Breaking Down The Possible Vick BenchingBREAKING NEWS, Coaching Staff, Eagles, Quarterbacks Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
After Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons, rumors have been swirling that Andy Reid is ready to pull the plug on the Michael Vick era and turn things over to rookie Nick Foles next Monday against the Saints. No official announcement has been made as of this writing, but such a decision would have monumental implications for the rest of this season. It’s going to be a highly debated decision, one that is going to divide the fan base. There’s a case to be made for both sides, and I’ll break each one down below.
Why Vick Should Be Benched
If Reid does in fact decide to sit Michael Vick down, it isn’t just a reaction to the team’s latest loss, it’s because of a long evaluation of Vick as a whole that goes back to the beginning of last season.
When you look at Vick’s body of work since the start of the 2011 season, it isn’t a pretty picture.
The man has been an absolute turnover machine. He tossed 14 interceptions in 13 starts last year, and has already thrown eight in just seven games this year. In that same stretch, he’s also fumbled 13 times, and lost five of them. Altogether, that’s 27 turnovers in 20 games. A turnover rate that high isn’t a product of a bad offensive line or poor play calling, a turnover rate that high is a product of the player failing to make a concentrated effort to make good decisions and protect the football.
The offensive line has been a mess, but their poor blocking doesn’t justify Vick going into panic mode and throwing the ball up for grabs. If a play isn’t there, take the sack. Instead, Vick has made a bad situation worse by trying to force the issue.
As bad as the turnovers have been, Vick’s issues go beyond interceptions and fumbles. Whether the quarterback is given enough time to throw or not, if you watch the film of him you’ll see that too often he locks on to one target without looking at his other options.
Vick is now 32, and has also lost some of his quickness and speed. The ability to run and escape defenders has always been what has made the former Falcon a special player. There was a time that he could mask the issues of an offensive line, escape from pressure, and turn a 10-yard loss into 15-yard gain. Those days are gone. While Vick is hardly a statue, he’s at a point in his career where defensive ends can catch up to him and prevent him from running down the field.
The biggest issue of all though is that Eagles just haven’t been winning with Vick under center. The team has gone 10-10 in the quarterback’s last 20 starts, but if you throw out the four hollow victories that the Eagles picked up at the end of the 2011 season, his record is 6-10 in his last 16 starts of meaningful football.
Also, Vick just hasn’t shown a great deal of positives. Other than his ability to take a number of vicious hits and keep playing, there hasn’t been any elements of Vick’s game that have been consistently positive this year. When you add that in with his alarming turnover rate and the fact that team just isn’t winning right now, if you aren’t at least open to the idea of a quarterback change after what you’ve seen for the last 20 games, then you aren’t looking at this situation clearly.
Why Vick Should Remain The Starter
Vick should remain the starter if Andy Reid truly believes that this team’s situation is fixable.
The Eagles made a massive financial commitment to Vick before last season, and to pull the plug on him just seven games into the 2012 season would be a larger black eye for this organization than the Juan Castillo situation.
Vick also isn’t the sole reason that this team has gone 3-4. He’s had a large hand in the team’s failures, but there are other factors at work, such as a defense that is currently in shambles.
In all fairness to Vick, while his numbers as a whole don’t look very good, you can argue that he has made some improvements from the beginning of the year. After throwing six interceptions in the first two games, Vick has thrown only two in the last five. The loss against the Falcons had nothing to do with Vick’s performance. The quarterback never had a chance with his defense allowing Atlanta to score on their first six possessions.
At 3-4, the Eagles season isn’t over. The team’s remaining schedule only features one team (the New York Giants) with a winning record, and there is still the possibility that Vick could continue to slowly stabilize himself and begin to run the offense at a high level of efficiency again.
Sending Vick to the bench right now also puts Nick Foles into a bad situation. Putting the kid into a situation where he’s asked to save the season and the head coach’s job on Monday Night Football on the road in New Orleans against Drew Brees and the Saints. If Reid were to go Foles now only to see the third-round pick put on a terrible performance in such a big spot would only take the head coach one step closer to the chopping block.
What I Think Should Happen
Looking at Vick’s body of work over the last 20 games, I’m not at all opposed to a quarterback change. However, I don’t think that this is the right time for it.
As mentioned above, the Eagles season isn’t over at 3-4. I think the Eagles owe Michael Vick every chance in the world to prove that he was worth the commitment they made to him, and if he’s going to have a big game to prove that he still gives the team the best chance to win and save his job, this will be the week.
This should be Vick’s last chance. The Saints may have the worst defense in the NFL. They’ve gotten smoked by every offense they’ve played, including the lowly Kansas City Chiefs. If this Michael Vick-led offense is still capable of breaking out and dropping more than 28 points on an opponent, this will be the week that they breakout.
There will be no excuse in the world good enough to justify another performance in which this offense scores less than 20 points. If Vick and the offense can’t get it done this week, then I’ll have seen enough.
If the Eagles drop to 3-5 with another performance similar to what we’ve seen for the first seven games, that will be the time for something as dramatic as a quarterback change. But as I write this, Michael Vick still gives the Eagles the best chance to win, and should be the quarterback on Monday night.
Denny Basens is the editor of GCobb.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter.
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