Posts Tagged ‘quarterback controversy’

Vick Should be Named Eagles Starting QB NOW

After last season’s disastrous showing, Michael Vick was declared DOA by frustrated, angry Eagles fans, the ever-so-opinionated Philly media, and most NFL “experts” far and wide. It seemed as though Vick’s days in the City of Brotherly Love were numbered. Who could defend Vick when the Eagles ended the season 4-12 and Vick himself was the Titan of Turnovers? Then along came Chip Kelly.

Kelly’s decision to turn on the pressure cooker, toss in a couple of QBs and let them fight it out was brilliant. Vick has not only handled the pressure and heat, but is sizzling hot in his first two preseason games and in practices. The threat of losing his starting job to Nick Foles has literally lit a fire under him and he is showing – on and off the field – why he should be named the starter NOW.

Kelly’s quick tempo offense requires a QB with maturity, experience and the ability to handle the hypersonic pace Kelly used in Oregon. Vick still has the quickness both mentally and physically to keep up with an offense that frequently has no huddle and consistently has little time ticking off the play clock. Foles has proven to be an adequate QB – perfect for a backup position – but it’s doubtful that when faced with real game time situations he has yet gained the experience to handle such a demanding, blazing offense.

Off the field, Vick is showing he has matured. His response to the QB competition is the perfect example. Rather than lament about having to once again prove himself, #7 has graciously handled the media inquisition. He has also proven himself a more “Mature Michael” in his handling of teammate Riley Cooper’s recent racist rant. Vick stepped up as leader of the team and diffused a ticking bomb that could have easily exploded on the team early in the preseason.

On the field, Vick has shown that he has the confidence and the mental capacity to handle Kelly’s quick tempo, rhythm changing offense. Kelly has had success with mobile QBs at the collegiate level. Love him or hate him, no one can argue that Vick’s dual threat abilities make him a much better fit for Kelly’s game plan compared to Foles. He is a dynamic, game changer who seems to have learned a lesson in humility after last year’s woeful showing. Perhaps more importantly, Vick seems to have developed patience – a trait often lacking in his past – that will hopefully prevent some of the bad game time decisions that earned him a 78.1 QB rating last season.

The Eagles enter the season with a brand new coach and brand new game plan. Vick is part of that new reality and comes in with a brand new attitude. With Kelly at the helm, Vick won’t need to perform Superman feats in order to carry his team. Those Superman heroics often led to the fumbles and INTs (10 last season, with just 12 TDs) that defined him. Instead, Vick is part of a game plan that will give him better protection and keep the play calling fresh, effective and relevant.

Kelly is not the typical NFL coach so it is hard to predict when he will declare the winner of his pressure cooker-like QB competition, but given Vick’s experience, maturity, dual threat and pure athleticism, there is no doubt that Kelly should choose him as his starter. The Eagles – with Vick under center – may just be the sleeper team of the year. And yes, I am a completely biased Eagles fan. Deal with it! michael-vickFLY EAGLES FLY!

Twas the Weekend Before Christmas…

Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all through the teams

Not a creature was stirring, but some QBs were it seems!

There was quarterback drama hanging in the air

With some players wondering how they got there!

 Indeed some quarterbacks are quite stirred up at this time of the season.   Here is a glimpse of some of the hustle and bustle this weekend among a few of our favorite QBs.

Rookie QB Tim Tebow will make his first start today against Oakland.  Starter Kyle Orton has bruised ribs, so Tebow will head the Denver offense and try to turn around the 3-10 Broncos.  For Tebow, this opportunity is a reason to feel quite jolly this holiday season!

Donovan McNabb feels like he just got a visit from the Grinch.  Benched by Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan, McNabb has not only been told he is the 2nd string QB behind Rex Grossman, but that for the remaining two games he will be 3rd string.  If there was ever a “Grinch Who Stole Christmas” in the NFL, it is Shanahan and his Bah, Humbug disrespect he has shown the veteran QB.

For Brett Favre, his streak of consecutive starts is over.  Last week his 297 straight starts (321, if playoffs are included) ended because of his sprained shoulder.  Once again he will miss this weekend’s game and it seems as though this may be his final year in the NFL.

Another QB is also having a “Blue Christmas”.  Aaron Rogers is sitting out today’s game due to injury.  Like Favre, his streak as a starter is over.  He had started every game since taking over from Favre early in 2008.

Peyton Manning finds himself under pressure to keep the Colts’ playoff hopes alive.  If the Colts lose to the Jaguars, Jacksonville will clinch the AFC South.  The Colts would be at 7-7 and have to hope other teams lose in order to have any shot at the playoffs.  Peyton’s uncharacteristic streak of interceptions seems to have ended last week against the Titans. Will he be able to maintain that momentum and carry the Colts to the playoffs?

In this last weekend before Christmas, these quarterbacks find themselves in a season of transition.  As the playoffs approach, will they overcome their challenges and be able to deliver a great gift to their teams?  Stay tuned…the drama has just begun!

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Starring Donovan McNabb

The Washington Redskins threw a lump of coal in Donovan McNabb’s Christmas stocking yesterday.  Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan announced that McNabb will be the 2nd string QB on Sunday when they face the Cowboys.  Rex Grossman will be the starter.

Oh, but the insult didn’t end there.  Shanahan continued piling on by saying that McNabb would become the 3rd string QB for the last two games of the season, behind John Beck.  John who???

McNabb’s performance this season has been inconsistent.  No one can argue that.  At 34, McNabb is showing some signs of an aging QB.  He does not have the mobility of a younger player and with a weak offensive line, he has been sacked 37 times.  He has thrown 15 interceptions this season, which has not helped the struggling team who is now 5-8.

Benching McNabb for Rex Grossman epitomizes the total turmoil the Redskin organization is in.  Say what you will about McNabb’s numbers this season, he is still a far better choice than Grossman or John who??  McNabb’s QB rating is 77.1, certainly not the rating he has had for most of his NFL career.  But Grossman’s rating is 75.9.  So does this give the Redskins a BETTER chance of success? 

McNabb is a veteran QB who has been to 5 NFC Championship games, 6 Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl.  He has over a decade of experience as an offensive leader in the NFL.  That kind of game know-how and instinct is immeasurable and should not be so easily dismissed.  When a team is in such overall disarray, a veteran QB and his leadership abilities are vital.  Does Shanahan thinks that Grossman or John who?? are better choices?     

The last time Donovan was benched by Shanahan didn’t work out so well for Washington.  Trailing by 6 points with less than 2 minutes left in the game, Shanahan inexplicably took Donovan out and put Grossman in.  On his first play, Grossman fumbled the ball and it was returned by Detroit to seal the win.  Apparently this remarkable performance was enough to earn him the starting job this week!

At the time of that initial benching, Shanahan claimed he did it because he didn’t feel McNabb had the ability to effectively run the two minute drill.  This was perceived by many to be an insult to McNabb’s ability to understand the offense.  In other words, it appeared as though Shanahan was questioning whether or not McNabb had the intellectual ability to run the plays.  After great media attention, Shanahan modified his statement and said McNabb did not have the physical endurance necessary for the two minute offense, despite McNabb showing no signs of physical problems during the game.  Finally, Shanahan offered a third and final explanation.  He claimed Donovan had sore hamstrings.  These conflicting statements were the first signs of the strained relationship between McNabb and Shanahan.

Yesterday’s announcement by Shanahan showed a complete lack of respect towards McNabb.  Instead of looking at the other major troubles on the Redskins – weak offensive line, weak defense and weak special teams – Shanahan has decided to focus on McNabb.  Certainly Washington’s abysmal season cannot be blamed entirely on Donovan.   But Shanahan seems determined to put the spotlight on the veteran QB, perhaps to keep the spotlight off of his own shortcomings.

The Cowboys were happy to hear of Donovan’s benching.  They would rather face Grossman, who was 15 for 32, with three interceptions, the last time he played against them.  When told the news, Cowboys players smiled and laughed at the prospect.  But for Donovan McNabb, his benching is truly a “Nightmare Before Christmas” and an incredibly undeserved lump of coal in his stocking.

It’s Week 9 and Oh What a Season it has Been!

Here we are, in week 9 of the NFL schedule, which means we are half way through the regular season!  Time flies when you’re having fun.  As we reflect on what has unfolded in the NFL thus far, we were inspired to say it with poetry.  (Don’t ask why, frankly, we really don’t know)

 

The NFL season is already half completed

Some of our teams have won, others were defeated

Players have been benched, a few were even traded

Coaches have been praised, a few are truly hated

So at this point in the season, we look at where things stand

One thing we know for certain, this season has not been bland!

 

The great and mighty Saints were expected to be dominant

But here in 2010, they’re not so prominent!

The trendy “who dat” slogan was such a catchy phrase

 But the way the Saints are playing, was it only just a phase?

So as New Orleans struggles to find a way to win

Will another team replace them as America’s new darlin’?

 

All throughout the league, quarterbacks are making news

With so many controversies, it’s easy to feel confused

In Philly, Vick was out…then in..then out again

The Steelers had their own QB troubles – the behavior of Big Ben

McNabb was benched for Grossman, a decision that boggles the mind

Grossman fumbled his first play, and the Redskins fell behind!

 

The Vikings made a trade to pick up Randy Moss

Four short weeks later, they gave him quite the toss

Randy’s open praise of his former coach and team

Caused coach Childress fury and to fire him it seems

Randy’s now a Titan, playing in Tennessee

Will he find a home there?  Or will he have to flee?

 

Jerry Jones’ Cowboys now stand at one and six

How does this happen to a pre-season Superbowl pick?

The Bills are once again at the bottom of the pile

Will frosty Buffalo fans ever find reason to smile?

The Panthers and 49ers are also down this year

Their fans are not celebrating, but drowning in cold beer

 

The Patriots are once again winning, doing it with flair

Even with Tom Brady and his Justin Bieber-like long hair

The Giants and the Falcons are tied for first in the NFC

Who will win their division?  We will have to wait and see

The Ravens, Chiefs and Colts seem to be true contenders

While the Jets, Packers and Steelers may just end up pretenders

 

The season’s only half way through, there’s lots more games to play

Some teams will continue to win, some may go astray

Football is a game of inches, so the saying goes

It’s a game that can’t be predicted, as any true fan knows

So enjoy the “second half”, it will be an adventurous ride

It’s what makes football the greatest game – that cannot be denied!

Chilly in Philly? Could a Quarterback Controversy Cool Down the Red Hot Eagles?

Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but is it the City of Quarterback Love at this moment?  At the start of the season, Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid named Kevin Kolb his starting QB.  Michael Vick was listed as number two on the depth chart until Kolb suffered a concussion in game one against the Packers.  In that game, Kolb’s play was mediocre at best.  Preseason for Kolb was not much better, but to be fair, the offensive line had not quite jelled that early in the season.

In the Packer’s game, Vick came in when the Eagles were down 20-3.  He rushed for 103 yards and passed for 175 in a valiant effort that nearly saved the game.  The Eagles ultimately lost 27-20.  But on that fateful day, Vick won the hearts of many Eagles fans who had their doubts about his ability to be a leader on the field.  In his next game vs. the Detroit Lions, Vick once again had an outstanding showing, throwing for 284 yards, 2 TDs and a 35-32 victory.

The next day, Monday, Kolb was cleared to play and Coach Reid announced him as the starter.  In a move that surprised everyone, Reid retracted his statement the following day.  He named Vick the starter, much to the delight of Eagles fans everywhere.  Was this a quarterback controversy in the making?  Not really.  Since Kolb’s performances had been shaky and Vick’s had been far superior and consistent, the decision was an easily justifiable one for Reid.

Vick’s performance vs. the Jaguars the following week was dominating as he racked up 291 yards passing.  He threw 3 touchdowns, ran for one and showed that he had developed into a pocket passer. His ability to read defenses, make quick decisions and throw the deep ball were new traits the old Atlanta Falcons style Vick simply didn’t possess.

The next game versus the Redskins, Vick entered the game as the NFL’s 3rd leading passer.  On a run into the end zone near the end of the 1st quarter, Vick suffered a rib and chest injury that forced him out and Kolb back in as starter.  Thus the seeds of a QB controversy were born.

Kolb had a solid performance against the Redskins, throwing for 201 yards and one interception in a 17-12 loss.  The next game against the 49ers, Kolb threw for 253 yards and no interceptions to lead the Eagles to a 27-24 victory.  Last week versus Atlanta, Kolb’s performance was even more stellar, as he completed 23 of 29 passes for 326 yards.  Most importantly, Kolb regained the confidence lost in the pre-season and took control of the offense.

Now that Vick’s injury is healing and he is about to return, Andy Reid has been barraged with questions about who the starter will be.  Does he stick with Vick, who mere weeks ago he announced as the starter?  Or does he stay with Kolb, who seems to be in a rhythm – a groove –  so to speak?  Quarterback controversies can tear a team apart, and with the Eagles tied for 1st place in the NFC East, they have a lot at stake.

For the unflappable Andy Reid, this is a win-win situation.  He has 2 top rated QBs that most franchises only dream of having on their rosters.  After Kolb’s concussion, Vick stepped in and took control of the team.  With an offensive line suffering from a number of injuries, Vick’s impressive scrambling ability was a key component in the Eagles’ early victories. After Vick got injured, Kolb showed great poise.  The offensive line started playing together as a unit, allowing Kolb to show off his strong arm and ability to make big, downfield throws.  So for Andy Reid, he can use these two formidable weapons to keep opponents guessing.  Defensive coordinators will face a nightmare trying to prepare their players to face two very different types of QB’s.

From all reports, Kolb and Vick are handling the potential controversy quite well.  Vick is simply grateful to be given a second chance at all, given his dog fighting conviction and jail time.  His contract with the Eagles expires at the end of this season.  Given his maturation into a top QB and leader, Vick knows his future looks bright whether he is named the official starter or not.  Kolb, too, is grateful for a second chance given his unimpressive start.

QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY?  Nahh.. this is more like QUARTERBACK DESTINY.   The Eagles can utilize both players and confound defenses all season long.  While other coaches and teams may succumb to media pressure about the OFFICIAL starter, Andy Reid can simply smile at the cameras as he did this week.   When asked about who the starter would be, Reid replied “you take Michael Kolb and we go play, baby”.  Doesn’t sound like a controversy to me.

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