What if No. 7 is No. 2?

Posted: July 9th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 49 Comments »

We’ve talked a lot about the QB competition that started this spring and will carry over to the summer. If Mike Vick wins, life is simple. Nick Foles and Matt Barkley are the backups.

But what if Foles wins? Can Vick be the backup? Do you want Vick to be the backup?

I think a lot of this would be determined by how the situation played out. If Vick was solid at Training Camp and in the preseseason games, but Foles was outstanding, you would probably be comfortable with keeping Vick. If Foles proves to win the job because he is simply the lesser of two evils, that changes things.

Above all else, Vick must show that he can play well in Chip Kelly’s offense. Foles and Barkley are young guys. They get the benefit of the doubt since they are cheap. Vick has already been paid $3.5M. He gets another $3.5M if he makes the team. The only way that happens is if Vick shows he can run the Kelly offense effectively.

Would you want Vick as a backup?

Vick came back from injury last year and sat behind Foles for several games. Vick didn’t complain. He handled the situation like a pro. Vick has not caused any problems behind the scenes during his time with the Eagles. The young punk from Atlanta is now a solid veteran that has had good relationships with Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Trent Edwards and Nick Foles. I don’t know anything about Vick and Vince Young or Mike Kafka. Vick has been supportive as a backup and gracious as the starter.

Paying Vick a total of $7M to be a backup is far from ideal, but it isn’t the end of the world. You have to keep in mind that with Foles as the starter, the Eagles would be saving a lot of money compared to what other teams pay their starters. That would leave enough money in the QB budget to afford Vick.

One other key angle here is Kelly’s attitude toward 2013. If Kelly sees this as a building year, he might be smart to cut Vick and go with younger QBs. If Kelly sees the NFL as wide open and the Eagles as a potential playoff team, it would be wise to keep Vick. You really need two QBs that are capable starters these days. The Eagles could look for another veteran who might be cheaper, but there would be slim pickings.

It is hard to figure whether Vick would accept being a backup in this situation. He knows that his career is winding down. There is no question that he wants to start. However, if he asks to be cut, Vick would be taking a risk in terms of money and playing time. There is no guarantee some other team would want him to start. And would he find anyone willing to pay him $3.5M? If Vick and his agent feel they can find a team and some money, then Vick could press the Eagles to let him go.

Some have raised the possibility of trading him. That seems unlikely to me. If teams know that he’s available, I would think most would simply wait for him to be cut. Never say never, but this just seems like a complex scenario.

I don’t think any of this will play out until mid-August. At that point, Vick, Foles and Barkley will have some idea of where they stand. If Vick senses that he’s losing the competition, he’ll need to decide whether to embrace being a backup or if he would prefer hitting the open market.

I trust Kelly to make the right call on the QB situation.

I also trust Vick to handle the decision well. If he is a backup and stays here, I think he’ll do his best in that role. Vick has been a good teammate for the past four seasons. He didn’t snipe when he backed up McNabb or Kolb. He didn’t complain last year when Foles kept the starting job. It is in Vick’s best interests to do the right thing. He’s scheduled to be a free agent next March. Teams will be more open to signing him if they see a player that gets along with the coaching staff even when things don’t go his way.

* * * * *

Should Barkley win the starting job, Vick is gone. Foles would be the backup.

I have no idea what the Eagles would do with the #3 QB spot. It is possible Dennis Dixon could win the job. I’m just not sure how likely that is.

You can bet the Eagles Personnel Dept will be working hard this summer to study other teams and find some potential roster help.

* * * * *

I stumbled on some Eric Berry stuff the other day. You could say I was a fan of his. Here is something I posted on the EMB in the spring of 2009, heading into Berry’s final college season.

For those of you not aware, the greatest human on the planet happens to be a Junior Safety named Eric Berry.  He plays for the Tennessee Vols.  He will be eligible for the 2010 draft and it is my moral imperative to make sure he’s drafted by the Eagles.

To ensure this happens, I’ve kidnapped one million people and put them inside an active volcano in rural Delaware.  When Berry is selected next April, those people will go free.

I then anonymously started a Berry website…EricBerryIsGod. It was an excuse to goof around with WordPress and learn that format while also having some fun with Eric Berry. All the posts are over the top and borderline insane. Should make for some fun reading, as long as you understand my bizarre sense of humor. Here is a sample of my idiocy.

Great player, even more great of a human being.  When Mother Teresa left us a few years back there was a giant void in humanity.  Eric has clearly filled that void, on and off the field.  I hope UCLA doesn’t count on his kindness.  Eric owes them payback for a loss from last year.   I wouldn’t trade places with UCLA for all the whiskey in Ireland.

How did I not win the Pulitzer for that “writing”?

* * * * *

Onto a more serious subject. Marion Campbell is a great defensive coach. This was true in the AFL and NFL. He ran top flight defenses on multiple teams. He coached some of the greatest defensive linemen in the history of football and was a big influence on them.

Campbell wasn’t a good head coach, to put it mildly.

Chase over at Football Perspective wrote a great piece on Campbell, but concluded that he had the worst head coaching career in history. I think that is both a compliment and insult. There were other coaches who won fewer games. Campbell got the nod because he kept getting jobs. He was good enough to keep getting hired, but bad enough to keep failing.

Campbell has nothing to be ashamed of. He was a great assistant coach and defensive coordinator. That’s certainly how I prefer to remember him.


49 Comments on “What if No. 7 is No. 2?”

  1. 1 Baloophi said at 1:55 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    “What if No. 7 is No. 2?”



    Tommy – I thought you were going for a little scatalogical humor here. I’m glad to see you’re above that.


  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 2:48 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    You have a very devious mind.

    I’m jealous. I’m only kinda devious.

  3. 3 Mac said at 3:10 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    I feel as though you may be trying to float something by the rest of us with this post.

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 3:34 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Don’t accuse me of crap like that.

  5. 5 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:45 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    can we consider Vick in the running for the annual (Na) Brown award? sounds like he has the lead by a turtle head.

    eh. i’m not so good at this methinks.

  6. 6 Mac said at 3:59 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Here’s the straight poop. You’re o.k. but the jury is still out on Vick. He needs to keep it high and tight, as opposed to his usual loose composure. I’m pretty sure Chip’s science guys have slipped some extra bananas into his shakes to help firm things up.

  7. 7 TheRogerPodacter said at 4:48 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    i think Vick is primed to make a big splash in training camp. to be determined which color it will be.

  8. 8 Mac said at 3:59 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    You act as if I accused you of yellow journalism. I did nothing of the sort.

  9. 9 TommyLawlor said at 4:48 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    You guys have studied under Master Baloophi. Well done.

    Which of you is his No. 2?

  10. 10 Flyin said at 10:33 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Baby Ruth

  11. 11 Tom33 said at 2:02 PM on July 9th, 2013:


    I don’t see Vick as the backup, especially to start the year. If he proves he can play in the system, make quick and correct reads, and not turn the ball over, I think he’ll start. If he struggles (which I expect him to based on history), I think he’s gone.

    The hard part will be deciding on this before the season starts. Preseason games are pretty vanilla, so judging how well a guy reads the coverage or makes decisions with the ball will be hard to do until the real season starts. That said, if Vick gets hurt in preseason making a stupid play like this one again (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpP_1NLsN8A) I think the decision might be easier than I anticipate.

  12. 12 knighn said at 2:11 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    In 2010 the Philadelphia Eagles paid $5.5 Million for Vince Young as a backup. If Vince Young is worth $5.5 Million as a backup, Mike Vick is probably worth $7 Million (plus) as a backup.

  13. 13 GEagle said at 3:30 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    They paid Vince young that type of money because we had Super Bowl aspirations. remember the dream team? That Dynamic is a tad bit different why you are coming off a 4-12 year and people are expecting 7 wins out of you

  14. 14 knighn said at 3:55 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Hey G – how many wins do you think Chip Kelly is expecting? And some smart people (like Tommy) are expecting more than 7 wins!

  15. 15 GEagle said at 6:57 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    8-9 wins on the back of Nick Foles and a Monster year two by fletcher Cox and Graham leading a Defense that forces turnovers. If we sneak in playoffs we wont win a game

  16. 16 knighn said at 9:39 AM on July 10th, 2013:

    This is not about the odds or what I believe will happen or what I think should happen. This is all about what Chip Kelly thinks about himself and the Philadelphia Eagles. If Kelly honestly believes that the Eagles have a chance to contend and that Vick has a role to play (whether as a starter or as a backup) then Vick should have a role on the team.

    In recent seasons (2010, 2011, 2012 and even 2007) the team that ultimately won the Super Bowl had a regular season record of no better than 10-6. If the Eagles can somehow sneak into the playoffs, they have a slim chance of winning the Super Bowl. The NFL is interesting, these days. It is NOT about the best team. It is about the team that gets hot at the right time.

  17. 17 Neil said at 3:35 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Was Vince Young worth 5.5mil as a backup, though?


  18. 18 knighn said at 3:57 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Ultimately: no. The win over the Giants was nice but those stupid NJ Vagiants still went on to win another SB. Vince Young needed to get us another win or two.

  19. 19 RIP Worms said at 5:23 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    In the Office Space vernacular, Vince Young is what is known as a “no-talent ass clown.” That is all.

  20. 20 Michael Winter Cho said at 1:22 AM on July 10th, 2013:

    Good phrase, but… did you see the Rose Bowl?

  21. 21 RIP Worms said at 11:10 AM on July 10th, 2013:

    Actually…I did. I don’t actually watch a lot of college football but I did see that game. One of the great individual performances by any player on such a big stage.

    He basically ran the same play over and over (the shotgun read option), but he ran it to perfection and USC never came up with an answer for it.

    The problem with Vince Young’s year as an Eagle is that he was a poor fit for AR’s offense. And it’s a difficult offense to pick up in just a few months.

    And, yeah, I may have just been looking for a reason to use that line… Classic movie.

  22. 22 Michael Winter Cho said at 11:17 AM on July 10th, 2013:

    Vince Young had a pretty decent NFL career, but I don’t think he was a “pro’s pro”. Never really seemed to meet his potential. Assclown, yes, talentless, no!

    By the way, I’m going to have to go even deeper into your comment. The original line was about Michael Bolton, I believe. Now, I am a child of the late 80s, early 90s when MB was charting a lot. At the time, I couldn’t stand him. Subsequently, however, after studying voice a bit, I have to point out that MB has a fairly spectacular set of pipes, and seems to be able to leave it all on the table when he performs. He actually is quite talented. But again, perhaps second part of the line is still correct! 🙂

  23. 23 Stephen Stempo said at 2:31 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    I think having such a high profile (and nationally popular) backup isn’t something Kelly should want to burden himself with. The back up QB is already the most popular player in sports. If you’re going with a kid and he’s struggling a few games is that something you want to put the team through? I don’t know maybe? I’m not Kelly. Say the Eagles open the season say 3-0 or 4-0 defense looks ok, RB’s perform well Receivers look good and then Foles or Barkley start to look bad (rookie stuff) I personally wouldn’t want to be sitting at 3-3 or 4-4 and have to decide (or just listen to people) if the teams good enough to make the playoffs and then have to decide which QB has a better chance of making it to the playoffs and blah blah blah. It’d be a pain in the ass situation. What if Foles gets hurt for a game. We know Vick can light it up for a game or two. Then what? It’s 2010 all over again. Does the kid get his job back? Do you ride the hot hand. All eyes are on you.

    Just seems like Keeping Vick (If he’s the backup) creates a lot of distractions in a year that should be all about teaching a lot of young kids a brand new system.

  24. 24 GEagle said at 3:33 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Good post..I have about 100 other reasons why he shouldn’t and wont be here, but that dynamic you mentioned slipped my mind…and it’s a very important point that you brought up

  25. 25 OregonDucker said at 5:24 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    I agree completely. The distractions and second-guessing by fans, media, and players would implode the Eagles. This is not how Chip operates. If Vick is #2, he’s cut.

  26. 26 GEagle said at 7:07 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Plus if you keep Vick at #2, then you have to cut Dixon. I’m willing to net that Dixon would be much more valuable to the development of Foles and Barkley then Vick

  27. 27 Flyin said at 11:29 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    I have a sense that Dixon will return to Chip’s side in the future. If he doesn’t make the team and he gives up the NFL dream of playing… I think he may be an assistant for the Eagles sooner rather than later.

  28. 28 Pennguino said at 11:17 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Plus I don’t see Vick in the mentor role for young QB’s. Vick’s talent and skills do not relate to Foles’ and Matt’s. He will not be able to impart the cerebral side of football to shorten the learning curve for the kids. Matt had a silver spoon most of his life. Nick appears to be a well grounded , comes from a good family, all ‘Merican boy. So I don’t see how he could mentor them on life issues either. They are not “at risk” players. At least from the outside.

    As it was stated earlier. Matt and Dixon may control Vick’s fate as much as NIck does.

  29. 29 atb124 said at 9:15 AM on July 10th, 2013:

    Totally agree. Young quarterbacks are going to have struggles. It’s just a fact of life. You can’t convince me that some of the guys on the team who grew up idolizing Vick and using him in Madden aren’t going to have some pretty strong feelings about who they want on the field when Foles is growing through a rough patch.

    It would not be a healthy situation.

  30. 30 Weapon Y said at 2:37 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    It is true that Vick has kept his mouth shut when he was a backup on the Eagles in the past, but those were completely different situations than the one at hand now.

    In 2009, Vick knew teams would be reluctant to let him be a starter. He was grateful that the Eagles would help him get back on his feet. The Eagles allegedly tried to trade him in the following offseason, but did not get a compelling offer (as far as I know, nobody wanted him then). That’s why he was ok with being Kolb’s backup in 2010.

    In 2012, many of us including myself and, if I’m not mistaken, you expected the Eagles to release Vick after the season. Vick himself probably knew this was a strong possibility. He was basically a lame-duck with just a few games left at the point when Andy said Foles would start over Vick, even when he was healthy. The trade deadline already passed. There was nothing Vick could do except wait for the season to end.

    If Vick is not named the starter in 2013, it is plausible that he would request a trade before the deadline to get a chance to start elsewhere. I would be fine with keeping him “hostage” on the roster into the season if necessary to get good trade value. The situation now is very different than the ones in 2009 and 2012. I can’t predict what Vick would do because there is no true precedent. I wouldn’t assume that he wouldn’t want out.

  31. 31 SteveH said at 2:41 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    I don’t mind Vick as a backup, though honestly I’d prefer it to be Barkley/Foles. Vick is starting to get a little long in the tooth and the more his athleticism declines the less it makes sense to use him at all. I just think its time to turn the page and see what the young guys have, we need to figure out who’s the QB of the future for Chip. If the starter got hurt I’d want to see another youngster step in. If Vick was the #2 it’d be ok too, I’d be at least curious to see how he plays this year after last years debacle.

  32. 32 eagleyankfan said at 3:09 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    I guess Vick is really on your mind these days. It’s like my kid and the cell phone he wants. Good morning dad, can I have a cell phone? Good night dad, can I have a cell phone.
    My(ok, ONE of) issue with Vick. Ok, he’s named the starter and then plays — what? 1 game? 4 games? 10 games? Hasn’t history taught us anything? Sure – QB’s get hurt. Vick gets hurt EVERY year. Why, a year older, do people think he’s going to play a full season?
    I’m just sensing you’ve drank the Vick cool aide upside down, funnel style. I get it, it’s hot out and you have to drink something.
    Another good read. You’re making July go by quicker…

  33. 33 TommyLawlor said at 3:39 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Funny you say this. Some Vick supporters think I’m anti-Vick.

    The fact that people see me both ways tells me I’m doing a good job. My role is to present all sides of the argument and be fair to everyone.

  34. 34 eagleyankfan said at 2:54 PM on July 10th, 2013:

    I prefer the Tommy “Anti-Vick” Lawlor 🙂 …

  35. 35 shah8 said at 2:59 PM on July 10th, 2013:

    I don’t necessarily think you’re anti-Vick in the genuine sense. You’re just not a fan. Where I disagree with you is about what the alternatives are. You think talent is continuous, I think there are QBs who can play as an NFL starter and QBs who can’t. Outside of Brady, how many of the truly best QBs ever saw more than one SB? Most QBs are like Eli Manning or Joe Flacco. Big guy, strong arm, competent at the tasks of playing QB otherwise, but not truly excellent. The one alternative is Big Ben, and he wasn’t that useful his first time there.

    Thus, there just isn’t much value in wasting time on any QBs you have doubts on being a starting QB at all in the NFL. Andy Dalton, without a historic defense, will never win. Rex Grossman and Matt Hasselbeck gets depants in the big show. A bad NFL starting QB like Tarvaris Jackson or Alex Smith are much more likely to give you something, than a good QB like Matt Schaub, who doesn’t have the physical talent to excel. Nick Foles has the size, unlike Vick, but he doesn’t have the baseline footspeed or baseline arm strength. He also doesn’t really make plays. Barkley is a pretty strong threat to replace him as the number 2.

  36. 36 GEagle said at 3:40 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Not interested in a fragile 33yr old starter who we are still waiting for to realize his “potential”…I’m even less interested in a fragile backup lol..
    Vick won’t be a starter here unless he wins TC and the preseason battle lol…that means he has to play and stay healthy during the
    Preseason.. There is no shutting it down in the preseason and then getting your job back in week 1 like last year..Vick can’t stay healthy for 16 games, now we basically extended his season to 19, and we aren’t even talking about potential playoffs yet lol

  37. 37 ohitsdom said at 3:17 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Thanks for covering this, Tommy! Should be an interesting preseason…

  38. 38 GEagle said at 3:31 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Are we really praising Vick because he was ok with being benched last year? What Veteran QB would have been in a rush to get back behind that putrid line on a team that was on an 8 game losing streak?

    Doubt Vick survives the month of August as an Eagle

  39. 39 TommyLawlor said at 3:39 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    All QBs want back on the field. Some handle not getting back out there better than others.

  40. 40 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:42 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    good point. if the QB *doesn’t* want to get back on the field, he doesn’t deserve the job.

  41. 41 GEagle said at 3:45 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    But Vick is the only one we have to worry about how he will act if he gets taken off the field….

    We are all speculating, but my Hypothesis would be(If he doesn’t win the job):
    Request a trade or release. No one will trade for players teams think will get cut so I think Vick gets released, because he clearly views himself as not only a starter, but a Top starter in this league…He will look for a situation where he can start, not find it..and he is going to end up signing on as a backup somewhere for less then the additional 3.5 that we would have paid him….Just my hypothesis…we will soon all have our answers

  42. 42 GEagle said at 3:52 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    off Topic, I have a NFL cap question:
    according to Detroit free press, the final year of Ndomunkung Su’s rookie contract carries a 21 Million dollar Cap Hit. To franchise Su. It would cost 25Million….He is approaching the end of a rookie contract, how is it possible that we are talking about so much money?

  43. 43 TommyLawlor said at 4:50 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    I am not a contracts guy so I can’t offer any expertise on that. Does sound insane. Could be a huge price tag to pressure the Lions to void that year and get to work on an extension.

  44. 44 Anders said at 5:58 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Is Marion Campell the HC version of Rob Ryan? and similar guy, Wade Phillips. I wouldnt be surprised if he gets another HC job.

  45. 45 TommyLawlor said at 7:44 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    Wade Phillips is a good HC. His career record is 82-61. He just can’t win in the playoffs.

    Campbell the HC is worse than Ryan the DC. Rob isn’t good, but he’s more mediocre than awful.

  46. 46 Iskar36 said at 6:01 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    You alluded to this, but I think it is a point worth making, IF Foles wins the starting job over Vick, I think Barkley really is the one that decides Vick’s fate. Even if CK views this as a building year, to establish the offense, you need to have a QB that is capable of running the plays CK wants to run. So if Foles goes down, you still need to have a serviceable QB if you want to have a productive season (in terms of building a foundation). So to me, Barkley would have to prove that he can be reliable enough to be the backup. If he looks a bit overwhelmed (as you would expect from a mid-round rookie), I think it would be hard to cut Vick without finding a solid FA QB, which is most likely not available.

  47. 47 #10for6 said at 7:41 PM on July 9th, 2013:

    open QB competition can’t wait till camp, 13 days

  48. 48 Shattenjager said at 2:08 AM on July 10th, 2013:

    It’s Chase’s blog, so I don’t mind giving him credit, and he did write the piece on the Dungy Index that concluded that Campbell had the worst head coaching career in history, but I actually wrote that Campbell post. (It’s in the Italics at the top.)

    Thank you for the praise and the link, though–I certainly don’t mean to look a gift horse in the mouth!

    I agree that Campbell doesn’t have anything to be ashamed of. He was an excellent defensive coach who was just overmatched as a head coach. In the grand scheme of football minds, that ranks him very highly.

  49. 49 Chip and the Eagles: Quarterback Thunderdome said at 6:06 AM on July 12th, 2013:

    […] convincingly argues in his other relevant column that, if Matt Barkley somehow steals the job, Vick will be gone, and Nick Foles will stay as the […]