Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC East [Print without images]

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Michael Vick rewarding Eagles' faith in him

By Phil Sheridan

PHILADELPHIA -- There are good ideas and bad ideas, and then there are ideas that are a little of both.

In my previous gig, I wrote a column after coach Chip Kelly's hiring suggesting the Philadelphia Eagles pursue San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith and part ways with Michael Vick.

Vick
Vick
The Smith thing was a pretty good idea, and it had a background story. When Smith was playing at Utah, he led his team to a victory over Oregon. Ducks head coach Mike Bellotti was inspired to implement some of this spread offense with option elements, so he hired a new offensive coordinator

You may have heard of him: Chip Kelly.

So Smith was successful in the offense Kelly brought to Oregon before Kelly brought it to Oregon. Surely he could help adapt Kelly's scheme to the NFL.

Well, it was Andy Reid who traded for Smith. Lo and behold, as my colleague Adam Teicher in Kansas City just wrote, Smith is running some option elements. He was the Chiefs’ leading rusher in their victory over Dallas Sunday. He might have been very good under Kelly.

“He’s a heck of a quarterback,” Eagles safety Nate Allen said. “He’s an athlete. A lot of people don’t give him enough credit. He can get out of the pocket well. He’s making good decisions and he’s moving the ball for them.”

So: good idea. Except it was attached to a bad idea: cutting ties with Vick.

It is early, but Vick seems like a perfect fit for Kelly’s offense. His mobility was always going to be an asset, but he’s also making quick decisions, accurate throws and avoiding turnovers.

“I think Mike's done a really nice job,” Kelly said. “He's protected the football for us, gotten the ball out on time. He's done a really good job of distributing the ball. I think we're at a pretty high completion percentage right now. I'm sure he'd want a couple throws back. There were a few times we could have been more accurate. But I think overall in two games, I'm happy where Mike is.”

Vick has a passer rating of 119.0, third best in the NFL behind Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. He has completed 62.3 percent of his passes. He has thrown four touchdowns. Maybe the most significant of his numbers is zero: Zero interceptions. After throwing 24 picks in his previous 23 games, that’s vital to Vick’s success.

We have seen Vick put together a couple of great games and then start firing the ball to the wrong team. We’ve seen him get hurt. It’s an encouraging start, but it’s just that -- a start.

Still, at the moment, Vick is probably a better idea for the Eagles than Smith.