Monday, July 23, 2012
Is Mike Kafka ready if Vick goes down?
By Dan Graziano
There is legitimate concern around the Philadelphia Eagles about what would happen if starting quarterback Michael Vick went down with an injury. The current backups are third-year man Mike Kafka, veteran Trent Edwards and rookie Nick Foles. The likelihood at this point is that, if Vick had to come out of a game or miss a game with an injury, Kafka would be first in line ahead of Edwards, who didn't play in the NFL last season.
Nick Fierro spoke with Eagles quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson, who says he thinks Kafka is ready for the role of backup to Vick, and Nick sounds as though he's buying into the idea:
Kafka has the leadership tools as well. Remember, it was he, not Vick, who was the driving force behind the player-organized workouts in Marlton, N.J., during last year's labor stoppage, and his command of the offense is as good or better than any quarterback going into his third season as offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has ever seen.
Now, if Vick were to go down for all or most of the season, it might be a different story. But for a couple of games or stretches during games when Vick might be dinged, don't expect the offense to malfunction that much just because a less talented quarterback like Kafka will run the show.
The Eagles have a good enough system and, more importantly, more than good enough talent at the other positions to remain effective.
That's the key thing to remember here. Those who fear the Eagles just ignored the backup quarterback spot this offseason might be focusing on the wrong thing. The Eagles believe in Mornhinweg, and in their system, and in the idea that a quarterback whose talents they like should be ready, by his third year in that system, to run the offense. Kafka fits that description, and as the Eagles surveyed other options for backup quarterback this offseason, they clearly didn't find anyone they thought would be better able to handle the task than Kafka would.
He can't throw like Vick, but almost no one can. He can't run like Vick, but absolutely no other quarterback can. If Kafka is playing and Vick isn't, the Eagles likely will call different plays. But given the talent he'd have around him, as long as he doesn't pull a Vince Young and start throwing interceptions all over the place, it's possible to believe a game or two with Kafka at the helm wouldn't be a complete disaster.