Eagles backup QB Michael Vick wants to be a starter again in 2014. At first, he was open to returning to the Eagles as a backup, then he wasn’t, now he is…again.
Seems like a conflicted man, but that is understandable.
Vick genuinely likes Philadelphia, his teammates and seems fond of Chip Kelly. His pride (and likely his bank account) tells him he is capable of being an effective starter and wants to go somewhere that he’ll be able to prove that (and get a starter’s contract to go with it).
However, there has to be a part of him that knows he may not find a starting gig once free agency begins in March. With several of the QB-needy teams likely to fill their QB needs via the draft, the opportunities to find a starting job will be limited.
Hence why he doesn’t want to burn any bridges that lead back into the City of Brotherly Love.
On the surface, it would make a lot of sense for the Eagles to try their best to keep Vick as the backup. Matt Barkley didn’t exactly impress in his limited playing time this year and as we all know, having a solid backup QB is important.
Vick knows the offense now and certainly has the skills to come in and pinch-hit for a few games if Foles went down. Football-wise, I have no issue with keeping Vick as purely the backup.
The problem, however, could be with the three D’s: Distraction, Drama and Delay…
Distraction and drama would go hand-in-hand. At first, just having Vick around could distract Nick Foles to some degree. I’m not saying Foles would always be looking over his shoulder, but let’s think about the situation for a minute.
It would almost have to have some kind of impact on Foles’ psyche knowing that the guy whose job he took only due to injury, who verablized that he’s “not a backup” and is still highly thought of in the locker room, is still on the team.
On one hand, we could think that Foles could use that as motivation to play his best. But on the other hand, he could be distracted because he may never feel fully secure with his status as “the man.”
Players have to be mentally tough just as much as physically tough. However, being the starting QB comes with enough pressure just because of the nature of the position and I believe there is something to be said for at least giving that person the freedom to feel he’ll have every chance to succeed or fail for a full season.
If Foles has a bad game or two (or three), then all of a sudden the distraction could turn into drama. You know that if this became the case, reporters would begin stirring the pot for a QB controversy.
Whether or not it woud be created and/or driven by the media, the notion of going back to Vick would inevitibly come up. It would make its way into the locker room and players would be prompted with “uncomfortable” questions where most likley there would be one or two players who would give a response that would, in some way, fuel the fire.
Plus, Vick is still an idol in the eyes of prominent players such as DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. You don’t think that, if things go bad for a few games, that these guys (or whomever else) won’t start wishing for Vick to come back to the starting huddle?
Players want to win and the QB position is the most important piece of the winning puzzle. If there is a situation where the starting QB on a team isn’t the “unquestioned starter”, that always leaves the door open to controversy at the game’s most important and visible position.
Then there is the aspect of delay. What I mean by that is the delay in development of the young quarterbacks. Foles is still a young QB and continuing to develop. Matt Barkley will be entering his second season and should at least be given a good opportunity to serve as the No. 2.
I realize that Barkley didn’t look so hot when he had a chance to play this season, but he really was put in bad positions (entering games in trailing situations). Therefore, we can’t read into that too much.
With Vick in the fold, Barkley would be relegated to third string again which means his development would be significantly hindered. There is a big difference between getting second team reps and a chunk of first team reps as compared to third string reps and running the scout teams and practice squad.
I’m not saying that Barkley would be a better No. 2 next year, I’m just saying I’d rather give those reps to the young guy so he can take the next step in his development. If the Eagles only had some other journeyman QB or unheralded late-round draft pick on the roster, I wouldn’t care too much about this aspect.
But, Barkley has an impressive resume as a starting QB througout high school and college and was viewed as a top-10 pick had he declared for the 2012 draft. He has enough intrigue and the pedigree to warrant further investment into his development.
In other words, he’s more than just “some guy” at this point.
Ultimately, keeping Vick around also just delays the inevitible. He will be 34 years old before the start of training camp, he is an injury risk every time he drops back to pass, and he’s already been given every opportunity throughout his career to show what he can do.
Obviously, Vick is not the future. It’s time to move on and clear the way for the young guys. I’m willing to bet that the difference between keeping Vick as the backup or rolling with Barkley, won’t be significant enough to cost the team a chance at the ultimate prize next year.
Furthermore, if both Foles and Barkley ultimately prove neither of them are the answer, I’d rather suffer through a 2-14 season with the hope of finding that next franchise QB in the following draft than having Vick step in and getting us to 8-8 or anything less than a Super Bowl.
Again, the idea of keeping Vick as a backup sounds like a great move when it comes to purely football reasons and with the concentration on the only the 2014 season. However, that comes with the very real risk factors as I’ve described above.
Is the reward worth the risk? Would there even be a reward?
Let’s hope we don’t have to find out. Hopefully, some team will decide to roll the dice on him to be their 2014 starter and the Eagles won’t be faced with the decision of choosing to bring him back.
Vick as a Raider come March sounds good to me. He gets his wish and I get mine, it’s a win-win situation.
Let’s git-r-done Oakland!