Monday, October 28, 2013

Barkley, Foles Or Vick: The Least Bad Answer

Paging Dennis Dixon
So Michael Vick left today's game with the hamstring pop, as we learned afterward, and while it hardly seems possible that next week's game in Oakland matters for any reason, it's the NFL; every game matters, if only because there aren't many of them. But the simple math of the NFL is this: if you don't have a quality QB, you don't win. And the Eagles don't have any right now.

Start, and hopefully end now, with Vick. It really doesn't matter anymore, because it's not a question of system or the health of the offensive line; it's just him. He can't stay healthy, because the release is too slow, and he's able to make too many plays in extended time, and he's just not big enough. It doesn't matter that he won the job in preseason. It doesn't matter that he's got startling physical gifts, or that he's turned his life around, or that he's got a heart the size of a lion to stand in the fire. If you can't stay healthy, you can't be an NFL QB.

Next, Nick Foles. I'm not a fan. There's a reason why he slipped in his draft, and it goes beyond the slow footspeed. He generally avoids INTs, but that seems like more luck than skill to date. Either he choked under the lights of the Dallas game or he can't function unless he's close to 100% healthy, and in either case, that's really not good news for someone who wants the most important job on the team. Short of two wins against the DOA Bucs, he's winless in the NFL. Maybe it's worth giving him starts once he's cleared from the concussion (oh, by the way, really not a good sign that he hasn't been cleared of the concussion yet) to see if he's good enough to be a back up. Anyone that thinks he's a starter is deluding themselves.

Finally, Matt Barkley. In five quarters of action now against very bad defenses at home, he's produced no points and five turnovers. He looks physically incapable of pulling the ball back and taking yards on the read option. He's got some zip on the ball, but the decision making is questionable at best, with the end of the first half hold until sack/fumble in the red zone being just game-ending. He's utterly killing LeSean McCoy, and McCoy's only the best player on the team by a very wide margin.In all five of those quarters, he's had a defense that's played well on the other side of the ball, giving him chance after chance to get back in the game. He's failed them all. I've watched bad Eagle QB play for most of my life, and he's looking disturbing Hoying-esque to me.

And he probably deserves the job for the rest of the year, as much as to test his coach as to test the player.

This administration performed draft machinations to get Barkley. This administration took a name college QB when more mobile options (Ryan Nassib in particular) were on the board. They seemed to think that they could make something out of him. And they've got eight more games to do it, with a bye week, in a division that no one expects them to contend for any more, despite just being a game back with 8 to play.

I get, by the way, why the team might want to go back to Foles, or maybe even Vick again if he's somehow healthy enough to play. But it would be a mistake, for an organization that needs to get past the fool's gold of Week 1, or the damn fool's gold of the Giants and Bucs' wins. This isn't going to be a quick fix, and the fact that the defense has gotten all the way up to tolerable for the last two weeks should also not be seen as any kind of meaningful development.

Oh, and one more thing? No matter who is under center for this team, they should run the team at the speed tempo, even if that helps them lose games in the short term. Chip Kelly without a speed offense is counter-productive when it comes to development, let alone helps an OL that hasn't been doing enough ever less to do. Not advised. Be who you are, with what you wanted, and give us all the chance to get through the evaluation process with a clear perspective on these guys.

Because the only thing worse than having to draft a QB high next year... will be not knowing if you have to draft a QB high next year. That's the only mission for the last eight games, and it clearly doesn't involve Vick. Or maybe Foles, either...

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