Michael Vick played in 12 games last year, completed six passes for 86 yards, rushed 24 times for 95 yards, and accounted for three touchdowns.
It certainly sounds like the Eagles were a little foolish to pick up his $1.5 million bonus in March. And they may seem like blithering idiots if they pay him $3.75 million for the upcoming 2010-11 season, especially after his latest run in with the law, which stemmed from a June 25th birthday celebration that ended with Quanis Phillips, a co-defendant in Vick’s dog fighting case, being shot.
If Vick finds himself in legal trouble once again, it is safe to say Eagles will release him faster than he can run the 40-yard dash.
Most people would assume to get rid of him now and not even wait for things to shake out.
That would be a huge mistake.
You simply cannot undervalue the importance of a quality backup quarterback in the NFL.
Go back through the years and look at the backup quarterbacks who stepped in and helped teams get to the Super Bowl, and in some cases win the Super Bowl. The list includes players such as Doug Williams, Jeff Hostetler, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. Even players like Kerry Collins and Tony Romo came off the bench to help right their respective team’s ship.
In Philadelphia we saw quarterbacks such as Koy Detmer, AJ Feeley, and Jeff Garcia lead the Eagles into the playoffs while Donovan McNabb was on the shelf.
I’m not here to say Vick is a great quarterback, but when you reflect on the list of backups who succeeded in the NFL, you can’t tell me it always takes a special talent to succeed.
And the fact that Vick is backing up an unproven quarterback in Kevin Kolb makes him even more valuable to the team this season.
Kolb is going to experience some difficult moments on and off the field this season.
On the field, he is going to see defensive packages that will confuse him. He is going to find himself in pressure situations that he is not used to. And yes, he will probably hear boos raining down on him if stinks up the joint.
Off the field, he will have to deal with questions from the media, fans and possibly family. He will even have to deal with the grind of the NFL schedule.
Think about this for a moment: The Eagles do not have back-to-back home games until weeks 16 and 17. They have a pair of back-to-back road games in weeks two and three and 14 and 15. That means Kolb is going to so do some serious back and forth traveling, including a West Coast trip to San Francisco. He will experience what it is like to play on Monday Night Football against division rival Washington and then play the New York Giants on a short week of preparation.
If those kinds of situations can negatively affect a veteran quarterback, I can assure you it will hurt Kolb at someone point this season.
Also, don’t forget the fact that Andy Reid likes to throw the football more often than not. The significance of that means Kolb will be exposed to constant hits. And with a frame that holds 218 pounds, Kolb more closely resembles the stature of Detmer than McNabb.
All of that adds up to Kolb running a high risk for injury. It is true that Kolb does not have a history of finding the sidelines due to injury. But then again neither did McNabb until he stepped into Reid’s pass-happy system.
So, are you beginning to see the value of having a backup quarterback that is capable of running the offense?
And if Vick is gone, who do you go after? Jeff Garcia? Do you really want a 40-year old rag-arm quarterback? He wouldn’t be the worst option, but Vick is clearly a better fit than Garcia.
Even though Vick’s stats were abysmal last year, all of the above information points to Vick having the opportunity to step in and help the Eagles win games.
Let’s be honest, that’s what we care about most in Philadelphia.