Why Consider A QB Change?

Posted: October 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 72 Comments »

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.

* * * * *

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.

_


  • livingonapear

    I’m ok with playing Vick against the Saints simply because it’s the eighth game. Give him a full half season, and then make your decision. At this point I’m ready for a change, but that’s because I’m a fan, and am always looking for the next thing.

    Fact is, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of seeing athletic QBs with boom/bust tendencies. I’m tired of seeing Andy Reid thinking he’s smarter than everyone, and getting bailed out by the sheer talent on his squad. I know that’s a simplistic read on it, but that’s how I feel. I’ve tried to remain positive, but in watching the Lions game, I felt like Joe Pesci watching DeNiro’s/LaMotta’s last Sugar Ray loss in “Raging Bull.” That’s it. That was their shot.

  • paceavelli

    Vick has been the culprit all season. The defense sucked. true, but if vick could extend a drive, they wouldnt be on the field for so long, leaving them exposed. Vick has a terrible passer rating on the season and has a terrible TD to int ration, and an even worse turnover ration including the myriad of fumbles he has produced. He can not read a defense, he has no time clock in his head, he has failed calling audibles time and again and at 32 years old with 3 eagles seasons under his belt, running fast just isn’t good enough. He has had time to deveolpe, and has not. He is and always will be a terrible QB. Foles is young, and the future of our franchise. Vick hasnt got the job done, why not give it to someone who potentially could. Foles can not do worse than vick, and even if he plays at the same level, he gets experience for the next 7-10 years that he will be starting. It will stimulate the offense, giving his short passes with high percentages, and it will help the o-line which isnt inept, just not mobile enough to block for vick out of the pocket on every single passing play. Give foles the start, and the rest of the team will come with him.

  • http://twitter.com/pastormazz Matthew Westergard

    Hey Tommy, can you talk about what else our defence could have done against the falcons. I love the eagles, but when they have two number one WRs, a still great TE, and a couple of decent RBs who can run, it seems like a mismatch. The one thing I didn’t like and still question is the decision to give the falcons the ball to start the game. I don’t know the numbers but the Defence had no shot with the amount of time they were on the field against the falcons.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’ll talk about that stuff in the DGR. Will post later today, hopefully. Did finish re-watching the game.

      • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

        There was enough PBR in your zip-code to re-watch that game? You may be single handedly keeping your local distributor in business

  • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

    I’ll be at the game Monday and agree with your line of thinking.

    I’ve been to Saints games at the dome before (Tulane grad) and when that fan base is fired up its a loud and hostile environment, not exactly the best place for a rook’s coming out party. The dome takes environmental factors out of play and and should provide the perfect benchmark of Vick’s potential, if any..

  • mhrinda

    Its been 7 games with Vick at the helm. I am not just asking for his number to be benched but a whole slew of others especially on defense that under achieving this season. We are wasting valuable game time (16 game season) to keep giving players chances to show “they can play” Maybe benching some guys on this team might actually do these players good and help them to regain a fire or regiment to get them back to their very best. I say (which is not going to happen again this week) give Foles the ball and let him play. Lets see what hes got and retool this team from within and without (outside risk signings or trades – if possible) and move forward. My feeling is we are in a rut that we wont get out of until Reid and Howie are fired outright.
    Question for you Tommy: Jamal Jackson said he wants to come back and play — why havent the Eagles given him a chance?

  • GermanEagle

    Here’s one shocking stat for you:
    Michael Vick has taken 90 hits so far this season, worst in league. The runner up: 55 hits…!!!
    Plus the Eagles had their bye already…So basically Vick gets hit 13 times per game on average. Foles wouldn’t survive the first quarter…

    • Jason

      That is way to simple of a conclusion. Our Oline is bad, but a ton of those hits are on Vick himself. He holds on to the ball significantly longer than any other QB. He never gives up on a play, and allows himself to get hit on a regular basis. He also has poor pocket awareness and often moves into pressure rather than away from it.

      The reality is, without seeing Foles try to do it in an actual game, we don’t know how he will perform, but at least from preseason, he got rid of the ball quickly, avoided sacks, and showed good pocket awareness. Will that translate to a regular season game…. no idea, but switching from Vick to Foles doesn’t mean Foles will get hit 90 times.

      • GermanEagle

        You’ve got a fair point. The argumentum e contrario means though that the sacks would go up while the hits might go down…with Foles under center.

        • A_T_G

          Why do you assume sacks would go up? Foles was sacked only once in extended time during preseason.

  • Jason

    “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.”

    “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.”

    “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 don’t mean to quote so much of the post, but these three quotes seem to present a very obvious logical disconnect that at the very least requires an explanation in order to justify. You state that our ability to score points is pathetic and that it certainly doesn’t seem like Vick is going to “wake-up” and all of a sudden make our offense get on a roll. You also state that in order to beat the Saints we would need to score points. You are right that there is some rookie woes we would have to deal with if Foles started, but considering the first two statements, by sticking with Vick, you certainly don’t guarantee yourself more points by any means.

    I personally don’t believe in Vick right now and want to see him benched in favor of Foles. Having said that, I understand the other side of the argument. Still, for me, the argument that you shouldn’t put Foles in because we will need points against the Saints seems fairly weak to me considering the lack of points Vick has led us to.

    but that leads to the conclusion that Foles can’t score points due to rust? Seems to me that in general, our offense can’t score points, and Vick is a large part of that (our Oline is another part of that certainly).

    • TommyLawlor

      The point of giving Vick the Saints start is to say…if you can’t get the job done vs that defense, it’s just not going to happen at all. Benching a QB is tough. You’re better to err on the side of caution.

      And Vick won’t have the whole game. If we’re sitting on less than 10 points at halftime…I bet Foles gets put in.

      You’re essentially giving Vick a half vs the worst D in the league to save his job. Seems fair and reasonable.

      • Iskar36

        I understand the argument FOR keeping Vick, I’m arguing the part of your post AGAINST starting Foles. Foles certainly may not be able to put up a ton of points, but thus far, neither has Vick. To make the argument that you can’t start Foles because you need points in this game implies you believe Vick can get you those points, but even in the same post you seem to argue you don’t fully believe that (at least based on my interpretation of the quotes I used from your post). I’m just trying to understand that discrepancy.

        Like I said, I personally support benching Vick and seeing what Foles may be able to do, but I understand seeing if Vick can turn it around against an awful defense. To me though, I just see this as a better opportunity to let the rookie gain some confidence and experience with the hopes that he can succeed.

        • TommyLawlor

          I know Vick CAN get us the points. I don’t know if he will. See? Vick has struggled this year, but I’ve seen him lead offensive explosions.

          Foles is a totally unknown commodity. I don’t have the time to do a study, but I doubt very few rookie QBs led their team to 24 or more points in their first start. Can’t see the Saints scoring less than 24 unless Brees has a nightmare game. Just finished one of those. Unlikely to repeat.

          • Anders

            Last season:

            Andy Dalton, 27 points against Cleveland last year.
            Cam Newton, 21 points against AZ
            Jake Locker, 17 points against the Falcons
            Ponder, 10 points against the Bears
            Gabbert 10 points against the Panthers.

            This season:

            Luck, 21 points on the Bears
            RG3, 40 points on the Saints.
            Tannenhill, 10 points on the Texans
            Weeden, 9 points on the Eagles
            Wilson, 16 points on the Cards.

            So over the last seasons alone out of 10 QBs, only 2 surpassed 24 points, but most of the defenses faced face playing really good or are playing really good right now. I would only say that the Saints and the Panthers have bad defenses.

  • http://twitter.com/pastormazz Matthew Westergard

    Why not stick with Vick until the end of the season? We have tied ourselves to Vick and he gives us the best shot to win, especially with our Oline in shambles. I am not convinced that Foles has what it takes (as a rookie), and besides if we don’t make the playoffs, another coach will select our QB of the future.

    • GermanEagle

      If Vick and his Offense don’t put up at least 28 points on the scoreboard against the Saints then even me – one his greatest supporters – believes that it may be time for a change at QB. If that’s the case it will give us 8 games to judge if Foles is the potential franchise QB of the future. If he stinks up the joint and goes all “Bobby Hoying” on us, then we can seriously discuss potential rookie QBs taken in the first round…

      • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

        If that is the case, we better hope Foles looks above average. Weak QB class this year only 2 looking worthy of a first round pick and both with blemishes

      • http://twitter.com/pastormazz Matthew Westergard

        Honestly, I think that Reid tied himself to Vick (and I am a Vick supporter as well), and that he should sink or swim with him. The evaluation of Foles, should happen when the next coach is hired. History shows that new coaches will select their own guys.

    • D3Keith

      Yeah I don’t really think you turn to Foles yet — do you really think this guy is going to save the season? Would be fine if we’re 5-8 to get him some seasoning against NFL comp, but I don’t think you turn to Foles yet unless you have to.

      This whole “change the QB” discussion this week is completely obscuring the defensive underachievement (nationally, I’m sure in Philly it’s being talked about), which is where the issue was against the Falcons. When that game was 14-7, a stop would have given the Eagles momentum. Instead they gave up an easy TD and were basically unable to stop the Falcons at any point all day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

    Thanks for the anti ranting note, this is actually a good place to discuss eagles stuff, It’s the Only place were I read the comments and don’t feel stupider for doing so. It’s nice to have reasonable conversation.

    Everyone get’s negative and bitter and angry… at times. but if your like that everyday then your a bitter person, The week in eagles fandom sould be like this,
    Sunday – ranting about bitter loss, destroy them all.
    monday – Be comforted by Dallas loosing

    Tuesday – look for a few positives, “Cedric Thorton” got a sack!”

    Wednesday – asses the negatives in an impassioned way, [see above conversation about Vick]

    Thursday – look at next weeks match-ups

    Friday – Love you family

    Sat – College football

    Sunday – back to depression :)

  • Dan Hansel

    How much of this decision is out of Reid’s hands? Don’t you think there’s a financial commitment to him from an organizational standpoint?

    • TommyLawlor

      The Eagles can cut Vick after the season. His deal was structured wisely so that if he did struggle, the team isn’t on the hook for big $.

      Vick needs a great final 9 games to keep his job in the future.

  • P_P_K

    I am very cautious about the emotional pull of change for change sake. I believe the problems with the team are, um, fixable, and that we come out of NO at .500 with half the season to play. If this is the case, let Mike play out the season, or at least until we are eliminated from the playoffs. If the O can’t put up points against the Saints putrid D, then something is, truly, deeply flawed. If we lose in NO and Vick plays poorly, then the decision is not only what to do with the qb, but what to do about the rest of the season and into the future.

    I really like what we’ve seen of Foles, but the guy has never been under center in an NFL game. He is certain to struggle and make rookie mistakes. To put him in as starter is to invite the possibility of a complete collapse of this season. It might be worthwhile if we are investing in an Eagles future with Nick as the qb, but there are a lot of scenarios where what we have now might end up seeming like the good old days.

  • ChaosOnion

    Ah, EMB. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.

    Jokes aside, Vick suffered his rib injury in 2009 on a run. Every other injury that caused Vick to miss time in the past 3 seasons occurred in the pocket. I think it is time to get Vick out of the pocket, maybe even go full spread option to get the ball into Shady’s hands more, get the WRs more practice in the scramble drill and open the game with a shotgun handoff to Shady.

    • TommyLawlor

      Great first line!!! I miss the EMB. Just don’t have the time to post there and do all my other stuff. Lots of great memories and friendships.

      • GermanEagle

        You know what happened to PhillyPhreak54?! I used to love reading his comments on the EMB.

        • TommyLawlor

          He got married and moved down to Texas about 4 years ago. Haven’t heard from him much since then. Met him in person a few times. Absolutely a great guy. Very smart. Very funny.

  • Cal Setar

    Tommy, just wondering what your feelings are on Vick as a leader. Not just as the guy that all the younger players look up to, but as the Shane Battier so to speak. In the last thread you refer to him as a “Big time leader”. But you also said in a previous post that you see a team lacking “it” and needing someone to get in someone else’s face when they’re not living up to the Eagle’s Way. I’m just wondering if there is, or if you see, a difference between Vick’s being looked up to because of his name and status, and his actual leadership of the team? Is there not a connection between a team lacking “it”, and a team lacking leadership?

    • TommyLawlor

      Good question. Vick is good at keeping the player focused and together. DJax was highly erratic in 2011. Vick was always there to calm him down and make sure he didn’t get out of control.

      As for getting the best out of other players…I don’t know. I’ve not heard anyone speak about his huddle presence. Montana liked to joke. Favre would joke sometimes, be fiery at others. Brady can be fiery. Don’t know about Vick.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    Tommy,

    I’ve constructed this players sheet, to make me feel better for the future. It consists of players that are ascending and that I believe we can build around for the next 5+ years. Also, it helps me, when looking at my draft board in April. Please, tell me your opinion if you agree/disagree:

    Defense: numbers is age

    RDE: V. Curry (24)
    UT: F. Cox (21), C. Thornton (24)
    NT:
    LDE: B. Graham (24)
    MLB: D. Ryans (28)
    SLB: M. Kendricks (22)
    RCB:
    LCB: D. Rodgers- Cromartie (26)
    CBslot: B. Boykin (22)
    FS: N. Allen (24)
    SS:

    Offense: numbers is age

    LT: J. Peters (30)
    LG: E. Mathis (30)
    OC: J. Kelce (24)
    RG:
    RT:
    WR1: J. Maclin (24)
    WR2: D. Jackson (25)
    WRslot:
    TE: B. Celek (27), C. Harbor (25)
    QB:
    FB: S. Havili (24)
    RB: L. McCoy (24), B. Brown (21)

    This players sheet shows me, that we only have two future holes on defense, and four on offense. If, and that is a big if, we have two good drafts in 2013 and 2014 this team has a chance to be great. However it includes finding some players at very important positions such as NT, QB and RT.

    What do you guys think? Can this help you look brighter on the future, or is it just me grasping for straws?

    • Anders

      You forgot Marsh at CB. He looked great this summer and should only improve. Kelly looks promising at RT or RG (he seemed better than Watkins at RG, but that might be perception) and Foles should be a top 10 QB in the NFL (a top 10 QB is nice consider that the following should be good to great next year:The Mannings, Brady, Bress, Rodgers, Flacco, Ryan, RG3, Luck, Weeden, Stafford, Big Ben)

      • GermanEagle

        You’re joking about Foles being a top 10 QB next season, aren’t you?!

        • Anders

          He said next 5 years.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

        I’m not so high on Marsh. He hasn’t been able to beat out hughes yet. I just don’t think he’ll be more than an average corner. Of course he can hang around as depth. The same goes for Foles. I don’t think he’ll develop into a good starter. In this scenario I have only included players I think will start, and/or be a good player.

    • http://twitter.com/JackfinBauer Jack Bauer

      I think you take a future LT in the draft (Deeper class with lower ceiling than last few draft classes), renegotiate Herreman’s deal in the offseason and let him and Kelly battle for the RT spot w the loser going to RG or maybe you go after Pats’ Vollmer in FA.

      • Anders

        I think we 100% should draft an LT in the next draft.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

        I would love to pick Joeckel or Matthews out of Texas A&M, but I expect Peters to be back. Of course we could then put the new tackle in at RT, and renegotiate Herremans and put him at RG.

    • TommyLawlor

      @ Jeppe…Not avoiding your question. Deserves long answer. Don’t have time right now. Maybe tonight.

  • Ark87

    “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.”
    If this happens I’m going to war with Texas…never liked that state much anyways…

    • TommyLawlor

      Count me in.

  • Mike Rauch

    Tommy, I’m a life long Eagles fan who used to live for Sundays, but as this season has progressed I no longer look forward to the games or real the excitement. Going in each week I know what to expect because we have seen it year after year. Reid’s team can’t win because of his offensive philosophy of throw first, throw often and go three and out. It’s a boom or bust system. The problem is when it busts it hurts the “team” as whole by leaving the defense worn down when they have been off the field for less than a minute and half on the clock on a lot of occassions which has a more pronounced effect as the game continues or dejected at having to bail the offense out again and it leaves them in poor field position by not moving the ball on whole series. Even when the Boom happens it usually quick big plays that are short duration scores that do not control the clock or occur from sustained drives that I will argue wins games by a) resting your defense and b) mentally beating the other team by slowly imposing your will play after play on the opposing defense.

    Vick or Foles? I could care less these days. As long as Reid’s the coach I know the product I’m getting and it is one that will not produce a Super Bowl trophy. Reid had a run where he had a couple of star offensive players during their prime in McNabb and Westbrook, but ultimately those teams won with Jim Johnson’s defense. Since JJ’s passing I think any one can see that emperor has no clothes or the wizard has nothing behind the curtain.

    Ultimately, I’m indifferent on the Eagles these days. I consider myself a fan of the team for past teams and some of the really good players on this team that you mentioned above, but even those guys are wasted talent with this coach. Put Shady with a coach who believed in running the ball and you have superstar. The shinning hope for this season for this fan is that it may finally be Reid’s last and I can start to care again under new leadership.

  • austinfan

    I don’t think they can with with AR/MM doing the game planning.

    The game has passed him by, when you look at most of the offenses around
    the league today, they focus on the 1-20 yard zone for pass plays, and
    only take a few shots a game, often off play action (after they’ve
    established the run). The reason is as defenses get faster and more aggressive, OCs have realized that slow developing plays are a ticket to disaster.

    % of throws going 20+ yards in the air, 11-20 yards
    Vick
    > 20 yards, 11.7%
    11-20 yards, 21.4%

    however, this underestimates the plays designed to go > 20 yards, since a lot of them ended up as sacks or scrambles this year.

    Ryan
    > 20 yards, 7.2%
    11-20 yards, 24.5%

    Big Ben
    > 20 yards, 7.8%
    11-20 yards, 21.3%

    Rodgers
    > 20 yards, 7.8%
    11-20 yards, 19.9%

    Peyton
    > 20 yards, 8.9%
    11-20 yards, 18.7%

    Brees
    > 20 yards, 9.2%
    11-20 yards, 19.7%

    Brady
    > 20 yards, 9.7%
    11-20 yards, 16.9%

    Dalton
    > 20 yards, 8.6%
    11-20 yards, 18.5%

    Eli
    > 20 yards, 10.2%
    11-20 yards, 22.8%
    Only been sacked 6 times, and has two big targets that compete well for jump balls.

    Flacco
    > 20 yards, 15.1%
    11-20 yards, 21.8%
    Has been an inconsistent a passer as Vick, though he has a better OL.

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      Not sure how significant that is. We are talking ~3% more than those QBs on avg. that’s all of 8 attempts more over 7 games. Sure throw in the sacks and scrambles and maybe we are talking about 2 attempts per game more. That’s not significant in the grand scheme of a game

  • http://twitter.com/makarov__ Songbird Rescue Cat

    Tommy, I understand your argument for not starting Foles in this game (on the road in the Superdome), but the fact this there will always be an argument against starting him until the Eagles have been eliminated from the playoffs. Whether it’s facing a solid pass rush with good, disguised blitzes, a good secondary, you name it. There’s always a good reason to not start a rookie, even if it’s just, “he could use this year as development and getting blown up will hurt his confidence going forward.”

    The game after the bye week was the last point, I think, you could start Vick with any reasonable expectation he was going to return to 2010 form. As you pointed out, he’s not seeing open running lanes (jimmy or derek or someone posted a screen shot of that yesterday) or open wide receivers. When he does see open WRs in a vertical route, he hasn’t made the throws. In both turnover-free games, he should have been picked off and was lucky he wasn’t.

    I have no idea how Nick Foles will perform in a regular season game, and neither does anyone else, coaches included. I just think we’ve arrived where the devil you know is worse than the one you don’t.

    I do have a very strong opinion that if the Eagles start Vick Monday night, we’re going to lose again. As you noted, Brees isn’t going to be shut down a couple weeks in a row, and the offense under Vick isn’t scoring.

    Something needs to change. Andy fired the DC, and that didn’t help. Time to try something else. Vick has proven he can’t execute the Eagles standard vertical passing attack, a modified version with more intermediate routes, or the very conservative dink and dunk WCO we tried Sunday. In his best game this year, against the Giants, Vick still made mistakes which could have cost the Eagles the game.

    I like Vick, and kept hoping for something to “turn on” even against the Falcons. It hasn’t, and I have no expectation it will ever again.

  • http://twitter.com/bubqr Virgile – Bubqr

    Where’s doug when we need him ? (Is he back on the EMB ?)

    • TommyLawlor

      Now that is a threat!!!

  • Alonza Brown

    Tommy I get what your saying about Vick not being benched based off game but a collective look at the season. Although, we have now had two games in a row where the defense should take most of the blame. Vick played well against Detroit, and was a dropped pass and OPI away from having a 4 TD game. Vick played ok against ATL, but the game plan seemed to be too conservative when coming back from that kind of deficit. We just went through the toughest part of our schedule, and every team from now to the Giants has a losing record. I think Vick can beat those teams playing the way he has in the last two games, if we get better play from the defense.

    Also, I had a question about CB-WR match-ups. It seems to me like the best WR tandems include one guy with the ability to stretch the and one who is more a possession and route guy. You see this with DJax and Mac, Roddy and Julio, Nicks and Cruz, Smith and Boldin, etc. Given our CB situation, why would we not always match up like with like. I didn’t get why Nnamdi would be over Julio, when he doesn’t have the speed to keep up with him. In addition, he’s not a small burner that can be easily jammed. Now if the speedster lines up in the slot, like Cruz often does, then all bets are off. Other than that, I don’t understand why DRC doesn’t follow the field stretcher, while Nnamdi handles the polished route runners and pass catchers.

    • ohitsdom

      I think you nailed the CB/WR match ups. I was pulling my hair out when I saw Nnamdi lining up over Julio. Keep DRC on the speedsters and let Nnamdi jam the physical guys. When the speedster is in the slot, I’m fine with putting Boykin in there. Let him play scrappy, but give him safety help over the top.

    • D3Keith

      Great observation.

  • AustinMax

    Tommy don’t you think Vick’s confidence is at an all time low…..he seemed resigned to the fact the he would be benched…maybe even called for his own benching (said he would support coach Reid)….he holds onto the ball too long or locks into receivers….I am sure the All 22 will show us stuff….yes the OL is not doing a great job but Vick shares a lot of the blame too….
    On another note – anyone notice Eagles call a time out with 1 second left on the clock before halftime…and then call for a Shady run….shows the foolishness of playcalling by AR and MM – why would you want to risk injury to your one good RB weapon…

    • Ark87

      They did a squib kick, we fielded it and immediately took a knee, which stopped the clock with 1 second left. Was kind of awkward, don’t think that was the plan. Either way, whether you wanted that second or not, you are down- take a shot at the endzone or take a knee and go in for the half. No need to run a meaningless play and risk shady for nothing, who had been banged up earlier in the quarter.

    • TommyLawlor

      I do think Vick is in a mental funk. No idea why. Covers confidence, field vision, and decision-making.

      Ark87 is right about the end of half sequence.

  • BobSmith77

    Normally I hate the knee-jerk reaction fans have but I do want Foles to start next week vs. Saints. The only real strong argument you can make for Vick (as Tommy did a nice job of doing) right now is that you would rather not have a rookie QB start on the road in a pretty difficult environment.

    If the Eagles offense had played well in Atlanta or Vick had a really good game, I would want Vick to get one more start. Offense though was inconsistent again sputtering early and didn’t show any of the big-play capability which has been lacking all year. More importantly, Vick caught a couple of breaks on the turnover issues.

    If I’m Reid and know that the season (and my job) is on the line, I roll the dice on Foles, hope he catches lightning in a bottle with a few big plays, and the defense get a few turnovers/makes a few stops to eek out a win in New Orleans next Monday night.

    • Ark87

      It’s Reids only shot at keeping his job. Vick seems to be in physical decline. Right now regardless of the win count, Reid has no franchise QB. A franchise without a franchise QB has no future and neither does Reid. Convince Lurie he can turn Foles into a Franchis QB, he has a shot. I don’t think he can afford to stick with Vick.

      Remember people: the ultimatum was put on him for the results of this year…but the question is does Lurie want him around NEXT year. What happens this year is only half of the equation.

  • BobSmith77

    If the Michael Vick era does end this week, I will say that personally it was a success for Vick in that he found redemption and proved that he was a changed person who had learned from his mistakes. Professionally and financially though it is probably a bit of a disappointment to not have won a playoff game here, lose your starting QB to a rookie draft pick during midseason, and face a very uncertain future as a starting QB after he gets released this offseason.

    • TommyLawlor

      Vick is an infinitely better person now than the guy who went to prison and is even better than the guy who signed with us in 2009. Andy Reid has a lot of faults, but he’s done a world of good with Vick on a personal level.

  • Mac

    Tommy, I know you’ve said that Reid will not make this case, but on watching the Two Towers last night during the hurricane I couldn’t help but think of Big Red. Got me wondering why he didn’t take a year off… or step back. It’s unfathomable for me to think that he is as focused and clear this year as he has been in the past. I just don’t think you can take that kind of pain and grief and use it or bury it and function properly in such a demanding job.

    I don’t mean to wish more ill on Reid, losing a son is more than enough. Losing a job he has paid dearly for and spent more time on than I can possibly imagine may have pushed him into madness.

    But the fact remains as Theoden puts it, “No parent should have to bury their child.”

    I wouldn’t even wish that on Jerrah.

    Absolutely broke my heart first time I saw it, and still gets me a bit choked up.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akh5tFY3lZM

    • Ark87

      LotR, I knew you were alright Mac.

      Andy no doubt is having a the worst year of his life. Who knows what’s going on in his head. Maybe he needs football to get through this. Maybe he didn’t want the Eagles to have to throw away a season with an interim coach. Maybe he knew the Eagles would move on from him if he took a break. Maybe he didn’t want to lose his team too.

      Who can tell, but as fans who aren’t jerks, it puts us in an awkward place when and if it is time to let him go in ugly fashion.

  • jdlevenson

    Tommy, I’m glad you mentioned that Vick is “slipping some physically”; I think that has been one of the most wrongly overlooked (by bloggers and mainstream media alike) factors this season in regards to Vick’s performance. I remember seeing as far as back as week one — and if I was Derek or another person with tremendous fluency with nfl 22/ game tape I’d point out these plays— that, as crazy as it is to say this, Vick is just not an elusive QB right now. He moves in the pocket and tries to evade the rush like he did in years past (think back to Giants miracle game when he ducked under Deon Grant) with amazing quickness, agility, etc to make a big play but not because he’s ever afraid of contact; he does not move in the pocket like a say Matt Ryan or Eli Manning who have a better feel of how to avoid pressure because they know they never would have a shot of taking a hit and still making a play…In other words, Vick’s former other worldly athleticism is making his decline faster in terms of mobility. He never learned the normal rules of how to avoid pressure and now he’s paying for it. And this isnt’t to say he’s still athletic– he can still be amazing back there. The problem is that he’s hasn’t been fast enough this year to not just run away from pressure but run away fast enough to still make a play. Look at the tape from any game this season– I’m telling you, there are many plays where he runs away but almost none where he runs AND makes a play. Some say that last year killed him; that facing so much pressure and so many hits last year has traumatized him…I think that’s somewhat of a factor but I think you really have to look deeper, at how an elite athlete has become a very good- superior athlete but still plays like an athletic QB rather than a smart QB.

  • Joe

    Tommy, quick question.
    If Reid does get fired after this season, do you think he will take a break from coaching or go right back at it?

  • AustinMax

    Any chance we trade for Bryant Mckinnie?

  • Doc Brown

    Can we reevaluate DJax, Maclin, Avant, and McCoy all being outstanding players. The great quarterbacks make whoever they have available look good, and the outstanding wide receivers have the ability to still be productive regardless of the QB. The Eagles are in the troubling situation where they have neither piece. In the NFC East the WR corps of the Giants and Cowboys are better. We may have the third or fourth best QB. Our TE is nothing special. All TE’s are capable of having big games if the matchups dictate it, but notice that no one is breaking through at any position.

    Our conceptions of how an offense is supposed to work are either flawed or the talent isn’t there. For instance we have the prototypical deep threat to stretch the defense. We have a possession receiver to pick up third downs, and we have a combo one who can do a little bit of both. Just knowing that we should be tough to account for. But we think we are better still because we have an athletic TE who can find the seam, he too must be accounted for. What else would make it hard for a defense, how about a QB who can scramble, or a an RB who can catch out of the backfield. We should be so difficult to gameplan for but were not.

    Why are we not? Two basic reasons, the talent level where we perceive it to be and our players are not put in the best positions to succeed. Just because you have the wing on your helmet doesn’t entitle you to anything. The culture is distorted. The Eagles are nothing more the football version of the Red Sox, and we can sit and wait for it to seek its own bottom level or you can start to change the culture.

  • Elk Run

    Here is a crazy question that I have about quarterbacks. Why is it that the position is immune from subbing. Every other position, with the exception of maybe placekicker or punter, if the guy isn’t performing, you pull him. Why does quarterback get treated as if pulling the starter will cause impending locker room dissension and morale issues. If the other teams defensive game plan is keyed to a quarterbacks style of play, pulling that QB and replacing him with a QB that has a different style they haven’t game planned for could potentially help score some points. In the present scenario, Vick is being blitzed on a large percentage of plays. One of the issues is his height and his ability to survey the field and pick up the open receiver. Bringing the taller Foles in would help in that he should having a better view of the field and finding the open receivers. If the defense goes away from the blitz and starts using more coverage, go back to the scrambling QB who will have more open field. I’ve heard all the explanations about rythm and team leadership. Sounds like alot of ego massaging to me.

  • eagles2zc

    Definitely agree with this team needing a spark Tommy. Watching the team come out flat like that Sunday was a painful experience.

    One positive thing out of the game for me was seeing Marty and Reid experiment with more short passes. Dink & Dunk’ing is not ideal but that’s what the Oline can offer right now. Now we just need Maclin to hold on to those balls.

    I hope this D recovers against Saints but that’s a hard ask right now. Sproles and Graham will cause matchup headaches all game long for Bowles, and Kendricks can only cover one of them.

  • ACViking

    Re: Eagles Rookie QBs

    The last time an Eagles head coach with his job on the line went with a rookie QB was 1985. One game into the season, Marion Campbell promoted rookie Randall Cunningham to starter after a season opening game loss. After 4 games, Campbell went back to opening day starter Ron Jaworski. Campbell “resigned” after Game 15 — giving us the Buddy Ryan-era . . . and T-LAW!!!

    Before Randall . . . in 1974, Mike McCormack benched the faltering 33 year-old Roman Gabriel, with the Eagles at 4-7 and nothing to play for, for rookie Mike Boryla — who went 3-0 over the last 3 games. The next year, 1975, McCormack started the season with Gabriel at QB. But after a 2-7 start, Boryla again took the job and went 2-3. McCormack was fired after the 4-10 season . . . ushering in the Dick Vermeil-era. And Boryla was gone after the ’76 season.

    Before Boryla . . . in 1972, a desperate Eddie Khuyat benched AFL/CFL/NFL vagabond Pete Liske after a 2-4-1 start for rookie 1st round pick John Reaves. Reaves went 0-7, with 3 TDs and 7 INTs. Khuyat was fired at season’s end — giving us Mike McCormack as the new head coach. Just two years later, McCormack traded Reaves to the Bengals for, among other, LOT Stan Walters — who became a bookend anchor with ROT Jerry Sisemore on Vermeil’s Super Bowl team.

    Before Boryla . . . in 1970, the rookie savior was a free agent QB from Tulsa via UGA named Rick Arrington (father of Jill, grandfather of the Fanning girls). Coach Jerry Williams gave Arrington the start after incumbent and long-time Eagles QB Norm Snead started 0-5. After Arrington went 3 for 10 for 16 yards with 3 INTS and was replaced by Snead in a 30-17 loss to the over-the-hill Green Bay Packers.

    Before Arrington . . . in 1964, 2nd round pick Jack Concannon spot started twice during an abysmal 6-8 season for Norm Snead and King Hill — throwing a single pass in 1 game (for 38 yards) and beating the soon-to-be-juggernaut Dallas Cowboys 24-14.

    You have to go back to 1957 and Sonny Jurgensen to find the next rookie starter inserted in mid-season. But Jurgy, despite his gifts, went back to the bench when the Birds acquired Dutch Van Brocklin before the ’58 season. Two years later, the Eagles were world champs . . . Van Brocklin retired . . . and Jury again became the starter in 1961 — setting the Eagles record, which still stands, for TD passes in a season.

  • A_T_G

    A one-sided shoot out- I think that is called a firing squad.

    • TommyLawlor

      You always know how to look at things.

  • joetimek

    If we bench Vick and need to get rid of him at the end of the season, I think we should do him a solid and trade him to KC. PFF has them rated as having one of the top pass-blocking O-lines in the league. He would flourish there given the time it takes for him to go through his progressions. Plus, they already have weapons in McCluster and Bowe. If we can package Vick with a 3rd, we might even be able to get their 1st round pick next year.

    Pipe dream, I know.

  • SteveH

    I just get the feeling that Vick or Foles this team doesn’t have “it”. There’s something wrong with the team in a more meta sense. I have to wonder if publicly the death of Andy Reid’s son is being handled well but privately it’s taking more of a toll than is realized. Seems like the kind of thing where it would be only human for it to be a factor. Impossible to know what’s going on inside a man’s head.