Why Philadelphia Eagles Can't Afford to Start Michael Vick Again This Season

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Why Philadelphia Eagles Can't Afford to Start Michael Vick Again This Season
(Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)

Oh, quarterback controversies. There's no getting rid of this one in Philadelphia, not after Nick Foles' awful performance against the Dallas Cowboys

The big question for now is who will start this week.

Michael Vick isn't fully healed from his hamstring injury, but he will likely play against the Giants. Foles sustained and is recovering from a concussion, leaving rookie Matt Barkley as the only fully healthy quarterback. 

If I were Chip Kelly, my starting quarterback for this week, assuming Foles can't go, would be Barkley. And once Foles was healthy, he'd be my starter for the rest of the season. 

What about Michael Vick?

I'd keep him on the bench as the backup for the rest of the season. When his contract ends, making him a free agent, I would not re-sign him. That would end his career in Philadelphia after four seasons and zero playoff victories. 

Who should be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season?

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How can I justify not starting Vick?

Easy.

I've talked about it many times, both on here and via Twitter. Michael Vick is a short-term, stopgap option. When you have an opportunity to move on from a stopgap, you take it. 

Over the season's final nine games, Nick Foles and Matt Barkley have an opportunity to make their case as the quarterback of the future. 

Foles (or Barkley) could fall flat on his face, as he did against the Cowboys this past Sunday, which would leave the Eagles needing to draft a quarterback—preferably in the first round of the 2014 draft.

But what if Foles plays well?

What if the quarterback who has a 101.2 passer rating with zero turnovers this season actually locks down the starting job over the second half of the season? What if Foles continues to improve each time he takes the field, with the exception of one hideous outing against Dallas?

Remember, Foles has played in approximately half a season over his short career. He's thrown for 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. His passer rating is 84.7. He's played well enough to give the Eagles an opportunity to win almost every time he takes the field.

Look, no one is saying Foles is going to be the next Joe Montana.

He may very well be best suited as a career backup. But how can you possibly give up on a quarterback following one brutal start? You think every quarterback made it clear within the first few games of his career whether he was a long-term starter?

Peyton Manning threw 11 interceptions in his first four games and 28 in his first season. Troy Aikman went 0-11 as a starter. Eli Manning had a 0.0 passer rating late in his rookie season. 

Foles is not the first quarterback in history to have a really bad game (and incredibly, he still didn't commit a turnover). 

At this point, the Eagles know what they have in Michael Vick.

He's exciting, electric and can be dominant. But he's also inconsistent, lacks any form of awareness and can't play a month without missing time with an injury. Even if Kelly does keep Vick as his quarterback, he'll have to go back to Foles at one point when Vick gets hurt again. 

Chip Kelly should just end the debate, once and for all.

Stand behind Nick Foles and let him know that he's the guy for the rest of the season. If he plays well, great. He can be the starter in 2014. And if he struggles, you know you need to draft a quarterback in 2014.

But if you play Vick for the rest of the season, you're right back where you started. You either draft a quarterback in the first round anyway, or you have another quarterback competition without knowing how good (or bad) Foles really is. 

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