The Philadelphia Eagles are getting desperate for solutions after their latest loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 28. Most Eagles fans like myself will likely call for Michael Vick to be benched, as a last-gasp shot to give Philadelphia a shot in the arm. However, this fan remembers that such thinking got Juan Castillo fired two weeks too soon, and benching Vick now would likely provide the same ugly result.
Vick should have been benched for several rotten performances this season - yet sitting him after his relatively mistake-free work against the Falcons doesn't make as much sense. The Eagles already let the wrong man go in Castillo, although the defense wasn't their biggest problem except for the final few minutes. Therefore, using that same logic in sitting Vick down now would backfire just as badly.
After the Eagles blew two straight fourth-quarter leads earlier this month, Castillo became the scapegoat although the offense was the real problem. Now after the defense fell apart in the 30-17 loss to the Falcons, Vick is the next choice as a scapegoat, although the offense wasn't the real problem this time.
Yet Vick didn't turn the ball over once in this game, even though he only threw for 191 yards and got one touchdown. However, given that the defense let the Falcons score on their first six drives, there was nothing Vick could do. He could have done more to match Matt Ryan, but even Vick at his best would have a hard time doing that, considering the game Ryan was having - and what the Eagles were letting him do.
What sense would it make to keep Vick as the starter after all his horrible performances, only to bench him after the most mistake-free game he played this season? It's that kind of backwards thinking that got Castillo fired, despite how he never let the defense get as bad as Todd Bowles let it get against Atlanta. One desperation move to punish the wrong man already failed, so what good would doing that again get the Eagles?
There is a more logical scapegoat to fire, although Jeffrey Lurie probably doesn't have the will - or maybe the guts - to fire Andy Reid right here and now. Because of that, and because Castillo is already gone, Vick is the last real scapegoat left to bench. But if the Eagles sit him after a loss that wasn't his fault at all, it will further expose how they have no real ideas to turn things around.
If Vick goes back to committing three or four turnovers against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 5, then there is no sense in keeping him. Yet that kind of fear is what might make Philadelphia bench him now, before he can get that sloppy again. However, until Vick does fall apart like that yet again, there is no legitimate reason to sit him down - at least not without firing Reid to go with it.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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