This was supposed to be the year everything comes together for the Philadelphia Eagles. Not just big names and free agent signings, but what looked like a very complete and solid team all around. Six weeks into the season, Michael Vick turning the ball 14 times is pretty the bottom line.
Vick is a gamble, but usually a one worth taking. As much as his carlesness with the ball has cost the Eagles this season, causing their offense to rank 31st in the NFL, he’s led four fourth quarter comebacks. Despite the thoughts of giving Nick Foles a chance and benching Vick, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Because Vick is causing turnovers not just because of bad plays. He’s simply been taking a beating this season, and not soley for his out-of-the-pocket wanderings. With left tackle Jason Peters and Center Jason Kelce injured, he has to try and escape his way from a sack, because there’s been no protection. They’re tied for sixth in the NFL in allowed sacks, with 17, but Vick takes a lot of hits way beyond the scrimmage line as well.
How bad is it? He was hit 69 times in 13 games last season, an average of 5.3 per game. This season? He’s already been hit 50 times, an average of 8.2 per game. He’s been knocked to the ground 103 times, and took contact an additional 44 times without hitting the floor. Looking at these numbers, it feels like a miracle he hasn’t been injured yet.
And Andy Reid goes and fires the defensive coordinator while his defense is ranked 12th in the NFL at the moment. Howard Mudd, the offensive line coach, is going nowhere at the moment, despite all of the offensive problems and holes in the offensive lines. He’s getting desperate, but still not enough to throw in Foles. And what chance does a rookie quarterback have without any kind of protection?
Few can avoid the first wave as well as Vick does, and he’s still getting pummeled behind the line, getting forced on the ground 18 times against the Detroit Lions. All the talent in the world around him, including one of the best running backs in the NFL in LeSean McCoy, but as we see with plenty of teams around the league (Dallas Cowboys), offensive talent means nothing with a quarterback that’s more busy figuring out ways how to come out safe of plays than actually completing them.
At 3-3, the Eagles aren’t much closer to solving their offensive problems. Benching Vick isn’t going to help. Finding a way to protect him is the best solution, but it’s one that Andy Reid might not be able to come up with.