Philadelphia Eagles: Arguments Can Be Made for and Against Benching Michael Vick

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistSeptember 24, 2012

May 22, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles 3rd round draft pick quarterback Nick Foles (9) watches quarterback Michael Vick (7) throw during organized team activities at the Philadelphia Eagles NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

I guess it's a natural human tendency to want to blame one man, woman or organization (thanks, Citizens United) for the problems that adversely affect our lives. That's why it's always so damn easy to blame an offense's struggles on the quarterback.

But in Philadelphia, multiple parties have to share the blame for what's happening with the offense. Michael Vick can—as always—do a better job avoiding hits and throwing the ball away, but the pass protection has also been extremely weak, and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is responsible for finding a way to buy Vick more time than he's getting in the pocket.

Oh, and head coach Andy Reid deserves his share of the blame for his play-calling, which has put Vick in harm's way by lacking balance.

That's part of the reason why I stated earlier Monday that Vick deserves to keep taking snaps as Philadelphia's starting quarterback. But it's not as though arguments can't be made for rookie backup Nick Foles. 

Reid didn't exactly give No. 7 a ringing long-term endorsement Monday.

"Right now, we're with Michael and that's what we're doing," he said in his press conference, via "We'll evaluate it as we go."

So you're telling me there's a chance?

Let's break down why such a bold move could help or hurt the Eagles in the short and long-term.


Pros of sticking with Vick

You know what you're getting: Can a Super Bowl-caliber team like the Eagles really entrust the offense with a rookie who's never taken a regular season snap? Vick might have some clear flaws, but at least the offense is comfortable with him and there aren't any questions regarding chemistry.

He's still a unique threat: Defenses have to spend more time preparing for Vick than your average quarterback, and some simply don't have the speed and range to handle him. If the Eagles sit Vick, they lose that edge.

You never know when he's going to explode: That unpredictability can be frustrating, but it's another reason Vick is so feared. Sometimes I don't even believe he himself knows what he's going to do in a given scenario.


Cons of sticking with Vick

Foles could handle pressure better: That was the case in the preseason anyway. Against reserves but with shoddy pass protection, Foles displayed pocket presence beyond his years and made smart decision after smart decision. 

Defenses don't know what to expect from Foles: Despite a large sample size from this summer, there isn't a lot of tape on him. Opposing defenses have been preparing for Vick for a decade. Foles might not be as mobile, but he still possesses a cannon, great footwork and a bigger frame.

You could be missing out on an opportunity: This is a two-part opportunity. The Eagles could have a stud quarterback who they're failing to utilize, and there's also a chance that being benched could light a fire under Vick. If Vick has to sit and the situation remains fluid, he might fight to regain that job and be better than ever. Remember: He wasn't the starter entering 2010 and ended up posting MVP-caliber numbers. Maybe he's too comfortable right now.


It's only a matter of time before Vick gets injured, right? That's what they're all saying. But that has little to do with this argument, because if Vick is benched, it has the exact same effect. So if the option is using Vick until he gets hurt or not using him at all, then the former is still the lesser of two evils. 

My belief is that it's not actually time to panic. This is a team that is 2-1 despite 12 turnovers and just got off a game in which 40 percent of the offensive line was in flux as Demetress Bell and Dallas Reynolds made their debuts. 

Players do, in fact, improve. And I think the Eagles have to give this line some more time while emphasizing the run like they did in a stellar Week 2 performance against Baltimore. A knee-jerk reaction in Week 4, while tied in first place, could send the wrong message to the players. Stick with the original plan for now and keep Foles in your back pocket for when you really do have to push the emergency button.

What do you guys think?