In today's "What they're saying," we're going to focus on one great reporter's take on the QB controversy.
Fox Sports' Jay Glazer attended practice yesterday. Here's what he tweeted in regard to th QB competition:
Watching Eagles it doesn't seem like there's any ? at all that Mike Vick will be starting QB. He could be extremely tough w Chip's offense
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) August 7, 2013
Rotoworld picked up on Glazer's Tweet, and ran with it.
More plugged in with players than any reporter in the country, Glazer surely ran his observation by sources before going forward with it. Of course, it's an obvious observation. Although Chip Kelly has done a masterful job of convincing local media Nick Foles is a legitimate contender for the starting job, the idea has always been absurd on paper. Unsurprisingly, beat writers have started pegging Vick as the favorite after observing practice. Foles simply doesn't possess the athleticism necessary to pilot Kelly's offense. We'd be shocked if Vick — and his $3.5 million signing bonus — aren't under center come Week 1.
Later last night, Glazer followed that up with a second Tweet about Vick:
I love how u guys are killing me bc I'm saying Vick in my opinion is the clear cut leader to start. Why b pissed at me bc it's clear???
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) August 7, 2013
There isn't a national reporter who I respect more than Jay Glazer. If he reports it, it's Bible. If I'm benchmarking myself against other reporters, I'll look at a guy like Glazer, and I'll just think, "OK, I'll never be as good as him. Let's just go ahead and set the bar somewhere a little more realistic." I'll bet Glazer saw the same thing yesterday out of Vick that I jotted down in my notes yesterday:
Michael Vick had an amazing throw today, perhaps the best throw I've seen all camp. He had a defensive lineman coming at him head on, so he flipped a sidearm throw around the Pats defender to DeSean Jackson, who was running across the middle. The throw was on the money, and had plenty of juice on it. Just a ridiculous throw.
Glazer's tweet was not a report. It was an opinion, which is probably partly based on what he saw yesterday, but perhaps more importantly to some, on conversations he has had with players on the team. Glazer has excellent relationships with players across the league, and is as dialed in as any reporter covering sports, as Rotoworld notes.
But here's the problem with taking the players' word for it - Many of them idolize Vick.
From a piece on "The Legend of Michael Vick" by Tim McManus of Birds 24/7 a couple weeks ago:
“I joke with Mike all the time about in high school, my whole team had his cleats when he was playing in the NFL,” LeSean McCoy said back in 2010 following a comeback win over the Texans. “Now I’m in the same huddle with him, locker room with him, joking with him, texting him, calling him. I’m a fan of his. I just can’t show him too much. But it’s different. It’s the same for me, for Maclin, for DeSean. Us young guys, to be playing with him, we’re excited. We look up to him.”
Here's another one from McManus about WR Russell Shepard, who Vick praised a week ago:
“My whole persona and way I played the football game was to be like Michael Vick,” said the Texas native following Sunday’s practice at the Linc. ”For my idol, my favorite player of all time, my mentor to say some good things about me, words can’t explain the way that makes me feel.”
It's not even just on the Eagles' roster. Players league-wide, including up-and-coming QBs are Vick fans:
"I think it's a great comparison," Vick said on WLZL-FM, via The Washington Post's "D.C. Sports Blog". "I think guys like RG3 idolized me as they grew up playing football. I think Cam and Robert Griffin III both were inspired by me and my play. And that's me being a trend setter, game transcending, and guys wanting to emulate one another. ... And I think that's what it's all about. I wanted to emulate Steve Young and be just like him, and Charlie Ward, and Randall Cunningham, guys who played before me."
Griffin, for his part, said he watched Vick growing up and loved hearing him speak at last month's rookie symposium.
"Everybody in that room was zoned in," Griffin said. "He's a guy that everything he says holds some power."
If indeed it is players on the team who are the origin of Glazer's tweet, then it should come as no surprise whatsoever that they think Vick will win the competition. However, the players won't be the ones making that decision.
Michael Vick has more talent than Nick Foles. There is absolutely no doubt in the world about that. He has a stronger arm, he can obviously run faster, and he has more experience.
Vick's 2010 season was an incredible whirlwind of playmaking magic. 2010 was a long time ago. Vick was bad last season. He was bad when he threw, and he was even worse when he ran.
If 2013 Michael Vick were 2010 Michael Vick, he would not be fighting for a starting job in 2013. It would also already be crystal clear by now that he's better suited to run Chip Kelly's offense than Nick Foles two weeks into camp. That is something that has not only not yet occurred, but there's an argument to be made that throughout OTAs, minicamp, and the first two weeks of camp that Foles has been every bit as good as Vick.
Oh, and also...
Vick is 33, most would agree he is in decline, he's injury prone, he's in the final year of his contract, and no matter who the QB is, the Eagles aren't realistically going to compete for a Super Bowl this season. Meanwhile, they have a chance to get a look at the young guy to see if he's legit, so they can plan their 2014 offseason accordingly. So there's that.
Ultimately, the preseason games will determine the winner of this battle. Maybe Vick will come out like gangbusters and make this competition go away. If Vick is clearly better, he'll start Week 1. If it's close, my bet would be that the tie goes to the kid.
Glazer is welcomed to his opinion, and I'm glad he stopped by Eagles practice to offer one. I have the utmost respect for his take. It's just a little comical that in the eyes of Rotoworld, Glazer's word after watching one day of practice so emphatically trumps the entire local media (who seem to be split on the QBs anyway), after they've watched 13 practices, plus OTAs and minicamp. Not to mention... The Philly media has never been comprised of the kinds of personalities who just blindly believe what the coach says. That assertion is beyond ridiculous.
In the eyes of the national media, Vick will win because he's... Michael Vick, while Nick Foles is some slow-footed 3rd round pick who didn't have the same kind of immediate success as rookies like RG3, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck (although Foles' rookie season was probably a little better than most people realize). If local writers think that there may actually be a real competition here at QB, they're basically viewed as mouth-breathing morons: