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Michael Vick deserves Eagles starting QB nod, but can he stay healthy?

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Although he seemed like the most logical fit from the start, Eagles coach Chip Kelly announced that Michael Vick will be team’s starting quarterback going into the 2013 season.Photo: cbssports.com

 

Going into Saturday's preseason game, Vick has completed 13 of 15 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. You would think Vick’s athleticism and veteran experience would naturally make him the easy choice for Kelly’s up-tempo offensive system.

 

However, Vick’s main competitor, Nick Foles wasn’t too far behind in the competition- completing 11 of 14 passes for 96 yards. Foles also threw an interception and lost a fumble.   

 

But you’re not just going to permanently turn the keys over to somebody without knowing if they’re capable of handling the machinery. Kelly worked with many quarterbacks during his time at Oregon. Some were mobile, some were not, and none were really “can’t miss prospects.” Kelly made due with what he had and who he thought fit his system best. He did the same thing during camp, and right now, that player is Vick.

 

But before we analyze all the Nick Foles trade rumors, chances are he could be starting for this Eagles team quicker than you can say Bobby Hoying. After all, Vick’s inability to stay healthy for any extended period of time is legendary. However, I can only speak for his time with the Eagles. The last two seasons have seen Vick play with a depleted offensive line and Andy Reid’s constant reliance on a pass-happy “West Coast Offense.”

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If left tackle Jason Peters returns to form, he will be one of several key components to an already improved offensive line. As a result, Vick will be under less pressure this season, which in turn could result in less injuries as well as lesser amount of fumbles. Since his Pro Bowl season of 2010, Vick has turned the ball over 33 times in his last 23 starts. Moreover, Vick won’t be throwing to his wide receivers with the same regularity that he did in year’s past, as Kelly’s offense will most likely utilize LeSean McCoy and the team’s running game on a more consistent basis.

 

Bottom Line: Improved offense or not, there are no guarantees regarding Vick’s health, so it would be absolutely foolish to unload Foles. It's the NFL- you're a play away from any kind of injury. In saying that, some are more injury prone than others (And yes, Vick is in that category). Vick could get injured on a freak play, go through half the season before an injury, or (and this is kind of remote) possibly play the entire year healthy.  Either way, he's the Eagles’ best option at this point.  Moreover, Kelly indicated this isn’t just for the first few games of the year, this is for the season if everything plays out right.

 

After all, Michael Vick earned the starting job fair and square. The question is really whether he’ll be healthy enough to keep it.

  

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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 Photo: cbssports.com