Think back to 2008, the last time the Philadelphia Eagles played the Baltimore Ravens. The Eagles had an embattled veteran QB in Donovan McNabb with a young hotshot backing him up.
McNabb was coming off of a horrible performance the week before against the Bengals. In that game, he completed 28 of 58 passes and threw for over 300 yards and a score.
However, he also threw 3 interceptions, lost a fumble and almost threw a 4th interception in overtime that the defender (Johnathan Joseph) simply dropped. Yes, this was the game that ended in a tie…aka, the infamous game in which McNabb wasn’t aware that NFL games could end in ties.
Then, against Baltimore the following week, McNabb continued to struggle in completing 8 out of 18 passes for 59 yards and 2 more interceptions — all in the first half.
McNabb was promptly benched at halftime for the first time in his career. Reid, after watching his quarterback turn the ball over 6 times in 7 quarters and scoring only 13 points, needed to find a spark for his offense.
So, he decided to give Kevin Kolb his first extended action of his career. Kolb, in his second year after being a second-round draft pick in 2007, played the entire second half but didn’t fare any better than McNabb.
Kolb could only muster 73 yards passing while also throwing 2 interceptions, including one that is now entrenched in the NFL record books for the longest INT return for a touchdown (108 yards by Ed Reed).
Fast-forward 4 years to the present day…
Michael Vick is coming off of a similarly brutal game like the one McNabb had against the Bengals in 2008. We all know the story by now; last week Vick went 29/56 for 317 yards, 2 TDs and 4 INTs (plus a fumble he was lucky to recover and, like McNabb in OT, almost threw a game-ending pick).
We have a young backup QB in rookie Nick Foles, who has everyone in and around Philadelphia excited about his potential. We also have a veteran 3rd-stringer that has NFL game experience and played well in the preseason.
If Vick continues his struggles in the first half against the Ravens this week, would Andy Reid put him on the bench in favor of one of the backups?
Obviously, that didn’t work out too well the last time with Kolb coming in for McNabb, but, could it be any worse?
Especially if Vick keeps turning the ball over. He’s now turned it over a total of 22 times in the past 17 regular season games. And, that’s not to mention all of his “near turnovers.”
Reid has shown his willingness to make such a bold move in hopes that it will spark the team and/or motivate his veteran quarterback. I, for one, certainly wouldn’t blame Reid for benching Vick if his current level of play continues.
If Reid decides to do a re-enactment of the 2008 Ravens game, which QB should he put into the lineup? Foles or Edwards?
The obvious answer is Foles, simply because he’s the No. 2. However, would it be wise to subject him to a Ravens defense that could leave him traumatized and set back his development?
If Reid decides to bench Vick for motivational purposes, then he should go with Edwards. If he really thinks that Vick is “finished”, then he might want to see what he has in Foles and roll with him going forward.
With that said, if Reid does indeed bench Vick, it would most likely be for motivational purposes with the full intention on starting him in Week 3.
However, it’s hard to tell what the Big Man might be thinking. He usually stands by his players, almost to a fault, but he also has to do what’s in the best interest of the team (which he did when he went with Vick over Kolb in 2010).
This is a year unlike any other during the Reid era in that his boss has publicly outlined a minimal requirement for Reid to keep his job. Combined with the loss of his son, Reid is sure to be under a tremendous amount of stress and pressure like never before. It could lead to some “un-Reid-like” decisions during the season, depending on how bad things get.
If Vick keeps struggling to put points on the board and continues turning the ball over, it’s hard to imagine thinking that not benching him would be in the team’s best interest.
At the same time, benching Vick this early in the season could open up a can of worms and ignite a season’s worth of quarterback controversy. Instability at the QB position rarely ever ends with positive results.
Either way, it’s a decision not to be taken lightly.
However, the jury is truly out on Vick at this point. Until he starts proving otherwise, his performance in 2010 is nothing but a distant memory and he has shown no signs of getting back to anything close to that level.
There are nothing but question marks about him these days…
After taking the league by storm in 2010, have defenses just simply figured him out? Is he just not that good anymore? Is it the offensive line’s protection? Receivers can’t get open fast enough? Bad play calling? Too much pressure on him mentally?
What is it?
Likely, it’s a combination of some or all of that. Whatever it is, it needs to be figured out quick, fast and in a hurry.
A solid performance by Vick this Sunday, even if the Eagles lose, will go a long way in easing some concerns as we move forward this season.
If not, we could be in for another long season in Philadelphia.