One of the hottest debates heading into this years’ NFL season is centered on the Philadelphia Eagles, their new Coach (Chip Kelly), and more importantly – the Quarterback controversy that’s unfolding between Michael Vick, Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley. Chip Kelly brings a breath of fresh air to an Eagles organization that was in dire need of it. From showing a pulse at press conferences to pumping up the volume at practice, Kelly is exactly what the city needed as the figurehead for the Eagles. Add to that, thoughts of a successful draft concurred upon by fans and analysts. Seemingly, the sky is the limit for the Eagles and the city is eagerly awaiting the start of the season on September 9th against the Washington Redskins.
But hold it right there! Before booking that trip up to MetLife Stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII, remember, the Eagles only won four games last year. For a team with nowhere to go but up, there are still plenty of imperfections and the main bit of mold that needs purification is the QB controversy and eliminating Mike Vick from it.
So in honor of the image to the upper-right and the foreshadowing it represents, here are 7 reasons why the Eagles are better off without #7 in the picture:
- Chip Kelly has no vested interest in a 33 year old QB on the downside of his career that was on the roster prior to the Kelly hiring. If Kelly wants to place his signature on the team, he’ll be using Barkley as the ink of the future.
- The Eagles aren’t going anywhere this year. While all signs point up, this team isn’t ready for a deep playoff run. It’s hard to accept, but another abysmal year dusted with only a few wins and investing some very cool scouting solutions (like the 49ers did) may be just what the team needs to draft the right players before breaking out in a few short years. These solutions are valuable because they can also analyze current players on the roster and assist the coach with these types of controversies. I wonder how the analytics would rank these QB’s, and more importantly – how the coach would weigh each statistical category and physical attribute. Starting Vick may be counter-effective by providing a few pointless wins and sending the Eagles to the next (and worst) echelon – dreaded mediocrity – not bad enough to get better yet not good enough to make the playoffs either.
- Vick is not satisfied with splitting time: “It’s tough,” Vick told the media. “I have to continue to be a professional and put my feelings and emotions to the side, and just continue to compete. But it’s hard. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. But that’s just what I have to deal with, and I’m going to keep dealing with it until I see otherwise.” Grant him the “otherwise” and send him packing. His attitude alone states he’s not ready to take a backseat and mentor; even if he was, I can’t envision a situation where our young QB’s absorb much from a crusty journeyman with a career playoff record of 2-4 and a dreadful 77 QB Rating.
- The locker room respects him. We’ve already heard McCoy, Jackson and Maclin preaching their preference in Vick over the likes of Kolb and Foles in the past. QB controversies are fun for the media to talk about, but they aren’t healthy for the locker room. Pack the circus tent up now; give the job to Foles and let Barkley learn while Dixon serves as the emergency QB.
- Send him to the enemy. He won’t hurt the Eagles on a different team. With Tony Romo, Eli Manning and RGIII, the QB’s in the NFC East are locked in and the only other teams QB shopping, aren’t threats anyway.
- Save that Salary. He’s due to make $7 million this year, half of which comes from his signing bonus. This is dead money and typically pollutes roster decisions by favoring the most expensive player to start, rather than what’s best for the team.
- He doesn’t fit the scheme. Whatever advantage Vick has with athleticism and quickness, he surrenders right back with his inability to make quick decisions. Kelly stated that he’ll tailor his system around his QB, so why build a new one around Michael this year, only to change it when he’s gone next year? You can’t teach old dogs new tricks, so you might as well let the young ones begin the learning process now. It’s plausible to think that the systems built for Foles and/or Barkley would be similar if not identical, so why not shape it now to eliminate the learning curve next year when the Eagles go after the Lombardi Trophy?
No one expects Vick to resign after the season and no one expects Vick to remain the starter during the season. I don’t even expect Vick to be the starter in week one. Here’s to hoping I’m right, long term success depends on it. As an optimistic realist, a perfect season for me doesn’t have Mike Vick in it and it starts with a bunch of painful losses followed by a team on the upswing to end the year – still securing an early draft pick as the Eagles build for the future and target Super Bowl 50 in 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Comment if you agree, tell me I’m crazy if you disagree and fly with me @airsomers if you bleed Eagles green.
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