Monday, February 25, 2013

The Lord of the Pentagons: Return of This Thing

Guess what?  Today, I missed my first Phillies game of the year!  There will be more were that came from, considering I don't have Comcast and don't feel like paying for MLBTV, but I digress.  The point is that the 2013 regular season is (relatively) just around the corner, so if it's time for the players to get into shape, it's probably a good idea for me to do so as well.  You know, from a writing perspective.  Let's be real, there's no aerobic activity going on here.

It's hard to pick a subject to start off a season like this, so my inspiration had to come from an external source.  I was recently informed by my friend Matt that as part of a discussion on the merits of spider/radar graphs, he had shown my revolutionary analysis by way of the terribly-named Vigdergon.  I had already meant to revisit that means of analysis with a bit more frequency this season, so it really was just a little nudge in this direction that I needed.  In case you missed it, check out the first two posts here and here, and once you're done catching up, let's leap into action!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stickin' with Vick

Man, it's a drain on your free time to have 2.5 hours of commuting a day. I don't even remember the last time I blogged, and I could easily just look at the list! Laziness wins again.

Anyway, I figured I'd return from mini-hiatus to briefly talk about the fact that the Eagles restructured Michael Vick's contract to bring him back for an incentive-laden 1-year contract, essentially. Vick has deserved a great deal of the criticism that he has received over the last couple seasons, and fans are certainly right to give an inquisitive head tilt over this decision. So what makes this action by the new regime so intriguing?


Vick signed a 6-year, $100 million contract after the 2010 season, but because of the structure of NFL contracts, the Birds could have released him without so much as a cap hit after this season. After all, he was set to be paid as a top-10 quarterback while performing below-average for two straight seasons. There was zero chance of Philly keeping him at that cost if they wouldn't be hurt financially by cutting him.

Instead, they managed to get him to agree to a contract that, if miracles happen, will pay him just $10 million, and the team has the option to keep him an extra two years if said miracles do happen. His salary will put him right in the middle or the pack among QBs next year, and behind luminaries Kevin Kolb, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Matt Flynn. But will he be worth it?


I'm currently on a train, so I'm going to go (gasp!) statless on this one. No one needs a stat to tell them that the Eagles' offensive line was ravaged by injury in 2012, including a preseason injury to one of the best left tackles in the league, Jason Peters. Even the "quick release" of rookie Nick Foles didn't help him much, as by the time he was starting, four of the five starting linemen were out. I'm willing to bet that a healthy line will do wonders for whoever is behind center.

Then there's the new offensive system. Everyone is aware by now of the famed Oregon offense that new coach Chip Kelly is bringing to the table, featuring dynamic athletes especially effectively in both the run and pass game and staying aggressive in both field position and speed of play. Given that situation, I feel much more comfortable handing the keys to that kind of offense over to, well, not the loafing 6'6" youngin'. I know that Vick is t the kind of threat he was even two years ago, but his offense is more likely to benefit from his presence than Foles'. Oh, and we have all those fancy expensive skill position players too.


This is where Kelly et al. lose me. After a season in which the team imploded, every coach got fired, and the result was a top-5 pick in the draft, it sure seems backwards to bring back an old QB on a 1-year deal instead of starting over with a new guy. Sure, Nick Foles didn't set the world ablaze in his audition like many rookie QBs have done of late, but maybe another year, a fresh new offense, and an improved defense would help.

Well, you don't net the big fish in the coaching pond only to constrain him by forcing him to cater his offense to a second year QB who didn't do anything to earn that kind of respect. Rumors of Dennis Dixon and similar mobile QBs surface because everyone assumes Kelly wants a guy like that, and that's probably why Vick was resigned. But why not go with a younger mobile guy who has a better chance to develop alongside the new offense? Maybe the options just aren't out there, or maybe the draft will give us more clarity.

In sum, I'm not really bothered by this move, mostly because Vick comes at a significant discount (I mean he has a Super Bowl clause, let's be real here). We can still acquire the kind of young, promising talent that everyone assumes is a better fit for the offense, and maybe Foles will show some fight and take the job himself?