In 2010, the Eagles finished 10-6, won their division and pushed the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers to the limit in the playoffs.

In 2011, the Eagles finished 8-8 and they didn’t even make the playoffs.

That’s a dramatic change in fortune and the main reason for it was the quarterback, even though he was the same guy. In 2010, Michael Vick had the best season of his career and his statistics reflected that -- he threw just six interceptions and finished with a quarterback rating of 100.2. In 2011, Vick had a so-so season and his statistics reflected that -- he threw 14 interceptions and finished with a QB rating of 84.9.

So, the big question for the Eagles this season -- actually, it’s the only question that really matters -- is this: Which Michael Vick will we see in 2012?

The preseason didn’t give us many clues. Vick hardly played in the exhibitions because of a bruised thumb and bruised ribs and that’s one reason why we really don’t know what to expect on Sunday when the Eagles open the season in Cleveland. Actually, that might not even tell us much, since the Browns weren’t very good last year and won’t be very good this year.

If we see the 2010 Vick, the one who learned to be a disciplined pocket passer and ran the offense efficiently and error-free, then the Eagles will win NFC East and go deep into the playoffs.

If it’s the 2011 Vick, the one who showed poor judgment too often and turned the ball over too many times, then this year’s Eagles will look a lot like last year’s Eagles. Even Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, acknowledged that.

“I’m not into prognosticating,’’ Lurie said. “I’m just saying that we hope to see the elite Michael Vick that we saw the year before. We just need him to maximize that incredible God-given talent, stay healthy, and deliver the kind of offensive performance that great quarterbacks can.”

So, there it is.

The Eagles added a bunch of new players this year and the ones who joined the team last year, like veteran cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and rookie offensive linemen Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins, have had a full offseason and preseason to learn the Eagles’ system. But none of that will mean anything if the quarterback falls flat on his facemask again.

And that doesn’t even take into account the constant injuries that have dogged Vick’s career -- he’s played all 16 games only one time in his 10 years in the NFL and the injury bug bit him again this preseason.

“There are things that Michael can do to lower the chances of injury,’’ Lurie said, “but it’s a volatile game and that’s a rough and tough position.”

At least it is the way Vick plays it. And even though he keeps saying he’ll play smarter and not take the chances -- and the big hits -- that he’s taken in the past, it’s hard to see this tiger changing his stripes at this point in his career. And you can’t play well if you can’t play at all.

But even if Vick stays healthy for 16 games, nobody really knows how well he’ll play. Will it be 2010 or 2011? That answer to that question will determine how the Eagles fare in 2012.

“This is a quarterback driven league,’’ Lurie said, “and we will go as far as our quarterback play can take us.”

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow @CBSSportsNFLPHI.