When Will Philadelphia Eagles Start Mike Kafka at QB in a Game?



This week, Philadelphia Eagles superstar quarterback Michael Vick is mending from broken ribs. He stayed in the game, a season-deflating loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but he admitted to the media that his desire to play was a tad selfish and hurt the team. At 3-6, their season is over so there’s no reason to play Vick if he’s anything less than 100% this week. Vick is the franchise QB and needs to be protected. If not this week, then the final weeks of “garbage time” this NFL season is when we might see Vick rest.

The Eagles #QB2 Vince Young, has been inactive for much of the season. Meaning the emergency QB, the second year man from Northwestern Mike Kafka has slightly more playing time in 2011. His NFL debut came with a couple minutes left in the third quarter of the Eagles loss to the Atlanta Falcons in week two.

Get ready for the most “Kafkaesque” post ever, this is what you need to know about the Chicagoan signal caller.

Kafka worked with obviously a limited repertoire. Andy Reid obviously scaled down the play-calling some what for a guy getting his first NFL action: more hand-offs, less aggressive passes. But Mike looked really good on the one long pass completion. His arm strength looked much more than NFL adequate, and he finished 7-9 for 72 yards, no TDs or picks, 1 rush for 2 yards.

NBC announcer and Bengals legend Cris Collinsworth closed the broadcast by saying “Kafka deserved better. What would have happened if Jeremy Maclin would have been able to hold on to that pass for Philadelphia?”

The play Collinsworth referred to was a fourth down slant route in which Kafka hit Maclin right in the numbers, but the usually sure-handed receiver just lost concentration and dropped it. Kafka’s only other incompletion was the last second desperation heave.

But I was most impressed by his escapability when the pocket collapsed as Kafka showed off his dual threat ability. He turned a bad sack into a two yard gain by his elsuiveness and speed. The man from St. Rita high school in Chicago made a lot of plays in college too.

Perhaps the most exciting and interesting bowl game of the 2009-10 season; and in NU school history. Mike was “Kafkaesque” going 47-78 (all-time bowl records) for 532 yards (school record), 5 INTs  (bowl record) and 4 TDs in the 2010 Outback Bowl, an OT 35-31 loss to Auburn, the year before the national title season. Yes, Kafka almost 80 passes, 621 net yards, and tons of school and bowl records. His final year in college, Kafka led the Big Ten in passing and finished fourth in league MVP voting.

His junior year, starting in place of the injured C.J. Bachér against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Kafka ran for 217 yards on 27 attempts, a league record for quarterback rushing yards in a game. The record has since been broken by the Wolverines Denard Robinson in the 2010 win at Notre Dame.

But that’s the past, what about the present? Kafka is 11-16 (69%) for 107 yards, o TD, 2 INT on the season for an ugly rating of 47.7.  But Young has a rating of 0.0 had he’s thrown a whopping one pass this year. Which makes Vince Young’s ridiculous “this is a dream team” comment all the more absurd. It’s been quoted all year long as the Eagles have struggled. When I first heard it I thought “dude, you’re not even going to play, and you don’t matter, why are you running your mouth?”

And wow! has that statement of his backfired. The Eagles have consistent problems on both sides of the ball, and as we’re learning yet again- fantasy teams, all-star teams don’t win. You need role players, you need a good mix of talent from different tiers to coalesce as a team. I don’t see how starting Vince Young, a psychological scapegoat, although not an actual scapegoat, would help team chemistry. So it may be time to move Kafka number two. If Vick is healthy, you have to play him this week.

However, when we get to week 16 and 17, when the Eagles are mathematically eliminated, it’s probably time to see what you have or don’t have in Kafka.



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