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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vick Out & Young In For Eagles This Sunday Night

Michael Vick is out and Vince Young will start at quarterback for the Eagles Sunday night against the Giants, two league sources with knowledge of the Eagles’ thinking said Friday.

Vick missed a third straight practice Friday with broken ribs, and even though head coach Andy Reid at his press conference Friday did not rule Vick out for the Giants, internally, the Eagles have apparently already made that decision.

Vick suffered two broken ribs in the Eagles’ loss to the Cards at the Linc this past Sunday. He’s lost eight of his last 11 starts after winning eight of his first 10 starts in an Eagles uniform.

The Eagles, 3-6, face the NFC East-leading Giants, 6-3, at 8:20 p.m. Sunday in a nationally televised NBC-TV game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.

Young has not started a regular-season game in almost exactly a year, since late last November when he was with the Titans.

Asked after practice Friday if he expects to start, Young said, “In my mind, definitely.”

Young was 30-17 as a starter in five years with the Titans, including wins over the Giants in 2006 and 2010. 

Sunday’s game against the Giants will be his first extended, meaningful playing time since his ill-advised “Dream Team” comment at Lehigh after he signed with the Eagles.

“It’s not about me,” Young said. “It’s just all about going out there and playing a game and always staying ready. Definitely that was one of the (reasons) they did bring me here, to stay ready and come in and lead guys and keep the same tempo Mike Vick has. 

“Overall, I feel pretty good, but it’s not about me. I just want to go out and just lead the guys to victory.”

Among quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 50 passes against the Giants in their career, Young’s 107.2 career passer rating is sixth-best ever, behind Drew Brees (118.7), John Brodie (110.8), Bill Kenney (109.0), Fran Tarkenton (107.3) and Randy Johnson (107.2).

In 2006, Young was 24-for-35 (69 percent) for 249 yards, with two TDs and no interceptions and a passer rating of 107.9 in the Titans’ 24-21 win over the Giants in Nashville. Last year, he went 10-for-16 for 118 yards with one TD, no INTs and a passer rating of 105.7 in a 29-10 win in East Rutherford.

Young’s teammates said he was very sharp in practice the last three days.

“He looks good,” wide receiver Steve Smith said Friday. “Just talking to the guys on the sideline, we were all just talking about that. He looks like he’s getting everything down, getting comfortable with the offense, and making really good passes. 

“This is a complicated offense, and he’s in command of the huddle and doing a great job with that. We’re fortunate to have a guy who’s a backup who can come in and we all feel comfortable with.” 

Other than one snap against the Redskins -- an interception -- and a handoff against the Cards, Young’s last playing time came in the preseason finale against the Jets, also at Metlife Stadium. He was 15-for-23 for 193 yards, with a touchdown pass to Chad Hall, no interceptions and a 105.9 passer rating.

Young last started on Nov. 21, a 19-16 Titans loss to the Redskins in Nashville. He had 10 TDs and three INTs in eight starts for Tennessee last year.

“Vince is a great player, he’s a great leader,” Brent Celek said. “The biggest thing about Vince is that he’s a winner. What he did in college, what he’s done in the NFL, if he’s out there, we have the utmost confidence in him, and we believe we can win any football game with him at quarterback.”

Vick has not played 16 games in a season since 2006, his final year in Atlanta before his two-year prison term. He missed three games last year with a rib injury, and the Eagles went 2-1 during that stretch under Kevin Kolb. He also missed 11 games with a broken leg in 2003 and missed games earlier in his career with back, shoulder and knee injuries. 

Reid said Vick felt better Friday than Thursday and said he wants to see how Vick’s ribs feel Saturday before officially making a decision on who to start against the Giants.

But everything points to Young becoming the ninth quarterback to start in 12 1/2 years under Andy Reid, following Donovan McNabb (158 games), Vick (21), current quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson (nine), Jeff Garcia (eight), Kolb, A.J. Feeley and Mike McMahon (seven each) and Koy Detmer (three).

“Vince, he has a lot of confidence,” DeSean Jackson said. “He’s been a starter in this league for years, and there’s nothing he’s going to have to force or (do) to make something happen. As long as he’s not forcing things, he’s just going out there and being himself, the sky’s the limit. 

“He has a lot of ability, arm strength, the whole nine, so it’s a good situation to have two quarterbacks with kind of the same potential, and we just want to go out there and show the world what we (can) do.”

Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin also missed a third consecutive practice Friday and is also a longshot to play against the Giants.

Maclin, who has a team-high 46 receptions for 612 yards and four touchdowns, suffered shoulder and hamstring injuries against the Cards. Riley Cooper is expected to start in place of Maclin.

“We’ve got a lot of talented guys,” Young said. “Just getting them out of the huddle, that’s the biggest thing, getting guys in the right places. That’s what we brought them here for, to make plays. We got a lot of guys who can make plays.”

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