Change is afoot in Philadelphia. Tuesday morning it was announced that the Eagles would part ways with first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and more changes are on the way.
The defense has not been stellar, but it hasn't been the team’s biggest problem either. The Eagles are a middle-of-the-pack defense in nearly every major category.
However, the Eagles' offensive unit ranks second to last in the NFL in points per game (17.2) and turnovers (17).
The offense has been downright awful and its struggles can be traced back to the quarterback position. Michael Vick is having a nightmare year. Of the teams 17 turnovers, he has been responsible for 11 (eight interceptions and three fumbles).
Vick has slowed a step this season. His agility looks to have decreased, and it's evident on the stats sheet. Vick has been sacked 17 times this season and hit an NFL-high 51 times. The offensive line can shoulder a lot of the blame, but it no longer seems like the "Michael Vick Experience" is a functioning ride.
The usually supportive Andy Reid has not sent a strong message that he is a staunch supporter of Vick retaining the starting job either. According to ESPN, Reid said in a press conference after the Castillo firing:
As I sit here today he's the starting quarterback. Listen, I'm going through and I'm evaluating everything. I'm looking at everything. Everybody and everything.
Could Reid's next move be sitting Vick?
Vick is currently scheduled to earn $15.5 million in base salary in 2012, the third year of a five-year, $80 million contract he signed on Aug. 30, 2011. The deal was reportedly for six years, but the sixth and final year voids if Vick has 35 percent playing time in any season.
If the Eagles do decide to cut Vick, they have a very narrow window to do so that would save a decent amount of money. According to Yahoo.com:
Currently, $3 million of Vick's contract is guaranteed "for injury only." If Vick is on the Eagles' roster on the second day of the 2013 waiver period, which begins on the day after the Super Bowl, the $3 million that is currently guaranteed "for injury only" will become fully guaranteed. Should the Eagles release Vick before that date, they'll save $15.5 million in cash and free up $12.7 million in salary cap space.
What are the Eagles options if they do cut ties with Vick?
Nick Foles garnered a ton of attention in the preseason with his play, but you can never put too much stock in preseason games. If a rookie is thrown into the fire with a shoddy O-line, he will turn the ball over even more than Vick. Not to mention Foles is the antithesis of mobility. The former Arizona Wildcat ran a 5.14, 40-yard dash at the combine (via Arizona Daily Star).
The Eagles need to get it together in their bye week. Vick will most likely be the starter when the Eagles take on the undefeated Atlanta Falcons in Week 8, but he will be in a short leash. Remember, Reid bench Donovan McNabb in the second half of a game and started him the following week. If Vick and the offense are playing bad, inserting Foles could stir things up.
With the amount of attention the Eagles are receiving after the firing of their defensive coordinator, it is easy to forget they are only 3-3 and one game out of the lead in the NFC East. If the Eagles come off their bye week and manage to knock off an undefeated Falcons team, all could be forgiven in the City of Brotherly Love.
However, if Vick continues to put the ball on the turf and into the arms of the opposition’s defenders, his days in Philadelphia are numbered.