Michael Vick looked like the 2011-2012 version of the polarizing quarterback on Saturday night in Jacksonville. Vick was skittish in the pocket, he missed a wide-open Brent Celek for an easy touchdown, and he threw an inexplicable interception. He just wasn’t the same player we had seen in the first two pre-season games.
Nick Foles entered the game in the fourth quarter and engineered two fourth quarter touchdown drives, one of which went for 99 yards to take the 31-24 lead. Nick Foles’ spectacular performance wasn’t anything new from him this pre-season. Foles has completed an absurd 84% of his passes, missing on just four throws all pre-season.
Not only has Foles been brilliant on the field this pre-season, but he’s handled himself with great maturity off the field. He’s been a leader despite losing the QB battle.
“I know who I am. I know who I am as a person off the field and I know who I am on the field, and I’m going to keep working at that. To be good at both. I want to be the best on and off the field, and I think everybody wants that, and it’s a battle every day to work toward that, but I’m going to do it.”
Many will make the case for Vick to be the team’s starter. Vick does have a stronger arm than Foles. He does run better than Foles does. His footwork is smoother than Foles’ footwork is, too.
But Nick Foles is the better option, and there are numerous reasons why. Foles runs the up-temp offense better than Vick does. He gets the offense to the line play after play quicker than Vick does.
Foles may not present the same threat as a runner, but he’s athletic enough to pick up 6-10 yards off the read-option.
Foles is also very good at moving in the pocket. He allows his receivers more time to get open by operating the pocket with more effectiveness than Vick.
On the play above, Michael Vick failed to reset his feet properly and the result was a pass thrown out of Brent Celek’s reach.
Foles’ arm strength is improved from last season. His accuracy on intermediate throws has also improved.
Nick Foles throws an accurate strike to Damaris Johnson between three Jaguars defenders (above). The pass is also perfectly placed, allowing Johnson to make an easy catch and gain extra yards after the catch.
Vick’s poor decision making continues to plague him – even as an 11 year veteran.
His interception on Saturday night was odd.
Vick faced pressure here, but should have taken the sack. Instead, he lofted a pass in the air that was only catchable for the Jaguars defensive back.
Vick has a bad habit of never giving up on plays. It’s great when he extends a play with his feet, but the plays where he tries to chuck the ball up while being slammed to the ground are devastating to the team.
I don’t have a clue why Vick, 11 years into the league, would throw this pass. Just take the sack. This is not quarterbacking at the NFL level.
Chip Kelly’s prolific offense doesn’t need a QB who thrives by extending plays. It needs a quarterback who can run the up-tempo offense with speed and distribute the ball quickly. Foles does these things.
The Eagles are in a rebuilding year in Chip Kelly’s first NFL season. Vick is 32 years old and is on a 1-year contract. Why not start the young, somewhat unproven Nick Foles? If Foles doesn’t perform well, the Eagles will know they do not have their franchise QB of the future. If he does, they know they have their guy.
I think Nick Foles just might be the guy.