Even If He Wants To, Reid Can’t Go To Foles

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.Andy Reid, upon completion of his bye-week cell toss, may very well come to the conclusion that the Michael Vick Experience is a flop.

He knows the majority of the 17 “ridiculous” turnovers fall on the quarterback’s shoulders. Reid said Tuesday that he was in the process of reviewing all the season’s offensive miscues. It will be a reminder — as if he needed one — of just how many points were sacrificed and how much momentum was handed over because of carelessness with the football.

Reid also may have thrown on some preseason tape of ol’ Nicky Foles and spent the afternoon daydreaming of a rhythmic, steady and opportunistic offense that would take the Eagles off the high wire.

Tempted as he may be to get off the Michael Vick roller coaster,  Reid will almost certainly come away from this evaluation period having determined that he is stuck with Seven. At least until things get truly desperate.

Some of it will have to do with the uncertainty that comes with rolling with a rookie quarterback. Reid has no wiggle room remaining, and the odds suggest that the veteran gives him the best chance at success. But mostly, it will be the sorry state of the offensive line that prevents him from pushing the eject button.

Not to overstate things, but Reid has to wonder just how long Foles would survive behind Howard Mudd‘s mess. It’s borderline miraculous, honestly, that Vick hasn’t missed any time yet considering the abuse he is taking.

Ron Jaworski has been charting the hits on Vick this season, and the numbers are maybe even more staggering than you would think.  Vick has been knocked to the ground 103 times through six games by Jaws’ count (18 times against the Lions). He has had contact an additional 44 times when he was not knocked down.

If last year’s hit rate was alarming, this season is off the charts. Consider that for all the battering Vick endured a year ago, opposing defenses averaged five QB hits in games he played last season. This year, the average is over eight quarterback hits per outing. The opposition registered double-digit hits on Vick once in 2011. Three teams have accomplished that feat through six games this year.

The quarterback hit total for the Eagles in 2011 was 69 in the 13 games that Vick appeared. That number is already at 50.

Despite his billing as a magician, Mudd has not been able to mask the losses of Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. The offensive line is in a dire state. Vick is guilty of holding onto the ball too long at times, but it’s hard to envision any quarterback being able to function well behind this front right now.

That certainly includes Foles.

As much as Reid is in survival mode, he also has a great deal of respect for the organization that has employed him for 14 years. He knows that putting Foles in right now could very well stunt the rookie’s growth. Without the athletic ability of Vick, who knows how many hits Foles would be subjected to.

Perhaps the head coach gets to a point where he tosses such concerns out the window in the name of self preservation. But he can’t be there yet.