Michael Vick is officially the most fragile quarterback in the NFL after being knocked out of two straight games in the first three weeks of the season. In Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons, Vick suffered a concussion after colliding helmets with right tackle Todd Herremans. Vick was knocked out in Week 3 after suffering what was thought to be a broken right hand. It was later found out that his hand was just bruised.
Vick started the week after his mild concussion and is also not expected to miss a start from his bruised right hand. This is great news for the Eagles, but how long until he suffers a more serious injury? More importantly, can the Eagles survive without Michael Vick? That all depends on how the backup quarterback performs and who the actual second-string quarterback is.
Mike Kafka has more experience in the Eagles offense and is 100 percent healthy. Vince Young has had limited opportunities in the Eagles offense and is still recovering from a hamstring injury. Young has a career 30-17 record while Kafka is a second-year player with zero career starts.
The Eagles certainly have the weapons on offense for any halfway decent NFL quarterback to have success within this offense. DeSean Jackson may be the fastest player in the NFL and is a threat to take it to the house on every play. Jeremy Maclin has become a complete receiver in just his third season in the league.
LeSean McCoy may be the most complete back in the NFL. He is one of the leading rushers in the NFL and is on pace for over 1,800 rushing yards through the first three weeks. He is also a great receiver out of the backfield and may be the best back in pass protection.
But how good can the Eagles really be without Michael Vick? What is their best case scenario if Vick went down with a season-ending injury?
The Patriots went 11-5 in 2008 when Matt Cassel started 15 games for Tom Brady after he suffered a torn ACL. An even more notable season-ending quarterback injury for New England happened in the 2001 season when then starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was lost for the season against the Jets in Week 2. Brady started the final 14 games and went 11-3 as a starter and led the Pats to a Super Bowl victory in the same season.
Could the Eagles do something similar if Vick was lost for the season? They certainly have the right coach if tragedy does happen. Head coach Andy Reid has seen his share of injuries to his quarterbacks during his tenure.
Michael Vick came into the 2010 season as the backup quarterback to Kevin Kolb. Vick was 8-3 as a starter in 2010, including 4-1 against the the NFC East. In 2006 Jeff Garcia took for over Donovan McNabb after he tore his ACL in a Week 11 game against the Tennessee Titans. Garcia finished 5-1 as a starter and lead the Eagles to the divisional round in the playoffs. In 2002 Koy Detmer and A.J. Feeley combined to go 5-1 as starters after McNabb suffered a a broken ankle in Week 11.
Andy Reid has proven he knows how to manage his backup quarterbacks when they are forced into action due to a serious injury to the starter. The biggest difference between the 2003 and the 2006 Eagles compared to the Eagles of 2011 is the defense. Their defense was good enough to keep them in games when the offense stalled early. This season the defense has given up 77 points, 394 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns all while just forcing three turnovers through the first three games.
It is still unclear whether Vince Young or Mike Kafka would get the nod if the worst would happen to Vick. Kafka has been the backup through the first three weeks while Young gets more familiar with the offense.
In 47 career starts for the Tennessee Titans, Young had a career record of 30-17 with 42 touchdowns and 42 interceptions with a completion percentage of 57.9 all while playing for a coach that never really wanted him. Could Vince Young lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory? Crazier things have happened.
Young is still a very good quarterback with a similar skill set to Vick. Both quarterbacks are very dangerous runners while also possessing a cannon for an arm. Once Young gets comfortable in the offense there's no reason why he couldn't succeed if Vick did go down.
Young also has earned a reputation as a fourth-quarter quarterback. Young lead two fourth-quarter comebacks during his final year in college at Texas against Ohio State and USC in the national title game. He also lead the Titans back from a 21-0 fourth-quarter deficit against the New York Giants. The Titans outscored the Giants 24-0 in the final 10 minutes.
Vince Young is a two-time Pro Bowler with playoff experience. If the rest of the Eagles team can step up their play the way they did in 2006 when Garcia took over for McNabb, then the Eagles could be fine. It wasn't so much the play of Garcia as it was the way the rest of the team played when he took over. If that happened again, the Eagles can achieve their goals with Vince Young.