Much of the football talk up and down I-95 this week revolves around Joe Flacco and Michael Vick, and the different directions their careers appear to be headed.
Vick, who returned to the game with a splash in 2010 after serving time on dog fighting-related charges, is coming off a mediocre season last year and a four-interception performance in last week’s season opener against the Cleveland Browns. To be fair, Vick did rally the Eagles for a late-game win, 17-16.
However, Vick’s 32 now, and some wonder if his incredible athleticism has waned a bit.
Flacco, on the other hand, earned rave reviews after masterfully directing the Ravens' new no-huddle offense in a 44-13 romp over the Bengals. Completing 21 of 29 passes for two touchdowns and 299 yards, suddenly NFL observers believe he might be one of the elite quarterbacks in the league — as he said so himself last year.
The trip to Philly for the 1 p.m. Sunday start is also a homecoming for Flacco, who grew up on the Jersey-side of the Delaware River in Audubon, N.J. and attended the University of Delaware. (Yes: the man from Audubon has made a name for himself playing quarterback for teams nicknamed the Fighting Blue Hens and Ravens.)
We all this quarterback talk in mind, we checked some Philadelphia and nearby Pennsylvania media outlets to see what the opposition is saying about the two QBs and this week's game:
Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans on Joe Flacco at Comcast Sportsnet Philly: “Monday night, I saw a different guy. I saw a guy that stood in the pocket, he controlled the offense, made some big throws downfield, big plays. I saw a different Flacco who took control of the offense.
Eagles coach Andy Reid on Flacco from the Harrisburg Patriot-News: "I think the offense suits him. What they’re doing with the hurry-up game, I think he handled that very well. [Ravens quarterbacks coach] Jim [Caldwell] is down there and he’s done a nice job. You can see his influence in there mixed in with what [Ravens offensive coordinator] Cam [Cameron] does. I like what they’re doing. It was effective the other night. They’re playing good football.
Reid on Vick from ESPN: "He finished the way a great player finishes, and you see this all the time in basketball, where shooters, the great shooters, they're going to have an off-day and they keep shooting," he said. "When it comes down to the end, the great ones end up sinking the winning shot. So Michael, that's what he did. He kept firing."
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan: “You can bet that Harbaugh, now the Ravens' head coach [he worked for the Eagles previously], will have his voracious defense primed to jump on Vick quickly. It won't take more than a turnover or a couple of three-and-outs to get the crowd chanting for rookie backup Nick Foles.”
Michael Vick in the Allentown Morning Call on his poor performance against the Cleveland Browns last week: "It happened because it happened. There's nothing you can change about it. There are plenty of throws that I wish I would have had back and that I wish I would have pulled down and maybe checked it down or ran with it. It's options.