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Umenyiora Proud Of Rival Eagles After Vick Signing:

By Tom Rock of Newsday:

Osi Umenyiora doesn’t like the Eagles any more than he has for the rest of his career. But the Giants defensive end said he has a new respect for the organization.

“It’s hard for me to say this, but I’m proud of that franchise,” Umenyiora said Friday, a day after the Eagles signed Michael Vick. “That was a big step they took. A lot of people didn’t have the — what’s the word, cojones? — to make a move like that. But they did.

“As much as I hate to say this because I’ve been bred to hate that franchise, I’m happy for them and I think they did a good thing,” he added.

The Giants’ reaction to the arrival of Vick in their division was one of concern and happiness. Many players were grateful that Vick was given another chance to play in the NFL. But they were also weary of what he’ll mean to the Eagles offense.

“Absolutely they got better,” defensive end Justin Tuck said. “There are so many more options with him now. It’s kind of like what we’re trying to accomplish with our defensive line. There are so many options for us, it makes it hard to game plan.”

Safeties coach Dave Merritt called Vick “the ultimate wildcat quarterback.”

“With his ability to play quarterback and this wildcat offense that’s coming in, I’m sure they’re going to be exploring those options,” Merritt said. “We’ve been working all offseason expecting the wildcat. Now with Philly adding Michael Vick, it’s going to be interesting to see what they do.”

The Giants will get a good look at it. They don’t play the Eagles until Week 8 of the season (Nov. 1 at Philadelphia) and then again on Dec. 13 at Giants Stadium. By that point it should be more clear how the Eagles will use Vick. Most figure it to be as part of a Wildcat scheme. The Eagles dabbled in that last year and even scored a touchdown against the Giants when receiver DeSean Jackson lined up for a direct snap and ran it in from the 9.

“If I had a Wildcat offense, as soon as he came available, I would have been chomping at the bit,” Tuck said. “Why not get a quarterback that’s probably just as good a running back as any other running back in this league and still can throw it? I think he is the ultimate guy.”

Not everyone was so impressed. Umenyiora applauded the signing, but he’s not worried about how it might disrupt balance in the NFC East.

“He is Michael Vick and he’s a phenomenal football player, but he’s still another quarterback who’s going to get hit in the mouth,” Umenyiora said. “It remains to be seen if he’s still the same football player. Whatever happens, I think we’ll be more than ready to take care of them.”


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