Well, the latest news is that the Eagles will place the franchise tag on Michael Vick and will listen to trade offers for Kevin Kolb (reported yesterday by Adam Schefter of ESPN). This doesn’t come as much of a surprise as most people anticipated that would be what would happen this offseason. However, you may find yourself thinking…”Is this what’s best for the team?”. Does Vick give us our best chance of reaching, and of course winning, the Superbowl?
Amongst Eagle fans, this has been somewhat of a hot debate for much of the season. Even after watching Vick’s incredible performances this past season, I’m still not sure if he’s “the guy” who will lead us to the promised land. I was never a fan of Michael Vick when he was in Atlanta. Sure, I thought he was an exciting player because of his scrambling abilities and rocket arm but I never viewed him as a real QB. When he joined the Eagles my immediate reaction was “WTF?!”. Then watching him come in for those painful wildcat plays his first season just reinforced my opinion. Of course, I was more pissed at Reid for calling those plays but Vick wasn’t doing anything to make me believe he was anything more than a one-trick pony. When McNabb was traded last offseason, I was happy. I was 100% on the Kevin Kolb bandwagon. Then, Kolb’s shine started to dull during training camp and pre-season and ultimately looked like a deer-in-headlights against the Packers in the 1st half of week 1. Enter Vick: He came in and electrified the team and the city. It took me a while to believe in him but he slowly won me over with some impressive showings as a more complete QB. I then understood why Reid made the switch. But as the season wore on and the stakes became higher…and coincidentally defensive coordinators had more game footage to study….Vick’s performances began to decline a little bit. He started looking more like the Vick of old, i.e., looking to run early, turning the ball over, and looking for the big play too much instead of taking what the defense gives you. Consider here a few stats:
He played in 11 full games this past season including the playoff game. He fumbled 11 times, lost 3. That’s saying he puts the ball on the turf an average of 1 time per game. He had 7 INT’s, all coming in his last 6 games. His QB rating went from an average of 114.7 in his 1st 5 games (did not count the Redskins game) to an average of 88.9 in his last 7 games (including playoffs). That’s a dramatic difference. Stats can be skewed to favor someone’s point of view but all I’m trying to show is that, obviously, Vick’s performance trended downward in the 2nd half of the season.
My opinion is that the trend can be attributed to defensive coordinators figuring him out and coming up with effective game plans to stop him. I’m not saying Vick was bad, I’m just saying that he was not as good as the hype machine made him out to be in the 1st half of the season. So, if we go off of Vick’s 2nd half of the season performances, is he good enough? Do we give up a pretty good security net in Kolb and put all of our eggs in the Vick basket? Tough call but I have to say, YES. Mainly for 3 reasons: The players believe in him, Kolb deserves an opportunity to start somewhere, and the bounty we get for Kolb will help fill gaping holes in other areas of the roster.
I still believe in Kolb and think he will succeed in the right situation (including here as long as the offensive line is improved). But at this point with this team, Vick is the right choice. My only condition on trading Kolb will be that we have to get good value for him. Given Vick’s injury history and running style, Kolb is a very valuable backup for this team. Imagine being 6-2 next year and sitting in 1st place in the NFC East. Then Vick sustains an injury that will keep him side-lined for 5 weeks, would you rather have Kolb come in or Kafka? With Kolb our season could continue to roll but with Kafka it would be in serious danger. So, trade Kolb only if we get good value.
In Vick we will trust. As I stated earlier, I am still not sure he is “the guy” who will get us what we yearn for, but he is the best option right now. Although imagine the fun next season if Vick struggles and Kolb is winning with a new team. Fun fun!