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It's a Hard Knock Life for Vick

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Which isn't to say the Eagles didn't have their own issues -- including allowing three more sacks. But with losses from the Redskins and Giants, they currently sit atop the NFC East and appear energized by Vick's so-far astonishing play.

    After his start in Green Bay, Michael Vick admitted the Eagles -- all of them -- pressed on him the importance of avoiding unnecessary shots to the body.

    "I'm doing my thing, but it's not just Andy telling me to slide or get out of bounds, it's the entire team. So, I just have to take heed of what they're saying and do it. In the actual game, I kind of get caught up in the moment and sometimes I just go crazy out there, but you've just got to protect yourself at all times.

    "It's a dangerous game, and just be conscious of who's around you and not get hit all the time."

    He responded admirably by staying almost entirely in the pocket in Jacksonville, choosing to run the ball just four Vick-measley times and passing for 291 yards.

    Unfortunately, obedience didn't much help: the Eagles' offensive line allowed three sacks and ten hits in addition to his being tackled on all four carries.

    It's an improvement over Week 2, when Vick was nailed on 24 of his 44 passing plays, but it's still too many for a team that now needs him to remain healthy and unconcussed for a whole season lest Kevin Kolb be "crucified" (poor guy's already been denied at least three times, let's not make it worse).

    Vick, in fact, is getting hit more often than LeSean McCoy, and prison doesn't make anyone hard enough to withstand that forever.

    He's been sacked 11 times -- tied for most alongside Matt Schaub with two fewer quarters -- and more than double the number of sacks Donovan McNabb has suffered behind Washington's also-suspect line.

    Add in the sacks on Kevin Kolb, and the Eagles have easily allowed the most in the league. The obvious answer is to run the ball more, but again, that offensive line -- and, on Sunday, a waiting LaRon Landry.

    Vick's special magic -- and his special usefulness to this year's Eagles -- is that he can usually make something out of collapsing protection. But the Eagles have to find a way to keep that from happening too often. Vick isn't getting hit often enough for most Birds Nest commenters, but he's getting hit far too often for most NFL quarterbacks.