Andy Reid used a rather interesting phrase when referring to his decision to start Vick over the designated heir Kolb, “He’s playing out of his mind right now.” Speaking for myself, when Vick was drafted I was living in the south and watched quite a bit of his play, and based on my recollection I do not ever remember him playing as well as a QB as he is now. He sure ran well and won a lot of games, but he was too inconsistent and erratic from game to game to be considered a great QB.
So I decided to look into his historical performance. So far, Vick has playing in effectively only 4 games. In these games, he has set career marks for:
Completion percentage (61% vs previous high 56% and career average of 54%).
Yards per attempt (8.1 vs previous high of 7.2 and career average of 6.5).
Passer rating (105 vs previous high of 81.6 a career average 77.8).
Passing y/g (254 vs pvs high of 195 and career average of 135)
TD/G (1.75 vs pvs high of 1.25 and career avg of 0.84)
INT/G (0 vs. pvs low of 0 and career avg of 0.6)
Throw in his rushing and he comes of even better. He’s tied his career high in rushing Y/G at 65, and while his .5 rushing TD/G is slightly less than his previous career high of .53/game, his fumbling (.25/g) is below his average.
Put it all together, and Vick is putting up unbelievable numbers both as a passer and as a runner. If he were to have a whole season like this, he’d end up with over 5,000 yards total (4,000 passing and 1,000 running), and 36 total TD to match against only 4 turnovers (counting any fumbles as TOs, recovered or not). Those are numbers which are nearly unbelievable, never matched in Eagles’ history. McNabb’s best year was of course 2004, where he put up a total of 4,095 yards (3,875 passing, 220 rushing), posting 34 TDs against 10 turnovers. His passer rating that year was 105, which is what Vick has done in a smaller sample of games. Don’t take anything away from McNabb’s 2004, but a whole year of Vick is a little bit better, mostly due to the far better running.
Let’s compare to previous seasons QBs. Last year Drew Brees had a higher QB rating of 109, and passed for 4328 yards and ran for only 33, with 36 TDs and 3 TOs. In 2008, Drew had 5069 passing yards and -1 rushing yards, with 35 TDs and 18 INTs. 2007 showed Tom Brady with 4,806 passing yards, 98 rushing yards, 52 TDs and 9 TOs (ok, I’ll give that one to Brady).
Going back, you have to say the only true comparison would be Dante Culpepper’s 2004, where he passed for 4,717 yards and had another 406 rushing yards, with 41 TDs to go with 16 TO.
What I’m saying is that over his full 4 games, Vick has performed like an NFL MVP. This is the QB everyone thought he would be when he was drafted. With the mentoring of Reid and a brand new work ethic, I don’t see any real chance his production will suddenly fall off a cliff. I think Vick will be rightly considered one of the best QBs in the league for the next 4 to 5 year, barring injury. I also think the Eagles will be smart enough to pony up the dough to keep him, and I think we won’t have to overbid on his services, but I doubt we’ll shortchange the man, either. He deserves to get paid, and he will.