After another offensive debacle with poor QB play, we jump right back into the QB discussion. And quickly it becomes Vick vs Barkley vs Foles.
Some of you take this the wrong way. For many of us, this isn’t about being for or against someone. This is about the desire for the Eagles to have an answer at QB. Vick isn’t the answer. He is 33 years old. At best, he was going to be a band-aid. Foles and Barkley are longshots to be the answer because they aren’t physically gifted.
It would be convenient for Foles or Barkley to be the answer since they are already here. The problem is that neither one of them has seized control of the opportunity. Foles built up support for 1.5 games and then put on a dreadful show vs Dallas. Barkley looks like a rookie. Every time we start to get excited, he does something dumb.
Chip Kelly likes to say the most important ability for a QB is durability. You can see why based on the last couple of weeks. Vick gets hurt. Then Foles gets hurt. And the whole offense suffers as Kelly has to play musical chairs with the most important position on the team.
The Eagles need an answer at QB. A long term answer. Right now I’ll settle for a short term answer. Vick isn’t likely to play this week. Foles is up in the air. There is a decent chance Barkley will start in Oakland. I’ll be pulling like mad for him to go out and play well enough to keep the QB spot.
That isn’t because I’m pro-Barkley, anti-Foles or anti-Vick. I simply want a competent, reliable QB to get us through the rest of the year. It would also be nice to see the young guy in action so we can get a feel for his long term potential.
Take the debate away from who should be the QB and we get back to what Kelly wants/needs at QB. The key for me is that Kelly needs a good QB. Give him Colin Kaepernick and there will be lots of running. Give him Tom Brady and the offense becomes more about the passing game. Kelly can tweak the offense to his personnel.
Right now Kelly isn’t getting good QB play. Vick has been erratic since the SD game. Foles has been all over the place. And Barkley is the inexperienced rookie.
I think that’s the biggest difference between what Kelly was able to do at Oregon and what he might need to do to succeed in the long term in Philadelphia: His offense will require a good quarterback. At Oregon, Kelly basically ran through a series of middling options at quarterback and got great work from just about everybody he tried: Dennis Dixon, Jeremiah Masoli, and Darron Thomas all had success with Kelly as relatively unheralded (or, in Dixon’s case, relatively unsuccessful) options at quarterback. Marcus Mariota was a three-star recruit coming out of Hawaii, but he was the most productive quarterback Kelly had at Oregon, and that was as an 18-year-old redshirt freshman.
At the professional level, the windows Kelly’s offense creates are smaller, and the decision-making his quarterback needs to perform has to be done faster and more reliably than the speed at which his current options operate. Foles misses too many big plays. Vick holds on to the ball too long and isn’t accurate. Barkley is a project at best. Philadelphia’s quarterback of the future — the guy who will eventually prove whether the Kelly offense can sink or swim in Philadelphia — isn’t on the roster right now. The Eagles will almost surely draft a quarterback in the talent-rich class of 2014, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they picked Mariota.
Until then, the Eagles will probably be a pretty good offense that takes an unnecessary amount of flak for being unconventional. As long as they’re starting an overmatched midround rookie in Barkley, they’re going to look bad on offense, because that’s what happens to overmatched midround rookies. Then again, just as I cautioned with the Bengals, remember how low Washington sank during the middle of last season. Its hot start on offense gave way to a disappointing halfway point, including two games in which it scored a combined 25 points against the Steelers and Panthers. The Redskins came back after their bye and scored more than 25 points in six of their seven ensuing games. If the Eagles can get Vick or Foles active and healthy, they should be an above-average attack. And once they get Mariota or some other hotshot young quarterback whom Kelly can mold into his system, they’ll be even better.
Right now the Eagles have 3 QBs. If you believe the old NFL axiom, that means they have no QB. You need one player to win the job and keep it. He does this by staying on the field, playing at a high level and being a team leader.
Part of the problem is Kelly. Should he have trusted Vick when he told the coaches he was good to go? Kelly said the doctors told him that was a 10 to 14-day injury and Vick sat for 21 days. Vick is 33 years old. Guys that age heal differently. Kelly needed to listen to Vick, but also trust his own eyes. I find it hard to believe that Vick looked 100 percent during the week.
Kelly would be wise to make a decision early this week on who the QB should be and then get that guy ready to go. The offense must get going this week. Forget about fans and the media, you don’t want players starting to doubt. Another dreadful week would hurt their confidence. A good showing would go a long way toward making things all nice and happy. At least until the next crisis pops up.