Chip Kelly: Michael Vick's struggles weren't all his fault

USA TODAY Sports

What Chip Kelly does with quarterback position will undoubtedly play a big part in how fast he's able to rebuild this Eagles team back to relevance. If he ends up starting Matt Barkley, it could take him some time to develop. If he started Foles, he'd also have to develop as well but with both he and Barkley there's always the chance that they just can't play.

Then there's Michael Vick, the only thing close to a "proven commodity" on the team. That said, his play last season wasn't proof of much, at least much of anything good. However, speaking to the WIP morning show, Chip Kelly said that Vick's struggles weren't all on him last year.

"The one thing I think with a quarterback is they get too much blame when things don't go well and they get too much praise when things do go well," he said. "But which Michael Vick do you have? The guy in 2010 who is the comeback player of the year and is running all over the field making great decisions? A lot of that because he's clean in protection, he's not getting hit immediately after he's getting the snap."

Kelly said that on film it was clear how Vick's play regressed with the quality of his protection.

"The one thing, when I watched the film and I saw Michael last year, you just kind of almost felt bad for him, is you lost four lineman to season ending injuries. There is a comfort level when you are playing quarterback when Jason Peters is your left tackle. There is not as much of a comfort level if I'm playing left tackle. So when you're worried about a guy coming off the edge before you can get to the top of your drop and make a throw, then that's a tough thing to do."

It really is undeniable. Vick didn't play well, but it's hard to see how any QB would have been successful behind the patchwork line that was trotted out there for the majority of last season. And as we know, they never found an even suitable fill in for Peters, which meant the other team's best pass rusher was typically lined up against King Dunlap or Demetress Bell. That's never going to be good.

"There's no quarterback in the NFL, there's no quarterback in any level of football that can function when you are missing four of your offensive lineman" - Kelly on Vick

"The one thing I'll give Michael, when you watch Michael Vick on film and no one, there's absolutely no one that can question his toughness," Chip continued. "As he stands in there with people bearing down at him and still is trying to throw the ball and deliver the ball. He can throw the ball, it comes off his hands, he can make people miss, but no one, there's no quarterback in the NFL, there's no quarterback in any level of football that can function when you are missing four of your offensive lineman."

"So a lot of things that happened when you watch the film last year, it isn't all of Michael's fault. When I look around at other quarterbacks out there and who is available and all those other things, to me it was a no-brainer to bring him back."

Will Vick play better behind a better offensive line? I would say there's no question. But what Chip really will have to evaluate over this summer is whether Vick, even behind a better line, is good enough. Not only is he good enough to win with, but is he good enough to warrant benching your two young QBs that could be going through their growing pains now rather than later?

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