Much of what needs to be said about Vick as the starting QB has been. I just wanted to add a few things to the discussion:
– I thought Foles was the better choice, but that’s because I’m more concerned with the long-term than near-term. No doubt Vick earned the spot, and I think he’ll perform well.
– However, keep Vick’s skill/ability in perspective. If he plays like he has over the majority of his career, this could be a shorter stint than many realize. Kelly won’t put up with poor decisions and inaccuracy when he has a backup QB he has confidence in.
– In that vein, the obvious question is: How long is Vick’s leash? Kelly said Vick doesn’t need to “look over his shoulder”, but frankly, I don’t see how that’s possible. The world now knows that Foles has some ability and can play in this offense. If the Eagles drop 3-4 games in a row (maybe that Denver, NYG, Tampa away game stretch?), will Kelly still be as confident?
Almost by definition, selecting Vick is a choice of “Win Now” over “Develop for the future”. Therefore, if the team is around .500 and Vick falters a bit, how do you not pull him for Foles? You’ve already stated you’re trying to win this year.
Basically, the pressure is on Vick to play very well. However, if he plays to his long-term averages, I think we’ll see Foles get a shot.
– The key to Vick playing very well? For me, it comes down to two things, which I’ll be watching closely for every game. (Health is a given, but it’s not something Vick really controls)
1) Patience. Does Vick have the discipline to consistently take 5-6 yard gains? Put another way, can Vick consistently lead TD drives that don’t involve 20+ yard passes? I hope so, but I’m skeptical. His entire career has suggested he looks for the big play first, the smart play second.
2) Short throw accuracy. Can Vick consistently put the ball exactly where it needs to be, hitting receivers in stride? Yards after catch figures to be vital in this offense. “Catchable” is not good enough. I anticipate seeing a lot of WR screens and slants. Those will fail if not delivered perfectly.
– What about the rest of the offense?
This is good for DeSean and Shady. Vick’s deep throw ability is his clearest advantage over Foles. As a result, DeSean will likely be much better off with Vick at QB. Any time the defense wants to stack the box (for instance with a multi-TE set), DeSean will have an opportunity for a home-run, which Vick will undoubtedly be happy to throw.
Conversely, the presence of the deep threat (Vick-DeSean combo) will stop defenses from consistently bring safeties down to the LOS. That should give Shady the space he needs to get past the first level, at which point he’s more dangerous than any back in the league. The one area this might hurt Shady is in the passing game. I think Foles would be better at throwing to Shady out of the backfield. Naturally, that’s a secondary option, so the tradeoff is still overwhelmingly positive for Shady.
This is bad for the O-Line, the TEs, and Damaris (if he gets playing time). Perhaps Vick’s worst attribute is his inability to intelligently navigate the pocket. He’s too quick to roll out, which is extremely harmful to the OLs ability to block. The short drops should help, but that assumes Vick will actually deliver the ball on-time. His history suggests he’ll be prone to holding the ball after the 3-step drop, looking for a downfield option. Vick creates a lot of sacks, and is unquestionably harder to pass-protect than Foles.
The TEs and Damaris figure to be hurt as well. This goes back to the “ball-in-stride” point. I have no idea how much playing time Damaris will get, but I hope it’s a lot. His game, though, requires pinpoint accuracy from the QB. If he has to hesitate or break momentum to catch the pass, it negates his best attribute (his quickness). It’s a similar story for the TEs, though probably not as big of a difference from Vick to Foles.
One could argue that Vick’s deep throw ability and his ability to draw a defensive spy will give the TEs more space to work with than they’d have with Foles. That’s positive. On the other hand, the TEs are worse than WRs at both catching the ball and adjusting their speed/routes. Vick’s combination of inaccuracy and power (he throws the ball very fast) will likely lead to more difficult catches for the TEs than they’d have with Foles at QB.
– Lastly, if you were a backup QB and could hand-pick any NFL starter to sit behind, Vick would be high on the list. “Staying healthy” for Vick means playing 14-15 games. In all likelihood, Foles will get a chance to start a game or two this season, at which point we’ll really be able to tell how different the offense is with each QB (we haven’t seen anything close to the whole playbook yet).