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What we learned from Monday's Eagles-Patriots tilt

Michael Vick has started 16 games just once in nine NFL seasons. After two injuries in as many preseason games, how confident can Andy Reid be that his quarterback will survive 2012 unscathed?

Last week, Vick underwent X-rays on his throwing thumb after suffering an injury to his throwing hand against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In Monday night's 27-17 win over the New England Patriots, it was back up the tunnel for X-rays on his rib cage. The results came back negative in each case.

Internally, the Eagles have to be frustrated by the position Vick put himself against the New England Patriots. In the first quarter of a preseason game, Vick felt the pocket collapsing and decided to step up and air it out anyway, leaving himself wide open for a crunching hit from a defensive end who outweighs him by 40 pounds.

Vick wasn't gifted with the durability of Brett Favre. If he puts himself in position to get injured, chances are that's what going to happen. Vick needs to make a subtle -- but vital -- change to his approach.

The Eagles have the potential to be one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season. But that all goes out the window if Vick goes down. It will be interesting to see how many more snaps Reid gives his fragile quarterback in games that don't count.


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Some other takeaways:

» In a third-quarter sideline interview with ESPN, wide receiver DeSean Jackson had this to say about his conversation with Vick at halftime: "He was sore and bruised up a little bit. He was like, 'Man I can't keep taking those hits like that.' "

» Mallett vs. Foles isn't Brady vs. Vick, but both backups acquitted themselves well against first-string defenses. Foles (18-of-28 passing, 2 TDs, 1 INT) was especially impressive, making the most of his opportunity to play with the first-team offense. Said Reid: "I don't think I've ever had a rookie QB have two preseason games like this."

» Mallett -- who at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds is an impressive-looking athlete -- looked positively Bradyesque on his 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alex Silvestro in the second quarter. He put the throw in a perfect spot, where only his guy could get it.

» At the start of a 10-day stretch that will include three games, Bill Belichick rested several of his high-profile players, including Tom Brady. One player who wasn't rested was safety Patrick Chung, who exited the game with a shoulder issue. Chung exited the game as a precaution, according to NFL.com and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

» Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also left the game with a shoulder injury. Reid said "he's had that before" and added he held the corner out despite his request to go back in the game.

» Safety Nick Ebner, the Patriots' sixth-round pick in April's draft, helped his chances of making the final roster with an interception and 34-yard return late in the second quarter.

» Some fireworks on the Eagles' sideline, where Reid and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins got into it after a Patriots touchdown drive in the second quarter. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn stepped in between the two, only to get his own tongue-lashing from Reid. Said linebacker DeMeco Ryans to ESPN: "(Reid) got a little too rowdy for preseason. It's a little too early for that, but we know the importance of it."

» Plenty of players who won't be involved when the lights go up, but the Eagles finished with 16 penalties for 131 yards. Yikes.

» Another strong game for Eagles defensive end Phillip Hunt, who had his second strip sack in as many weeks and now has three sacks in the preseason. Hunt blew away Patriots right tackle Marcus Cannon to force the turnover.

» For the second straight week, we were giddy over Jon Gruden's total disbelief that play-by-play man Mike Tirico has a life outside his job. After Tirico said he attended his 28th Bruce Springsteen show this past weekend, an incredulous Gruden replied, "I figured you'd be up there looking at media guides." Fun fact: The image of Mike Tirico reading through media guides on a Saturday night will always be funny.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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