There had been much debate over whether or not Michael Vick should have been named the Eagles' starting quarterback after Kevin Kolb's Week 1 concussion. Hell, there had been much debate on whether or not the Eagles should have signed Michael Vick to begin with. I for one had been of the thought that a player shouldn't lose his job to injury. Especially a player who had been drafted in the second round, groomed to be the starter, paid his dues and played pretty well overall in limited action.
That was until I saw Michael Vick play.
Everyone knew that Vick was an athlete, but many doubted his quarterback skill set, including me. He had admittedly always had trouble reading defenses and going through his progressions to find the open receiver. His work ethic wasn't there. He relied too much on his legs, and for good reason.
In 2009, Vick had just 13 pass attempts, completing six of them for 86 yards. It was clear that Andy Reid was not yet comfortable with Vick throwing the ball, most likely for some of the reasons mentioned above. Vick was used almost exclusively as a Wildcat gimmick player.
If someone would have told me that one year later, in just 12 games Vick would throw for over 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns, run for another nine, and be mentioned in the MVP race, I would have called them a liar.
Now that the season is over, and the emotions of a disappointing early round playoff loss have simmered a bit, the Eagles have no doubt turned their attention to next season.
With a defensive overhaul underway, it's obvious the Eagles view the defense as their biggest problem.
Many are still wondering who the new defensive coordinator will be, all the while, a much bigger question remains.
What will the Eagles do with Michael Vick?
Here are five reasons why the Eagles may not be bringing back Michael Vick...
It's obvious that part of what makes Michael Vick such a threat is his running ability. You can talk about Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young, Donovan McNabb or Randall Cunningham until you're blue in the face, but Michael Vick is undoubtedly the most dangerous quarterback of all time when it comes to scrambling and running.
As great as he is at getting away from defenders, his elusiveness has become somewhat of a double-edged sword.
At 6'0", 215 lbs., Vick is not the biggest guy in the world and there isn't a quarterback in the league that is outside of the pocket as much as he is. The more you're outside the pocket, the greater the chance of taking a bit hit, and Vick took plenty of them this year.
Sure, quarterbacks get crushed inside the pocket too, as did Vick, but his style of play puts him at a far greater risk of getting seriously injured, and he made it clear several times throughout the season that he will not change the way he plays the game.
If I'm the Eagles and I'm about to lay out a huge contract like Vick will likely garner, that has to be in the back of my mind. The last thing you want to do is pay a guy a ton of money and have him get seriously injured. I realize you can't live in fear, but one would think that an organization like the Eagles, who are strictly business, would factor that into their final decision.
Banner and the Eagles aren't keen on older, expensive players.
At the start of the 2011 season, Michael Vick will be 31 years old.
If there isn't a season in 2011 because of the whole CBA mess, he'll be 32 before he steps foot back onto a football field.
Being 31 years old in real life is not that old at all, but in professional football, it's like life in dog years.
When you add up all of the wear and tear, being 31 in the NFL is like being 41 in real life. You can still probably move around well enough to get by, but there are plenty of people around you who are in far greater shape than you are, whether you want to realize it or not.
We all know what the Eagles think of players once they hit 30. They know as much as anyone that professional football is a young man's game.
As much as I hated to see guys like Brian Dawkins, Brian Westbrook and Jeremiah Trotter leave Philadelphia, I must say that looking back on those moves, they were the right ones to make. The Eagles always seem to know when to cut a guy loose, even if the fans think otherwise. Almost every player who was close to or past 30 that they didn't bring back did very little with their next team.
One could make the argument that Vick has fresher legs than the average 31-year-old player because of his two years in prison. I can buy that a little bit, but again with his style of play, it only takes one hit to turn a 31-year-old into an old man in the NFL.
Vick's age presents issues other than just losing a step or two. The average age of the core position players is just 23. With Vick being 31, that is an eight-year difference.
Jeremy Maclin is 22. DeSean Jackson is 24. Brent Celek is 26 and LeSean McCoy is 22.
So why does this matter?
Well, it might not matter in year one of Vick's deal, but with the beating that he takes, by year three it very well could.
Do the Eagles really want to pay Michael Vick a ton of money, only to see him potentially lose a step when at the same time, the rest of the offense is just hitting its prime?
When you look around the league, some of the best offenses are the one's that have grown up together and had a steady hand at quarterback.
They have a certain type of chemistry that can't be replicated through free agency.
I'm not saying that Vick doesn't have chemistry with these guys because clearly he does. They all love him, and for good reason.
Vick and his agent Joel Segal will no doubt be looking for at minimum a three-year deal and it won't be some rookie-style, incentive-laden deal, with triggers and bonuses and the like. They are going to want guaranteed money because this will likely be Michael Vick's last NFL contract.
The question is, will the Eagles lay out the cash for someone who will be 35 or 36 years old at the end of his deal? If history repeats itself, the answer to that question is obvious.
I am a college football junkie. When most people are watching American Idol, I'm watching the Thursday night college football game on channel 584 that no one else cares about. You know the games I'm talking about—Tennessee Chattanooga vs. University of New Hampshire.
It was on that channel that I saw several of the University of Houston's games where this kid was just slinging the ball all over the field. He must have thrown the ball 50+ times per game. He made good decisions with the ball, had a quick release, was extremely accurate, mobile and had the leadership of a 10-year veteran. He was a true field general.
So unlike many, I actually knew who Kevin Kolb was before he was drafted by Philadelphia in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft and I was ecstatic when the Eagles picked him.
Kolb was the first true freshman to ever start for the University of Houston and almost single-handedly put them back on the college football map, and in the process turned them into perennial Conference USA contenders. He finished his college career having started a whopping 50 games with 12,954 passing yards, 85 passing TDs, 21 rushing TDs and a 99 quarterback rating. These numbers no doubt caught the eye of one Andy Reid, who if nothing else, knows a quarterback when he sees one.
But enough about his collegiate career.
With the electrifying play of Michael Vick, it's easy to forget that Kevin Kolb was the NFC Player of the Week twice, this season.
That might not seem like a big deal, but it's pretty good considering he only played five full games.
I'm not however mistaking Kolb for the next John Elway. In fact when you look at his overall numbers, you can make a good argument that he has been inconsistent, and I think he has been to a point, but keep in mind he is 26 years old and has only appeared in 19 games, never playing in more than four games consecutively.
I certainly don't want to make excuses for him, but in my opinion, that has really hindered his ability to develop a true rhythm with the offense, which as everyone knows, is based heavily on timing and rhythm.
I think after he gets a good 10-12 consecutive games under his belt, his timing will improve as will his chemistry with the other players.
Realistically, you can say the book is still out on Kevin Kolb, but being 26 years old, he should only improve with experience, and if good for nothing else, Andy Reid certainly knows how to coach quarterbacks.
I'm not telling you that Kevin Kolb is better than Michael Vick.
They are obviously two very different players, but I really think Kolb has what it takes to be successful in this offense, especially given the weapons that he would have at his disposal.
The fact that he is talented, knows the offense and is five years younger than Michael Vick is something I'm sure the Eagles will have to think about before committing to Vick for the long haul.
If you think the Eagles signed Michael Vick out of prison, took on all the negative press from the media and their own fans because they knew he would be their quarterback of the future, you need to put down the green Kool-Aid.
The Eagles are as hard-nosed an organization as there is in the NFL. They are about business and nothing else.
There is one reason and one reason only that the Eagles took a chance on Michael Vick last year.
For trade bait.
Looking like a hero in front of the nation for giving a man a second chance at life was just a bonus, but something they surely knew might have happened.
They were trying to flip a house. The problem is, they didn't fix it up enough before they put it back on the market.
It's why the first year of his contract was only worth just $1.4 million. They thought they could buy low and sell high.
If you didn't know, the Eagles actually tried trading Michael Vick last offseason but there were no takers.
It's because as I mentioned in "Reason 1," Vick had only 13 pass attempts in 2009, and the Eagles did a poor job of building his value enough to get other teams to notice. The only thing a possible suitor could go off of is what they saw on film, which was an occasional bootleg or broken Wildcat play and a few handoffs.
Do you think the Eagles would jostle Vick in and out of the lineup for Wildcat plays, breaking up McNabb and the rest of the offense's rhythm because they thought it would work? Maybe they were dumb enough to believe that, but mainly they were doing it to get him on film so they could build his value to trade him.
Fast-forward to present day. Michael Vick's market value will never be higher than right now. The problem is with no CBA in place, trades cannot be executed and because of the CBA and a certain clause that Vick had in his contract, the Eagles must franchise him before negotiating a contract, which would no doubt complicate the possibility of a sign-and-trade.
It doesn't look easy, but's it's not out of the question that the Eagles will look to somehow deal Michael Vick, if for no other reason than to make good on their original plan.
They're stubborn in that way.
I realize that Vick had a career year, but this is a fair question to ask, is it not?
When you saw him play in Atlanta, he always had trouble reading through his progressions. If the first guy wasn't open, he would look to run. He was antsy in the pocket. His mechanics were flawed, and he forced a ton of throws into double coverage.
I don't want to bash him too much because he played very well overall this year, but I think watching the last four or five games of the season, you could make the argument that Michael Vick actually regressed back to his old form.
The big plays that Vick makes sometimes make you forget about some of the things he does wrong.
He threw seven interceptions in his last six games, and if it weren't for defensive backs dropping balls that were thrown right to them, he could have easily finished the year with 15 or more interceptions.
On top of that, he began to make some highly questionable decisions with the football, like throwing it into coverage, and the worst decision of all, the interception that ended the playoff game against Green Bay.
I don't know if he'll ever live that play down.
It was a mistake from the very start. With only :44 seconds left, with no timeouts at the 27-yard line, and after getting a first down, there isn't a quarterback in any league—whether it be Pop Warner, high school, college, CFL, NFL Europe, anywhere—that wouldn't have spiked that ball.
The fact that he didn't spike the ball was one thing, but then staring down your receiver, who is a rookie by the way, and making one of the worst throws I've ever seen him make against one of the league's best young cornerbacks, was another.
The Eagles could have taken several more shots at the end zone, and potentially won the game.
I'm not saying Michael Vick isn't any good because of that one play, but what is scary about that is you can coach a lot of things, but you can't coach instincts, and that's exactly what that play was.
You can say what you want about how good Michael Vick was, but at the end of the day, the end result was a 10-6 season with a playoff loss to end it, and as the saying goes, you're only as good as your record.
The Eagles will have to decide whether or not Vick is on the upside, or the downside of his career.
You would think that 13 games would be enough time to figure that out, but with defenses figuring him out, and the fact that he was just so beat up by the end of the year, it will be tough to know whether or not Vick can sustain this level of play over the next three, four or five years.