Yesterday, Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com reported that Michael Vick remains hopeful that he can play against his former team this Sunday against the 4-1 Falcons. While I remain firmly confident in the ability of Kevin Kolb, Vick's presence as a starter would be absolutely huge for one major reason... King Dunlap. Dunlap gave up three sacks as a reserve in last week's win over San Fran when Jason Peters went down with an injury, and on two of those sacks, Kolb never saw them coming. Fortunately, the two Niners rushers that had blindside shots at Kolb did a poor job of trying to strip him in the process, failing to turn sacks into game-changing sack/fumbles.
Falcons LDE John Abraham won't be so kind if given those opportunities. Abraham beat the best LT in the game (Joe Thomas) last week for two sacks, and has 32 forced fumbles in his career. Those 32 career forced fumbles puts him tied for 16th all time in that category. Jason Taylor, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, and Brian Dawkins are the only active players with more. Abraham relishes those blindside opportunities and capitalizes on them.
Obviously, we all know Michael Vick is a lefty. Being left-handed, the blindside responsibility would shift over to Winston Justice, who is clearly a far more reliable blocker than King Dunlap. Vick would have the luxury (I know, poor choice of words) of at least seeing Abraham coming, whereas Kolb would be an absolute sitting duck. Oversimplified? Perhaps.
There must be a reason Andy Reid is hesitant to kick Todd Herremans out to LT and slide Reggie Wells in at LG. I can't possibly fathom what the hesitation there would be, as King Dunlap has pretty much proven he's not a capable NFL player.
Then again, should Vick play, some blindside responsibility would go to Max Jean-Gilles, so uh... yeah, there's that. I think the moral of the story is that despite Jason Peters' occasional lack of focus and his penchant for penalties, he's as important to this team as any other player on the roster.