After seven months on the job, yet sooner than some anticipated, Chip Kelly has decided who will be the quarterback of his offense in his first year as Eagles’ head coach. The man is none other than Michael Vick, Andy Reid’s quarterback for the past three years in Philadelphia. Upon Kelly’s hiring, many felt that Vick could be rejuvenated due to success Kelly has had with mobile quarterbacks in the past. Doubters said that he lacked the ability to make quick decisions, something required in Kelly’s offense. Either way, Vick is the man in Philadelphia for 2013 and we are bound to find out just how well Kelly can actually utilize him.
Vick has been nothing short of spectacular so far this preseason. Nick Foles did not play bad by any stretch of the imagination, but Vick went above and beyond to snatch the job. Vick also seems as comfortable and confident he has since he was the MVP runner-up in 2010. The looming question is whether the Eagles will see the 2010 Vick or the injury and turnover-prone Vick from 2011 and 2012.
The truth is anything is possible. One would believe based off his training camp and preseason performance that Vick will make a smooth transition to this offense and the Eagles are primed to win games. That is entirely possible. Also, there is a very realistic chance that we have not seen the end of this quarterback controversy.
Since taking over for Kevin Kolb in Week 2 of the 2010 season, Vick has missed 12 starts due to injury. Even if he plays well early on this season, the injury bug could bite yet again and we will see (in all likelihood) Nick Foles, who proved he is capable of running Kelly’s offense. Anyone who has watched the Eagles over the years knows that one or two good games by a backup immediately means a quarterback controversy (ask A.J. Feeley and Donovan McNabb).
Kelly selecting Vick to be his quarterback this season means several things. One, Vick executed this offense the best of any of the quarterbacks throughout camp and the preseason. Secondly, Kelly is trying to win now. There is no “rebuilding.” Players and fans know that Kelly is trying to win this year by going with the 33-year-old Vick as opposed to starting Foles or Matt Barkley and letting them develop over time. Kelly’s choice also means that he recognizes Vick as the leader of the locker room. Vick’s teammates look up to him as a role model after all that he has gone through in life. Vick also takes on a larger-than-life persona among his peers, as many of his younger teammates grew up idolizing Vick on the Atlanta Falcons in the early 2000s. This made the decision to start Vick a popular one in the locker room. Not to mention, when the Riley Cooper drama took over the locker room a few weeks ago, it was Vick who took it upon himself to bring the team together. He spoke about giving Cooper a second chance, something Vick is obviously very familiar with.
Chip Kelly made the right decision selecting Michael Vick as his starter for 2013. The Eagles are not committed to him beyond this season, making the Vick-Kelly experiment a low-risk, high-reward situation. Due to Vick’s injury history, we still may see Foles and/or Barkley play this season. The final win-loss record of the Eagles behind Vick this season is anybody’s guess, but this decision is a testament to Chip Kelly realizing who the leader of the Eagles is and taking another giant step toward fully winning this locker room over as a head coach.
Next step: Winning games.