Turn out the lights, the party's over. It's official: Michael Vick is out as quarterback for the beleaguered Philadelphia Eagles. Coach Andy Reid has benched Vick, and named rookie Nick Foles as the team's new starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2012 regular season, according to The Washington Post.
"No. 1, I just think he's playing well enough to where I think he can win football games for us," Reid said Monday to the Post. "And No. 2, I think where we sit at this position in the season, I think it's the right thing to do."
"It gives one of your players the opportunity to play here, the next four games, as a starter," Reid said via Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Each week, he's been the replacement guy. Now he is the starter, we'll see how he does with that on his plate, see how he handles it. I don't expect much change there with him."
The announcement from Reid came just a day after another standout performance from Foles. The young QB had his best performance Dec. 2 in a 38-33 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Foles, a third-round pick, has started the last three games since Vick suffered a concussion in the team's Nov. 11 loss to the Cowboys.
Foles was 22 of 34 for 251 yards and one touchdown against the Cowboys, finishing with a passer rating of 96.9. Foles was selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft out of the University of Arizona and has completed 60.9 percent of 133 pass attempts for 793 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in the three-plus games since replacing Vick.
"You see the footwork is better when he's throwing the football," Reid said. "It's allowing us to add more into his repertoire of throws and he's been working very hard on that."
Vick is normally the backbone of the team's offensive attack. He had a remarkable season two years ago, leading the Eagles to an NFC East title, earning a spot as the starting quarterback in the Pro Bowl, and winning the AP Comeback Player of the Year award.
But, this season Vick has struggled significantly, committing 14 turnovers in nine games. He has 2,165 yards passing, 11 TDs and nine interceptions for a passer rating of just 79.2.
"With Michael, we need to make sure he gets healthy," Reid said. "This thing has carried on a while here now and I want to make sure he is good to go."
For the meantime, Vick remains in stage four of five in his recovery and has yet to pass the final test that would allow him to be cleared to practice. The Eagles have a five-phase recovery protocol, which is separate from the NFL-mandated concussion program, according to The Post.
Reid won't even let Vick play backup for the time being; Trent Edwards is currently the team's No. 2 QB.
"I haven't got that far, but most likely, he'll be the second guy," Reid said of Edwards. "We'll see how that goes. The No. 1 thing I want him to do is get healthy. That's what I want. This obviously has taken a bit and he's working his tail off to try to get it right and I just want him to get that right so he can have a nice, long career here."
As far as Vick himself is concerned, Reid says he fully understands the situation, and is remaining optimistic.
"I did speak to him, and he was very positive about it. He completely understood. He's on board," Reid said of Vick's reaction to the decision.