The importance of playing hot hand athletic players

Stephen Forney, Staff Writer

Any professional hockey coach knows if you have a goalie who is playing well in the net, don’t tough the line up. He could be your third string goalie on your farm team but if he’s hot, he plays.

The same situation should be used in football.

Right now if you live near Philadelphia, you know that that the cult followers of the Eagles are fighting tooth and nail over who should start the next game.

One half says that no player should lose their spot due to injury, the other half believes Vick is a bigger offensive weapon.

What it comes down to is that people are convinced one quarterback gives them a chance to win a super bowl while the other will doom the organization for years to come.

In the past few years there are a few situations that come to mind on the same issue.

The best one I see fit Colin Kapernick replacing Alex Smith in San Francisco. Last year there were very low expectations and Kapernick was a stud. When Jim Harbaugh chose to remain with Kapernick there was a riot in the sports world.

Alex Smith had been through 7 different offensive systems in San Francisco before Harbaugh got there, had a successful year on their first year together and on track for repetitive success.

However an Alex Smith concussion a few games into the season opened the door for the rookie qb and he never looked back.

Kapernick truly played himself into a starting spot that took the 49’ERs all the way to the Super Bowl and despite some hardship early in the game, gave San Fran a real shot to win it all.

Now after having the rookie campaign kids dream about coming out of the draft Kapernick remains under center in San Fran and no one in San Fran will ever doubt Jim Harbaugh again.

But what about Alex Smith?

You might have actually not realized but Smith took off to Kansas City and hasn’t missed a beat.

Smith has evolved as one of the most efficient passers in the league, keeping it simple he’s even worked up a passer rating of 79.8 which is just better than that of the all powerful Tom Brady.

Even with that coupled with the only 3 interceptions (which is 2nd only behind Peyton Manning for quarterback with more than 200 pass attempts) he managed to lead the chiefs to a perfect 6-0 this season.

Not too shabby for San Fran or Kansas City if you ask me.

Now, if you pick apart the performance by both Vick and Foles, it is definitely hard to tell who is better.

However, it might not matter.

In the last two games that Foles has finished, he got the win. Vick didn’t throw well against the giants and in the 4 games that he did start, the offense only scored more than 20 points twice and only averaged 24.75 ppg.

In an offense that is constantly considered to be the most prolific offense in the league, those numbers really aren’t what they should be.

Foles this year is boasting a 67.2 completion percentage, which is over 13 percent better than Vick’s.

Upon comparing QBR’s Foles has an 87.2 average over this season where Vick is a 65.4 which is 21.8 points lower than Foles.

While Vick provides the rush yard that Foles literally only has three of this season, its’ an unnecessary addition with a healthy LeSean McCoy leading the league in rushing.

Foles might not be he exciting quarterback that Vick is, but he offers the vertical attack that Vick just hasn’t yet as an eagle.

When it comes down to it, there is good reason to fight for Vick to start, and while numbers typically don’t lie, there are intangibles such as locker room presence and leadership on the field; perfect example is Tim Tebow and his ridiculous win streak in Denver taking them into the playoffs with a pretty exciting win over Pittsburgh.

But also, the numbers lie in Fole’s favor.

Yet if I were coaching I would just keep it in because what it comes down to is this eagles offense has soared under Foles’.

Plain and simple, Vick isn’t 100 percent, Foles is playing well, it doesn’t matter.

This offense can run well with either player at this point, and neither has too much of a better grasp than the other.

My advice to Chip Kelly and Eagles fans everywhere, don’t sweat it and just ride the Foles wave, the bigger problem is the defense.

Letting over 410 total yards per game, and letting up 29.8 points per game.  Granted they had to face the mythical Peyton Manning, still for a team to be focused on their quarterback when they have an absolute horrific pass defense, shows a lack of responsibility and lack of priorities.