Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vick Steps Up as a Leader, Castillo Talks in Texas

Michael Vick stepped up in his role as Eagles quarterback this week. Vick announced that he would be leading workouts and drills for the offense in southern New Jersey. This is a big step for the Eagles, and says a lot about Vick and his commitment to the team. By running these practices, Vick will (hopefully) avoid the problems that plagued Ron Jaworski's Eagles during the stoppage in the '80s, and will cement him as the team's leader. Vick's decision to do this makes his place on the team a more permanent and responsible one, showing he cares about the success of the team beyond his one-year contract extension. This is good news for Eagles fans and the organization, as Vick stepping up will serve to invigorate and unify the team. It also shows at least some good can come from this lockout.

Incentive from Vick could prove key to keeping the Eagles in playoff-hungry form, as the lockout is beginning to threaten their bonuses. Several Eagles players are set to receive substantial workout bonuses to induce them into participating in voluntary workouts. Without these bonus incentives, some fear players will take the path Ron Jaworski related from the '80s, and will end up out of shape when the stoppage is over. Hopefully the QB taking the reigns will bring many into line with him, and will spur someone (hello Asante?) into doing the same on defense.

Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith visited the Eagles this week. While the draft may not be the best place to get a cornerback to start, Smith could do well backing up for Asante Samuel and whoever ends up on the otherside of the backfield (Nnamdi Asmougha, anyone?). Smith put up good numbers at the Combine, and had a couple of interceptions at Colorado, but generally wasn't on the QBs' preferred side. While this looks impressive, there is a big difference between how QBs operate in college, and how they work on the pro level. My pick, though I sound like a broken record, would be Muhammad Wilkerson to help bring new life into the Eagles defensive line.

New defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was in South Texas to discuss his roots as a Chicano and the work ethic he brings as Sean McDermott's successor. There was a lot of surprise when Andy Reid announced that the new DC would be an offensive coach, but Castillo said that it was not the first time his abilities were doubted. The new DC discussed his struggles in his early football career and the feeling of having a police motorcade escort the bus he rides on through Texas to play the Cowboys.

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