I’ve seen about enough of Michael Vick

Before we get started here, I’d like to first make the point that I didn’t want to write this until I had fully digested the Eagles’ QB situation through 6 games.  Calling for a crucial player to be benched or a coach to be fired is not something I venture into lightly.  But after a week of letting the issue swirl around in my head, I’ve come to the conclusion that Michael Vick needs to take a seat on the bench.

The issue is moot of course, for now anyway, seeing as the Eagles plan on starting Vick next Sunday against Atlanta, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  But over the next 3000 words, I’ll address all of the following:

  1. A breakdown of Michael Vick’s turnovers this season.
  2. Michael Vick’s missed opportunities.
  3. Vick is taking an inordinate number of hits this season, partly because the offensive line stinks, and partly because he’s holding onto the ball for an eternity.
  4. If Michael Vick can’t survive behind the Eagles’ offensive line, then how can a rookie?  And if in fact the rookie takes a battering behind that OL, will it ruin his psyche?
  5. Michael Vick’s good qualities: The 4th quarter drives, Vick’s running ability, and “teammate adoration.”
  6. Andy Reid’s job security, and how that factors in. Does a switch mean the Eagles are “throwing in the towel” on the season?
  7. The unknown.

The turnovers:

QB turnovers are often the fault of somebody other than the QB.  For example, the WR ran the wrong route, the ball slipped through the hands of the receiver and led to a pick, a ball was tipped at the line and picked, etc.  Unfrotunately for Michael Vick, the argument can be made that he has been the culprit on 12 of his 14 turnovers.  Here are all 14:

1. Vick is flushed from the pocket, rolls to his left, throws across his body into traffic, and it’s picked by Craig Robertson.  Vick’s fault.

2. Vick has a clean pocket, has Clay Harbor open momentarily, waits too long to fire and throws into heavy traffic. The ball is tipped by D’Qwell Jackson, and picked by T.J. Ward (Shown to the right).  Vick’s fault.

3. Vick throws to Maclin on a drag route with two defenders in the area.  It’s an inaccurate throw that Maclin probably should have caught, but it bounces off of Maclin’s fingertips into the arms of Joe Haden.  Vick and Maclin can share blame here.

4. Vick simply doesn’t see D’Qwell Jackson, who jumps a Maclin slant route and takes it to the house for a pick 6.  Vick’s fault.

5. Vick sees a small window where he can fit it over the Ravens defender and into Clay Harbor in the back of the end zone.  The problem is he’s being chased by Ravens defenders while rolling to his right, and he has to throw back to his left as he’s running out of room on the sideline.  The degree of difficulty on this throw is simply too high to attempt on the opening drive of the game (Shown to the right). Vick’s fault.

6. Bad fumble exchange between Vick and Bryce Brown.  Brown looked like he was looking at the defenders coming at him instead of securing the handoff.  This one is on Bryce Brown.

7. Vick throws behind Brent Celek (perhaps by design), as Celek tries to settle into a zone.  However, Ray Lewis is right there with good coverage.  With Lewis draped all over Celek, the pass is also high.  It deflects off of Celek’s fingertips and is picked by Ed Reed.  This isn’t Vick’s worst INT of the season by any stretch, but it’s still on him. Vick’s fault, with an assist to Celek.

8. Vick has time to throw, rolls left, sees nothing he likes, rolls back to his right, still sees nothing and decides to get what he can, except he doesn’t tuck the ball away.  Sam Acho gets a hand on the ball and punches it out, but it’s not as if this is some kind of big hit (Shown to the right). Cardinals ball.  Vick’s fault.

9. The disaster. On 3rd and G at the Cardinals’ 1 yard line with 6 seconds to go, it’s either hit a receiver quickly or throw the ball away and get 3.  Vick does not see the defensive back blitzing from his left side, takes a huge hit, coughs it up, and it’s a TD going the other way.  There are excuses to be made here, such as: Why were the Eagles not in shotgun? Why was there no protection on the edge?  Etc etc.  I’m not as forgiving.  Vick has to see that blitzer, something he has struggled with going back to the Tuesday night debacle in 2010 against the Vikings when Antoine Winfield stripped him and went for a score.  Vick’s fault.

10. With 1st and G from the 3, the Eagles run a QB draw.  Ryan Clark gets a shoulder on the ball, and it squirts out. Inexcusable. It’s not as if Vick was back to pass, didn’t see what he liked, and took off.  It’s a designed run. Protect the ball. Vick’s fault.

11. Vick doesn’t see anything he likes, takes off to run, doesn’t tuck the ball away, and it’s stripped by Lawrence Timmons. Vick’s fault.

12. Center Dallas Reynolds thinks he sees Vick lift his leg to ask for the ball, and he snaps it.  Vick isn’t ready for it, and it glances off his shoulder. Lions ball.  I’ll give this one to Reynolds.

13. Vick has plenty of time to throw, waits, eventually gets pressure, then throws high to an open Jason Avant. The pass sails over Avant’s head and is picked by Louis Delmas. Vick’s fault, with an assist to the play call for asking the OL to sustain their blocks for at least 3 seconds.

14. Vick has DeSean Jackson open on a deep post.  This would have been a TD in 2010.  In 2012, it’s a pick.  Vick has a perfectly clean pocket and is able to step into the throw, but he doesn’t lead Jackson to the inside, as it’s thrown behind him.  Chris Houston makes the easy pick on a play in which he should have been beaten (Shown to the right). Vick’s fault.

Fumbles Vick didn’t lose:

1. Fumbled center exchange vs the Browns, recovered by LeSean McCoy.

2. On the final drive against Cleveland, Vick sells out to get a first down on 3rd and 10, takes a couple of big shots, and fumbles.  Credit to Vick for recovering his own fumble.

3. Against Pittsburgh, Danny Watkins is beaten badly by a Steelers defender, who strips Vick.  Watkins recovers. Not Vick’s fault.

4. Vick scrambles up the middle, dives for extra yardage and the ball pops out.  The Steelers recover.  The play is reviewed, and Vick is fortunate that a Steelers defender has barely nicked his ankle on the way down.  Because he was contacted (ever so slightly), the ground cannot force the fumble.  The Eagles challenge and the play is reversed.  This was not a fumble in the stat sheet, but it’s another example of careless ball security.

5. Fumbled center exchange against the Lions.

Michael Vick’s turnovers are extremely well documented by now, but that is just an absurd number of mistakes when you’re only 6 weeks into the season.  However, something that hasn’t been noted nearly as much are the opportunities that Vick has had a chance to make down the field but has missed.

Missed opportunities:

As noted above, Vick had a streaking DeSean Jackson against the Lions, and he simply threw a poor pass that was intercepted.  A potential TD, or at least a big gain became a turnover.  There have been plenty more like that play this season.  A short sampling:

Here’s a play against the Giants in which Vick has DeSean Jackson running free in the Giants secondary.  Instead of lofting a touch pass over the defenders into the wide open area of the field where DeSean is running, Vick tries to fire a laser into a tight window, which goes into the dirt.  Here are two views of that play:

  

The ball needs to be thrown into the circled area of the field, where DeSean can catch and run.  It is not. Missed opportunity.

Here’s a deep ball to Jeremy Maclin against the Steelers.  Maclin has one-on-one against Ike Taylor with no safety help, and while he doesn’t have Taylor smoked, he does have inside position and there’s a play to be made here.  However, Vick once against doesn’t lead his receiver to the inside, and Maclin has to hold Taylor so this pass isn’t picked:

  

And then of course there’s the missed opportunity to Jeremy Maclin against the Lions last Sunday.  Lions LB Justin Durant (circled) is going to come on a blitz:

The Eagles pick up the blitz beautifully:

 

Maclin beats the jam at the line, the defender stumbles, and Maclin has nothing but open spaces in front of him:

A simple, easy touch pass will do, but Vick instead fires a laser into a clogged up passing lane:

Some might see this play as bad luck that Ndamukong Suh was able to get his hand up and make a play.  To some degree I agree that there’s an element of bad luck there.  But I also think a better QB reads Durant’s blitz and lofts a pass into the area vacated by him for and easy pitch and catch that goes for a monster gain.

These are the kinds of plays Michael Vick made in his outstanding 2010 season.  They are missed opportunities in 2012.

Vick is taking an inordinate number of hits this season, partly because the offensive line stinks, and partly because he’s holding onto the ball for an eternity.

The Eagles’ offensive line was one of the few strengths of the 2011 Eagles.  With Jason Peters being lost to an Achilles injury and Jason Kelce being lost for the season, the Eagles OL has become a major liability.  Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz did a great job breaking down the Eagles’ offensive line.  Definitely worth the read.

On that “Bad OL” theme, Tim McManus of Philly Mag wrote a very good piece on why Michael Vick should remain the Eagles QB.  I’m going to steal an excerpt from his article:

Ron Jaworski has been charting the hits on Vick this season, and the numbers are maybe even more staggering than you would think.  Vick has been knocked to the ground 103 times through six games by Jaws’ count (18 times against the Lions). He has had contact an additional 44 times when he was not knocked down.

If last year’s hit rate was alarming, this season is off the charts. Consider that for all the battering Vick endured a year ago, opposing defenses averaged five QB hits in games he played last season. This year, the average is over eight quarterback hits per outing. The opposition registered double-digit hits on Vick once in 2011. Three teams have accomplished that feat through six games this year.

The offensive line is certainly to blame for some of Michael Vick’s hits.  However, there is plenty of guilt that can be put on Vick as well.  From Tommy’s OL piece:

Ron Jaworski recently noted that he had Pro Football Focus time the release of all 32 QBs in the NFL.  Vick was last.  He held the ball on average for 3 seconds per pass play.  I cannot find the data online, but I think he said the next QB was at 2.5 seconds.  That shows you a significant difference in Vick and other QBs.  He doesn’t do as well pre-snap and he doesn’t anticipate plays well.  Vick needs to see it.  That means holding the ball and letting plays develop.  Part of that blame does go to the coaches for throwing deeper passes.  Call shorter plays and Vick should get the ball out quicker, which helps him and the OL.

That leads to the following question:

If Michael Vick can’t survive behind the Eagles’ offensive line, then how can a rookie like Nick Foles?  And if in fact the rookie takes a battering behind that OL, will it ruin his psyche?

Here’s what Andy Reid said about Nick Foles the day they drafted him in the 3rd round of the draft:

“He played behind an all-freshmen offensive line, so he’s not going to stand up here and tell you that. I’m going to tell you that that’s not an easy thing to do. He never complained about it, he rallied those kids around him; he took some pretty big hits knowing that those kids are going to be good players down the road, but they were learning at that time.”

“His percentage under pressure was as good or better than anybody in the country. The receivers, obviously (Arizona WR Juron) Criner was a heck of a player for him and he was his go-to guy. After that, there weren’t a lot of people around him. There were young guys that he helped develop for the future of Arizona there. That’s reality. Those are things that as a coach and as a scout, there are things (general manager) Howie (Roseman) and I had to look at and evaluate. Coming out of it we still felt like he did a heck of a job.”

In other words, playing behind a bad offensive line, and playing well behind a bad offensive line, is nothing new to Nick Foles.  Obviously, there’s a big difference between the Pac 10 and the NFL, but at least Foles knows a thing or two about the value of getting the ball out quickly when you don’t have ideal protection up front.  At this point, I trust Foles to get the ball out quickly far more than I trust Michael Vick, even without having seen Foles play a single meaningful NFL snap.

A switch to Foles would almost force the Eagles to transition to more of a short to intermediate passing attack, which has actually been more successful when they’ve gone that route with Michael Vick this season.  In theory, the Eagles could just move to a short or intermediate passing attack with Vick, although I see that development as an unlikely one.  But even with a shorter passing attack, again, I trust the rookie to make better pre-snap reads than I do the 32 year old vet who still has “potential.”

The other issue that I’ve seen thrown around is the whole “psyche” thing.  The thinking is that if you insert Foles in behind this bad OL and he takes a bunch of hits, he could become a scared QB in future years, stunting his development.  Frankly, if a QB has a “fragile psyche,” who really cares about ruining him for the future?  In my opinion, they’re already ruined if their “psyche” is in doubt.

Michael Vick’s good qualities: The 4th quarter drives, Vick’s running ability, and “teammate adoration.”

The 4th quarter drives:

The one saving grace for Michael Vick, in my opinion, has been his ability to lead clutch 4th quarter drives.  In Week 1, Vick got very lucky that Browns rookie LB T.J. Fort didn’t intercept this terrible pass on the final drive:

However, here were late drives that Vick led against the Browns, Ravens, Giants, and Steelers:

  1. Browns: 16 plays, 91 yards, 5:07, TD to take the lead.
  2. Ravens: 10 plays, 80 yards, 2:48, TD to take the lead.
  3. Giants: 12 plays, 75 yards, 4:56, FG to take the lead.
  4. Steelers: 17 plays, 79 yards, 8:18, TD to take the lead.

Very impressive.  Of course, if the Eagles weren’t 2nd to last in the NFL in points scored as a direct result of Vick’s turnovers, they wouldn’t need these late heroics in the first place.

Vick’s running ability:

There’s no questioning Michael Vick’s unique and dynamic abilities as a runner.  It’s a skill set that Nick Foles can’t emulate in his wildest wet dreams.  However, Michael Vick has run the ball 41 times this year.  Take out the 6 combined kneel downs against the Browns, Ravens, and Giants, and he has run the ball 35 times.  In those 35 times Vick has run the ball, he has fumbled 5 times.  Note: I’m not including fumbles on dropbacks, fumbled snaps, bad handoff exchanges, etc.  I’m counting only the fumbles in which Vick took off to run.

Again… 35 runs, 5 fumbles.  That’s a 1 in 7 chance Vick will fumble if he takes off to run this season.  So what are we really losing there?

“Teammate adoration”:

I’ve seen it noted that Vick’s teammates like him.  That’s fine.  I think there’s some value in that.  But personally, it doesn’t factor into my decision on who plays QB… at all.  My guess would be that the Eagles’ wide receivers have the following priorities in their quest for professional happiness in the NFL:

  • Am I getting paid?
  • Are passes coming my way?
  • Are those passes accurate?
  • About a dozen more things here.
  • Do I like my QB on a personal level?

I’ve met Nick Foles.  I’ve spoken with Nick Foles.  Not a lot to hate there.  We’re not talking about Jay Cutler here.

Andy Reid’s job security, and how that factors in. Does a switch mean the Eagles are “throwing in the towel” on the season?

Jeffrey Lurie has already made it clear that another season of mediocrity will not be enough for Andy Reid to keep his job.  I think the perception is that if you put in a rookie, you’re throwing in the towel on the season, and perhaps building for the future.  Obviously, if Reid is going to be fired after a bad season, then building for the future doesn’t do him any good.  In my opinion, this would be a move to save THIS season, not build for the future.  Is it a little ridiculous to hope that a rookie 3rd round pick is somehow going to save the season?  Unquestionably.  I guess that just goes to show what my confidence level in Michael Vick has become.

The unknown

We all saw how impressive Nick Foles was in the preseason.  But the preseason is the preseason.  We don’t know how Foles will adapt to the speed of the games that matter, nor do we know how rapidly the kid is progressing in terms of mastering the playbook.  Only the Eagles know that.  The only thing I can truly analyze is what I’ve seen from the player that HAS played.

And it has not been good.  Let’s see what you got, rook.

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38 Comments

  1. Philly has to be the only 3-3 team who talks about benching their QB. Hell folk been talking about benching him when the team was 3-1. Which further lets me know this isn’t about VIck’s supposed deficiencies but just a strong dislike of VIck as a person.

    Who puts a 3rd round rookie behind this oline? Who does that and suggests it with a straight face. Kolb was the saviour too – how well that work out for Philly? He can’t see the blitz? You see is QB rating against the blitz the last 3 games?

    ANY QB you look at you can find plays they left on the field – and 5 4th quarter leads in 6 game is nothing to sneeze at. I can’t even beleive folk are saying Foles played well in college behind a crap oline that means he’ll be able to do it in the pros.

    The premise of this article is just as ridiculous as it’s always been. You don’t bench ur QB when you’re 3-3 and 1/2 game out of first in your division. ESPECIALLY when you have 5 divisional games left that the same QB has owned for a couple of years now.

    Ridiculous

    1. Jimmy Kempski says:

      How has Vick played?

  2. Brian says:

    I’m not calling for Vick to be benched at this point, but if Andy were to give him the hook, he’d get absolutely no grief from me.

  3. Ryan says:

    Don’t forget the “he played behind a week OL in college” was exactly what was said about Kolb coming out of Houston.

    Turns out he can’t play whether he gets protected or not…

    Very thorough and compelling, but I do think you glossed over one point which I believe is the MAJOR reason Reid has not made the move.

    3-3, 1/2 game out of first in the NFC East, 5 divisional games left against teams that a Vick-led team has pretty much owned.

    So I think there is an element of panic in your opinion, something which AR doesn’t generally prescribe to.

  4. [...] “Bench Vick” pieces are reactionary and illogical. This one from Jimmy Kempski over at Blogging the Beast is the opposite. He makes a reasonable case for why it’s time for the Eagles to make a QB [...]

  5. joed says:

    I could KISS you but you said everything…well done Jimmy

  6. I think it’s NUTS, I repeat NUTS, to bench Vick now. It kills the season. There is no way Foles won’t have his own issues, bad plays, and turnovers. And yes, it can get much worse then Vick.

    It will create a rift from those who still want Vick and those who like Foles. It’ll destroy the team.

    I cannot believe we are having this conversation at 3-3 and one game out of the division. It’s beyond dumb.

    1. McMVP says:

      How can it get ‘much’ worse than an avg of 2 turnovers a game over the course of a season?

      I suppose it’s possible. Janet Reno may even get lucky tonight. But I think not…

      Vick will get his last shot anyway…and I’ll be rooting for him…

      1. Tom says:

        Just to clarify – it’s 17 turnovers in 6 games – that’s almost 3 turnovers per game.

        1. Tom says:

          my bad – 13 turnovers is just the # Vick is responsible for. That’s more than any other team has in the NFC.

  7. McMVP says:

    Excellent write up…probably the most thorough I’ve seen on this subject. Well done!

    I said before the season in the Eagles Blog that I didn’t see much of a drop off from Vick to Foles. Nothing I’ve seen so far this season has changed my mind (and it is very possible to change my mind… I don’t care about being right… I only want wins). If anything, I’m where you are now…that a move to Foles wouldn’t be a move that says the Eagles are giving up, but rather they want to win

  8. Awesome, thoughtful, coherent analysis. Thank you.

  9. Allan says:

    Ok, I sat back and just read, but I had to say something after awhile. I seriously just don’t understand how we are laying the offenses short comings just at Vick’s Feet. Will Foles change things. I think it’s unfair to say that you can put foles in and play a short/intermediate game and things will get better. Why can’t we do that with Vick? I mean seriously. Did Vick average 1.6 ypc last week? I guess if Foles was in the line would have blocked better and he would have gotten more carries and a better average. Would Celek have caught that TD pass if Foles threw it? Did Vick call OPI on Celek on the other TD? I guess Vick calls his own plays too right? You could dissect the games and find tons of reasons to be upset about alot of peoples play, yet it falls on Vicks shoulders. Also, you could pick apart most QB’s and find flaws in their game. Vick is under duress most of the game. Yes he may hold the ball long but even that is not always his fault. There are tons of all 22 break downs showing the flaws in the play calling. It is not in Vick’s favor right now. All those hits take a toll on a person. You become nervous in the pocket and begin to not trust the protections. As much as he is being hit can you blame him? Adjust the game plan, aim some of these good play/ bad play break downs at the O Line, McCoy ( yes because he too sometimes falls for the allure of the big play and gets nothing ), the lack of size in the red zone, and lastly the god awful play calling. Vick is PART of the problem, but the thing is these other problems just inflate the mistakes that he ( or any decent QB) would make. Fix some of the issues, then judge Vicks play. If Vick comes out erratic and mistake prone after the bye, then ok think about benching him. But at the same time if he spends half the game on his ass,TD passes are dropped, or even another game goes by with no sacks then other people on this team should be sitting on the bench with him.

  10. Corry says:

    “In other words, playing behind a bad offensive line, and playing well behind a bad offensive line, is nothing new to Nick Foles.”

    You said it yourself after this sentence: There’s a big difference between Pac12 defenses and NFL Defenses, and I think the argument can be made that there is a big difference between preseason defenses and regular season defenses. The coverages get more elaborate and disguised better. Players are faster. Defenders hit harder. If I knew that throwing him to the wolves would result in a better player and not ending up with David Carr in Eagle Green, I’d say do it, but I just don’t know if I can wager his future for a playoff run this year.

    Of course, Andy Reid may not have a the luxury to worry about his rookie QB’s future with his hanging in the balance.

    1. ct17 says:

      It speaks to Foles’ ability to handle pressure, which is something many young QBs have trouble with. His college OL was truly awful, as was his OC. He had a great group of WRs, however, not just Criner. Great draft pick by the Eagles.

  11. [...] former friend Jimmy Bama stabbed me and Vick in the back by writing a long piece that called for Vick to be benched.  How could [...]

  12. Play to Desean reminds me of the McNabb/TO TD vs Niners in 2005, meaning nice touch throw by #5.

    The Suh knockdown is almost comical; he was blocked cleanly and threw up his arm like a batter fooled by a pitch. Except Vick hung the 0-2 curveball.

  13. Gary says:

    I said this after the Lions game on BGN. It was the first I officially wanted Vick benched.

    People in defense of Vick point out that he has led clutch fourth quarter drives and gotten us the lead in most games, as you mentioned. But I really believe that our defense has been playing well enough for the majority of most games that if our offense was just better at scoring points in the first three quarters, we wouldn’t need comebacks because we’d have big leads.

    I mean, what’s our biggest lead of the season? 10 points? And that’s with a defense that’s been pretty solid. That’s horrible. And I really think turnovers are the main culprit, which is something I think Foles would do a better job at limiting. That many turnovers by one player is egregious.

  14. JasonE says:

    Bravo, sir. Bravo.

    I’ve been saying for weeks on twitter, that I don’t care what Vick does from here on out, I’m done with him. I can somewhat understand Reid not wanting to make the switch yet, but not really.

  15. eagles2zc says:

    Good thorough breakdown of all the TOs. Vick has been the ultimate tease this season. The Eagles fans look at the 2010 Vick and the 4th quarter Vick and keep hoping he would get back into form. No wonder he’s called rollercoaster Vick. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vick tease us with a great Falcons performance before changing back to turnover Vick again.

  16. Kben says:

    This is a great write up. Seeing you pick apart those turnovers one-by-one was very eye opening. I’ve been in the camp that Vick is going to turn it around, but those are some ugly numbers.

    Even though you make a solid argument, would you agree that a change is not going to happen unless Vick has at least 2 turnovers against ATL that are directly his fault? I can see him being on a short leash, but I think that’s what it will take.

  17. triplej says:

    I agree 110%. Vick will not take us anyplace this year. Can Foles make a difference? No one knows. However, just look at what some of the 1st and 2nd year QB’s are doing this year and it is most definitely worth the risk.
    I heard McNabb saying yesterday that when he was benched in Baltimore, it jolted the team along with himself. I believe after that benching, he was 5 and 1. So maybe there are two reasons to bench Vick….Jolt the team and Vick or jolt the team and have some new blood in Foles.
    I don’t believe Castillo was a scapegoat. He was not effective in his job so he was fired accordingly. The offense (31st in scoring) is not doping their job either (Worse than defense). Someone needs to go there too and the choice here is Michael Vick.

  18. iskar36 says:

    Great post Jimmy. I couldn’t agree with you more. We are all grasping onto the idea that the true Vick is the guy we saw in 2010 and what we have seen the last year and a half have been him under performing. If you look at Vick’s career as a whole rather than separate the pre-jail and post-jail Vick, I think it makes a lot more sense to argue that the 2010 Vick was a guy simply OVER-performing relative to his ability. He has all the athletic ability in the world, but being a great QB involves so much more than athletic ability, and Vick has proven he lacks those other abilities.

    This team has flaws that go beyond Vick, but I honestly believe Vick has held this team down WAAAAAAY more than he has helped it. If we simply put in a QB who was just managing the offense and instead of being a “playmaker” on our offense, I think we easily would be at least 4-2 if not 5-1. I’m not saying being a QB that manages an offense is necessarily easy, so I am not arguing Foles will absolutely be able to handle that, but I just think it is important to keep in mind what we are asking of Foles. All we are asking is that he gets the ball into our playmakers hands and limit the turnovers. IF, and I recognize that is an IF not a WHEN, he can do that, I think our offense will play better and get much better results.

  19. NYG_slater says:

    hmmm, I agree with most of your stuff here jimmy. If i were an eagles fan i would not have a lot of faith in vick, and almost none for Andy. However, benching Vick for Foles would be a cataclysmic change—and while I doubt Andy takes it that far, I agree with your overall point in this post—Vick’s, on field, play this year warrants a change at QB.

    I think a Vick benching could help the offense in a couple of ways, bringing in foles would surely force andy to rely on McCoy more–something he should be doing anyway. You’d also expect more small ball–checkdowns, screens, quick timing routes. Mainly, with Foles on the field, you’d try to minimize the role of the QB and rely on getting the ball into the capable hands of Jackson, McCoy, Maclin etc…(It’s very troubling that andy hasn’t been doing this anyway, with vick on the field. I haven’t been watch eagles games that closely, so maybe I am wrong here, but it looks like Andy has Vick in the drivers seat out there every week)

    With that said, I think you incorrectly discount Vick and the importance of “teammate adoration”. If you bench vick you will create a small rift in the locker room–its inevitable. That rift is fine as long as foles plays well and the eagles win. However, If Foles flops in a couple of games, you gotta stick it out with him. If you start playing the hot hand at QB game, some players will want vick and some will want foles. The media will have a fucking field day splitting the locker room apart, it will be a huge distraction for the entire year and Andy will get fired.

    I think this entire problem could be solved if Andy just neutered Vick’s role in the offense and made him a “game manager”–relying on McCoy, Jackson and Maclin to win games. Even without a pass rush the defense was playing well enough to win and I didn’t like the Castillo firing #scapegoat. I’m not that informed on Lurie’s relationship with AR, but as an outsider looking in, it seems like Bowles is being put into position to take over some day.

  20. You said:

    “A switch to Foles would almost force the Eagles to transition to more of a short to intermediate passing attack, which has actually been more successful when they’ve gone that route with Michael Vick this season. In theory, the Eagles could just move to a short or intermediate passing attack with Vick, although I see that development as an unlikely one.”

    There is plenty of historical precedent in Andy’s past to support that theory: Koy Detmer, AJ Feeley, Jeff Garcia. Each time McNabb went down with a serious injury the backup stepped in, the Eagles got hot and went on a run to make the playoffs against all odds (wait…what? Mike McWho? what’s this 2005 season you speak of? Nope, I’m pretty sure that was a strike-canceled season).

    The point is, Andy seems to be at his best when he’s not relying on a great QB to show up each week. And although the short passing game has worked this year, Andy/MM just can’t bring themselves to stick with it. A switch to Foles would force their hand….at least until he strung together a few good weeks…

  21. Tom says:

    Jimmy – I made these comments on Tommy’s site a couple of times. I’m done with Vick, mostly because of the turnovers. Going back to last year, they are 10-9 in his last 19 starts. They are 4-0 in games with 1 turnover (or less), but have turned the ball over 44 times in the other 15 games (42 if you take out Kafka’s 2 picks against the Giants last year) including 2 games with 4 TO’s and 2 games with 5. You just can’t win that way, no matter how many good plays you make in between. For those people who want to blame the O-Line, that was supposed to be the strength of the team last year and the TO’s were still there (although to be fair – it’s actually gotten worse this year). I think they should see what Foles gives them, as it is pretty apparent what Vick gives them.

    1. Took me a while to get there, but I’m with you.

  22. Mark in Louisville says:

    Here’s a hypothetical for you:

    Wilson is not drafted by the Seahawks at 75 and falls to Philly at 88. From the sportswriter gossip it sounded like the Eagles preferred Wilson and may have taken him over Foles at 88. Vick and Wilson are similar styled quarterbacks and now onto the question. Do you think with Wilson in the wings, Andy pulls the trigger benching Vick earlier in the season?

    1. Personally, I think the change in style of QB makes for a more compelling switch.

      1. Would you say that Garcia might be the closest thing to a true West Coast QB this system has had?

  23. deg0ey says:

    Hmmm. I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here, but I’m still not ready to pull him just yet. We all know Reid’s the master of the bye week and that his teams generally play better in the back-end of the season, so I’m still holding out some (irrational?) hope that he can knock some sense into Vick over the next week or so and come out strong for the next 10+ games.

    1. Steag209 says:

      I’m giving my irrational hope the same leash, to Andy and his bye week magic, but if Vick comes out and plays the same against ATL then my hope in Vick ‘could’ be evaporated

    2. “I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here, but I’m still not ready to pull him just yet.”

      Ha, I hear you. Change is scary.

      1. deg0ey says:

        I also think that a large part of the reason for putting in Foles is that it will force Andy/Marty to be more sensible with their play calling. I think a large amount of Mike’s problems go away if they start calling more runs and shorter passes (which is what they’d have to do for Foles anyway).

        I guess I’m just not convinced that they’ll learn their lessons, even with a QB that is less capable of making the plays they’re currently calling than Vick is.

  24. Steag209 says:

    I’ve pretty much come to the same conclusions this week, after seeing all the
    missed opportunities. For me, its not the turnovers, even the Babe struck out an inordinate amount but he always hit a pitcher’s mistake out of the park to more than make up for it, it’s the not capitalizing on opportunities. Vick is/has/always will be a “big play” QB, big plays for his team and big plays for the other team, but he isn’t delivering for his team this year. Now Foles won’t have as many big plays for EITHER team and, quite frankly, with the confidence I have in Bowles and this defense, I’m perfectly okay with that.

    Would I like Vick to pull his head out of his ass? Of course I do, but I just don’t think, at 32, these things are fixable

  25. JIm Bean says:

    dylanmanning: it’s called hubris and arrogance, with a bit of laziness thrown in.

    When you’re a freak athlete who is successful primarily because of that freakish athleticism throughout pee wee football, high school football, college football, and even the first few years of your life as an NFL player, then you simply never develop the motivation to study the game or learn the craft of playing QB. There is simply no need for it.

    If you were given hundreds of millions of dollars in a trust fund at birth, would you ever develop the motivation to work a real job? To spend hours and hours studying a real major in college? There’s a reason that most trust fund babies take frivolous majors in college. Michael Vick is to QBing what a trust fund baby is to the working world.

  26. SteveH says:

    Heh, I love that “teammates love Vick” angle. I can guarantee you on a personal level that players probably want to punch Brady or Manning in the mouth all the time, those guys can be huge jerks. Who gives a shit though? Good leadership isn’t about being liked. I want a QB who’s going to get on you when it needs to happen. I personally have never seen Vick as a good leader, the NFL isn’t a popularity contest.

  27. Good write up all around

    however I disagree with this:

    :Vick has to see that blitzer, something he has struggled with going back to the Tuesday night debacle in 2010 against the Vikings when Antoine Winfield stripped him and went for a score”

    Vick has struggled against the blitz his entire career. As far as him becoming the start in 2010, his struggles in that area first got exposed against the giants on a sunday nighter in 2010. Also against the giants in the “miracle at the meadowlands”. The vikings just copied what the giants did in that game the week before.

    whats weird is that vick UNDERSTANDS and REALIZES he is flawed in these areas, but he does not improve. Its so confusing. Why? I’ve heard him numerous times say he wants to be like peyton manning at the line of scrimmage and he supposedly spends hours in the film room like crazy. Yet, he has these silly mental lapses where he doesn’t understand coverages or identify blitzes. So strange

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