I think we all expected the QB battle to be a major point of focus for the Eagles this offseason, and it is indeed playing out that way. The national media hasn’t really jumped in yet, though they will. The local beat writers have written a lot on it though, with Vick’s apparent displeasure with the competition the current story. Tommy at IgglesBiltz had some thoughts yesterday that I agree with and are worth checking out.
I’m firmly on record as saying that Nick Foles is the better choice. Not only that, IT”S NOT CLOSE. That obviously reflects my personal philosophy and is not a prediction of how Chip Kelly will decide, but I did find a recent Vick quote that was encouraging (for me):
“When you have a strong arm, you can attack all areas of the field, but we’ve got multiple quarterbacks with strong arms; I think that’s not the determining factor,” Vick said. “I think you’ve just got to be able to make good decisions with the football, that’s what’s most important.“
Beyond the obvious importance of QB decision-making, we have been led to believe that Chip Kelly is especially critical of this area of the game. If that’s true, and Vick seems to think it is, there should be very little chance of Vick winning the job. HOWEVER, I wanted to highlight something that does bode well for Vick.
Vick has a career Passer Rating of just 80.6 and a completion percentage of 56.3%. Neither is reflective of a good starting QB.
Many people overlook the fact that Vick has improved significantly since joining the Eagles. Perhaps it was Andy Reid’s magic or maybe Vick just figured some things out. Regardless, look at his splits:
ATL: 74 Games Played, 53.8% completion, 75.7 Rating, 1.36 TD/INT Ratio
PHI: 47 Games Played, 60.1% completion, 87.8 Rating, 1.73 TD/INT Ratio
Also, his YPA increased from 6.7 to 7.6, meaning the higher completion percentage is not a result of just throwing easier (shorter) passes.
Now a big part of that improvement was his stellar 2010 campaign, which no right-minded person should expect him to duplicate. Note, though, that his rating of 78.1 last year (his worst as an Eagle) was better than all but ONE season with the Falcons. In fact, his best year with the Falcons was in 2002 when he recorded a rating of 81.6.
To be clearer, his worst year so far with the Eagles was nearly as good as his BEST year with the Falcons. That’s not to say he’s now good enough (I still like Foles better), but to ignore his improvement over the past few years is unfair.
The Eagles version of Michael Vick has been a much better “decision-maker” than the Falcons version ever was. Time will tell if that’s good enough for Chip Kelly.
Allow me to delve into the NBA for a moment. If you hate basketball, you can leave now. If, however, you are like most non-NBA fans and just aren’t that enamored with the game, I encourage you to watch this year’s Finals (Game 1 was last night). I won’t go into detail, but believe me when I say that watching these games MAY TURN YOU INTO A TRUE FAN.
If you follow the league casually and occasionally tune in to whatever game is on TV, you probably have not seen anything close to what basketball can be when played at the highest level. The biggest knock on the NBA is that there are only a handful of teams worth watching, and some of those aren’t even worth it until the playoffs. I completely agree with that. However, in the Spurs and the Heat, we’ve now got two of the best teams in recent history going at it in the Finals. You should be watching.
Last night was one of the best-played games of basketball I’ve ever seen and a great example of what the NBA SHOULD be on a more consistent basis. That obviously isn’t happening anytime soon, so you’ve got to appreciate the opportunities when they present themselves.
Also, Grantland has its problems, but it’s a FANTASTIC site for basketball. Zach Lowe does a particularly good job in explaining the strategy behind the game (at the very least, check out the first link below). Here are some excellent articles to get you up to speed: