Breaking Down the Philadelphia Eagles' Quarterback Situation
The B/R NFC East blog released its projected Philadelphia Eagles depth chart on Monday, and it created quite a lot of consternation among readers. The biggest issue, we're realizing, is that there's a huge amount of disagreement regarding which of the team's four primary quarterbacks are good, and which aren't.
Some feel Michael Vick is still the stud, and that he'll finally hit his stride with Chip Kelly and an improved and healthy offensive line. Others think Vick is done and it's only a matter of time before he's injured or chased by a backup.
Some feel Nick Foles is the long-term answer, citing his decent numbers despite a lack of support as a rookie in 2012. Others think he came back to earth last year and is nothing more than a career backup.
Some feel Dennis Dixon is the perfect fit for Kelly and the perfect quarterback to run an option-oriented attack. Others think he's merely a camp arm.
Some feel Matt Barkley could be the best option, due to the fact he has a lot of upside and was projected to be a first-round pick only a year ago. Others question Barkley's arm and feel he's a third-stringer as a fourth-round pick.
I can tell you this: There's a huge chasm separating what I think the Eagles will do and what I think the Eagles should do.
And so when Vick was listed as the No. 1 quarterback and Foles was placed in the fourth spot, I was attempted—foolishly, maybe—to read between the lines.
Who should be the Eagles' starting quarterback Week 1?
The fact that the Eagles gave Vick a lucrative new contract earlier this offseason indicates they will give Vick the first crack at starting. The fact that they traded up to draft Barkley indicates that they will keep him on the roster as one of the top three quarterbacks. And it might also indicate that they're less-than-confident in Foles. And the very fact that they signed Dixon, who played for Kelly at Oregon, is an indication that they will give him a shot.
The team has done things to greet and/or please Vick, Barkley and Dixon, which is why they lead my depth chart. Obviously, I don't expect Foles to be a fourth-string quarterback, but the implication is I feel the Eagles will end up waiving or releasing him.
That differs greatly from what I believe they should do. Some thoughts:
Foles is the best quarterback on the roster. What he did with no offensive line and no receivers last year was amazing. That entire offense was in ruins, and he still outplayed Vick. He's cool under pressure and strong in the pocket, and he clearly gained confidence with each start. He wasn't perfect, but keep in mind that he was a rookie third-round pick. It takes time, but that was a good first impression.
Barkley is the No. 2. He comes from a pro-style system and is extremely accurate. Arm strength is overrated in NFL prospects. Like all quarterbacks, he could be a bust, but he has the ability to become a franchise quarterback.
Vick and Dixon might suit Kelly, but they've been in this league for a combined 14 years. I'd keep one on the roster for depth and experience and to have a unique weapon, but I don't trust either of them one bit. The Eagles were smart to bring Vick back and bring Dixon in, because you can't have too many quarterbacks when you don't know for sure who your long-term starter is, but Eagles fans should be praying for Foles and/or Barkley to emerge.
And now you can begin to disagree with everything above. It's inevitable.
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