Michael Vick wants Chip Kelly to name a starting quarterback, and there's a distinct chance that when the new Philadelphia Eagles head coach decides to do so, the soon-to-be 33-year-old veteran will be given the job.
Vick said the following to CSNPhilly.com: "Hopefully, Chip makes a decision before training camp and we won’t have to answer that question, so we can go out there as quarterbacks and just focus on this season and not answer questions about competition every day.”
After "splitting first-team reps 50-50," per CSNPhilly's Geoff Mosher, Vick and Nick Foles are thought to be the front-runners for the starting gig, with Matt Barkley and Dennis Dixon relegated to long-shot status at this point.
With uncertainty winning out at this juncture, let's explore why Vick doesn't deserves to be the Eagles' starter in 2013, then flesh out the reasons why he does deserve the first-string gig before coming as close to an ultimate conclusion as possible.
Why he doesn't deserve Philadelphia's starting QB job
A turnover-prone quarterback isn't a good fit for any offensive system, regardless of its philosophy or desired tempo. Vick has been exactly that over the past two seasons: turnover-prone. In the 23 games in which he's appeared over that span, he's thrown 24 interceptions and lost nine fumbles.
In Kelly's attack, the quarterback is tasked with quickly reading defenses and reacting accordingly. And yes, it features a variety of running opportunities for the quarterback.
While Vick's athletic talents are believed to be the perfect fit for Kelly's Oregon offense, the argument can be made that his turnover propensity will be intensified in the fast-paced scheme.
Beyond his issues with interceptions and fumbles, Vick simply hasn't been able to stay healthy. He was out of the NFL for the 2007 and 2008 seasons, but the last time Vick played a full 16-game regular season was 2006, which is the only time he's done so in his 10-year career.
It's unlikely that Kelly won't start Vick simply due to his injury past, but it's impossible to overlook that negative aspect of the signal-caller's resume, especially the Eagles' new offense.
Lastly, and most importantly, Vick's numbers have been on the decline since he earned the starting job in Philadelphia in 2010:
In conclusion, Vick has been an often-injured turnover-machine over the last three season as the Eagles' primary starter under center, and his team went 18-16 in the games in which he started.
Safe to say, he isn't entering the 2013 campaign with much momentum, if any momentum at all.
Why he deserves Philadelphia's starting QB job
Vick's started 23 of the possible 32 regular-season games since 2011, and his average per-game stat line looks like this:
|Completion %||Passing Yards||TDs||INTs|
Those numbers are, well, nothing special. However, there's a perception that Vick's athletic prowess, speed and scrambling ability make him the most ideal quarterback for Kelly's spread, read-option based offense.
Here's a look at how much the starting signal-callers at Oregon ran the football from 2010 to 2012 in Kelly's offense and how effective they were:
Over that three-year stretch, Kelly's starting quarterbacks averaged 6.5 rushing attempts and just shy of 36 yards per game.
Vick has basically run the ball just as often as Kelly's quarterbacks ran it in college, and, actually, he has been more efficient on a per-rush basis since 2010.
That bodes well for his starting-job candidacy.
Furthermore, although it has some vertical elements, the passing aspect of Kelly's system is predicated on quick and short throws.
Per ProFootballFocus.com (subscription required), Vick completed 145 of 201 passes (72.1 percent) thrown nine yards or shorter—counting passes behind the line of scrimmage—for 1,109 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions in 2012. Those 1,109 passing yards accounted for 47 percent of his passing-yard total.
While Vick may not be the speediest decision-maker, his statistics in the short passing game are quite good.
On-field play aside, Vick did restructure his mega-contract this offseason, but he still represents a $12.2 million cap hit in 2013. That isn't necessarily a reason he "deserves" the starting spot, but it very well may factor into Kelly's final selection at quarterback.
Lastly, Vick's experience is off the charts compared to the other three signal-callers said to be involved in the signal-caller competition. The former No. 1 overall pick has played in 121 games (102 starts), while Foles, Dixon and Matt Barkley have appeared in only 11 games with nine starts.
There's a chance Kelly will go with the more established Vick at the game's most vital position.
If Andy Reid was still calling the shots in the City of Brotherly Love, Vick wouldn't deserve another shot as the starting quarterback. Period. His physical abilities often wow, but in three years with Reid at the helm, Vick was simply not good enough.
But with Kelly as the head coach, Vick, in a sense, should be given a "clean slate" while keeping his past in mind.
Frankly, his recent play and injury history really haven't made him a deserving candidate to start again for any coach. But due to a huge cap number, tremendous athleticism that, at the very least, will be interesting to watch in Kelly's offense, inexperienced competition and the return of key offensive linemen, Michael Vick deserves one final, short-leashed shot at becoming a stable starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.