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Will the Real Michael Vick Please Stand Up?

In the Long Run, It Doesn't Matter; Matt Barkley May Eventually Be Chip Off Coach Kelly's Block

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COMMENTARY | It's that time of year again when Philadelphia Eagles faithful have to ask those all-important questions.

"What will the Philadelphia Eagles get from Michael Vick this year, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?"

"Do the Eagles get the Vick that rolled up 59 points on the Washington Redskins in 2010 or the Vick that lost fumble after fumble last year?"

"Do the Eagles get the Vick that makes it past 12 games, or do they get 'Mr. Glass' that plays four games at a time before getting injured?"

In watching him this preseason, his first two games made him look like the Vick of old, aka Dr. Jekyll. He was 4 of 5 for 94 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots. Against the Carolina Panthers, he was 9 of 10 for 105 yards.

But in preseason Game 3 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he looked like Mr. Hyde had returned, going 15 of 23 for 184 yards and a touchdown, but with an interception and a fumble.

This is the frustration of following the Philadelphia Eagles.

It was the same with Donovan McNabb in his last few years and with Randall Cunningham as well. The Eagles never know what they will get out of the quarterback position from week to week. It seems like such a long time since the Eagles have had a quarterback who was competitive week after week, someone the likes of Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

Perhaps Vick will thrive in coach Chip Kelly's new aggressive offense. It is certainly no secret that a quarterback that can run the option thrives in a Kelly system.

As a freshman, Marcus Mariota set the University of Oregon's single-season touchdown record with 38 touchdowns under Kelly. He also put up 3,429 yards of offense, so we know that a mobile quarterback can have success in such a system.

But won't Kelly's system also put Vick at risk for putting his fragile body in harm's way more often? Will that lead to more injuries? Only time will tell.

One thing is certain, barring injury, Kelly has announced that Vick will be the starting quarterback on opening day.

So now Eagles fans find themselves back at the argument that seems to be trending on Eagles message boards. Why not start Nick Foles? If you take a look at his numbers in the preseason, it would be hard to argue that Foles has done any worse or better than Vick.

I know that in preseason Game 1, Foles lost a fumble, but he went 5 of 6 for 43 yards. And one could argue that his fumble was due to a breakdown in protection by the offensive line. In Game 2, he threw an interception and that one was simply a bad throw.

But let's look closer at Game 3. Foles clearly outplayed Vick in that game. He looked surgical doing it, going 10 of 11 for 112 yards and leading the team on two scoring drives, one that was the game winner.

So are the Eagles better off going with Vick or Foles?

In this writer's opinion, it doesn't really matter.

I believe the Eagles see this as an observation year, a year to give Vick a chance to run Kelly's offense before they move on to Foles, and then to the future of the franchise, Matt Barkley.

Make no mistake, Barkley was drafted to be the franchise quarterback for the Kelly era. He is very familiar with Barkley's desire to win.

In 2011, Barkley took his 18th-ranked USC Trojans into Eugene, Ore., and threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-35 victory over Kelly's 4th-ranked Oregon Ducks.

A year later, Barkley almost did it again, and may have if not for a defense that played terrible. Barkley was a one-man wrecking crew in that contest, throwing for 484 yards and five touchdowns in 62-51 loss to the Ducks.

None of this went unnoticed by Kelly.

That's the reason that no matter how Vick does this year, his situation with the Eagles is only temporary.

Jesse Dinkel has been following the Philadelphia Eagles since 1976. Jesse has been published on Yahoo Voices as well as multiple newspapers and blogs.

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