This reunion of sorts between the Philadelphia Eagles and Mike Vick is not one born out of any strong desire of commitment. It’s much closer to both parties looking out at the landscape and not seeing much in the form of better options.
For the Eagles, the best-case scenario of signing a talented free agent QB or using their strong draft position (they have pick number 4) to select a young prospect with loads of upside just isn’t there. At least, not obviously there, as history has shown that there are always diamonds in the rough that via first glance might not seem like the right fit or best player for your team. Occasionally, these chance picks somehow turn into gold. San Francisco and Seattle just experienced that, taking players not considered to be surefire bets in the draft and finding out that they lucked into quality, if not, franchise-level players. The Eagles know full well about getting over: bringing Vick on four years ago and lucking into a great (by relative standards) season in 2010.
But that was then. Vick got to eat off of a plate of low expectations and surprised the NFL with a career year. Throwing for a career-best completion percentage of 62.6, coupled with 21 TD passes and only six picks, blew people away. It was also the first time he ever threw for over 3,000 yards in a season, which for most QBs is a regular feat, but for Vick was seen a proof positive that he was on the way to realizing his potential as more than a scrambler.
Well, you know the rest of the story. The Eagles missed the playoffs the last two seasons, Vick has regressed and Andy Reid got the boot. Nobody is putting the blame on Vick for all of the problems that have besieged the Eagles recently, but he certainly has to take his fair share. Before a concussion ended his season in week 10, he had accounted for 15 turnovers. A number so high, it seems like a typo.
Flash-forward to yesterday’s news and it’s hard to look at the move as anything but a default decision. For new Eagles coach Chip Kelly, common sense says the pickings were too slim to make a major move. The QBs potentially available include former Niners starter Alex Smith, the mentally bruised Mark Sanchez, the Tim Tebow Show and possibly Matt Cassell. None of those guys are exactly making anyone stand up and clap. Looking at the upcoming draft, there are a couple of names that stand out—guys like Oklahoma’s Landry Jones and West Virginia’s Geno Smith—but no homerun picks. USC’s Matt Barkley was thought to be a no-brainer coming into last year, but the Trojans struggled and his stock dropped in a major way.
Seems like Eagles brass will just roll the dice with Vick and last year’s end-of-season starter Nick Foles. The thing with Foles is, he’s a classic pocket QB, and at Oregon Kelly used formations that required his quarterbacks to move around and even run with the ball. Is he gonna change that philosophy for a 2nd year guy with zero credibility in the NFL? Then again, Vick is inching toward his mid-30s and his body has already shown signs of tremendous wear. Not to mention, his proclivity for turnovers is devastating for a contending team, and his ability to read coverage has never been worse.
So here’s the takeaway, the Eagles and Mike Vick orchestrated a PR deal, yesterday. There is zero-guarantee that Vick will be the starter, (he can also be traded, which might be the best option) but for now, it calms the nerves of a itchy fanbase. Other than that, it means nothing.