Okay, let’s talk about the QB competition. How do things look after the preseason opener?
Michael Vick is in the lead.
Both QBs played well, but Vick was better. Vick showed arm strength, accuracy, poise and good pocket presence. He was basically the opposite of 2012 Mike Vick. And that’s the guy we’re trying to avoid. He was an inaccurate turnover machine that couldn’t generate points. New Mike looked worlds different.
This doesn’t mean Vick has the job. He still has a couple of things to prove.
First, Vick simply has to stay healthy. Last preseason he got injured in both of his starts. Chip Kelly has already said that durability is the most important ability at QB. He wants someone that will stay on the field. Vick didn’t get so much as a scratch in the opener. Let’s hope it stays that way in the next 2 games.
Vick needs to lead the team on a sustained drive or two. As fun as it was to see the long pass to Avant and then the bomb to DeSean, you can’t count on big plays. We need to see Vick lead the team on a methodical drive to truly feel comfortable. You need to be able to convert on 3rd downs and move the chains down the field. Vick only faced a pair of 3rd downs vs NE. He converted the one to Avant and then failed to convert the next one ( a 3rd/11 play where he checked down to Celek for 6 yards).
The final challenge for Vick is to show how he handles pressure. He had a clean pocket on Friday night. The Pats don’t have any special pass rushers. They’re not a team that pounds on QBs. We know Vick can tear you apart when he’s got time. We just can’t count on Vick having a clean pocket on a regular basis. Even with a good OL, you’re going to get pressure. Defenses find a way to get after the QB.
We need to see Vick running around and taking some hits. That’s what got to him last year. The pressure got in his head and stayed there. We need to see if New Mike is able to clear his head after a bad play. And Vick needs to show that he won’t turn the ball over when there is pressure and he can get rid of the ball. There are some plays when you’ve got no chance. Too often last year, Vick just made poor choices.
Kelly said Foles would start this week. So Vick will probably play the 2nd quarter. If Vick has the lead after that, he should play at least the whole 1st half of the third game. This will give us enough plays to get a feel for whether New Mike is an aberration or whether Vick has turned the corner on last year and is going to be a good QB this year.
As for Foles, he just needs to keep playing well. If he tries to win the competition by doing spectacular things, he’ll fail. Nick needs to be Nick. Move the team. Score points. Don’t force the ball down the field. Don’t go for highlight plays.
Foles had the strip-sack the other night and then bounced back on the next drive and led the team to a TD. That was a 10-play drive. The offense converted a pair of 3rd downs. They used the up-tempo style that Kelly loves. That was a good drive, even though it lacked any highlight plays. That’s the kind of drive you know you can replicate.
I wouldn’t say the QB race is wide-open anymore, but either guy can still win it. Vick is in the lead. He’s already had the spectacular drive. Now he just needs to do the little things.
As for Matt Barkley, he started very sloppy, but got better. I think he could look a lot better this week. Barkley ended well last week and I think that confidence will carry over. He did show good poise for a rookie.
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In case you missed it this weekend, here is the link to my Detailed Game Review. Lots of notes on all the QBs.
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