Can’t we all just get along? No? OK, then. It has come to this. Of course it has. It was inevitable –- this heated, breathless back and forth over who should (or shouldn’t) be the Eagles’ quarterback. It has been building since training camp. Even after the open competition was declared closed, even after Chip Kelly picked his starting signal caller, you knew we’d eventually revisit the issue. You knew the two quarterbacks would be pitted against each other once more, if not on the field than certainly in the much-more-brutal public opinion arena. It had to happen sooner or later -– and sooner won out.
There are the Michael Vick people and there are the Nick Foles people and there is nobody in between. The quarterback fervor is in full froth –- less a reasoned conversation than a screaming match between opposing camps who are utterly convinced that the other side is populated by slow-witted rubes unable to see the obvious truth. Both groups are so certain, so sure. The irony there is lost on almost everyone.
So here we are. Dallas Week. The 3-3 Eagles are preparing to host the 3-3 Cowboys to determine first place in the NFC East. And there is a quarterback controversy. Or flap. Or dust-up. Or debate. Or whatever you might call it. Love it. Loathe it. Doesn’t matter. It is the primary topic either way. Even if you want to, you couldn’t get free of it. The gravitational pull is too strong.
It has been written in this space, several times, that Vick is the best option for this team and this system. (And the Foles people grow angry.) But that doesn’t mean Foles is a bad option or even a step down/back/sideways. (And the Vick people grow angry.)
What we’ve missed so far, or ignored, or had drowned out by all the recalcitrant shouting, is the happy reality: The Eagles are in a good spot. They have two quarterbacks who have performed well this season. Even in this town, that ought to be cause for celebration rather than divisiveness.
Vick has completed 71 of 132 passes (54 percent) for 1,185 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. He’s also rushed 33 times for 307 yards and two touchdowns.
Foles has completed 41 of 61 passes (67 percent) for 542 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s rushed six times for three yards and a touchdown.
Vick has been under center for all three of the Eagles’ losses, but two of those came against the still-undefeated Chiefs and Broncos. Vick beat Washington, which has one victory. Foles was on the field when the Eagles defeated the winless Giants and Bucs. Foles has a better completion percentage but a smaller sample size. You see where this is going? You can read just about anything you want into their numbers. You can use their stats as a supporting argument for the quarterback you like or a hammer to wield against the quarterback you don’t.
But if you look at Vick and Foles as a combination (call the hybrid Fick or Voles depending on your mash-up parlance preference) and add their stats together –- that is, if you evaluate them as QB Eagles rather than two separate entities fighting for the same job -- their collective performance has been excellent. The Eagles have gotten 1,727 passing yards and 11 touchdowns from their quarterbacks. If Fick/Voles existed as one human, he would be fourth in the NFL in passing yards and tied for fifth in passing touchdowns.
The Eagles have three victories, which is enough to make them relevant in the NFC for the first time in a long while. They are 2-0 in the division and 3-0 in the conference. They have two quarterbacks that have contributed to those achievements. That’s a positive, or at least it should be.
“Mike wasn’t 100 percent on Sunday and Nick did an outstanding job,” Kelly said. “I said when this whole thing started, we were fortunate that we had two quarterbacks. It showed already this season: You’ve got to have two really good quarterbacks to win in this league. That’s where I feel we’re at right now.
It’s a reasonable position. Someone should tell him that’s frowned upon in this town. And now, back to your regularly scheduled yelling.
- John Gonzalez, CSN Philly