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NFC East: Eagles Gain Division Win, Lose Michael Vick

Posted Oct 7, 2013


Take a gander at the box score, and you might think there’s a quarterback controversy brewing in Philadelphia.

Watch the footage of the Eagles’ 36-21 win against the Giants on Sunday, and you’ll see there isn’t one – at least not yet.

That’s undoubtedly going to be the storyline as Philadelphia tries to even its record to 3-3 against lowly Tampa Bay this weekend. Starting quarterback Michael Vick injured his hamstring in the midst of a lackluster passing performance. Nick Foles entered at the tail end of the second quarter and completed 64 percent of his passes for 197 yards and two scores.

If that wasn’t enough fodder for the conversation, the early reports are that Vick won’t be able to play against the Buccaneers.

This doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Vick is injury prone and has been his whole career. He’s played a full slate of 16 games just once – seven years ago, in 2006.

Foles’ performance in spot duty isn’t exactly groundbreaking, either. Both Vick and Foles were effective and essentially mistake-free during their auditions for the starting job during the preseason.

Vick’s mediocre day as a passer will probably help fuel the talk for Foles to get a shot as the full-time starter, especially if he plays well against Tampa. Vick only completed six-of-14 passes for 105 yards in the first half. He actually didn’t even complete a pass in the first quarter of the win.

But his abilities as a runner – assuming his hamstring properly recovers – are what make the difference, however. The Eagles’ running game, which is better than anyone else’s so far this season, hinges on defenses’ fear of Vick keeping the ball.

Philadelphia ran the ball 23 times for 133 yards and a touchdown before Vick got hurt. After he left the game, they ran 14 more times for a combined seven yards.

Vick has demonstrated his ability to perform as a passer in his other four starts in Kelly’s offense. He’s completed 55 percent for 1,177 yards this season. And he quite simply makes the Philly running game hum in a way that Foles cannot.

It’s going to present an interesting two-week scenario for the Dallas defense. The Cowboys faced two of the better traditional, dropback passers in the league in their past two games, and the results were uninspiring, to say the least.

This weekend presents the first of back-to-back games against more run-oriented offenses with focus on efficiency. Fittingly, Robert Griffin III’s ability to run from the quarterback spot has been limited by injuries of his own.

Not that you wish injury on the opposition, but it’s good timing for the Cowboys. Griffin is still recovering and should be somewhat limited compared to the rookie phenom who came to AT&T Stadium last season. A week after that, it could either be a hobbled Vick or Foles.

Going forward, I know who I’d want.
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