For a long time throughout this dreadful Philadelphia Eagles season, it seemed to most fans that Nick Foles was the answer to their problems. After all, the rookie was phenomenal in preseason with 507 yards passing, six touchdowns, and only two picks. Unfortunately, that wass just preseason.
This is the rigorous, sixteen-game NFL season where every down counts and defenses actually disguise their coverages.While many fans thought that Michael Vick’s concussion would suddenly spark the struggling Eagles offense with Nick Foles under center, the reality is, nothing good came out of Sunday’s 31-6 trouncing by the measly Washington Redskins. Foles was nothing short of dreadful with a 40.5 QBR, and the Eagles offense lacked consistency and purpose. Foles appeared to almost seem robotic forcing unnecessary throws and not giving his receivers a solid chance to go up for the ball. This performance shows fans how it is difficult to throw all of the blame onto Michael Vick.
While he is definitely not a perfect quarterback, his experience and raw talent give him an advantage over young rookie quarterbacks like Foles. One of the main reasons that the Eagles have struggled this season is because of the decimating injuries to the offensive line. What the Eagles have to start every Sunday is not really an offensive line, it is more of a group of large men flailing themselves desperately at experienced defensive linemen trying to slow them one way or another; that includes holding, which many Eagles lineman have now decided is legal to do. The reason the offensive line plays a role into the decision and analysis of who should be the quarterback is that when you look at the tape from Sunday’s game, it is evident that Nick Foles is very weak and underdeveloped when it comes to rolling or scrambling out of the pocket to make a throw. While Michael Vick is not the best when it comes to getting rid of the ball when he is under pressure, his elusiveness is something that defenders must account for which gives him an edge over Foles in that category of the position.
Also, Michael Vick is tough. The number of times he has been hit and sacked this year is so mind-boggling it is surprising that he made it this far into the season without an injury. The loss to the New Orleans Saints was atrocious and many put the blame on Vick, but if you look into the stats he was sacked seven times. Seven times! Think about the magnitude of that number in the sacks category. It is just unbelievable. While I am not saying that Nick Foles isn’t tough, Vick’s endurance, strength, and grit also give him an edge.
Another reason that Vick cannot be thrown under the bus is the fact that the Eagles defense and special teams have just let down the entire team. The defense cannot bring down the quarterback and is unable to get off the field on 3rd down. Also, the special teams play has been a huge disappointment. It is difficult for an offense to score points if they have to march down the field 80 yards every single possession. While it is difficult to return kick-offs with the new rule change it is still important to take advantage of the chances with solid upfield blocking and decent returns to at least the 30-35 yard line.
Basically, it is difficult to throw all of the blame onto one player or one coach. This sport is a team game, and while the coaches can only do so much, it’s the players who need to step up and make plays. While certain coaches should definitely be blamed, many of the Eagles’ struggles lie on the field where the coaches cannot control what happens. The players have to do their job, and while Michael Vick has not lived up to his potential, it is unfair to put this blame of this season onto his shoulders. It is team sport and everyone should be held accountable, not just one player.
Look for many coaching and player changes at the end of this year as the Eagles will try to bounce back after this disastrous 2012-2013 season.