The 2013 Eagles campaign has begun, and the biggest question circling around the team is who will be the starting quarterback for Chip Kelly's first year as head coach. Will it be incumbent Michael Vick, who is coming off a terrible 2013 season that saw him benched in favor of a less-experienced rookie? Or will it be Nick Foles, who enters his sophomore season after playing some good games in his first year? Perhaps it could be Matt Barkley, the promising rookie from USC who has a lot to prove after falling to the 4th round of draft. Or maybe Dennis Dixon, a Chip Kelly quarterback at Oregon, could steal the starting job. No matter who wins the job, the quarterback who starts in 2013 will help to shape the franchise for years to come.
- Vick enters the 2013 season as the presumed favorite to win the starting quarterback job; he has all the tangible qualities that a prototypical Chip Kelly would need, and can run the read-option better than Foles or Barkley. He has a cannon for an arm, and has a unbelievable speed. But perhaps the most important quality that Vick has over his competitors is his experience: he has played around 10 years in the NFL. He has gone through the rough times, and knows how to power through them.
The knocks against Vick range widely. He has a tendency to create far too many turnovers, makes questionable decisions with the football, doesn't have a great pocket prescence, holds on to the ball too long, and does not read defenses well. Sure, some of these bad qualities can be attributed to a bad offensive line, but the other things going against Vick make him a bad fit for Chip's offense, which is defined by quick, accurate passes and good decision making.
Chances of Making it As Starting QB (1-10, with 10 being perfect): 7
- While Vick may have all the tangibles necessary to be the Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles has all of the intangibles. He has a great pocket presence, makes good decisions on the fly, and is able to make the quick and accurate passes that are necessary in Chip's system. Foles is a big guy, and despite common belief, can move around the field (although not particularly quickly). His arm strength is questionable at moments, but we have seen that he can make the throws all across the field. He has the experience of playing at the NFL level, and even won a clutch game with the seconds winding down. Many Foles critics will point out his 1-5 record as a rookie, but that blame can be put on the backs of a poor offensive line, god-awful defense, and lack of weapons of offense.
The things going against Foles as purely physical. He is not fast or quick, and does not have good acceleration. His deep ball sometimes has too much air under it, allowing defensive backs to get into position to make plays on the ball. Like Vick, he also makes his fair share of turnovers. Also, there were times in 2012 where he looked like a rookie, making stupid mistakes on the field.
Chances of Making it As Starting QB: 8.5
- Barkley, like Foles, has all the intangibles, such as decision-making and pocket prescence, to be a good NFL quarterback. But perhaps the biggest thing he has over his competitors is his short to medium range accuracy. That is his ticket into this offense. He's faster than Foles, and can move around the field. He is a good and vocal leader, and many reporters watching him at camp say that at times he does not look like a rookie.But his accuracy and precision with the ball is the most important quality. Also, unlike other USC QB alumni, such as Mark Sanchez and Matt Leinart, he has gone through tough times, he knows disappointment, and how to grow from it.
The biggest knock on Barkley (and probably the reason he fell so far down draft boards) is his deep throws. He doesn't have a terrible arm, but he's not very accurate and his balls seem to flutter in the air. He doesn't have great size, and a shoulder injury suffered as a senior in 2012 is a bit of a worry. From early reports in training camp, Barkley has made some bad, rookie decisions (but nothing that can't be worked out).
Chances of Making it As Starting QB: 5
- Dixon is THE Chip Kelly quarterback. He is fast, accurate, and can has decent decision-making skills. Unlike Barkley, he has experience in the NFL, starting a couple games at QB for the Steelers. And unlike any other quarterbacks on the roster, he has been through a Chip Kelly offense, and fully understands it.
There is a reason that Dixon was only a practice squad QB last year. He has been a decent starter in the NFL, but he did not set the world on fire with his play. He is injury prone, and unlike Vick does not have an amazing arm. All in all, he is an average quarterback. (This season, he should be doing anything he can to make Foles the starter, because if Vick is gone, he can take the 3rd-string QB job.)
Chances of Making it As Starting QB: 2
- I don't know a lot about Kinne, but if he is on the 53-man roster in 2013, then this team is in trouble.
Chances of Making it As Starting QB: .5