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/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/barkleyfolesdixon_247372.jpgOne 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

You may also like: Future of Baseball Hinges on Technology

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13 Comments

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  1. Craig S

    Yo!  yes.. I bled green.  😘     And Red too for the Phils.  The sooner Vick is gone the better.  Even if Kelly was to anoint him the chosen one, he doesn’t stand a chance of completing the season healthy.  He will get hurt.  History will repeat, and repeat.. and repeat.  His best chance to be in the limelight again is to serve as a backup QB, (with someone else), and come in late in the season to cover for someone’s injury.  Being healthy with fresh legs and maybe only 3-8 games left in a season, he might really help someone.  But his time in Philly is done.

    I’m looking forward to the Kelly era.  But being a typical Philly fan I’m only cautiously optimistic at best.  But at least it will be fun to watch this year. 🙂

    FF

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  2. Stephen Johannes

    Although this is a nice blog, I don’t see any relevance to the world of SAP or business solutions.  In fact I don’t see how this is a business trend as this purely a sports issue and does not have anything to tie this back into a general concept.

    Don’t get me wrong I really do like reading “sports blogs and news” on true sports sites and not on SCN.  If there was a tie-in to how analytics or other software solutions aka Moneyball was being used in this situation then maybe as stretch I could see the point.  I really think that this blog would have been better in your personal area or put on a sports-related website.

    That being said from a content/writing perspective it’s a great example of how to write a blog, I just wish the topic was relevant to where it was being published 🙂 .

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Craig S

      I thought the same thing.  But I can only guess it’s all to try and promote SAP’s newest solution for sports and entertainment.  In a very round about way maybe.  🙂

      I’m just hoping SAP can sell the solution to one of the Philly sports franchises and they need a local QM guy for it!!  It would be one of my dream projects!!!

      So Ryan.. if you got any pull in that area…. throw me a bone!!!  LOL

      FF

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    2. Ryan Somers Post author

      Indeed – and if you’d like a little more information on the Scouting Solution, I’d suggest clicking the link on reason number 2 for a short video clip.  Thanks for the kind words Stephen and yes I do love my sports as well and am always pushing to link the two: Sports with Technology, because that’s where the future is headed.  Right now, scouting solutions are a great way to gain a competitive advantage against the competition but soon, (as more and more teams catch on), it’ll just be “the way” to draft… and teams that pass on this software (hopefully not my Eagles) will be at a major disadvantage.

      If you love sports & technology, I’d recommend The Future of Baseball Hinges on Technology focusing on analytics, big data and mobility… hope you enjoy it!

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  3. Tim Clark

    Great blog and love the tie-in to SAP’s scouting solution, which I assume could help alleviate a majority of the challenges that are highlighted i.e. proper scouting = less drama down the road. A pretty big deal when there is millions of dollars on the line.

    I guess the real issue with this story is that I do not, under any circumstances, bleed Eagle green.

    BIG BLUE WRECKING CREW!

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    1. Ryan Somers Post author

      Thanks Tim,

      And I’ll admit, I was devastated when the Giants traded with the Chargers for Eli Manning.  Big bro Peyton is my favorite player and I rooted big for Eli at Ole Miss – was planning on rooting for him in the AFC as well, but when he became a Giant…. all that went out the door!  He’s a great player but I’ve been rooting against him ever since… even if he has two rings (ouch)

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  4. Benjamin Hancock

    This neglects several very real points:

    1. Chip Kelly’s offense works better under an athletic quarterback like Vick.

    2. Nick Foles is 1-6 in 7 appearances and seemed to be one of the reasons the team gave up on Andy Reid (one of the best coaches in the league) down the stretch last season.

    3. Barkley was 7-6 with a loaded USC roster.

    4. I also disagree with the assessment that this Eagles team isn’t going anywhere this year.

    5. Vick won’t splt time if he wins the starter job

    6. Cutting Vick doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay him

    7. Vick is the best quarterback on roster, and it isn’t even close. If I have Kyle Orton, Matt Moore, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Chad Henne, Matt Cassel, Kirk Cousins or any other serviceable back-up I MIGHT give them a go, but not Foles.

    Also the best argument you could have made, Vick never lasts an entire season, never was made.

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    1. Craig S

      Benjamin Hancock wrote:

                             

      Also the best argument you could have made, Vick never lasts an entire season, never was made.

                         

      I made that point!  (Should have been picked up by the analytics! 😛 )

      Agree, Vick is more athletic and naturally gifted.  But.. he’s never been quick to read defenses which is crucial to Kelly’s schemes.  So I think they kind of negate each other.  Barkley is a none issue, he might be the future QB but not this year.. 

      If you make the argument that Vick never had protection, you have to say the same about Foles and his record.  Not to mention that everyone on the team was playing under a lame duck coach and coaching staff.

      Plus..its been pointed out over and over, and Kelly has said it many times.  He and his system is adaptable. (hmmmm.. like SAP!).  He’ll config his system, (like we do with SAP),  to work with the players he has.  He doesn’t absolutely require a running QB.  He won’t make a decision until well into a couple of the preseason games.  That also has the side benefit of showcasing Vick and/or Foles which could increase their trade value to a team needing a backup QB.

      Kelly will not be successful in the NFL if he insists on running QB’s.  When was the last time a running QB lasted very long in the NFL without adapting and becoming more of a pocket passer?  True running QB’s are flashes in the pan and usually wind up hurt in today’s game.  Same reason the average running back only lasts about 3 yrs.  If Kaepernick runs for the next two years in San Fran with out adapting, he will be hurt and be done 2 yrs from now.  Big Ben in Pittsburgh is a perfect example.  As big as he is, he has been injured several times.

      Good article on Ben and injuries here: http://www.pennlive.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/06/with_pittsburgh_steelers_qb_be.html

      My guess is analytics might be able to do some predictive analysis in this area!

      FF

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    2. Ryan Somers Post author

      Good arguments Benjamin and while I agree that Kelly has utilized his running QB’s in the past, he’s mentioned several times that a quick decision maker is of higher value in his scheme (We’ll see if that’s how he racks and stacks his analysis).  If Vick has one weakness that stands out more than others, it’s his inability to read defenses in a timely fashion.  While Foles and Barkley are far from solid QB’s currently – they both are timely in their delivery and with 4 of 5 starting offensive linemen returning from injury, the offense should be stable enough to protect their lack of manuverability.

      Also, the advantage Vick has in arm strength, he falls short in terms of accuracy and with Kelly’s catch and run philosophy, I forsee the creation of mismatches within scheme to give his speedy WR’s/TE’s/RB’s the opportunity to make plays after the catch rather than bombing deep a lot.

      More than anything, delaying the young QBs the opportunity to develop this year will limit progress in year two.  Best to give Foles the start, let Barkley learn as the #2 and if it’s deemed that neither are the answer, we’ll know and we can take action to find the future… but it’s certainly not with a 33 year old brittle QB that is slowing down by the season.

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      1. Craig S

        Also keep in mind that in college, a QB typically only starts for two seasons.  So using a running QB isn’t an issue as you aren’t concerned with longevity.

        In the NFL, longevity of the QB becomes tremendously more important. 

        Kelly will have to adjust for this issue.  If you want a top quality franchise, you can’t be replacing your QB every 2-4 years.

        FF

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      2. Jeff Durnwald

        It’s going to be really interesting to see how Kelly operates his offense in the NFL.  The Ducks averaged 8 more offensive plays per game than the top NFL team – I suspect it will be toned down a bit.

        You are right on, Ryan – from watching Vick in Atlanta for many years, it became obvious that as teams better defined and executed their strategy against his unique skills, the more decisions he would have to make and thus, the more mistakes he would make.  The Bucanneers always had his number!  I think the right move would be to let Vick go – I am surprised that they didn’t do that immediately after the Kelly hire.

        The one benefit to having Vick start this year is to give the younger guys the opportunity to learn the fast paced system without getting crushed for one year.  And I do think Barkley could turn into a long term option – he has the skills.

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        1. Ryan Somers Post author

          You’re right, letting the team learn from Vick could provide value down the road. I think Foles had enough time to sit, watch, learn, and finally play last year and should be more successful from the offseason of learning and the return of his skill players and more importantly… his offensive line.  Propelling Barkley into backup means he’ll be on a faster learning curve  – receiving more reps in practice and having a “hands on” role on the sidelines parlaying plays from the coach to the QB.

          I guess this part of the decision will require more than analytics and although Kelly is known to be very “pro-analytics”, he’ll need to rely on his instincts as well.

          As for the Bucs – you must be psyched to have Revis!  Surely no one needs a scouting solution to realize he’s the #1 Cornerback (as long as he’s healthy)

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