This is a huge year for Michael Vick and the Eagles, who are trying to rebound from an 8-8 season in 2011. In fact, Vick's future with the team might well be at stake.
Vick signed a six-year, $100 million contract before the 2011 season, and his salaries for last year and this year are guaranteed. But if he does not perform up to expectations, there is a realistic chance the Eagles make a change, because Vick is scheduled to make $15.5 million in 2013. The team will not be paying that kind of salary unless Vick shows he's still their answer at quarterback.
Remember, too, that Vick is 32 years old, and despite his attempts to become more of a pocket passer and limit his scrambling to stay healthy, he still has a ways to go. Things certainly didn't start off very well last week -- four interceptions in a lackluster 17-16 win over the Browns.
Coach Andy Reid is encouraged Vick will rebound today against the Ravens. "[Vick] had a good week of practice," Reid said. "He worked very hard and detailed his work."
Cutler out of line
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has been known to lose his temper, but his actions in Thursday night's 23-10 loss to the Packers might take a bit longer to get over. Cutler had an abysmal performance, throwing four interceptions and getting sacked seven times.
At one point, Cutler grew so frustrated that he yelled at left tackle J'Marcus Webb and bumped him while coming off the field. Quarterbacks occasionally yell at linemen, but it's almost unheard of for them to actually bump them.
Former Bears captain Adewale Ogunleye, who is now retired, thinks Cutler crossed the line.
"If you are not doing your job, yeah, someone should be allowed to get in your face," Ogunleye said during a radio interview on the "Mully & Hanley Show" on WSCR in Chicago. "But if you live in a glass house, you can't throw any stones. No one is yelling at Jay when he is throwing the ball to their defenders. At the end of the day, you start losing the respect of your teammates, you start losing the respect of that offensive line when publicly you're bumping people and yelling at them in their face. I don't think it's the right thing to do."
It's not. But that's Cutler, and if he hasn't changed by this point, he probably won't.
Shanahan's future looks bright
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is loving every minute of working with his team now that Robert Griffin III is running the offense. So don't expect Shanahan, who turned 60 last month, to think about retiring any time soon.
"I enjoy coming to work," Shanahan said. "When I'm not enjoying it, I won't coach. But I've enjoyed the process of rebuilding this team. It's been fun for me, a challenge, and I've really enjoyed it. I enjoy the type of players we have on our team."
Especially Griffin, who couldn't have gotten off to a better start to his NFL career. Last year's Heisman Trophy winner lit up the Saints in a 40-32 win in New Orleans, becoming the first rookie to win offensive player of the week honors after his debut.
Silver lining in New Orleans
There was plenty to criticize after the Saints' 40-32 loss the Redskins, but the biggest worry is the New Orleans defense. New coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's unit looked awful.
But there may be some hope, or at least some historical perspective to give Saints fans some encouragement. Consider: When Spagnuolo joined the Giants as defensive coordinator in 2007, his unit gave up a combined 80 points in opening losses to the Packers and Cowboys. The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
"I saw what he did in New York," Rivera said. "I saw what he was trying to do in St. Louis. He's trying to do the same thing in New Orleans. The only thing I can say is that you have to be patient. Four or five years ago when the Giants won their Super Bowl, Steve Spagnuolo's the defensive coordinator. After the third week, everyone wanted him fired and the next thing you know they go to the Super Bowl and [Michael] Strahan says Coach Spags is one of the most valuable people on the team. My whole point is if we're going to make judgments after the first game, a lot of crazy things happen."
'Pay the man'
Ravens coach John Harbaugh stepped out of character after Monday night's 44-13 romp over the Bengals and suggested team owner Steve Bisciotti ought to give quarterback Joe Flacco a hefty raise. "Pay the man," Harbaugh said with a smile.
It's no secret Flacco is looking for a new contract. He's in the final year of his five-year rookie contract. Is it possible the Ravens will see Flacco leave as a free agent next year if they can't get a deal done by then? Two words: no way. At the very least, the Ravens will designate him as their franchise player in 2013. And there's still a good possibility he'll get an extension before then.
Either way, he's not going anywhere. Just look at the team's history of keeping its key players, and that much will be clear: Ray Lewis. Haloti Ngata. Ray Rice. Terrell Suggs. Ed Reed. All stars, all still with the team.
"The guys that we've tried to retain, we've been able to do that," general manager Ozzie Newsome.