There were a lot of rumors on Monday that Michael Vick would be benched in favor of Nick Foles. Some fans loved the idea. There are some guys who just don’t like Vick. Others are frustrated with his play.
Some fans don’t get this idea at all. Why bench Vick in a game where the defense was the main culprit? That is a logical line of thinking, but somewhat flawed as well. Each game in a season is a bit different. We lost to the Steelers due to turnovers as much as anything. Take them away, you have a very good chance that game is a win.
Vick didn’t turn the ball over on Sunday, but that wasn’t good enough. The Atlanta offense showed up in a big way. That game was a shootout…well, a one-sided shootout. Understand what I’m saying. Of course the defense is more to blame. They had a bad day. But…the offense needed to do their part. Instead, they put up 17 points. There are some games when you are going to have to score points. We haven’t done that all year.
We’ve scored: 17, 24, 6, 19, 14, 23, 17. In short, that is pathetic.
Benching Vick isn’t punishment for Sunday. It isn’t blaming the loss on him. That’s not how coaches think. Coaches focus on making moves that they think will improve the team. The question before Andy Reid right now is whether benching Vick will improve the team. The very fact he’s asking this with a rookie as the backup tells you how bad the situation is.
Vick supporters will focus on the fact he didn’t have any turnovers in the game. That is true…sort of. He did fumble on a run, but was ruled down by contact. He did throw a pass that should have been a decisive pick-six, but the LB dropped it. The stat sheet shows no turnovers, but the mistakes were there. That’s the bigger issue.
Some people will talk about the OL and the problems with that group. Definitely a valid point. The blocking has been sub-par this year. That is still no excuse for the amount of bad play. Vick has been sacked 20 times, 6th in the league. I think we all know the Cards have the worst OL in the league and are in a class of their own. But who’s second? Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 28 times. How’s that offense doing? Next is Jay Cutler with 25 sacks. How’s that offense doing? Next is SF. Their offense is more middle of the pack, but they’ve got 3 games of 30 or more points and one with 27.
Vick can’t complain about weapons. Shady, DJax, Mac, Celek, and Avant are outstanding players. That is plenty of firepower.
Playcalling has been an issue, but there are also plenty of plays where guys are getting open and Vick either isn’t seeing them or is making errant throws. Vick’s decision-making has gotten light years better since the opener (when his head was up his butt or something), but he’s still not where he needs to be.
My guess is that Reid has stuck with him because he’s been hoping that Vick would come out of his funk and get hot. Hasn’t happened yet. What do Seattle, Cleveland, Miami, Indianapolis, and Washington all have in common? They are teams with rookie QBs who average more points per game than we do.
No one questions whether Michael Vick is tough or dedicated. He has been a good teammate since coming to Philly. No…a great teammate. The coaches love his work ethic. The players love his fearless approach on gamedays. Vick worked very hard this offseason to improve his game. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked. You can see that he’s slipping some physically. Sure, he still has great moments, but he’s less dynamic than he was in 2010. Vick has taken a beating in his time in Philly and that may be wearing him down.
Before the season our #1 focus was keeping him healthy. In order to win, we needed Vick to stay on the field. On Sunday, I found it very telling that the coaches called a read-option play and directly exposed him to contact. This wasn’t 4th down. It wasn’t at the goal line. This was just a standard play. If Vick gets hurt now, so be it. The guy we had to protect was the franchise QB. This guy has a rating of 78.6 and is a turnover machine.
Here is what I think happens. On Monday we go to play the Saints in the Superdome. I think Vick keeps his job. This game will be a shootout. No way the Saints get shut down 2 weeks in a row. That is a loud place and can be crazy. Sticking with the veteran QB makes sense in that regard. Also, the Saints have an awful defense. They are on pace to be possibly the worst defense of all time (what has happened to Steve Spagnuolo?). If Vick can’t lead us to 28 or 31 or 35 points against them…there is no hope for him.
The argument for Foles is that the Saints have an awful defense so why not put him in a favorable situation. That is logical, but his first start is going to be rusty no matter who he plays. We’ll need points in this game. Sticking with Vick makes sense.
I do think Reid will make the move in the game if Vick can’t get us going. We’re 3-4. Our playoff hopes aren’t on life-support, but they’re in the hospital…probably filling out forms.
I’m sure there are some who wonder why you would go from a struggling veteran QB to a rookie who is going to struggle. That’s a step sideways, not forward. There are a couple of reasons. QB is the most important position on the team. If a new guy there can somehow give the team a spark, that can make a difference. With a great talent like Vick, it is possible the guys around him relax more than they should. If the players see Foles in the huddle, they’ll know they must raise their game. You just hope for something.
Reid also has a more selfish reason to do this. If the young QB gets in and somehow plays well, Reid could use that when talking to Jeff Lurie about his job after the season. Say we finished 8-8 with Foles at QB and he’s got a rating of 83 or something like that. Not great stuff, but Reid could try to sell Lurie on the fact we’ve finally got the right guy at QB and that change is the last thing this team needs, etc, etc, etc. Please note – this isn’t my argument for Reid. This is what Reid would say to Lurie.
By sticking with Vick, Reid needs him to play at a high level. That might happen. That might not happen. Sure doesn’t feel like Vick is going to wake-up and get going. We’ve all waited for it, but we’re 7 games into the season.
I do like Nick Foles quite a bit. I think he can be a good QB in this league, but I think he would look like a rookie. There would be some very good moments. There would be others when we pulled our hair out. I don’t know how much the offense would change. Foles doesn’t throw a great deep ball. He can do a good job with short and intermediate throws, but going 40 or more yards downfield was not his strength this summer. Maybe he’s gotten better.
One thing to keep in mind regarding the offense…Marty Mornhinweg is calling the plays, but this is very much Andy Reid’s vision. They think alike. They love to throw the ball. They love to be vertical. They like to do a lot of different things with formations. We’re not going to put Foles in and become a running offense. That’s not what Reid wants.
Vick is part of the problem with the offense. He can be a huge part of the solution, but he’s got to get going on Monday or he’s going to be out of a job.
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Quick note on the comments section.
All opinions are welcome. Dissent is a good thing. The world would be very boring if we all thought alike.
You can criticize the players, the coaches, the management. Leave the cheerleaders alone, though. I’m fair game as well. I’m putting my thoughts out there for public consumption. If I want to enjoy the favorable comments, I’ve got to be willing to take criticism. And I am.
I spent 8 years on the EMB. Those guys don’t know what the word subtle means. I’ve got thick skin. If you disagree, speak your mind.
What I do ask is that you contribute to the conversation we’re having. Just ranting is every bit as useless as saying only good things. We’re cheering for a 3-4 team. We’ve got some darn good players. We’re frustrated as heck right now, but things could be a lot worse. If we were Jaguars fans (boy would that suck), we’d all be ranting 24/7. That’s a hopeless situation.
The point is that as bad as things are, there are still positives. You can rant about Vick, Reid, Watkins, Nnamdi, Bobby April, etc. That’s fine. Just don’t completely ignore Shady, DJax, Ryans, Kendricks, Cox, Mathis, Celek, etc. The point is for us to discuss the team. Things will tilt negative after a bad loss and that’s the way it should be. Let’s just make sure we don’t get stuck in rant mode. That’s not a discussion so much as a bitching contest. I have no interest in that…unless we lose 42-0 to Dallas and Jerry Jones burns a Reggie White jersey while singing Fly Eagles Fly to celebrate. Then all bets are off.