If his time behind center for the Eagles is done - and it is our right to pray to the higher power of our choice that it is - then Vince Young must be credited with three singular achievements:

First, he uttered the phrase "Dream Team," which will stick to this 4-8 train wreck of a team like nothing since "Gold Standard."

Second, he delivered one touchdown drive to beat the New York Giants - a victory that looks more and more incredible with each day it recedes into the past.

Third, Young played so poorly and with such little conviction in two dreadful losses that he created the illusion Michael Vick is riding to the Eagles' rescue. Really. With eight interceptions and several postgame shrugs, Young was bad enough to make people forget how ineffective Vick was for much of the season.

That's a tall pile of bad.

With Vick all but sure to start Sunday at Miami, he faces an odd dilemma. If he leads the Eagles to a strong finish, it won't be enough to erase his role in this team's disappointing season. Vick's record as a starter in the last 12 months is 5-8, a testament to his deteriorating performance (18 touchdowns, 16 interceptions in that span) and his lack of durability (Vick missed three games this year and failed to finish two).

And if Vick doesn't finish strong, he will all but force the Eagles to use their first-round draft pick on a quarterback of the future. That is a high-stakes, high-risk situation for any NFL team to be in. But it's no riskier than counting on the injury-prone Vick in 2012, especially if his performance continues to decline.

So that's the dilemma: If he pulls a 2006 Jeff Garcia and wins out, it will still probably be too little, too late because of his early-season failures. And if the Eagles don't pull out of their spiral with him, Vick makes his big contract extension look like an even bigger mistake.

Indeed, that's been one of the more head-scratching arguments put forward for bringing Andy Reid back for another season as head coach. It goes like this: Since the contract really commits the Eagles to Vick for just one more year, their best chance of winning is with Reid and Marty Mornhinweg coaching him.

The other way to say that is, since Reid made the enormous and expensive mistake of committing to Vick, he should be rewarded with another season. It just doesn't make sense, especially if you take one more step back and analyze how the Eagles got here.

In 2009, when they shocked everyone and offended many by signing Vick, they had Donovan McNabb (coming off his fifth trip to the NFC championship game), Kevin Kolb (drafted in the second round in 2007 to be groomed for the starting job), and Vick - remarkable depth at the game's most important position.

A little over two years later, they have a beat-up and suddenly old-looking Vick, the shockingly disengaged Young, and Mike Kafka. All we know for sure about Kafka is that Reid went with Young instead of him.

That is not forward progress, folks, even (or especially) if you include Nate Allen, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and the not-yet-wasted draft picks obtained in trade for McNabb and Kolb.

Even more damning is the fact that Eagles quarterbacks, as a group, have thrown 15 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions this season. That suggests serious flaws either in Reid and Mornhinweg's offense, their personnel decisions, their ability to tailor that offense to the personnel at hand, or all three.

There was a time Reid seemed to have the Midas touch with QBs, getting maximum production from everyone from Garcia to Koy Detmer to A.J. Feeley. This year, to borrow a phrase from the old Hollies tune, he's been "King Midas in Reverse."

That's doubly relevant because it factors into the next set of big decisions facing this franchise. If the Eagles have a top 10 or even top five pick in a QB-rich draft, then choosing and developing that QB will affect the team's fortunes for the next decade.

Once upon a time, that would have been a strong argument in Reid's favor. Now? Not so much. Whether the starter has been Vick, Kolb, or Young, the performance at that position has been inconsistent and generally trending downward. It looks even worse when you compare it to the incredibly high level of quarterback play in Green Bay, New England, New Orleans, and some other NFL outposts.

The bar is set awfully high in those places. If Vick can rise to that level for these next four games, we'll all have to wonder where that was earlier in the season. If he can't, we'll all have to wonder which QB the Eagles will draft - and who will be coaching him.

Contact Phil Sheridan at 215-854-2844, psheridan@phillynews.com, or @Sheridanscribe on Twitter. Read his blog, "Philabuster," at www.philly.com/philabuster. Read his past columns at www.philly.com/philsheridan