Backup QB, Finding a RT, and A Developing Situation

Posted: August 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 20 Comments »

One of the hot topics right now is whether Vince Young is truly the backup QB.  He has only been an Eagle for 3 weeks.  Is that enough time to learn the offense and become functional in our passing game?  Mike Kafka lit it up last time out.  Shouldn’t he be the real backup?

Tough subject.  Young is a proven NFL starter.  He played in a run-heavy offense, but still had some good days as a passer.  That said, in the last 3 seasons he only had 2 games where he attempted more than 30 passes.  The Titans offense was very much geared to what Vince did well.

The Eagles offense is built on the passing game.  You must be able to spread the ball around and move it through the air.  Michael Vick had to make a similar transition when he arrived.  He had the luxury of being the #3 QB in 2009 before ending up as the starter last year.  There wasn’t pressure on Vick to be ready to run the offense right away.

Young wants to be the backup this year and that means he does need to be functional as soon as possible.  He could play tomorrow and get by on athleticism, experience, and the ability to make a handful of big plays.  The problem is that you wouldn’t want to count on that for a month.  At some point the QB must run the offense.  What’s the point in having DeSean, Maclin, Avant, Smith, Celek, and Shady if you can’t use them correctly?

This is where people point to Kafka and say that he could step in and run the offense.  Kafka knows the playbook very well.  He can be a QB that drops back and spreads the ball around.  He looked terrific against the Steelers and did just that.

There is a major caveat that doesn’t get brought up enough.  Kafka lit up the Steelers 3rd string defense.  He was surrounded by 3rd stringers himself so it was a level playing field, but we can’t just assume that because he did it against backups that he could do it with/against starters.  That doesn’t always work.

I do think Kafka is on pace to be the backup in 2012 and I think he’ll do a good job.  I’m not so sure about this year.  Young hasn’t stood out in his first couple of games, but Vick didn’t stand out last year.

Game 1 — 11 of 17 for 119 yards (1 INT) … 6 carries, 50 yards

Game 2 — 1 of 5 for 6 yards (2 INTs) … 3 carries, 34 yards

Game 3 — 1 of 1 for 8 yards ….. 3 carries, 16 yards

Game 4 — 3 of 5 for 56 yards … 2 carries, 11 yards

At this point last year Vick was 12-22-125 with 3 INTs.  Young is 8-13-79 with 1 INT.

It is important that we see how Young plays in the last couple of games before deciding whether he should be the primary backup.  Interestingly, Vick’s numbers this year are eerily similar to his numbers from last year after 2 games, 9-18-121 with 3 INTs.

If Young doesn’t get better, then I’m all for Kafka being right there with him for the backup job.  If Young does improve, then he’s the guy to go with.  Young is more physically gifted than Kafka.  Young is more experienced.  You only go with Kafka if you think Young is completely lost.  The point is to put the player out there who gives you the best chance to win.

The other x-factor is how Kafka plays the next 2 weeks.  If he is lights out, then maybe he plays his way into the job.  If he struggles, that hurts his cause mightily.  Since Kafka is the unproven guy there is pressure on him to show that the coaches should play him.

I’m sort of hoping this is a moot point and Vick stays healthy all year.

* * * * *

I get asked quite a bit if there are any RTs that will be cut and who might be of interest to the Eagles.  I don’t know of any.  There is a shortage of OTs in the NFL right now.  Buffalo is experimenting with their LG at LT for parts of games.  Miami jumped on RT Marc Colombo when Dallas cut him.  He was awful the last couple of years.  The Ravens jumped on RT Mark LeVoir when the Patriots cut him a few weeks back.  He instantly jumped to the top of the depth chart.  The Ravens then decided to sign LT Bryant McKinnie and shift Michael Oher to RT.  McKinnie was let go by the Vikings because he showed up at 386 pounds.  Me, Nick Cole, and Andy Reid had to tell him to put the fork down.  Yikes.

Our situation is far from ideal, but King Dunlap at RT isn’t as bad as some other teams situations.  I can’t foresee any player getting cut that would improve us.

* * * * *

My new column is out.  I wrote about player development.  It really is critical this time of year to remember how much can change from week to week.  Austin Howard looked like Larry Allen in the first preseason game last year, but hasn’t looked anything like that ever since.  Jamar Chaney didn’t light it up last summer.  I actually had him pegged to be cut and put on the Practice Squad.  How’d he do in December?

You want to see young players play well from the start, but if they don’t, focus on progress.  Is the player getting better within the game?  Is he improving from week to week?  Tonight’s game is huge for many young players.

* * * * *

Shameless self-promotion time.  CBS 3 is running a contest to find out Philly’s Best Blogger.  You can go to the site and vote for me…if you like.  No pressure.  Just being nominated is honor enough.  Although, it would mean a lot to my dying uncle to know his favorite nephew finally won something other than a Most PBRs Consumed While Listening to Level 42 contest.  My uncle’s name is Mr. Somethingorother.  His doctor, some guy named House, said that my uncle’s best hope is some inspirational event…like a relative winning an online contest.  I’ve said enough now.  Time to go rescue some puppies and help out some local school children that are trapped in a dangerous situation.

* * * * *

Game preview will be posted in a bit.

20 Comments on “Backup QB, Finding a RT, and A Developing Situation”

  1. 1 rage114 said at 11:54 AM on August 25th, 2011:

    I am so sorry to hear about your uncle.

    But I am glad his criteria for an inspirational event is so modest.

    We’re pulling for the big guy.

    (Two fist-to-chest bumps and a peace sign.)

  2. 2 Chris said at 12:03 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    You had my vote at rescuing puppies. You are truly an inspiration to us all.

  3. 3 ian no. 2 said at 12:24 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    Congrats on the PBR title.

    Vick’s preseason stats from last year should speak to people’s concerns. The Steelers knew that Vick was not going to take off running and emphasized coverage. I don’t think they used a spy (tho I may have missed that). In the regular season, having to defend against Vick’s runs changes the way you rush him and cover. + there’s Vick’s tendencies of playing one way in PS and how he lit it up when Kolb when down last year.

  4. 4 iskar36 said at 12:25 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    You got my vote Tommy. Easily my favorite blog on the internet, and regularly a first stop anytime I sign on.

  5. 5 Best Blogger said at 12:36 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    Best Blogger? Best Eagles Writer, hands down!!

  6. 6 RogerPodacter said at 1:02 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    my biggest concern with Vick is that he will get too comfortable. the last few years he has been working his tail off to get back to where he is now. Now that he is a superstar again, is he going to continue working his tail off? or is he going to get lazy and not put in the same effort.

    everything i’ve been reading makes me want to trust the guy and believe that he’s going to put the work in, but his past in ATL has me worried. I want to say he’s different now, but we wont really know until we find out this season.

  7. 7 izzylangfan said at 1:39 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    Is it fair to evaluate Castillo’s play calling in the Steelers game. In particular his calls seemed unimaginative and the Steelers seemed to anticipate every call. Alternatively did the Steelers study tape and game plan for the Eagles.

    P.S. I voted for you before keying this entry. Yes, I’m sucking up so you will answer my question. But, you are the best.

  8. 8 -Triumph- said at 1:49 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    Deciding who the “backup QB” is at this point is largely an academic exercise unless Reid decides to use the 46th spot on the roster for something other than a 3rd QB.

    Of course, if he does that, maybe he really does have a space on the roster for Chad Hall…

  9. 9 Tommy Lawlor said at 2:20 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    Thanks izzy.

    I’m okay with Castillo so far. I’ve not seen any indication that he’s making terrible calls. The one glaring mistake in both games is us blitzing and the offense hitting a RB on a swing pass for a big gain. Once is an anomaly, but twice is a trend. Gotta solve that.

    Both of Big Ben’s TD passes last week were due to player errors, not bad scheme.

    Tonight is going to be the best test for Castillo. Starters play a lot. Coaches get to make halftime adjustments.

  10. 10 theguyotc said at 2:41 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    “Our situation is far from ideal, but King Dunlap at RT isn’t as bad as some other teams situations.”

    Except it’s King Dunlap (if he’s healthy) next to a rookie who missed a chunk of the offseason (between the lockout and mini-holdout). As far as I know, Justice hasn’t had any reps in the new O-line system, so we can’t just wait for him to get healthy either. If it was just RT or RG, or if Vick was right-handed, I don’t think it would be nearly as big of a concern.

    How many of the teams that are in the same boat are playoff contenders built around an all-star passing offense? Definitely not Buffalo, Miami, or Baltimore.

  11. 11 theguyotc said at 2:53 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    “Our situation is far from ideal, but King Dunlap at RT isn’t as bad as some other teams situations. ”

    Any of those teams expected to be making the playoffs behind an all-star passing offense? Definitely not Buffalo, Miami, or Baltimore.

    The problem I see is it’s not just Dunlap. It’s the guy next to him as well. Nothing against Watkins, but he’s a rookie who missed a chunk of the offseason. He’s also being paired with whoever is healthy that week.

    Vick’s blindside is a big concern for me. Hopefully tonight’s game will eliminate that concern. For a while anyway.

  12. 12 ppk said at 2:57 PM on August 25th, 2011:


    My vote is in for ya’. I am familiar with a couple of the other blogs, mostly the other Eagles sites, and, none of them holds a candle to your work. I don’t know if you communicate with the guys at places like Bleeding Green Nation. They do a good job but no one covers the team with as much insight and intelligence as you do (except when you disagree with me). I think the other guys might even agree. It’s cool that you were recognized, hope you pull in a bunch of votes.

  13. 13 mwolfe02 said at 3:35 PM on August 25th, 2011:


    Who would you compare Kafka to at this point:

    – Feeley: draft him, coach him, flip him (for a higher draft pick)

    – Detmer: reliable career backup content with his role

    – Kolb: QOTF (quarterback of the future)

    I’ve got to believe it’s Detmer. But I suppose the only real difference between Detmer/Feeley is that Feeley got a few games to play and prove he could “win” (weren’t the Dolphins disappointed when they found out he’d really only proved he could avoid losing).

  14. 14 ATG said at 4:19 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    That is too bad about your uncle. If the contest doesn’t pull him through, I have an Aunt Whatshername that I can introduce. Maybe she can spark some fight in him.

    The stats on Vick are comforting, both in terms of our backup QB as well as our starter. I don’t agree with hoping it is a moot point, though. I fully anticipate our backup QB to mop up the second half of most of our games this year. Maybe even the second quarter.

  15. 15 ATG said at 4:23 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    And I am pretty sure you are getting screwed over in the poll. They couldn’t put you in the I’s? They had to stick you way down in the T’s just above this link?

    Everyone is going to forget why they went to the page! (Note to readers: you are not allowed to click the link until AFTER you vote.)

  16. 16 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:21 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    @ ATG…

    Aunt Whatshername sounds hot. I’ll pass her name on to my uncle.

  17. 17 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:32 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    @ GuyOTC…

    You make a relevant point about comparing our situations to other teams. There are some SB contenders with issues on the OL (PIT, BAL), but they aren’t pass happy. They run the ball and it is easier to build a patchwork line when you run.

  18. 18 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:34 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    @ ppk…

    I am friends with a couple of the BGN guys. Jason does a great job with the site and all his ventures. JimmyK is my pool boy. He does great work…when he’s not clogging the toilets of Lehigh area Wendy’s.

  19. 19 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:36 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    RE: Kafka comparison

    Tough question. Feeley went 4-1 as a starter and that is what built his trade value. Kafka has yet to get on the field.

    He was a higher pick than Detmer and projects as a possible starter in the league. Koy didn’t have the physical ability to be a real starter.

    I think the Eagles would like Kafka to be at least a long time backup. If he can become a starter, that’s great.

  20. 20 Steve D. said at 6:15 PM on August 25th, 2011:

    “Me, Nick Cole, and Andy Reid had to tell him to put the fork down. Yikes.”

    Hilarious! You have my vote.