PHILADELPHIA - His head pounding and his play erratic, Michael Vick's time could be up in Philadelphia.
Once considered the long-term answer at quarterback after a sensational 2010, Vick's already uncertain future with the Eagles was placed further in doubt Monday after he was diagnosed with a "pretty significant" concussion.
Vick was concussed in Philadelphia's loss to Dallas on Sunday and looked groggy in the locker room. Coach Andy Reid told Vick to stay home Monday and rest. Out of respect to the former Pro Bowl quarterback, Reid even reiterated Vick is still the starter, if healthy — but left wiggle room to change his mind.
Because there are more medical tests still to be administered, Reid could not immediately rule out Vick for Sunday's game at Washington. Reid, though, made it sound quite positive that rookie Nick Foles will make his first career start.
"I've got confidence that Nick will do a nice job, if given that opportunity," Reid said. "Listen, I get excited for every game, but if the kid has an opportunity to start, I'm excited to see him play."
Foles will take the first-team snaps when the Eagles return to practice on Wednesday. Foles was 22 of 32 for 219 yards with a touchdown and an interception in relief of Vick. Those numbers weren't enough to help the Eagles avoid their fifth straight loss, a first in Reid's 14 seasons.
Fans rooted for Foles, who had an outstanding preseason, to replace Vick for weeks. Not because of an injury, but the loud ovation Foles received when he jogged on the field made it clear Philadelphia fans wanted a change under centre.
Foles said after the loss he felt confident running the offence.
"I think it's just, the speed of the game is faster," he said. "It's a faster game than preseason, but I felt comfortable. That's no excuse. I was out there playing and made some mistakes and we didn't get the job done."
With a 3-6 record, Reid's job is in serious jeopardy, and turning to Foles over the final seven games could be the veteran coach's way of proving he's open to change to salvage a 15th season. Reid and the Eagles took a gamble in 2009 when they signed Vick with incumbent Donovan McNabb and one-time heir apparent Kevin Kolb already on the roster. The Eagles traded McNabb to Washington the following off-season, opening the door for Kolb. But Kolb suffered a concussion in Week 1 of the 2010 season and was replaced by Vick. Two years later, it could be Vick's turn to lose his job because of a head injury.
Reid said Vick complained of a headache and fatigue on Monday. His status should officially be decided by Wednesday.
There were two consecutive plays in the second quarter that appeared to injure Vick. He scrambled trying for a first down and was driven from behind head-first into the ground by tackle Jay Ratliff. On the next play, Vick was slow to get up after he was knocked on his back by linebacker Ernie Sims.
Vick headed for the locker room and Foles started warming up. Reid said Vick was a "little foggy" but he thought it was the Sims hit that injured him.
Vick suffered a concussion in a September 2011 game against Atlanta after getting spun by a Falcons rusher into Eagles lineman Todd Herremans. He staggered to the sideline after the hit and was replaced by Mike Kafka. Vick returned to start the following week against the New York Giants and suffered a broken right hand.
His outlook appeared much more grim Monday than last season's injury — Reid stressed several times just how badly Vick was hurt.
Vick, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, has struggled this season with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. After a loss two weeks ago to Atlanta, Reid refused to endorse Vick as the starter, needing a couple of days before releasing a statement that there would be no change at QB. Reid knew that benching Vick and turning the offence over to Foles was a way to shake things up. It also could have been interpreted as giving up on the season.
Vick's injury could make the decision to keep Foles in the lineup an easy one.
This latest loss was another black mark on the season and time is running out to save Reid's job. Owner Jeffrey Lurie put Reid on notice following an 8-8 season that he had to win big for a 15th season.
Fans are clearly fed up. In the final minutes of Sunday's loss, fans behind Dallas' bench unrolled a banner that read, "Andy, Quit, Your Team Has!"
Other ticked-off fans brought "Fire Andy!" and "This Is Not Acceptable" signs with them as they tailgated in the parking lots. There was at least one mobile billboard that read "Fire Andy Reid Now!!!" and "No Mas" with a pair of red Xs near the embattled coach's photo.
Reid insisted Monday he hadn't lost his enthusiasm for coaching the Eagles ("I love what I do") and put a dose of positive public relations spin out there that a playoff berth is still within reach.
"You don't count anybody out in the National Football League, so I'm surely not going to count this football team out," Reid said. "I feel good about this team as a group and we just need to tighten some things up."
He put has future in the hands of McNabb as a rookie in 1999 and that worked out great.
It's up to Foles to try and give Reid a shot at least a stunning finish.
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