[Note by Ed Valentine, 09/26/11 12:59 PM EDT : Now Eagles coach Andy Reid says Michael Vick's hand is not broken and he might play this week.]
Is Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick right that NFL officials don't protect him the way they do other quarterbacks? After Sunday's loss to the New York Giants Vick said "something catastrophic" was going to happen if he doesn't get more calls.
"Not to blame the refs or say that it was their fault. Its' just one of those unfortunate situations and I just think more precautions should be taken when I'm inside the pocket. I mean if you look at all the replays, I'm on the ground every time," Vick said.
He went on to complain that he thought some of the hits he took from the Giants on Sunday were late.
"Everybody saw the game. I was on the ground constantly. All of the time. Every time I throw the ball in all my highlights and just watching film in general, every time I throw the ball I'm on the ground, getting hit in the head and I don't know why," Vick said. "I don't get the 15-yard flags like everybody else does but hey- I'm not going to complain about it. I'm just making everybody aware and hopefully somebody will take notice."
Obviously I don't watch every Eagles game, so I can't comment on the hits Vick takes each week. I can say this, though. He is different than any quarterback who has ever played, whether he wants to admit it or not. He plays differently, he runs differently. He doesn't run looking for a place to hide, he runs looking to attack. There is a difference.
As for Sunday, I did not think any of the hits the Giants laid on Vick were late or cheap at all. Let's look at a few hits that come to mind.
- The hit by Dave Tollefson after the interception: Tollefson blasted an unsuspecting Vick from the side, knocking him hard to the ground following Aaron's Ross's first-quarter interception. Nothing wrong with this hit at all. If Vick doesn't want to take a chance on getting hit there, he can't go run into the middle of the fray and try to get in on the tackle. Vick's fault, and perfectly OK by Tollefson.
- The hit by Chris Canty that probably broke Vick's hand. I didn't think this one was late, either. It came just as Vick released the ball and Canty really could not have avoided hitting him. The Giants defensive tackle hit Vick in the chest with a shoulder, neither player's helmet was involved at all. Just unfortunate for Vick that his hand was in the way.
- A hit in the helmet Vick took when sacked by Jason Pierre-Paul. On this play, Vick did take a shot in the head -- but it was his fault. Scrambling to his left, Vick stopped and tried to change direction. Pierre-Paul was bearing down on him, though, and Vick ducked his head directly into the oncoming chest of the Giants' defender. So, basically, Vick got himself hit in the head there.
- Rocky Bernard driving Vick to the turf. I'm sure this one hurt -- a lot. Bernard plowed Vick into the turf with all of his 300+ pounds, but he hit him clean exactly as Vick was letting go of the ball. An Eagles player took exception to the hit, but it was a perfect, clean shot by the Giants defensive tackle.
I am sure there were other hits, but those are the ones that come to mind immediately Nothing wrong with any of them. Vick was admittedly frustrated after the game, and he takes a lot of hits, but I really don't believe the Giants gave him anything to complain about on Sunday.
Oh, and one piece of advice for the Eagles quarterback. Wear your mouth guard, for crying out loud! I can't believe Andy Reid and the Eagles organization can allow a guy who takes the punishment Vick does -- and just had a concussion -- to play without one.