Michael Vick has been sidelined with an injury in each of the Philadelphia Eagles' first two preseason games. The 32-year-old quarterback hasn't played in all 16 regular-season games since the 2006 campaign, when he was with the Atlanta Falcons. Expectations are high in Philly; can the Eagles make the playoffs if Vick isn't healthy for the entire season?
It's easy to say the Eagles will be done if Michael Vick is out for a number of games, and heading into last night's win over the New England Patriots, I probably would've said as much. But the way rookie Nick Foles played makes me think: If he's the No. 3 quarterback, looking poised and decisive, maybe the Eagles can withstand a few games without Vick.
It's almost a foregone conclusion that Vick won't be healthy for all 16 games. The key for the Eagles, really, is simply getting to the playoffs, then hoping Vick is ready when they do. With so many weapons on offense, and a defensive line that can take over games, they can withstand a few Sundays without their leader. The way Foles played only proved that a little bit more.
For the Eagles to make the postseason in 2012, they absolutely need Michael Vick to stay healthy. Rookie signal-caller Nick Foles has performed admirably during the preseason, but I don't believe he is ready to take the reins and guide this team to the playoffs. The Eagles can make a deep playoff push behind Vick, but I believe they would have a very difficult time winning more than eight games with an inexperienced quarterback.
I love the offseason additions to Philadelphia's defense, but this team will rise or fall based on the health and play of Michael Vick.
They can survive about three to four missed games from Michael Vick. He only started 11 games in 2010, and that season included a playoff appearance.
Nick Foles has been a revelation during this preseason, and I expect him to pass Mike Kafka on the depth chart. He's been among the best rookie quarterbacks in the league, which is saying a lot. The rest of the roster is talented enough to, say, go 2-2 without Vick in the lineup. Anything more long-term than that, and the Eagles are in trouble.
The Eagles finished one game behind the Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the NFC East last season, with Vick missing three starts due to injury. Whoever wins the competition between Nick Foles, Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards for Philly's backup quarterback job should be able to hold things together when (not if) Vick misses time this fall. One thing that will help: a much-improved defense, as recently acquired linebackers DeMeco Ryans (via trade with the Houston Texans) and Mychal Kendricks (2012 second-round draft pick) will bolster the spot that caused the most trouble in 2011.
I don't think the Eagles can make the playoffs without Michael Vick. The NFC East is a very competitive division. Even with Vick in the lineup, the Eagles must have everything go right to win the division.
In my opinion, the backup QB position for the Eagles is undecided at this point. Mike Kafka is a smart signal-caller who knows where to go with the ball, but he does not have a strong arm. I don't see him being successful over a long stretch of games because of that deficiency. I like rookie Nick Foles, who has a strong arm and good field vision, but I think it would be asking a lot of him to lead the Eagles over a long stretch of games and be successful. I don't see Trent Edwards as the answer at backup QB. Therefore, if Vick goes down for an extended period of time, a lack of quarterback depth will cost the Eagles the playoffs -- like it did last year.
I know a lot of Eagles fans are excited about Nick Foles after his performance against the Patriots, but don't get too excited. The most you can really expect is to send Foles to the Arizona Cardinals for Patrick Peterson and a couple of draft picks in a few years.
If the Eagles are going to return to the playoffs, they need an entire season from Michael Vick. He's one of the most dynamic quarterbacks going -- when he's healthy. But two preseason games in, he's had two injuries. (Hey, at least it wasn't from hitting his lineman's helmet this time!) If Vick plays in fewer than 10 games this season, the Eagles will once again disappoint, and the team will need to go in another direction for a long-term solution at the position.
The Eagles had problems finishing off teams last year. They got hot late in the season, but it wasn't enough. Even without Michael Vick, they can score points. But how are they going to close out games without him?
You just can't win a Super Bowl without an elite-level QB. In today's NFL, there are just too many games a quarterback has to win by himself. If Vick winds up missing time, it'll be another year of close, but not quite.