Andy Reid faces a tough decision this week regarding Michael Vick’s injury and who to start at quarterback. After going through the past 20 hours or so thinking that Vick’s right hand was broken, word broke that it was not.
His hand is just severely bruised and swollen, but not broken.
That’s the good news. It means that, at most, Vick should only miss one game, if any at all.
However, the bad news is that Andy Reid has to decide whether or not to give Vick a game off and if so, who’s going to replace him. Vick has not been able to finish the last two games due to injuries.
Is he already getting beat up too much? Even if the swelling comes out of his hand, should the $100 million man be given a week off anyway?
And if so, who should get the start this week: Vince Young or Mike Kafka?
These are things that will consume Andy Reid and Eagles fans alike this week. Let’s take a look and compare the choices for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.
Young was signed to a one-year, $5 million contract to be Michael Vick’s backup. However, he strained his hamstring during the preseason and hasn’t practiced since.
Andy Reid stated today that Young isn’t quite at 100% yet but they will see where he’s at this week. Apparently, he can’t run at full speed yet or at least that was the case as of this past weekend.
With all the questions surrounding Vince Young’s ability, one thing does stand out: he’s 30-18 as a starting NFL quarterback.
Winning is the main thing and Young has done just that…win. It may not have always been pretty, but has done the job.
In the preseason, Young completed 32 out of 48 passes for 330 yards with one TD and one INT. He also ran seven times for 37 yards and a score.
However, that was just the preseason but unfortunately that’s all we have to go on with him in an Eagles uniform.
In 2010 with the Titans, Young played in all or parts of nine games and threw for a total of 1,255 yards, 10 TDs and only three interceptions.
All of those stats aren’t exactly indicative of how he’d play this week against the 49ers, but at least we can find comfort in two things:
He’s experienced and he’s a winner.
Those are two key things that favor him over the other option in Mike Kafka.
Hmmm, what’s to say about Mike Kafka. He posted an 11-8 career record as a starting QB in college for Northwestern. But at the same time, he threw more interceptions (20) than touchdowns (19).
In preseason this year, Kafka completed 34 out of 49 passes for 364 yards with two TDs and two INTs. Like Young, he had his good moments and bad moments.
Kafka also looked at least competent after he took over for Vick in the Atlanta game in Week 2. He completed 7 out of 9 passes for 72 yards and almost led the Eagles to a comeback victory.
He probably should have if it weren’t for Jeremy Maclin dropping that 4th down pass that was right in his hands.
However, Kafka looked befuddled and rookie-like against the Giants in completing four out of seven passes for 35 yards and two INTs.
Kafka’s performances haven’t inspired confidence but he has shown flashes of ability. With a week’s worth of preparation, he could serve as a competent “game manager” this Sunday against San Francisco.
He would, however, require the rest of the team pick up a lot of slack…mainly the defense. The defense would have to do something they’ve struggled to do in the past two games: keep the opponent out of the end zone.
Outside of Vince Young or Mike Kafka, there is the possibility of Michael Vick playing this week anyway.
But should he?
After only three weeks of play, Michael Vick seems to have taken the beating of a 16 game schedule. First a concussion and now a badly bruised right hand.
Not to mention numerous other aches and pains he must have after being hit relentlessly these past three weeks.
Would it be wise to just let him sit out this week, regardless of well his hand heals? That’s the $100 million dollar question Andy Reid must ask himself.
During the Giants game, it appeared that either Reid and/or Vick were being cautious as if playing to not get [Vick] hurt.
How else would you explain the fact that the Eagles ran the ball more times than they passed it? I’m talking about called-runs where there was a hand-off to a running back and not counting the number of times Vick rushed.
That almost never happens when Andy Reid has his star QB in the game, whether it’s Vick or ex-QB Donovan McNabb.
Dan Graziano, the NFC East blog writer at ESPN has a very good take on why it might be better to sit Vick. Of course, he wrote it while under the impression Vick’s hand was broken and not just bruised.
But either way, it still brings up a good point, mainly about the offensive line. Would it do a world of good for the offensive linemen to be “Vick-free” for a little bit in order to gain some confidence as a unit?
Graziano states that the problems with keeping Vick healthy are “suffocating the Eagles right now.”
This could be true and is a valid point. The offensive linemen could be feeling much more pressure right now.
For one, they need to get their act together because the season is underway. For two, they have the added pressure of protecting a QB who keeps getting hit and injured and therefore putting the offensive line under the microscope even more.
Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and let things calm down a little bit so you can take a step forward. That might be exactly what this team needs.
However, how can you justify keeping your starting QB on the sideline if he’s capable of playing? What if he sits out a game he technically could have played in and the Eagles lose?
Then there will be all kinds of new controversy about whether or not they would have won with Vick. And what if that particular loss comes back to haunt them at the end of the season and potentially a playoff spot?
These are all the things Andy Reid has to weigh this week. Not an enviable job by any means.
So, what should he do?
The best scenario is to have Vick sit this one out in order to let him heal both physically and mentally while Vince Young leads the Eagles to a victory.
If Vince Young can’t go because of his hamstring, the next best option would be to start Kafka and have Vick active and backing him up.
That way Vick can enter the game if the Eagles are losing and/or Kafka is struggling.
At least this way they can attempt to let Vick get his bearings back.