Sitting at 6-5 in the midst of a three game win streak, the Philadelphia Eagles enter a much needed week 12 bye week following a three game win streak including their first home win since Sept. 30, 2012. Bye week’s are always welcomed this late in the season as players who have started to wear down can recuperate and come back rejuvenated. It also gives teams’ time to get key players back from injury.
At the forefront of the Eagles injury list is QB Michael Vick and the status of his left hamstring injury that has opened the door for third-year QB Nick Foles. Vick is expected to be 100% healthy when the Philadelphia (6-5) host the Arizona Cardinals (6-4) who, pending the outcome of their game on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, will either be 6-5 or 7-4.
The hot debate now is who first-year NFL head coach Chip Kelly should start — Vick, who was named the starting QB at the beginning of the season, or, Foles who has been nothing short of brilliant as of late.
Here is my list of seven reasons why renaming Michael Vick the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season would be a “killer” move.
- Eagles are winning with Nick Foles
Contrary to what many presumed to be correct, Chip Kelly doesn’t need a QB with Michael Vick mobility. He simply needs a QB that can extend plays if need be, but more importantly, he needs a decisive QB with tough and accuracy in his throws.
Chip Kelly has that in Nick Foles.
Foles has won the last three straight games and put the Eagles organization in first place in the NFC East. Through five starts Foles season passer rating is 128.0 and with the exception of the week 7 loss to Dallas, Foles’ lowest single game passer rating is 104.3.
- Offense is clicking, continue continuity
This isn’t a case for the fact that Nick Foles is making a superstar out of a player who Michael Vick couldn’t seem to find (Riley Cooper). This is a simple case of looking at the number of players involved each game with Foles on the field.
Since taking over for Vick, Foles has spread the ball around and is hitting 7.16 different players per game through the air. Clearly, Cooper is Foles favorite target which stems from the two practicing together with the backups. But Cooper is also helping his case by making plays — takes two to tango.
- Offensive line more stable
One of the biggest issues that has flown under the radar for a long time was Vick’s ability to remain healthy, which was largely blamed on an offensive line that couldn’t seem to protect the left-handed gun slinger.
But if you look at both QB’s, both who have five starts on the season, Michael Vick has been sacked 15 time compared to Foles’ 12. However, the difference in those three sacks that separates them is 32 yards (Vick/99 and Foles/67) or 10.66 yards on average.
It has become obvious that any offensive line is going to find it more difficult to protect a QB when they have absolutely no idea where he is.
- Michael Vick done in Philly? Most Likely
The chance of Michael Vick returning to Philadelphia in 2014 is virtually slim to none. What many of you must remember is Vick was never the long-term answer in Philadelphia. Not when Andy Reid brought him to town as the third-string QB behind Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb. And the 33-year old veteran certainly isn’t the long-term answer now under Chip Kelly.
Reid brought him in to give him a second chance at the only thing that would have likely kept him out of prison — football. Now, Chip Kelly inherited a 4-12 team and believed Vick gave the Eagles the best chance to win.
My, what you can learn in the span of just 10 weeks.
But is Nick Foles the long term answer? He’s sure playing the part right now. Chip Kelly must use remaining five games to evaluate Foles’ performance and ensure Foles can remain consistently competitive at a high level.
- Vick Sitting out actually benefits him
Vick is likely done in Philly, but don’t tell him he’s done in the NFL.
Vick will be looking to join his third team in his pro career and by not playing the rest of the 2013 season, he is preserving his body for his next team which is crucial when trying to pass a physical for a team. Now, who might be interested? Here are “Two Potential Landing Spots” for Vick following this season.
Vick’s abilities well documented have been well documented through his 12 seasons. And there will be quarterback needy teams who will be highly intrigued by what Vick might be able to do on their roster. Plus, he’ll likely come relatively cheap so it will essentially be a low-risk high-reward type move.
- Nick Foles in MVP discussion alongside LeSean McCoy
Both Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy are on Dan Graziano‘s Top 10 MVP Watch on ESPN.com McCoy, the league’s leading rusher, is a given to make the is list. But Nick Foles, a guy who has not yet been guaranteed the starting job in Philly? The same Nick Foles who has just five starts in this season, he’s making this list?
As Graziano points out, Foles has the highest passer rating and yards-per-attempt average in the league. And his 16 touchdowns in just five starts has quickly put Foles on the NFL map. But most importantly, Foles has 16 touchdowns and no interceptions.
- Chip Kelly out to prove Brass right
Chip Kelly isn’t trying to impress anyone inside the NovaCare Complex. He did that when he was interviewed, hence being the Eagles head coach. impressed during interview. Now he’s out to show team owner Jeffrey Lurie, GM Howie Roseman, President Don Smolenski made the right decision by hiring him.
It was Kelly’s decision to name Vick the starter at the beginning of the season due to Vick proving to be the better QB at that point. But through Vick’s five starts he had just five touchdowns and had three interceptions — and wasn’t exactly making Chip Kelly look like the offensive guru he was brought here to be.
But with Foles on the field and winning games, Chip Kelly is starting to show the Eagles brass that he is the kind of guy that can, and will, bring a winning culture back to Philadelphia. And going back to Vick would be far to great a gamble to take.
Chip Kelly has balls, evident by some of his play-calling. But I’m not sure even his balls are that big that he’s willing to take the hot hand out of the game.