5 Reasons Michael Vick Is Still a Franchise Cornerstone for Philadelphia Eagles

Randy JobstSenior Analyst IDecember 21, 2011

5 Reasons Michael Vick Is Still a Franchise Cornerstone for Philadelphia Eagles

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    Michael Vick entered the 2011 season as the Eagles franchise quarterback, coming off a 2010 season where he played like an MVP-caliber player. 2011 was supposed to be a special season for Vick with a much-improved offensive line and all his key skills-players back.

    However, 2011 has been a season of regression for Vick at times. He has struggled to read both blitzes and coverages and has been a turnover machine with 16 total turnovers in 11 starts this season. Some experts have even suggested that the Eagles should draft a quarterback early in next April's draft.

    Even with Vick's struggles this season, he is still a cornerstone to the Eagles organization.

    He has shown what an impact he makes on the offense in the last two weeks, and his ability to read defenses has greatly improved as well.

    Michael Vick still gives the Eagles the best chance to win. He will continue to be their franchise quarterback as long as his body allows him to. At 31, there's no reason why he can't continue to play at an elite level for the next three or four years at the very least.

1. Michael Vick Is Andy Reid's Best Quarterback Project

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    Andy Reid is an absolute quarterback-guru. It's his speciality as a football coach.

    He made Donovan McNabb look like an All Pro for a decade. He turned second-round draft pick Kevin Kolb into a future second-round pick and a starting cornerback in less than half a season's work as a starter. He lead an over-the-hill Jeff Garcia to a 5-1 finish in 2006 when the season looked to be lost following a season-ending injury to McNabb.

    But Reid's greatest accomplishment as a quarterback coach will be Michael Vick.

    When Reid got Vick three years ago, he was just released from federal prison and reinstated into the NFL following serious dog-fighting charges. Reid had to help Vick not only become a complete quarterback but rebuild his image as well.

    Vick has proven to be a solid pocket-passer to go along with his running and his ability to make any throw on the run as well.

    The last hurdle for Vick as a complete passer has been his ability to read coverages and pick-up on the blitz. He didn't show much in those areas prior to his rib injury that cost him three starts, but in his last two games back from the injury, he has made great strides.

2. Last Two Weeks

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    Michael Vick's return from a three-game absence due to a rib injury has rejuvenated him this season. Vick has thrown for 482 yards and two touchdowns to go along with his first rushing touchdown last week against the Jets.

    He lead the Eagles to two straight wins over the Dolphins and the Jets. Both teams were coming in with a lot of confidence but left scratching their heads.

    Vick's performance against the Jets was the one that really stood out. He completed 15-of-22 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown. He did throw one interception, but it came on a first-half-ending Hail Mary pass.

    Vick wasn't perfect on every single throw, but he managed the game beautifully. He was even calling out the Jet's coverages throughout the game. It was the type of game that the Eagles need out of Vick.

    Everyone knows about his ability to launch deep passes or make plays with his feet, but when he starts breaking down defenses and dissecting coverages, it almost becomes unfair for defenses.

3. His Playmaking Ability

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    The one aspect of Michael Vick's game that will always stand out is his ability as a playmaker—not just as a runner, but his ability to buy time in the pocket and keep plays alive.

    But the one aspect of his game that will be his biggest downfall is his playmaker mentality.

    They both go hand-in-hand.

    Vick makes plays on the run that no other quarterback can make. He can launch the football 50 yards down the field with just a quick flick of his wrist. He also keeps plays alive when there is nothing there, making throws that no quarterback in the NFL has any business making.

    Michael Vick is a playmaker at heart. As he gets more comfortable in the Eagles offense, we will eventually start to see less of Vick forcing the ball into either double-coverage or across the field, and his great plays will easily outnumber his mistakes.

    Last week's performance against the Jets was evidence of that.

4. Who Else Would Replace Vick?

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    To all the Eagles fans out there who don't believe in Michael Vick as the franchise quarterback anymore, who else ya got?

    Vince Young has thrown eight interceptions in just three starts this season. Peyton Manning isn't coming to Philadelphia anytime soon, and there won't be anyone available at the Eagles' first-round draft pick that would be worth investing an early pick on.

    The grass is always greener on the other side, and I think most Eagles fans have been guilty of that with Michael Vick this season. Most fans and experts alike have believed at one point this season that Vick wasn't the answer in Philly.

    But give Andy Reid credit, he never waivers and never jumps ship. He has stuck it out with Vick this season despite the high number of turnovers, and it is now starting to pay off.

    Regardless of the outcome of the Eagles season, the offense will be in good hands with Michael Vick in 2012 and beyond.

5. The Rest of the Offense Feeds off of Vick

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    The most underrated aspect of Michael Vick within the Eagles offense is the impact he has on his teammates. LeSean McCoy, Brent Celek and company seemed to have been rejuvenated with the return of Vick to the lineup.

    McCoy has 168 total yards and five touchdowns since Vick has returned, while Celek has had 195 receiving yards on nine catches and one touchdown since he came back in Week 14.

    Vick has also done a great job of getting all of his receivers involved, as he has completed passes to four different wide receivers, two different tight ends and his star running back since his return from the rib injury.

    His impact with his teammates has led to the Eagles outscoring their last two opponents 71-29 en route to back-to-back victories.

    If Vick can sustain this resurgence, there is no reason why everyone won't get back on the Michael Vick bandwagon. He will be the franchise quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles for years to come, or at least until his six-foot-nothing body can't handle the punishment of being a star NFL quarterback anymore.