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Benching Vick Would Be A Mistake Reid Cannot Afford

Rob Carr

Timing has never been Andy Reid's speciality.

He isn't great with time outs. His time management leaves much to be desired. And by the time he makes the move he thinks fans want, it's usually too late or too little.

When Reid fired Juan Castillo, the timing was off. Did Castillo deserve to be fired? Maybe. But after the first six games of this season, the time to fire Castillo was not now. The timing of the move just wasn't right. That much was clear on Sunday.

So when Reid goes into his room where he makes all his evaluations, let's hope he doesn't decide the time is right to go to Nick Foles. Because it isn't. Not yet. Not now.

After the Eagles embarrassing 30-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Michael Vick was asked whether or not he expects Reid will make a change at the quarterback position. The question was raised after Reid would not commit to Vick as his stater in his own press conference just 20 minutes earlier.

About as honestly as he could, Vick stood behind his head coach.

Whatever decision coach makes, I support it. The thing I know is that I’m giving it everything I got out there when I step on the field. Deep down, as long as I know I’m doing that and I’m giving it everything, then it’s all I can ask out of myself. No more, no less.

Reid very well might decide to bench Vick, and listening to the quarterback after the game, Vick almost seems to know it's coming. But make no mistake about it- if Reid decided to go to Nick Foles, he is making a big mistake.

At some point this season, things may get ugly enough that it is time to see what Foles can do. But not now. Not at 3-4. Not when Vick is not the reason this team has lost it's last 3 games, and not when you have a room full of veterans who are not in rebuild mode.

Hopefully deep down Reid knows that if he benches Vick for Foles, the locker room will officially be lost. After the game Reid was asked by Sal Paolantonio if he thought the locker room needed a new voice. Reid shot back "Do you want to talk to them?" as an attempt at a joke. No one laughed.

Reid's first attempt at a scape goat- Juan Castillo- failed miserably. He fired Castillo right when his unit was showing improvement. But with the pressure up after the Eagles loss to the Lions dropped them to .500, Reid decided it was time to move on. While some players in the locker room seemed ok with it, others questioned the move. One was Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who just happened to have his worst game as an Eagle against the Falcons.

If Reid benches Vick, it will be after a game in which Vick had no turnovers. Vick was not the problem against Atlanta. With the game way out of reach, Vick was still diving for 1st downs and taking hits while trying to make plays. He could have given up, knowing that he is the next scape goat in line. But he didn't. Vick has played very poorly at times this season, but what kind of message would it send to bench Vick now? If Reid wanted to do it earlier in the season, it might have made sense. After 6 interceptions in his first 2 games, Reid could have looked at the players in the locker room and told them it was a move he was making to help them win. But Vick has played his way out of it. He deserves to the starter on this team. Other "star" players might not- like the defensive ends. But Vick?

This team has a lot of problems, but Vick is currently not one of them.

Players aren't stupid. They know that if Reid benches Vick, it will be his 2nd desperation move in as many weeks. Jeffery Lurie trusted Reid on Castillo and Vick. Lurie let Reid fix the Castillo one, but now benching a player he convinced Lurie to invest $100 million in would likely be the nail in the coffin for Reid.

The time is running up on Reid's time in Philadelphia. You could feel it in the locker room, in the stadium, and even see it in Reid's face when he spoke after the game. It now seems to be a matter of when, not if Reid will be fired as Eagles coach. The better question might now be, who will he bring down with him?

At some point this season, Vick might be one of them. But it shouldn't be now.

Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks

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