The question is clear. Nick Foles or Michael Vick. With Vick healthy, he is the starter. Yet Foles led the Eagles to a season saving win over the Giants last Sunday. The question is up in the air, and nobody has a clear answer. What is clear is how it is going to affect the team.
While the Eagles say that the game plan will not change regardless of who is under center, it has to. Facts are facts. Nick Foles is not a read option quarterback. Mike Vick is. Plain and simple. The plan has to change.
What does not have to change is LeSean McCoy. He has 98 carries for 514 yards on the season, and is due for more. Depending on who is under center, his stats will go up, or sink back down to those of previous years.
This is why:
With Foles under center, the Eagles are a two dimensional offense. Teams have to prepare for the passing game with the accurate second year quarterback, and the running game with the shiftiest running back since Barry Sanders. There is not much deep threat from Foles, even though DeSean Jackson can outrun just about anyone in the league. He has yet to prove that he can throw over the defense, so he will mostly be calling out routes, slants, and the occasional wheel route.
With Vick under center, the Eagles have a variety of options to use. Defenses have to stretch their limits in preparation due to the fact that Vick can run. With the read-option (which has been underutilized), defenses have to stay at home and react, rather than anticipate.
Does this affect Shady? In every aspect of the game it does.
With Foles in the game, Shady will get more carries. This will not translate to more yards. Defenses can cheat up and stack the box, waiting for Shady to get the ball and get to him quickly. Not to say that he won’t break a run or two, but overall it will be tougher for him to find space because it will be congested up front. Even for screens, and wheel routes, linebackers will be right there to greet him as soon as he touches the ball. Not saying they will bring him down, but they will be in position to.
Having a healthy Vick in the game provides more opportunity for McCoy to work. Defenses have to stay at home, and they also have to respect the deep threat from Vick. One less man in the box is all McCoy needs to garner effectiveness. The threat that Vick poses, when healthy of course, is what opens up the field for Shady, and has let him see so much success this season. Against the Giants, with Vick out, he had 20 carries for just 46 yards. It was his worst output of the season, by far.
While Foles may give the Eagles the best chance to win this week against the Buccaneers, McCoy will probably struggle with the Arizona product under center.
Andrew Albert is a senior writer for CityofBasketballLove.com, as well as a sports desk intern with the Philadelphia Daily News. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewJAlbert01