Pro Football Focus released their latest study of QBs under pressure in 2011. The driving force behind it coming out now is that that Eli Manning was their highest overall rated QB under pressure, but obviously I wanted focus on Michael Vick's performance. They used three separate categories for their evaluation.
First pressure into sacks. Given all the all plays on which a QB is pressure, how many result in his being sacked. It should come as no surprise that this a category Vick is excellent in. He and Manning are virtually tied atop the league being sacked 11.6 and 11.5% of plays pressured respectively. Obviously they avoid those sacks in different ways... With VIck it's his superior athleticism and escapability. For Manning, while he does have very good pocket presence and steps up to avoid pressure well, it really is that ability to ride the edge between throwing the ball away and intentional grounding better than any other QB in the league that sets him apart. How many hundred times have we seen Manning avoid a loss by flipping the ball away while being sacked?
By the way, Kevin Kolb was the second worst in that category, which certainly confirms the major fear I always had about him, which was pocket presence. He never seemed to feel pressure well.
Then there's the TD to INT ratio when being pressured. Vick wasn't as good here. He threw 7 TDs and 7 picks while under pressure this year, which ties him for 13th out of 34 QBs. Not bad, but not really good either. Ironically, he's tied with Eli Manning once again, who also threw 7 TDs and 7 Ints under pressure last year.
The final category is where Vick really struggled, which is completion percentage under pressure. There is an important thing to note about this category, which is that the more throws you make under pressure, the less you'll complete. So if you take a lot of sacks rather than try to make plays, you'll be rewarded here. Not that taking a sack rather than throwing is necessarily a bad decision, but it does explain why guys like Jay Cutler and Tony Romo score well in the category, but both took a ton of sacks. Michael Vick really didn't. However, when under pressure, he completed just 42.4% of his passes which ranked him 23rd out of 34 QBs.
They took all of these categories together and came up with a grade which ranked Vick 14th out of 34.