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Led by the new Vick, Eagles have dynamic offense

- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 14, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Michael Vick that's headed back to Atlanta this weekend isn't the same quarterback that used to thrill fans inside the Georgia Dome.

That's good news for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Vick is a far more complete player than he was during six, mostly spectacular seasons with the Falcons. As a result, the Eagles (1-0) have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL.

"Maturity has been something that I think has been the biggest reason why I'm able to accomplish the things that I've been able to accomplish today," Vick said Wednesday. "Just being older, with age comes the maturation process. Everything just happens in time."

Vick has come a long way since he signed with the Eagles shortly after his release from prison in 2009. He spent that first season in Philadelphia getting acclimated to playing football again, learning from six-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb and listening to coach Andy Reid, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and their staff.

Once he got a chance to play in more than a spot role last season, he made the most of it. Vick proved he could be quite effective as a pocket passer, and had his best all-around season. He started for the NFC in the Pro Bowl and was The Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year.

"He's got the mentality right now where he doesn't care how we get it done; run, pass, who scores, who gets credit," Mornhinweg said. "He's only concerned about winning the next ballgame and what it takes to win the next ballgame.

"That's his mentality right now."

In Philadelphia's 31-13 victory at St. Louis in the season opener, the offense struggled at times. The revamped line had trouble protecting Vick. The running game didn't get going until the second half. There were some dropped passes, and even Vick wasn't all that sharp. His completion percentage (43.8) was his worst with the Eagles.

Yet, the final stats showed a 100-yard rusher, a 100-yard receiver and a quarterback who threw for 187 yards, ran for 98 more and tossed a pair of scores.

Not a bad start.

"At first, it was a little tough in the run game," said LeSean McCoy, who had 95 of his 122 yards rushing in the fourth quarter against the Rams. "Then, surely it came together."

DeSean Jackson had six catches for 102 yards and one score. He would've had more if he held onto a deep pass.

"We had a hard time at the beginning of the game," Jackson said, "but we stayed patient and it came out for us."

Vick, McCoy and Jackson certainly are a three-headed monster that will give defenses fits all season. But the Eagles have plenty of depth with wideouts Jeremy Maclin and Steve Smith, running back Ronnie Brown and tight end Brent Celek.

Vick's return to Atlanta will dominate headlines this week. But he's downplaying the magnitude of the game on him personally, and is focusing on trying to get the Eagles to 2-0 for the first time since 2004.

"This is a business trip for us," Vick said. "Trust me, they're going to come out and play with an edge. We all know their record at home, they're a great football team at home and they do some excellent things in the dome. There are going to be some things we're going to counteract and we're going to have to be ready to go when we get out there. This is a great opportunity for us to get off to a fast start."

NOTES: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie sprained his ankle in the morning walkthrough. He's day to day. Joselio Hanson would be the nickel cornerback if Rodgers-Cromartie can't play against the Falcons. ... DE Darryl Tapp (pectoral strain) and QB Vince Young (hamstring) didn't practice. They are also day to day. ... LB Akeem Jordan (shoulder) had limited participation in practice.

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