Eagles QB Controversy is Easy as A-B-C
Welcome students. My name is Professor Whalon and this is NFL Basics 101.
Today's topic is the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback controversy and why all of you Michael Vick supporters are idiots who don't know anything about football. Please open your playbooks.
First let me begin by saying that if any of you think that my dismissal of Vick has anything to do with his race, then you are the real racists here. My favorite athlete of all time is Brian Dawkins and the last time I checked, B-Dawk is an African American. Also, as a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, I have been rooting for African American quarterbacks for most of my life. Randall Cunningham, Rodney Pete, Donovan McNabb and now Vick. The Eagles have been color-blind for decades and so is my sports fandom. I don't discriminate. I will boo a player of any color.
With that out of the way, let's get down to the facts.
The fact is that Michael Vick is the most overrated quarterback in the history of the NFL. ESPN and the other networks only showed his rushing highlights, but if you are a true student of the game, you know that he isn't even an adequate passer. In a league where elite QBs are now judged by their 5,000 yard seasons, Vick has only thrown for over 3,000 yards twice in his 11 seasons in the NFL. He has also only played an entire 16 games in a season once. And since 2009, the only player in the NFL who has turned the ball over more than Vick is Mark Sanchez.
Who Should be the Eagles' Starting QB?
If that isn't enough to convince people that Vick isn't a good quarterback, I don't know what is. Unfortunately, some of you out there are either Vick fans who simply don't care about stats and facts or you just don't understand the game of football.
When Chip Kelly was hired as the Eagles head coach, he brought his gimmicky read option offense to the NFL. No matter what Kelly said, you knew that he wanted a mobile QB to run his offense. Since the only quarterback on the Eagles roster was the slow-footed Nick Foles, Kelly decided to re-sign Vick in the offseason. Kelly should have known better.
There was a bogus competition in the preseason, where Vick and Foles were virtually even. Kelly gave the job to Vick, because that's who he wanted to win the competition. Of course, in the preseason, defenses play strictly vanilla schemes. That's why Vick did well. He proved throughout his career that he can't read defenses, but in the preseason, defenses don't throw any wrinkles at you.
So Vick was anointed the QB in spite of the fact that the Eagles have absolutely no chance of winning the Super Bowl and he played reasonably well through the first four games. Then the inevitable happened and he got hurt against the Giants. He always gets hurt, remember?
Then Foles came in and lit up the Giants in the second half and had an even better game in his start against Tampa Bay. I know that Foles' seven career starts are almost nothing compared to the 107 starts that Vick has had in his career, but that's not what matters. What matters is who the Eagles best option is going forward. The answer to that is Nick Foles. Let me educate you with the stats and facts.
Disclaimer: Foles has only played a little more than six quarters this season, while Vick has played almost 18.
Foles is completing 67.2 percent of his passes this season, Vick only 53.8 percent. If you think that is an anomaly, I'll tell you that Vick has completed only 59.4 percent of his passes since he came to the Eagles in 2009 and his career mark is 56.2 percent. He is not an accurate passer.
If you want to point to Vick's rushing ability as a way to say Vick is better, I'll tell you it isn't as much of a factor as you think. Sure Vick is a much better runner, but that doesn't always lead to good things. Because Vick is always quick to run when his first option is covered, he gets sacked more than most quarterbacks. According to Pro Football Focus, Vick holds the ball longer in the pocket (3.4 seconds) than any other QB in the NFL Foles gets the ball out of his hand a full second quicker. And if you think Vick's mobility helps him avoids sacks, you would be wrong yet again. Vick's career sack percentage (8.65 percent of all dropbacks) leads all current NFL starters. Apparently Giants backup David Carr is worse, but he's on the bench for a reason. Vick should be as well.
Foles threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth against Tampa Bay last Sunday, which is more than the Eagles posted over the previous three games combined with Vick at quarterback. And if you think that's because Vick faced better defenses, you would be wrong again. The Buccaneers had the best defense of any of the Eagles opponents so far this season. The reason for the increase in touchdowns is red zone efficiency.
The Eagles reached the red zone 11 times in Vick's nearly 18 quarters, while Foles got them there seven times in a little over six quarters. The difference is that in those red zone chances, Vick has 5 TDs and Foles has 4. That makes the difference in their red zone scoring percentage 57 to 36 percent in favor of Foles this season. If you think it's just this year, we'll look back.
Over the past two years, Vick is 26 for 65 in the red zone for 195 yards with 10 TD, 2 INTs and a 74.7 passer rating. Meanwhile, Foles is 18 for 40 for 117 yards with 8 TDs and 0 INTs for a 91.7 passer rating during the same time period. Vick has also fumbled seven times in the redzone since joining the Eagles in 2009. Foles has never fumbled in the redzone.
Not convinced yet? Frankly, I'm surprised that anybody who thinks Vick is a good quarterback would have the attention span to read this far, but I digress.
Vick is 33-years-old and Foles is 24. Vick is on a one-year contract and Foles has two years remaining on his rookie deal. Vick has clearly lost a step and his best weapon was his ability to run. Foles doesn't run. DeSean Jackson had the first two-touchdown game of his career and Riley Cooper looked like an actual NFL receiver with Foles at quarterback. And since the Eagles are clearly in a rebuilding year due to their pathetic defense, they need to know whether or not Foles is the quarterback of the future or the team needs to draft a QB in April.
And finally, even if Vick is healthy this Sunday, Foles should start against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas' defensive coordinator is Monte Kiffin, who runs the same "Tampa 2" defense that Foles just shredded on Sunday to become the NFC Player of the Week. Vick is terrible against defenses that force quarterbacks to be patient. It's why he turns the ball over so often.
So to review, Vick isn't accurate. He takes too many sacks. He turns the ball over too often. He can't read defenses and he has trouble producing touchdowns in the redzone. Foles doesn't do any of those things. He just runs the offense and involves all of his weapons, while producing touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. Plus, if you think Vick is better, then you agree with ESPN's Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, who might just be the two dumbest men on the planet.
Your homework assignment is to watch Nick Foles perform a passing clinic against the anemic Dallas pass defense on Sunday. For extra credit you could watch any of the games that Vick has started this season to see how not to play quarterback in the National Football League.