opinion of Vick, you have to give him credit here.