Assoc. Sports Editor
While I was wearing my New York Giants jersey—yes, shun me now—two weeks ago, following a victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, a fellow Millersville student shouted out to me, “Yeah, screw dog killers!” or something of that nature. I nodded, chuckled, put my tail in between my legs and pitter-pattered away. As time has passed, though, it finally sunk in.
Michael Vick, the quarterback with the Eagles, allegedly known as the “dog killer,” is, indeed, being screwed—by a so-called racist, no less.
Vick’s skin and bones have been on the menus of defensive lines across the National Football League (NFL) because of his knack of escaping the pocket and running the ball instead of passing it, and, not to mention, a possible lingering spite against the perennial most hated player in the league because of his actions off the field nearly a decade ago. In result, his body has taken a beating over the last two years. Backup Nick Foles has been intermittently been filling in for the injured Vick, but it was until a month ago that Foles made an unequivocal case to pull the rug out from under Vick and replace it with the pine that comes with being a backup quarterback.
And Riley Cooper, a wide receiver who filled in for Jeremy Maclin, whose ACL surgery abruptly ended his season, starting in the 2013 preseason, has been one main reason of Foles’ success.
Notwithstanding, like Vick, Cooper has been through quite the rickety path to get to Cooper was videotaped at a Kenny Chesney concert while he was delivering a racial slur-laden rant, including usage of the N-word, in July. Because of his actions, which he later publicly admitted he loathed and was embarrassed by, he was fined by his organization and had to explain himself to his dominantly black teammates.
Vick, understanding the predicament that he was going through, instantly forgave him, and even rebuked his brother, Marcus’, statements, calling for Cooper’s head—which may or may not have been simply to stroke his luscious blond locks. Trent Cole, a defensive leader and another African-American on Philadelphia’s club, also accepted Cooper’s apology.
Nevertheless, both Vick and Cooper flew into the season with targets on their backs.
Vick opened the season, having won the quarterback battle between him, Foles and rookie Matt Barkley, on a positive note. Through the first two games, he averaged over 315 yards and threw 4 touchdowns with no interceptions.
Cooper, on the other hand, stumbled across the starting line, averaging 18.8 receiving yards per game (YPG). His miniscule targets by Vick certainly didn’t help, as Cooper wasn’t even able to get a hold of two balls during each of the first five games. Cooper had just one touchdown over Vick’s span of starting this year at quarterback. DeSean Jackson, however, an African-American wide receiver on the reverse side of Cooper, was targeted a whopping 50 times and totaled 525 yards.
Then, it was the Caucasian Foles who took the reins of the starting quarterback position, and Cooper’s numbers catapulted.
During the four games Foles was at the helm of the Eagles’ offense, Cooper has averaged over 112 YPG and has been thrown to 24 different times. Foles has boosted Cooper’s career and hit a much-needed refresh button to allow him to put the past behind him for good.
Foles and Cooper seem to have a bond that Vick never seemed to adopt. This is especially true of the previous two games, where Foles has put up some staggering numbers: 10 touchdowns—including 7 in one game, which tied an NFL record—with half of them being caught by Cooper; 634 yards, while 241 are accredited to Cooper; and a 153.8 passer rating, besting some of the crème of the crop in Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady; but what is paramount is Foles’ lack of miscues, for he hasn’t thrown a single interception yet.
With this new dynamic duo, Vick seems to be eating more and more dust that is kicked up from the Eagles’ success without him. With a 4-1 record with Foles and Cooper setting the tone for their offense and propelling their team to a tie atop the NFC East, Vick’s questionable future is becoming bleaker by the week.
Lots of unknowns still revolve around the Eagles’ starting quarterback job, but what we do know is that, in the battle of the dog killer and the racist, the racist is up 1-0.