Not since his days as a true freshman at Virginia Tech has Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick been in a legitimate QB competition where he was fighting for his job and his livelihood. For the first time in over a decade this seems to be the case for the enigmatic talent who is soon to be 33 years old.
Right now it is a three-way battle for the spot at the top of the quarterback depth chart between Vick, second-year man Nick Foles, and fresh faced rookie Matt Barkley, but if reps at early OTAs and mini camps are any indication it is really a two-man race between Vick and Foles. Vick is the blueprint for a Chip Kelly quarterback as a man who can move and throw with the best of them. Vick, even at 33, throws one of the prettiest balls in the game and can still really move as evidenced by a recent smoking of LeSean “Shady” McCoy in a 40-yard dash. But as we know the QB position is not all about speed and arm strength.
While those two attributes are enticing to Coach Kelly the things he considers most important can’t be tangibly measured by a 40 time or the velocity in which a ball comes out of a players hand. Kelly values the intangible aspects of being a quarterback such as leadership, decision making, and having command of an offense. Most of these crucial aspects of being a QB are frankly things Vick has struggled with in recent seasons. While former Eagles head coach Andy Reid seemed to have a bit of a long leash and patience for Vick and his mistakes, Kelly in all likelihood will have no such patience. If he sees Vick’s play taking a turn for the worse or going downhill, Kelly will have a quick hook for the 10-year veteran.
Vick’s physical skills are still very apparent in camp as he still has a cannon for an arm that can also fit it into any window and still has speed to burn even at age 33. It is the little things that will define if Vick gets the starting job and how far he can inevitably take them if he does take the reigns. It is a slippery slope for Vick right now who has had a couple of down seasons. If he improves on the intricacies of his game he could flourish in an offense that seems catered for an athlete like him, but if he fails to do so he could go back to his bad habits, lose grasp of the starting job, and even see himself off the roster completely. The ball is truly in Vick’s court.