Philadelphia Eagles Fans Should Be Pulling for Anyone but Vick in QB Competition

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJune 18, 2013

May 20, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks Michael Vick (7) G.J. Kinne (4) fourth round draft pick Matt Barkley (2) and Nick Foles (9) drop back to pass during organized team activities at the NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Certainly, most Philadelphia Eagles fans are approaching the looming training camp quarterback competition with a "may the best man win" philosophy. But that doesn't mean you can't hope that the best man winds up being either Nick Foles or Matt Barkley, rather than Michael Vick

And if you're thinking about the long-term health of the franchise, that should probably be your mentality.

Vick, who turns 33 in a week, has 34 turnovers in 23 starts since the beginning of the 2011 season. He's a dynamic athlete with one hell of high ceiling, but it's a little late in the game now to expect him to become a consistently reliable franchise quarterback. He's stuck between being that and a stopgap, and while he hasn't always been the main problem in Philadelphia, he's probably not the team's long-term solution at this stage of his career.

Statistically, Foles did more than Vick despite having less to work with last season. And when you consider that Foles was a rookie third-round pick and Vick was a 10-year veteran, that should be enough to convince you that the guy deserves another shot. 

They say he's not suited for Chip Kelly's offense, but neither is Vick, really. Foles gets the ball out faster, has a stronger pocket presence, avoids pressure and is fairly calm and cool when dropping back. And while he's not the most accurate quarterback in the world, he turns it over less often than Vick. 

The problem is that many of you have warped expectations for rookie quarterbacks. Guys like Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson have raised the bar to an impossibly high level. What Foles did last year with a terrible defense, a depleted offensive line and backup wide receivers and running backs would have been considered nothing short of amazing half a decade ago. 

I don't care how many games the Eagles lost with Foles at the helm (notice I didn't say how many games "he" lost), because that was a bad team all around. They gave up 31.3 points per game during his seven appearances, which was a whole touchdown more than they surrendered when Vick started.

As a result, Foles had to throw more passes with a banged-up group of weapons and protectors (he threw 11 more passes per game than Wilson and Griffin), and he still managed to post a higher rookie passer rating than former top picks Peyton Manning, Carson Palmer, Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford.

Foles is 24. Barkley is 22. They should be your top two candidates for this job. We've seen what Foles can do and it's hard to imagine him failing to build on that in year two. Barkley was the team's second quarterback taken with a top-100 pick in as many years, so there's hope there, too. He was handpicked by Kelly, who will certainly enjoy having such an accurate young arm in camp. 

Wouldn't you rather have the future start now? If this is going to be a promising new chapter for a franchise still craving its first Super Bowl victory, the ideal scenario involves either of those guys starting Week 1, with Vick taking his turnovers elsewhere.