Vick Named the Starter, But Chip Kelly Victorious
Chip has officially decided to let the media know who will be his starter. Mike Vick will lead the Eagles out of the tunnel on September 9th against the Redskins after beating Nick Foles in the quarterback competition.
I really like this move for a number of reasons.
First off, Vick’s been the better quarterback during the preseason. He went 4/5 for 95 yards and one TD against the Pats and followed that up with a 9/10 for 105 yard game against the Panthers. He looks sharp, he’s not holding onto the ball as long, and he still has the speed to be a top read option threat. All of this lends itself to the next point…
He beat Foles outright for the job. This wasn’t a situation where Kelly is flipping a coin and had to pick a guy. Vick was obviously better, earned the job, and has left no room for debate. This creates a little more breathing room for him as he begins the season and hopefully limits the desire to “make plays.” It also removes any possible division in the locker room. This is Vick’s team.
The deeper level to all of this has to do with Chip Kelly. Kelly made a bold move in bringing Vick back in the first place. Everyone, myself included, thought that Vick was damaged goods and that Foles showed enough to start this season. Bringing him back in for seven million dollars an stunting Foles’ development felt like marrying off your daughter for a baby cow and making veal. Let the boy play. See what he has. Give this team a future. But Vick very well might be this team’s future after all—at least for two or three years. He’s 33 years old, he’s in a run based offense that’s full of combo plays and he’s surrounded by quality offensive talent. As long as Vick can limit bad decisions he’ll be successful. Will he be Tom Brady? No. But he’s in a situation where this team can compete if the defense can be anything but awful.
And here’s where Kelly comes back in. He took a risk on Vick, convinced fans and media alike that he should start for this team, and proved that he has an idea of what he’s doing on the NFL level in the process. With Vick earning the starting role, Chip is partially vindicated.
This type of football smarts is why the team has bought into his system as a whole. Just check out these quotes from the team:
“From a communications standpoint, it’s going to change the league. I’m not going to tell you guys how, but it will. Just the way that they can communicate plays in and get us the stuff, it’s pretty cool. It’s something that I never even thought was possible in the NFL.” – Brent Celek “We’re excited about the way things have been going, but I think even back in the OTA’s we had a feeling like, ‘Wow, this could really turn out well,'” – Todd Herremans “I’m having fun playing football and I fell in love with the game again and I am thankful [to Chip Kelly] for that” – Vick
And my favorite recent quote:
“If they bring in defensive backs, we’re gonna get in tight, or we can still stay out wide and pound the ball. It’s really a chess match between the coaches there. And anything they do, we win.” – Clay Harbor
This previously lifeless sack of a football team has its swagger back and the season hasn’t even started! It’s important to note that this isn’t Steven Jackson on the 2009 Rams talking about trying to win a Super Bowl. This is the real deal. The players have bought in on Chip’s system and are looking to compete right away.
With Chip’s risk on Vick paying off, the Eagles can give it their best shot.
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