Peyton Manning deserves all kinds of great respect and admiration. But why is there a clamor, however minor, to have the Eagles make a run at him? ...
Feel free to disagree, because it is a fascinating topic to discuss, but I don't see any reason the Eagles would move away from Michael Vick and focus their attention on a quarterback who hasn't thrown the football in earnest, who nobody knows is fully healthy and who is about to switch teams for the first time since he entered the NFL in 1998.
I'm not saying Manning is done as an elite quarterback. One of the most technically sound players at that position ever and a first ballot member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, nobody has done it better when Manning is full.
But he isn't full. At least we don't know that he is. And because of that, Manning is a huge, gigantic, enormous risk for the team that signs him.
The Eagles aren't in a position to take that kind of risk. They blew up the roster for 2011 and it took three-quarters of the season to pass by before the team jelled, too late, for the final four games of the year.
This is a team that believes in Michael Vick at the quarterback position, believing he is a lot closer to the player who started the 2011 Pro Bowl than the one who struggled at times last season with ball security and finishing off drives. It wasn't just Vick's fault, of course. It's just that he is the quarterback and the nature of the position is such that he gets too much of the credit and too much of the ball.
Vick is going to realize the benefit of spending just about every day at the NovaCare Complex in this offseason. He is in the best shape of his life, and Vick has worked hard on the mental part of the game -- looking at film, reviewing the mistakes he made in 2011, reminding himself that he has to A) Stay healthy and B) Take better care of the football.
It's going to pay off for Vick and for the Eagles. There is a feeling of confidence, quiet for sure, in the halls of the NovaCare Complex in this offseason. A lot of players are already involved in conditioning long before the official start of the offseason program (five weeks away) begins. Vick is the leader of the pack. He is the guy everyone knows and his is the man everyone knows is the one who sets the pace.
Why disrupt everything, throw it all in turmoil, to make the big pitch for Manning, see if they can sign him and then figure out what to do with Vick? What if the Eagles were to add Manning? How long would it take to get him assimilated into the Eagles way? How would the locker room feel? What is the status of Manning's health? How do all of those numbers work within a salary cap that has gone up just a smidgen since last year?
And what would happen if the Eagles made a run at Manning and didn't get him? How would Vick feel having to answer the "Do you feel loved by the Eagles?" questions every day?
It's a whole lot more complicated than simply saying, "We want to sign Peyton Manning," and that is why the Eagles are smart to stay away. They have a standout quarterback, first and foremost. When you have a great talent like Vick and you understand how much work he is putting into his craft and you see him every day and you genuinely believe in him, why look anywhere else?
Hey, best of luck to Manning. He is a marvelous competitor and he seems like a great guy. Wherever he lands, he will instantly make that team -- by the way, are you paying attention to the teams giving chase? -- better provided his health is OK and he stays on the field all season. It's great for the league that Manning is on the road to recovery.
The Eagles have their own issues. They are best to keep the roster as intact as possible, then go out and hit on the right targets in free agency. Is there a blockbuster move ahead? Not that I know, but then I don't know the plan. I know that the Eagles are capable of doing just about anything and that Andy Reid and Howie Roseman love to wheel and deal.
Not in the instance of the quarterback position, though. Vick is the guy now and moving forward. There are questions with him, of course, and with the backup positions. Time will answer them.
The Eagles can't zig-zag all through the offseason. They need a strong plan and must remain disciplined throughout and, honestly, they have to hit on a high percentage of their decisions. This is a critical season in franchise history. We all know that.
Taking an abrupt left turn wasn't the way to go, despite some very public pleas these last couple of days in Philadelphia. The waters are calm now. There are going to be a few ripples -- there always are -- but nobody needs an earthquake around here.
Manning will go and sign somewhere and that will team will become a crazy, nutty media center for many months to come. We went through that last year. No thanks going through that so soon.
I prefer a team that showed us last year what it is capable of doing when it gets used to each other just a little bit. In Vick, the Eagles trust. The Eagles are going to win big with him this year providing enough headlines to make us all happy. Let some other city host the circus this season.