The Philadelphia Eagles have two quarterbacks on their roster who are capable of starting, but for injury reasons, rookie Nick Foles has replaced Michael Vick as the starter at least for a week. What can’t be ignored, however, is the fact that in a few weeks, Vick could have been benched anyway for his relatively poor play so far this season. In addition, Foles wasn’t exactly dominant in three quarters against Dallas last week.
What is lucky, however, is that they are two different types of quarterback so both can learn from each other. Foles is a natural pocket passer with a strong arm and a good ability to read coverages while Vick is a freakish athlete with the ability to escape tricky situation with his legs. While neither is perfect, both has his strengths, and these are the things No. 7 and No. 9 can learn from each other:
What Nick Foles Can Learn From Michael Vick
If there is one thing Michael Vick is great at, it is making plays with his feet. Nick Foles did an okay job of extending the play by leaving the pocket, but he could benefit from Vick’s tutelage when it comes to sensing the right time to run away from the rush instead of throwing into it.
Foles had a couple plays where he held the ball too long, tried to throw the ball into pressure, or ran from the pocket too early and his receivers’ routes were thus ruined. While he does a good job in normal pocket situations, it’s scary to see him try and face the blitz because he’s not as experienced/athletic as Vick. Hopefully he can learn the ropes and become a strong pocket passer with the mobility of a Tony Romo or even Ben Roethlisberger.
2. Better Decision-Making Skills
Michael Vick is no genius when it comes to reading defenses or making decisions as a passer, but he’s definitely improved and Foles could definitely learn from that. Against Dallas, Foles threw one interception and two other passes that should’ve been interceptions. He had trouble identifying coverages in the middle of plays and often threw it into tight/double-coverage.
While Vick did plenty of that early in the season, he’s started to cut his turnovers by making smarter throws and not forcing the ball into coverage. Foles needs to do the same by recognizing zone/Man 2 coverages and understanding that he needs to lead his receiver away from the corner underneath and the safety over the top or move on to his next option instead of trying to be a hero. He has good arm strength and great accuracy, but he would be well-served to test those two on the long, 35-yard vertical routes instead of intermediate patterns where balls are easy to pick off in tight coverage.
What Michael Vick Can Learn From Nick Foles
1. Pocket Presence
If there is anything Michael Vick lacks completely, it is pocket presence. When he is about to get drilled or even feels pressured, his throws becomes erratic as he compensates for the impact by throwing off his back foot or switching his arm angle. Nick Foles, on the other hand, stood tall in the pocket against Dallas and fired strikes to receivers even in the face of pressure. That is a defining quality for a quarterback, because it is the difference between completing a 3rd down pass and moving the chains and going three-and-out on every possession.
I don’t whether it is “poise” or just the fact that he hasn’t taken as much of a beating as Vick has, but Foles at the current time has much more pocket presence than Vick. He knows how to take a hit and still make a throw; if Vick were able to do that, he’d be infinitely more dangerous than he already is because teams would know that added pressure would do little to faze him.
Another thing that Michael Vick lacks somewhat is trust in his wide receivers, something on display when Foles was in the game. Instead of throwing a ball deep to his receiver where he can make a play, he overthrows it by five to make sure the cornerback can’t get it. While some may blame his accuracy, I think it’s somewhat mental. He doesn’t have the trust in his receivers to go down the field and make an effort to take the ball from defensive backs; sure, they weren’t vert trustworthy last year, but that has changed with DeSean’s new contract and Jeremy Maclin’s newfound attitude. Both players are fast/athletic enough to beat a defensive back to a spot and make a play if Vick just gives them the chance.
Nick Foles did a great job of that, which is part of the reason he made a bunch of key throws down the field to Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant. He put the ball in a spot where his receivers could make a play, and make a play they did. And even after an unlucky bounce resulted in an interception, Foles came right back to his receivers with darts into somewhat tight coverage. Trust is another must for a elite quarterback: just ask Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers.