FanPost

What if Michael Vick is allowed to play to his strengths?


Michael Vick is currently battling to be the starting QB of the Philadelphia Eagles with Nick Foles as you all know. People's opinions are split for good reason, Vick has had 2 poor seasons with a lot of turnovers and Foles is young and came in and did admirably with what he had. I've been wondering whether Vick really does have a shot to start.

I was thinking back to 2010 when Vick was very nearly the NFL MVP and would have been if Tom Brady hadn't been Tom Brady. There was one major factor that's been brought up about that year, Vick came in due to Kolb's injury and played his game, the rest of the year it seemed like he was playing to his strengths, scaring teams with his ability to run and throwing deep balls when the opportunity arose, he seemed comfortable and seemingly reached something close to his potential. Vick averaged 8.3 rushing attempts per game during 2010, a career high, and while he did not throw the ball as much as he had in the past or would in the future, he was way more efficient when he did throw than at any other time in his career finishing with a 100.2 QB rating and a 62.6 completion percentage.

The idea that Vick could achieve these things when he was allowed to play the way he wanted to got me to thinking about what he had done earlier in his career. His rookie year he only played in 8 games but in his 2nd year he started in 15 games and had his highest QB rating in his time in Atlanta (81.6) throwing 16 TD's and 8 ints, a ratio that he has only bettered in 2010. He also averaged 7.5 carries a game (actually low for him), going 20+ yards 10 times and 40+ yards 3 times (tied for career high).

There could be a couple of reasons why Michael Vick has done better early in what are effectively 2 careers when he's come in as a player with large question marks about what he can do. It could be that opposition coaches learn what he can do and find ways to stop it, other teams make him play a game that he doesn't want to. Or he could have his own coaches neglecting what he's good at and trying to make him more of an all rounder and in doing so taking away from what he does best.

The statistics say that when Vick has run the ball more he has had better years overall and actually taken care of it better (2002, 2004, 2006, 2010). In his last 2 years he has had 21 (2011) and 17 (2012) combined ints/fumbles and has had the lowest average carries per game since his rookie year. The only other years where he has that many turnovers are 2006 (17 turnovers), his only full year, and 2005 (18), the only other year his average carries per game dropped below 7.5 while he was a starter (6.8).

With Chip Kelly being the Head Coach and his propensity to capitalise on athletic QB's ability to run the ball with the zone read, Vick could be given the freedom to once again play similarly to the way he did back in 2010 instead of being turned into a pocket passer. It could be that he has just become too old to do that anymore and his drop in carries per game reflects that rather than coaching.

It's also possible that there could still be hope for Vick in a new scheme with a new coach who is not afraid to test boundaries and has a history of being able to create schemes around the QB's he has at his disposal.

PS. This is my first attempt at a Fan Post, I saw the challenge from Joshua G. Clayton and thought I'd have a go. I would put a disclaimer about my writing style but I've learned never to apologise before you've started.

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