PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Grass stains turned Michael Vick's white jersey into a different shade of Eagles green, underscoring the latest beating he received in a game.
Vick was hit 21 times by the Arizona Cardinals in Philadelphia's 27-6 loss on Sunday. He got sacked five times and lost two more fumbles, including one that was returned 93 yards for a touchdown.
The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback isn't going to escape without injury if he keeps taking shots at this rate. That's just one of the problems the Eagles (2-1) must address quickly following a convincing loss to the Cardinals (3-0) that exposed several deficiencies.
"He's getting hit way too much," coach Andy Reid said Monday. "That's what I can tell you. At this point, it's way too much, so that part's got to end. We've got to limit that."
Vick has been sacked nine times in three games to go along with being tackled several times on scrambles and absorbing numerous legal hits right after he releases the ball. There's a combination of reasons why he's being knocked around more than usual.
First, the offensive line has been downright shaky. Losing All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters and center Jason Kelce to injury depleted the starting unit. King Dunlap, who replaced Peters, didn't play against the Cardinals because of a hamstring injury. Demetress Bell struggled in his first start for Philadelphia. So did new center Dallas Reynolds.
"We've got to do a better job with protection and I've got to make sure I put the guys in the right position to start with and make sure that we get the right routes and the ball out on time and all those things," Reid said.
The blocking issues don't stop with the offensive line. The Eagles continue to have trouble with blitz recognition and that led to a 14-point swing on the final play of the first half.
On third down from the Cardinals 1, Vick was sacked by safety Kerry Rhodes. James Sanders picked up the fumble and ran it back for a 24-0 lead. Vick read the play at the line and saw Rhodes blitzing, but he thought running back LeSean McCoy would pick him up. McCoy blocked a different pass rusher, allowing Rhodes a clear lane to take down Vick. Hard.