For the record, Michael Vick is still the starting QB for the Philadelphia Eagles, as confirmed today by Andy Reid. On Sunday night/early Monday morning after the game against Atlanta, Howard Eskin started a firestorm by tweeting the following:
Andy Reid met with coaches after game on sunday to discuss QB situation. Meet again Mon Morn. I’m told likely QB change to Foles.
That “likely change” didn’t happen…at least not this week. Although, if Reid were to make the change, this week would probably be the best time to do it given the fact that the Eagles will be facing one of the worst defenses in the league.
With that said, the apparent fact that Reid is starting to consider a possible change is interesting. The Eagles are still sitting at 3-4 and not out of the playoff race yet.
Furthermore, we’re coming off of a game in which Vick didn’t even turn the ball over. However, it seems that the reasoning for a possible change goes deeper than just the turnovers…
Eskin went on to say the change was more about Vick failing at audibles every week and that Reid isn’t seeing Vick get any better with it. In other words, Reid is finally getting tired of not having a QB who can read a defense and make the proper adjustments at the line.
Nobody has ever accused Vick of being a “student of the game”, so I’m not sure why it has taken Reid this long to come to this conclusion.
Even though Vick has not been playing good football for a while now, he hasn’t been terrible either. The turnovers are a serious concern, but the offensive line is even more of a concern.
However, sometimes it’s a quarterback’s job to make up for a shaky line by making proper reads and adjustments along with quick and accurate throws.
That’s where Vick fails. We have all been getting on Reid and Mornhinweg for calling 7-step drops and deep pass patterns earlier this year, which when combined with a poor offensive line, doesn’t make sense to do because it was getting Vick killed.
However, maybe they were calling plays like that because that’s the type of offense that is better suited to Vick. Deep drops, deep patterns, and big plays rather than quick drops, quick reads and short/accurate passes.
We’ve now seen Vick try to run a “small ball” offense and he’s been mediocre at best.
The question is, could Nick Foles do any better? Or would starting him essentially be giving up on the season?
The biggest argument in favor of Foles is that he could run Reid’s offense better, when it comes to the mental aspects. But, he’s still a rookie that has never taken a snap in a regular season game.
Therefore, if the goal is to make the playoffs this season, should Reid really make a change? Tough choice at this point, unfortunately. You never want your quarterback position in doubt, because when it is, that usually means bad things.
Let’s list some pros and cons for starting Vick and for starting Foles and see if that might help clarify who the better choice would be right now (with the key being right now):
Pros for Vick:
- Physical talent
- Still a threat to make a big play with his arm and/or legs
- He’s still on pace to throw for over 4,000 yards this year
- Offensive continuity
- Benching him may signal to other players that Reid is giving up on this season
Cons for Vick:
- Mediocre play
- Inability to run the offense effectively as it could be
- Holds the ball too long
- The 2010 season was a mirage, he hasn’t been nearly the same player since then
- Eagles are just 10-10 in his last 20 starts
Pros for Foles (based on popular perception since we have nothing to go on):
- Brings a different skill-set to the position
- May be able to run the offense more effectively
- Potentially has better decision-making skills
- More accurate passer
- Could be the spark the offense needs
Cons for Foles:
- No experience
- Will be prone to dreadful rookie mistakes
- Could be traumatized by poor OL play
- Might fold under the pressure
- He is a complete unknown
That’s about all I can come up with at this point in time. I’m sure there are other pros and cons for both QBs, so if you can think of more, I’d love to hear them from you.
After making that list, I come away feeling that there are really no football reasons not to go with Foles at this point. Vick hasn’t been playing well enough to think that Foles can’t do better.
However, going with Foles at this point would be a bigger risk than sticking with Vick as far as playoff aspirations go. The fact of the matter is that Foles is a rookie and he could be a complete disaster when facing real NFL defenses (as compared to preseason defenses).
Staying with Vick is still the better decision right now.
However, if he fails to produce this week against a Saints defense that has been giving up a historically bad 474.7 yards per game this season, he should get benched next week and it will certainly be deservedly so.