The Eagles are going into what is easily the biggest game of their season thus far. They will play division rival Cowboys for the NFC East lead. This should be the main discussion but has been swept under the rug as a result of the Nick Foles vs Mike Vick debate.
"There is always open competition. If Nick goes out there and goes 100 for 100 [passing] and throws 27 touchdown passes, then yeah [he could start]." - Chip Kelly said to Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com
Despite clearly winning the QB competition and helping the Eagles put up yardage at a historic rate, Vick's status has been deemed unstable on a national scope. Foles' performance last week—22/31 for 296 yards and 3 TD's—has launched him back into the conversation of being "the guy."
The problem though, comes down to chemistry and circumstance. Despite all expectations, the Eagles could be a playoff team as a result of the division being stinky, rotting garbage. For a team with playoff chances, Chip could very well sabotage the club by making Foles the starter and destroying team chemistry.
The only two possible options for Vick after benching him would be to cut or trade him. There's no way he'll be complacent being the backup after earning the job from roughly two months of competition. It's his job and—at 33 years old with an expiring contract—Chip would be hurting his career moving forward. Vick would have to be off the team to remove the distraction. But would there be anywhere to trade him?
Looking at teams around the league, there's only one possible destination I see: Houston. They have a struggling quarterback on a playoff caliber team run by an increasingly desperate coach. It's plausible. It's also fun to note that Matt Schaub was traded to Houston because Atlanta chose Vick to be their long-term answer at QB. Having Schaub then lose his gig in Houston to Vick would be an unfortunate way to go down.
However, if Houston is unwilling to bite, then the Birds would have to cut him and work with Matt Barkley as the backup quarterback.
None of that would be beneficial when Kelly needs to prove himself to the players and the league.
Don't underestimate how important that is. Credibility means a lot in terms of recruiting players and coaches to your squad. Just consider the defensive coordinator situation.
When Chip Kelly was hired he spent a lot of time trying to find a D coordinator. There were a few names floated and one of the favorites—Jim Herrman (Linebacker coach, Giants)—opted to stay put. As a result, Kelly ended up with Billy Davis, who I thought was a bad hire from the start.
By getting this overachieving team to a playoff berth, Kelly will have more clout and allure when finding someone to replace Davis (maybe this offseason) and hopefully get his first choice. For players, it's the same thing. They'll be excited to sign with a stats-pumping playoff-caliber team with no rep of "doing players wrong" and the turnover process will finish faster.
All of this benefits Foles...next year.
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