Within the past three weeks, three teams have changed quarterbacks due to concussion injuries. Two of the three now stand with a permanent switch, and only Chicago to go back to Jay Cutler after Jason Campbell’s atrocious play. Michael Vick and Alex Smith sit in the dark, their futures now up in the air.
Supporters of the duo argue that they should be given another chance. People feel that it is unfair to remove them because of an incidental occurrence: one which they could not control.
Nowadays, the common phrase in the workforce is, “you can’t lose your job due to injury.”
When Alex Smith fell to a blow on his 14-yard touchdown pass against St. Louis, silence permeated through the seats. A 70% completion rate, a 104 passer rating, and 13 touchdown strikes lay on the Candlestick Park turf. Fast forward three weeks, and young Colin Kaepernick stands as the new starting quarterback, with speculators pondering Smith’s release.
The situation puzzled Smith when speaking to reporters last week, saying, “I feel like the only thing I did to lose my job was get a concussion.”
Such is life in the NFL: the Not For Long industry, where one play changes everything.
Colin Kaepernick has plainly outplayed his counterpart Smith in his three starts. When asked about why he made the decision, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh cited Kaepernick’s ability to create big plays: both in the passing game and with his legs. Last week in St. Louis, Kaepernick led a possible game-winning drive fueled by an electric 50 yard run, the longest by a QB in team history. In the week 11 game against the Saints, Kaepernick completed four passes of over 20 yards; in comparison, Alex Smith attempted four such passes in the first three games combined. The 49er offense has come to life with the change, scoring an average of 25.3 points in the past three weeks. Hall of Fame cornerback, now NFL network analyst Dion Sanders concluded, “This team is responding to Kaepernick.”
Similarly, after another disappointing loss, the Philadelphia Eagles lay curled in a ball at 3-9. Michael Vick has not passed his ImPACT test, and will not return anytime soon. The preseason phenom, Nick Foles assumes the starting role for the final four games, with Head Coach Andy Reid confirming this Monday. Many have chronicled Vick’s struggles this season, third in the league in turnovers through week eight. The 32-year old is due a $16 million bonus this summer, and thus, the Eagles will probably let him go in the offseason. The Eagles need to see what they have in Foles: if they can rely on him as their franchise quarterback, or if they should roll the dice on a rookie in the draft. They need to see who they can win with come 2013. After all, the NFL is all about winning,
Former player/coach Herman Edwards said it best, saying, “Hello? You play to win the game!”
Photo: ABQ Journal Sports