February 13, 2013
Most people thought it was a forgone conclusion Michael Vick’s days were numbered as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. If Vick wasn’t brought back for next season, I felt that would be a move the Eagles would regret. I have always believed Vick gives the Eagles the best chance to win right now. So when I saw the Eagles restructured his contract to bring him back for next year, I was one happy soul. As soon as the Eagles hired former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly to be their new head man, I believed it enhanced the chances of Vick returning to the Eagles. We all know Kelly likes to run a “fast-break offense,” with an emphasis on tempo. Not too many quarterbacks in the NFL have the skill set to run Kelly’s system like Vick does. I know Kelly came out and said it would be an open competition for the starting QB job between Vick and the younger Nick Foles, but I think it’s almost a guarantee Vick will be the starter heading into training camp come mid-July. If the Eagles really wanted to go in a different direction, the team would have decided to let Vick walk and test free agency. It’s obvious Kelly likes what he has on the offense end, and the maximum potential can be achieved with Vick being the starter. It’s no secret the Eagles have speed to burn when you look at running back LeSean McCoy and wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. If you put Vick back there with those options in Kelly’s scheme, you could be looking at a top-5 offense come next season. I don’t see that type of productivity with Foles, who is primarily a pocket passer. As always, the only concern you have about Vick is his durability. Only once in his career has he started all 16 games during a regular season, which was the 2006 season as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. Vick is aging and you wonder if he can stand up to the beating a QB who runs a spread option offense normally takes. Vick will be okay as long as he learns how to go to the next play. What that means is Vick never wants to give up on a play, and you’re going to have times when the thing you want to exploit is not there. Sometimes the smart play is to take a sack or throw the ball away, so you can have the opportunity to get it on the next down. The same applies when discussing Vick’s health. He takes way too many unnecessary hits, and he’s not a big guy in NFL standards at 6 feet, 215 pounds. This is a fine line for Kelly, who has the task of trying to extend Vick’s time on the field. You never want to take away from a man’s aggressiveness on the field, but you have to manage it in a way where the player understand how important he is to the team’s success. Vick should understand this, as he is given another chance to prove how good he is. I don’t think he wants to get any more concussions and miss half of the regular season, so he will make the necessary adjustment to extend his durability. As for his status in regards to being the starter, I would be shocked if Vick is not taking the first team reps. If Kelly wants to win immediately, No. 7 is the only choice he has.
By Charles Taylor