If I am Michael Vick, I am not happy. If I am Vick, I know I am a veteran, injury-prone quarterback with turnover issues and I know I have to compete for a roster spot. Not a starting spot, but a roster spot. I know I have to outperform a younger mini-me who has a head start understanding head coach Chip Kelly’s offense (Dennis Dixon). I know I have to outperform a young competitor who outplayed me behind the same terrible offensive line (Nick Foles). And I now know I have to outperform Matt Barkley, a hungry fourth round draft pick from USC with something to prove, who is apparently… ahem… leadership-prone.
Barkley is a surprising pick in more ways than one. First, he was initially projected to be a first round talent. Second, he was generally and universally believed to not fit the Eagles offense, whatever that offense may look like. Third, the Eagles traded up a few spots to get him. Exactly what Howie Roseman and Kelly got was a player high on intangibles and low on risk.
And if I am Michael Vick, I am worried. If I am Vick I am worried that the last Eagles’ fourth round draft pick not to make the Week 1 roster was University of Miami DE Jamaal Green in 2003. I am worried that Barkley’s 2011 season (3,528 passing yards, 69.1% completion percentage, 39 touchdowns, 7 interceptions) translates to the NFL.
I am also worried about Chip Kelly’s philosophy on quarterbacks. I’ve cited Kelly’s Oregon paper entitled “Efficient Use of Practice Time” many times before, but mainly because everything he has done during his short time in the NFL is explained there in his own words. For example, he wrote this of his quarterback:
Every sack is the quarterback’s fault. It is not a sack if the quarterback throws the ball away. Nobody ever lost a game on an incomplete pass. Throw the ball away, and give us another opportunity to make a first down.”… “The job of a quarterback is simple. He has to ‘let it happen, and not make it happen.’ We want to move forward. That is a concept you have to make your team understand. The cardinal sin at our place is the quarterback sack. We want the ball out of the quarterback’s hands in 1.5 seconds. That does not mean holding the ball until 2.5, waiting for someone to get open.
Earlier today, when Kelly was talking about the selection of Barkley, he reinforced his philosophy: “To play in the NFL, you need to have a quarterback that’s accurate and can deliver the football, and protect it, not turn it over, and do all those things.” Apparently, Barkley can do those things, as he possesses what Kelly calls “repetitive accuracy”.
So if I am Michael Vick, I remember that I took a pay cut in order to prove my worth to my new coach. I know I will get a chance to do it, but I remember Chip Kelly’s introductory press conference in which he said, “One of the best qualities in a quarterback is durability.” I remember that I’m not very durable, and I think these younger guys are more so.
If I am Michael Vick, I’m more than a little concerned I won’t be back in Philadelphia next season.
If I’m Vick, I already know it.