Eagles coach Chip Kelly named Mike Vick to be his team’s starting quarterback for the 2013 season. The Redskins, Philadelphia’s opening-week opponent, should be concerned.
Vick arrived in Philadelphia in 2010, the same season that Mike Shanahan took over as Redskins coach. In that time, Vick has started and finished three games against Washington and the Eagles are 3-0.
The first of those three wins was the best performance of Vick’s career and one of the best games any NFL quarterback has ever had. That came during the Eagles’ 59-28 pounding of the Redskins on Monday night football on November 15, 2010. Vick completed 20 of 28 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns and he rushed eight times for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
After that game the talk was that Vick would be the Next Big Thing for the second time in his career and Andy Reid was hailed as a genius for reclaiming him off of the scrap heap when nobody else wanted anything to do with him.
Two and a half seasons later Reid has been run out of town and it looked like Vick was going to be pushed onto the same train. He had to take a massive pay cut to stay with the team and compete with Nick Foles for the starting job.
But even as his career declined the Redskins couldn’t beat him. He went 2-0 vs. Washington in 2011, as he completed 42 of 70 passes (60.0%) for 572 yards (8.17 per attempt) with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
The only time that Vick has started a game against the Redskins that his team did not win was in 2010, when he started in Donovan McNabb’s return to Philly but a concussion knocked him out of the game in the second quarter. Kevin Kolb finised up in the Redskins’ 17-12 victory. In 2006 Vick also won the only game he started against the Redskins while he was a member of the Falcons.
Last year Vick was sidelined with a concussion for the first game against the Redskins and by either the concussion or Reid’s decision to go with Foles the second time they played. In any case, the Redskins swept the Eagles with Foles at quarterback for both games.
This does not mean that the Redskins are doomed to lose their opener because Vick is at quarterback. The Redskins did not do much to help themselves offensively in their 2011 losses to Vick’s Eagles. In their first meeting Rex Grossman threw four interceptions and the Redskins mustered just 13 points. In their second meeting the Redskins mustered just 10 points. One might suspect that either Robert Griffin III or, if he’s not ready, Kirk Cousins will be able to put up considerably more points against the Eagles this time around.
But the main reason that Vick gives the Eagles the best chance to win is that despite all of his flaws he’s still a better quarterback that Foles. Whether he’s running Kelly’s new offense or the more conventional Reid offense, Vick is the better choice than a second-year QB on his second new offense.
The Redskins may well have the upper hand in the season opener because it may take some time for Kelly’s system to click. But while they’re waiting for that to happen, Vick gives the Eagles the best chance to win against the Redskins or any other NFL team.