How Can Philadelphia Eagles Prepare for Michael Vick's Inevitable 2012 Injury?
Reid has rocked the thick mustache for years, and Vick's been injured in all but one of his NFL seasons (not counting his comeback year of 2009, when he played sparingly as Donovan McNabb's backup). So, if we let history dictate what will happen this year, Reid won't shave his 'stache, and Vick more than likely—at some point, for some period of time—will be sidelined with injury.
OK, maybe he plays all 16 games. But don't count on it.
Whether the Eagles believe Vick's capable of playing an injury-free season or they're banking on another injury, they need to develop a sound contingency plan to employ in case their franchise signal-caller can't go during the regular season.
Nick Foles has to be the primary backup after a stellar preseason—that's obvious. He jumped an injured Mike Kafka and the checkdown wizard Trent Edwards on the depth chart during the exhibition games, and he has the arm strength that suits Philadelphia's vertical passing attack and talented deep threats, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.
However, he's only a rookie, and he has a lot to learn and fine-tune about his game. So there must be an alternative game plan tailored to a situation in which Foles is under center.
That plan absolutely must feature a heavy dosage of LeSean "Shady" McCoy.
The Eagles threw the ball 34.6 times per game in 2011 and ran with McCoy only 17 times per contest.
Actually, regardless of who's playing quarterback, Shady has to be more of a focal point of the offense in 2012.
But with Foles in the lineup, McCoy's dynamic ability will alleviate pressure for the rookie signal-caller and provide a variety of easy-to-read play-action passes that could showcase Foles' arm strength and the speed of Jackson and Maclin.
Although Foles isn't known as a swift mover, calling play-action bootlegs will give him space to throw the football downfield without worrying about a collapsing pocket. Short throws to Jackson will help him get into a rhythm as well.
In essence, to stay competitive, the Eagles must run a more conservative, run-heavy offense while occasionally threatening defenses down the field with their receiving talent.
Luckily for Philadelphia, with McCoy and Foles' impressive arm, that's possible.
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