Five Reasons Michael Vick Should Not be Philadelphia Eagles’ Starting Quarterback
Five Reasons Michael Vick Should Not be Philadelphia Eagles Starting Quarterback
For the first time in nearly a decade and a half the Philadelphia Eagles have a full fledged quarterback competition on their hands.
Few should be surprised by this. After all, head coach Chip Kelly promised as much during his introductory press conference in February when he laid down the gauntlet for the ensuing battle between Michael Vick and Nick Foles.
“There’s an open completion," Kelly said, way back on February 20th. "Michael knows that, Nick knows that. Nick knew every step of the way what we were doing. I specifically wanted to make sure Nick was included in the plans. I think both of them have outstanding qualities in terms of being a quarterback in this league, both of them have started in this league. I also know in this league you better have two.”
“I’m excited about the two of them, but they’re both gonna compete. Who the starting quarterback is to start the season off is going to be won on the practice field.”
Many view Vick as the front runner for the starting job because the Eagles brought him back for one more season after restructuring his contract this offseason. However, it is Vick's deal that may be most prohibitive to him even making the roster this season. When Vick agreed to terms on a restructured contract, he was already paid the $3.5 million from the team from his previous contract and would only be guaranteed $3.5 million more, for a total of $7 million if he makes the opening day roster and a total of $10 million if he wins the Super Bowl this season.
This slideshow will show five reasons why Vick should not emerge from a crowded group of quarterbacks as the starter and perhaps could be at risk of not making the Eagles roster this season.
Vick's Diminishing Skill-set
If Vick observers were being truly honest to themselves, number seven's MVP runner-up season in 2010 would be viewed as a mirage in an otherwise mediocre tenure in Philadelphia.
Since that season which saw Vick finish with a completion percentage above 60 percent, which is typically the benchmark for quarterbacks, for the first and only time in his career while posting a career high 21 touchdowns and low six interceptions, he has been a pedestrian quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. In the past two seasons Vick has thrown for 30 touchdowns and 24 interceptions while losing seven fumbles and completing 59 percent of his passes and leading the Birds to a 10-13 record in games he's started over that span.
As the Eagles go through a complete face lift under Kelly, the franchise would be wise to do it with a quarterback that has more upside than Vick at this stage of his career and at the age of 33.
Michael Vick's Inability to Protect the Football
There are questions abound surrounding Michael Vick and whether or not he can experience a second career renaissance at age 33 when the season begins against the Washington Redskins on September 9th. However, perhaps the most disconcerting surrounds his ability to protect the football.
Having lost a total of 14 fumbles and tossing 24 interceptions over the past two seasons, there are significant concerns over whether or not Vick has the ability to protect the football.
“Chip told me how to run with the football the other day,” Vick told 97.5 The Fanatic last week. “He taught me how to run with the football and how to carry the football, and I think it’s something that you just have to work on.”
It's astonishing that a ten-year NFL veteran still struggles with turnovers at the rate Vick does. In his career he's fumbled 87 times and lost 39. He fumbled 32 times in the last three years alone and that does not take into account his interceptions which stem from struggling to read defenses and oncoming blitz packages.
Michael Vick Simply Cannot Stay Healthy
As Chip Kelly lays the foundation of his program and his offense for the Philadelphia Eagles this season, perhaps the most important ingredient is consistency at the quarterback position.
Already having earned a reputation for inconsistent play during his career, Vick's greatest career question mark is his inability to stay healthy. Over the course of his ten-year career, Vick has played a full 16 game season just once and has missed 39 games due to injury. Last season, Vick missed six games due to a severe concussion suffered November 11th against the Dallas Cowboys.
Vick's competitive nature may be his own worst enemy when it comes to getting injured. His concussion last season was suffered while on the run as was the case in 2010, and he has yet to find it in himself to slide with regularity, which would limit the punishment he takes outside the pocket.
Even if Vick is the starting quarterback for this team, his track record leaves little hope that he would finish in that spot.
Vick's Contract Could Inhibit Him Making Eagles Final Roster
Conventional wisdom said that the day Vick restructured his contract and agreed to return to Philadelphia on a one-year deal that he was doing so as the team's starting quarterback.
Not so fast.
In an offseason that saw seven potential starting quarterbacks change teams, it's quite telling that Vick's agent settled for a one-year contract that only guarantees the 33-year old a total of $7 million of he makes the roster this season, rather than drive the price higher with the Eagles and ultimately test the free-agent waters.
As Kelly indicated during his introductory press conference, this is an open competition for the starting quarterback job. Nick Foles split the first-team practice reps fairly evenly with Vick during the team's first open practice last week and on May 20th, the second-year signal caller actually took more reps with the starters.
While anything is possible, if Vick loses out in the competition to be the team's starting quarterback, is it that far of a stretch to picture Vick on the unemployment line rather than the Eagles paying him $7 million to be a backup?
Michael Vick Is Not This Franchise's Future
Making quick and accurate reads, getting rid of the football quickly, protecting the football and making smart decisions are all chief tenants of Chip Kelly's offense and all are significant question marks in Michael Vick's game.
Given the overwhelming uncertainty that Vick can adapt to suddenly get rid of the football in under three seconds and become a wizard at pre-snap reads and coverage recognition, at the age of 33, coupled with the other quarterbacks on the roster, it's obvious that he is not the future of this franchise.
After selecting Matt Barkley, a pure pocket passer with a strong football pedigree and acumen, Kelly tipped his hand at the type of quarterbacks he values in his system, and Vick does not fit that mold. He is a dangerous playmaker and has hands down the strongest arm on the team, but in this offense based on quick reads, short routes and making smart football decisions, he simply is not built to succeed in the scheme.
Kelly made it clear since day one that he intends on building his scheme to maximize the strengths of his players. If that is the case, there are better options for both this season and the long haul of this franchise to start under center today than Michael Vick.