The League

Peter Schaffer
NFL Agent

Peter Schaffer

Agent and professor of sports law

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The talk of the NFL today, and for the last few weeks, has been the outstanding play by Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. This year Vick has the best completion percentage (60.7%) and QB rating (110.2) of his career. He has also not thrown a single interception, and he is leading an offense that is ranked third in the league in points per game (27.7).

However, this week's game is unlike the previous three Vick played this year. Sunday's game is more than a win or a loss since the Redskins travel to Philadelphia looking not only to even up the NFC East, but Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb will be facing the team who traded him this past off-season believing that his best days were behind him and he was not worthy of another big contract.

Even though Vick and McNabb are in the last year of their respective contracts, each quarterback is in the best situation for himself and that is what makes the game intriguing. If the roles were reversed, i.e. Vick in Washington and McNabb still in Philadelphia, neither would be in an ideal situation and no one would care about the game. Both players landed in situations and with teams that are ideal and tailor-made for their respective talents and skill sets which adds allure and intrigue to an already critical divisional match between two hated rivals.

With the Eagles, Vick has the ability and freedom to showcase his talents in an Andy Reid coached offense, and the West Coast offense allows Vick the opportunity to pass the ball first, but then escape the pocket and run when the play breaks down. One of Big Red's many talents is the structuring of offenses to compliment the talents of his players and Vick is the current beneficiary of this talent.

As for McNabb with the Redskins, he is performing in a Mike Shanahan offense that is tailored around a pocket passer with the ability to make any throw on the field in a timely and efficient manner taking advantage of the many mismatches created by the Shanahan system. McNabb resembles Tom Brady more than he does a dual-threat quarterback like Vick. Like any pocket passer, McNabb is most comfortable taking a three-step drop and firing in a synchronized fashion to his receiver without hesitation. Shanahan prefers this type of quarterback in his system which showcases a quarterback's strengths from the pocket. The Shanahan-McNabb experiment has the Redskins seventh in the league in passing yards per game (265.7).

In the NFL, a dual-threat quarterback such as Vick subjects himself to violent hits from opposing defenses each time he runs the ball; therefore, increasing the probability of physical injury. If Vick is to be successful this year, and in the future, he must learn the importance of sliding and running out of bounds. Although at 30 years old, Vick does appear to be standing in the pocket longer and going through his progressions before ultimately deciding to tuck and run.

Can Vick can continue his stellar performance throughout the entire season? It seems one bad performance or injury from Vick could result in his benching, thus causing him to become a free agent at season's end and ultimately sign with another team. Now, the Eagles re-signed Kevin Kolb in April for $12.26 million guaranteed over the next two seasons and are not going to let him simply sit on the bench making that kind of money. So, barring an absolutely sensational season from Vick, look for Kevin Kolb to be the Eagles QB in 2011.

This week, Michael Vick's success will be significantly challenged by a sophisticated and complex Jim Haslett coached defense. Don't expect the Redskins to just lie down after last weekend's loss to the Rams, Haslett has worked tirelessly this week on defensive schemes designed to contain and confuse Vick. It will be interesting to see if Vick can handle the myriad of blitz packages and defenses that will be featured by the Redskins defense this Sunday.

Most of the publications you will read prior to this weekend's games are going to write off the Redskins in this NFC East clash. There is no question the Redskins will have their hands full this weekend, and on paper the Eagles are clearly the favorite featuring a sizzling hot quarterback that has not been contained all season. But also expect McNabb to come out and throw the ball around with precision at his former home, Lincoln Financial.

This has all the makings of a typical NFC East barn-burner, and this game should come down to the wire.

By Peter Schaffer  |  September 30, 2010; 1:00 AM ET  | Category:  Donovan McNabb , Michael Vick , Peter Schaffer , Philadelphia Eagles , Quarterbacks , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Vick's first big test | Next: A (triumphant?) return


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I can't wait for Vick to come back down to Earth and turn back in to the QB who can't win the big game. Donovan will lead his troops to a W in Phili this weekend.

Posted by: TopChedda19 | September 30, 2010 11:53 AM

"each quarterback is in the best situation for himself". could someone please elaborate how that is the case for mcnabb?

at any rate, vick is overrated. he hasn't yet played against a decent defense that has had a full week to prepare a defensive game plan for him. that being said, i'd say haslett vs vick is the more interesting storyline here.

Posted by: reeeiisin4robyn | September 30, 2010 11:53 AM

cant wait to sip a jim and coke and watch this one for sure. like the piece and as oposed to most of the other pieces is positive and thougthful; rare combination!

Posted by: JimBeam888 | September 30, 2010 12:45 PM

mcnabb is in the best situation for himself because he is in a shanahan coached offense that thrives on the QB’s knowledge to recognize mismatches and defensive schemes. And the ability of a pocket passing quarterback to pick apart defenses.

Posted by: kwes3 | September 30, 2010 3:55 PM

@kwes3: what offense DOESN'T thrive on the qb's knowledge to recognize mismatches? mcnabb's situation in philly was undoubtedly better.

Posted by: reeeiisin4robyn | September 30, 2010 6:33 PM

Simply put.. McNabb is better with Shanahan and Reid is better with Vick. I realize that the Eagles are probably a better team right now, but what did Reid and McNabb ever accomplish. They never won the big game. It was better off for both parties involved that they went their separate ways. Both teams are better off with a fresh start this season.

Posted by: MomAtWork | October 1, 2010 12:20 PM

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