Michael Vick spent five years with the Eagles in his comeback after prison, and built up some significant good will in the city, all things considered.
So when Vick talks, Philly sports fans listen, especially when he's discussing the Birds.
In an interview with NJ.com this week, Vick discussed his winding career, his push for voting rights, and - of course - Carson Wentz.
Vick was asked if he had any advice for Wentz, who showed improvement in Week 5 after getting off to an unexpectedly awful start this season.
Here's Vick's answer, including one part I found particularly interesting:
"Philly is a hostile environment. I went through that. I was there in that position in 2012, Andy’s last season when we got decimated by injuries and had an offensive line shuffle. Guys getting hurt in and out. And I was doing everything I could but was still getting beaten up and we were still losing games. The fans don’t want to hear any excuses, but I know what goes on internally. There comes a point in time when you have to step up as the leader and you’ve got to do some things outside of the box to assist the coaches and put the team on your back."
Vick's assessment is pretty much on the nose. That season, remembered for miserable football, was also plagued with a crap-ton of injuries: Jason Peters ruptured his Achilles (twice) during the offseason; Jason Kelce tore his ACL and MCL in Week 2; Todd Herremans missed the last eight games of the year with a foot injury. Shoot, Vick himself missed six games because of injuries.
But the interesting part, for me, is the last sentence of Vick's answer:
"There comes a point in time when you have to step up as the leader and you’ve got to do some things outside of the box to assist the coaches and put the team on your back."
I wonder whether Vick is saying this because he believes Wentz has it in him, or because he hasn't seen it yet.
The ability to put the team on his back is, of course, exactly what earned Wentz rave reviews at the end of last year. It's also exactly what fans have been clamoring for this season. No one is ignoring the absolute slew of injuries, and the lack of real talent at the skill positions, but Wentz still needs to be better individually. This is why he's the face of the franchise, and why he's paid like it.
With the Eagles sitting at 1-3-1, but the NFC East still entirely winnable, it's time to see if Wentz can answer the bell.