July 23, 2012; Bethlehem, PA. USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks Trent Edwards (11), Michael Vick (7), Mike Kafka (3) and Nick Foles (9) during training camp at Lehigh University. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Foles vs. Vick: The Final Showdown

With Nick Foles breaking a bone in his right hand, Mike Vick will step in and take the reigns to lead this abysmal Eagles season to its merciful conclusion. So it seems like now is as good a time as any to put a final comparison out there between the precocious rookie and the electric vet.

With skill sets as different as these two possess, you’d think by now that there would be a clear consensus as to which the Eagles should move forward with. But with inevitable coaching changes on the horizon, fans and the media are as confused as ever as to what attributes these two quarterbacks show that should be praised, and which should be looked down on.

Here’s my take.

Foles, right now as a rookie, is better at certain things than Vick is. Pre-snap reads, post-snap reads, audibles, pocket mobility. And the fact that as a rookie, he’s better than Vick at those things is pretty sad for Vick. Vick’s been in the league a long time. He should have honed those skills by now.

But, (and this is a big but) Foles does not now, nor will he ever possess the “skill” that Vick does. Vick is faster, stronger, and more athletic. If Vick had better pocket presence/mobility and the ability to process his reads better, he could be the greatest QB the league has ever seen. He really could fulfill Marty Mornhinweg’s ill-fated preseason boast that he could be a latter day Steve Young.

Foles on the other hand has no chance to be that guy because he’s simply not as athletically gifted as Vick. At best, and I mean absolute hands down, million to one chance, best, the hope for myself at least, is that Foles can become Tom Brady-light.

At worst, and honestly most likely, he’s Bobby Hoying 2.0. Either way, he needs lots of work on his mechanics, recognition skills (Better than Vick’s, though they may be) and overall strength to become even a quality NFL starter in the mold of a Matt Schaub.

I think where most people involved in this discussion tend to differ is in what they see as his ceiling based on attributes we’ve gotten glimpses of so far. I really think it’s as simple as whether you’re coming at it from the angle of brains, or if you’re coming at it from the angle of athleticism.

A truly great QB, like Aaron Rodgers, of course has a fantastic combination of both. In my view, Foles has enough athleticism, that if he augments that “mediocre” athleticism with quality reads, quality audibles, intelligent decision-making, leadership skills, guts, work ethic, etcetera, etcetera, then he has a pretty good chance of being a quality starter in this league.

Vick on the other hand, has all the athleticism in the world, but couldn’t consistently audible his way out of a paper bag. Many obviously disagree.

Now, that being said, if there were an Andrew Luck or RGIII in this draft class, would anyone in Eagles Nation be banking on Foles? Of course we wouldn’t. And that’s an important aspect of all this.

I want Foles to maybe be the guy going forward because he’s got room to improve from where he’s at, and I don’t think Vick does, and there don’t seem to me to be any other worthwhile options in the draft or free agency.

I loved Vick when he was putting up 50 points on Monday night in 2010 and things were golden. I was hopeful he’d continue his upward trend. But that’s in the past. What has he done for us lately, besides fumble the ball and throw interceptions?

Many fundamentally disagree on whether or not Vick is a “quality” starter at this point in his career. But don’t mistake it. He’s insanely talented still, and if we had a run heavy offense with quick reads, he’d probably play well.

But what concerns me most about him is now that his talent has started to wane, he hasn’t developed or honed the necessary skills to continue to survive as a quarterback in the NFL. Nothing else about his ability to play QB has improved. He’s the same player he was when he took the Falcons to the NFCCG, but with decreasing athleticism. Thus I don’t think he’s an elite QB anymore, and when his decline really starts to set in, it will be precipitous.

Will he start somewhere in the league next year? Yes. Will it be with the Eagles? Only the new coach will know that, but it won’t be at the price tag he currently carries.

I just like certain attributes that I see out of Foles mentally (and to a lesser extent physically), and am cautiously optimistic that he continues to develop those, while simultaneously developing his weaknesses enough that he can become a good or, if we’re really, really, really lucky, great QB.

The 2012 draft has, in hindsight, turned out to have a really amazing amount of Quarterback talent. In the end, what’s most important for the Eagles is that they evaluate Foles on who he is. Not who he isn’t. Comparing him incessantly to Andrew Luck, RGIII or Russell Wilson is pointless.

He is his own man, with his own strengths and weaknesses. Count me among those that believe he’s at least earned a chance to be the starter going into 2013.

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