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Breaking Down Michael Vick's Turnovers

Rich Schultz

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers.

They are a coach's worst nightmare, they get players cut, and they are usually the number one reason teams lose in the NFL. There past two seasons the Eagles have had a defense that was below average at best, an offense that was predictable and stale, and injuries that kept mounting at key positions. So it says something that even when that is taken into considerate, turnovers were likely still the reason they didn't make the playoffs these last two seasons. They turned it over time and time again, often at the worst times, and didn't create turnovers on defense. Needless to say it was not a winning combination and it is probably why Andy Reid doesn't have a job anymore.

Which brings us to Michael Vick.

Vick has been criticized heavily during his time with the Eagles for being careless with the ball and turning it over. In the last two seasons Vick has thrown 24 interceptions and put the ball on the turf 21 times. That is pretty staggering considering he has only played 23 games.

As Reid used to say, however, turnovers are a team effort. Fans don't want to hear it, but Vick is not at fault for all of his turnovers. Poor blocking, tipped balls and bad route running can lead to interceptions that fall on the quarterback. When Chip Kelly reviews the film, he is going to watch it and ask himself if he can win with Vick. A big part of his decision will come from how much blame he puts on Vick for the turnovers these past few seasons. If he feels Vick wasn't to blame, he might decide to stick with him this upcoming season.

Using NFL Rewind, I took a look at each of Vick's interceptions over the past two seasons and the majority of his fumbles. Here is a breakdown of each.


Week 1 vs. St Louis



Before the snap, it's not clear the blitz is coming. Quitin Mikell is going to come after the snap from the safety spot.


Mikell comes in untouched and gets a free shot at Vick. This wasn't an example of him clearly missing a blitz or being careless with the ball, so it's hard to kill him for it.


Week 2 vs. Atlanta:



Atlanta absolutely blows right through the Eagles offensive line, especially Jason Kelce. The Falcons nail Vick less than one second into the play. The screen shot above is what Vick is facing as soon as he snaps the ball.


Second Fumble

Vick had to escape pocket, but look at how is he running with ball, letting it hang out on his side. This makes it easy for the Falcons to just knock it out. Vick did this a lot in his early playing time for the Eagles.

Verdict: HIS FAULT



Vick is under pressure and is about to take a hit, but forces it and should have just held onto the ball. This is the result.


That throw is not even close to being a completion, and two defenders are in the area.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 3 vs NYG



As you can see, this is a perfectly thrown ball to Steve Smith. The Eagles were driving in an early season game, and this completion would have been a big one.


Whoop, it's Steve Smith, so of course he makes the ball end up all the way over here like he is playing volleyball.




Vick takes off with the ball on third down, and tried to secure the ball......


.....but still with just one hand as he is still standing upright. Vick really did a horrible job of securing the ball two seasons ago. Somehow the Eagles didn't lose this fumble.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 4 vs. SF



Vick gets some pressure on him as you can see, and is probably not in the best position to be making a throw anywhere but out of bounds. Watching the play again it seemed like a rushed decision by Vick.


As you can see it is 1-on-1 coverage, so it was a not terrible read. This could be viewed as Vick giving DeSean Jackson a chance to make a play. But overall, he shouldn't have thrown it. This is a prime example of him trying to do too much.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 5 vs. Buffalo



This was a throw where Vick's height was clearly a factor. Vick had a clear throw to McCoy, who was open. Unfortunately the ball was tipped. If Kelly is watching the tape and sees Vick not being able to get the ball over the line to his speedy weapons in space, that isn't going to help

Verdict: HIS FAULT

2nd Interception


Playing behind the Eagles offensive line, there were plenty of times where Vick got hit as he threw. Some of them were his fault, but this one wasn't. Vick got blindsided as he hit, and the ball left his hand wobbly and only traveled a few yards- right into the hands of Buffalo.




As stated above, when playing behind this offensive line your going to get hit as you throw the ball (of course, that is the case with almost any NFL offensive line). In this case, however, Vick was trying to make something.......


.....out of nothing.

Verdict: HIS FAULT



This one was a key turnover in the game. As you can see, the ball isn't perfectly thrown. It might have been a little infront, but in the 4th quarter of a close game, the Eagles wideouts are going to have to make plays as well. This one tips off of Avant's hands.


Week 6 vs. Washington


This is another one of Vick's passes that got tipped at the line. Vick had some pretty bad luck when it came to his tipped passes going right to the other team time and time again.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 9 vs Chicago


This interception against the Bears was all on Vick. He had a clean pocket. Just a bad read into some pretty obvious double coverage.


To me this seems like an example of Vick trusting his arm to get through the two defenders. One pattern when watching Vick is he clearly believes in himself. In many ways it's his greatest asset and biggest downfall.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 10 vs. Arizona



Another example where Vick threw the ball too low and it hit the line. This time, Vick throws it right into the arms of the Cardinal's defensive lineman.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Interceptions Two and Three




These are some of the worst passes Vick has thrown during his time with the Eagles. Clean pocket, just horrible throws. Pocket was just as clean for the second interception. If your Kelly, these might bother you more than the fumbles.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 14 vs Miami


Eagles were winning big, Vick escaped the pocket and threw it across his body to the middle of the field.


Just a bad decision by Vick. Have to wonder what he saw there. You like your quarterback to want to make a play, but with his team winning, why not just throw it away? Poor judgement from Vick.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 15 vs. NYJ



Again, another example where Vick doesn't take into account what is going on in the game. Eagles were up 15 with only two seconds left when Vick snapped it for a hail mary. The play broke down and Vick ended up about 15 yards behind the line of scriammage. He threw it off his back foot in an attempt you should really only make if you are trying to win on a miracle throw. You almost have to give him some credit for not caring about his stats at all. It could be fair to blame Reid for even calling the play and not just taking a knee, but Vick still has to know better.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 17 vs. Redskins



Vick is surveying the field in what appears to be a pretty safe pocket. The Redskins end up getting a free run at him, however.


Vick tried to cover up the ball, but it got out. Hard to imagine that the majority of quarterbacks in the league who took a hit like this wouldn't fumble the ball. Vick trusted his line- maybe his first mistake- and it burned him.




Vick was under some pressure, but nothing more than any other quarterback faces in the NFL. His read, however....


Pretty horrible read. For all of the arm strength he has, Vick sure struggles in passing the ball down the field.

Verdict: HIS FAULT


Week 1 vs CLE-



Believe it or not, but this fumble is actually on a snap that was fumbled and kicked by Kelce. What's troubling is how far it got away from Vick. Watching the tape from the past two seasons it's amazing how many bad snaps Vick had come his way.



Vick is not afraid to throw the ball across is body when he is out of the pocket, and he almost always pays for it. Maybe Vick was trying to go to McCoy, who was wide open.....


but this is where it landed. A bad decision and throw.

Verdict: HIS FAULT



Had a very clean pocket. No one in site. But threw it into double, maybe triple coverage. Needless to say, bad things happened as the ball was tipped and intercepted.


Verdict: HIS FAULT



Vick steps up in the pocket and had Maclin coming across the middle. Was not a perfect throw by any means- was maybe a little high.


It still was a catchable ball for Maclin as it almost hit him right in the hands. This a tough call, but after watching wideouts make plays for their quarterbacks during the playoffs.....




Clean pocket, but again, a horrible read. One of the worst ones I saw while watching Vick.


Just threw it right in the middle of two players.

Verdict: HIS FAULT



Had a clean run gong, saw the contact coming. Needed the first down with the game on the line, took on the contact and the ball popped loose. Depends on how you feel- should he had gone done and not tried for the 1st? Or do you applaud him for trying? Either way....

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 2 vs Baltimore-



Vick was under pressure, but was able to beat it. He had some room to run in front of him, but instead tried to get it to Harbor in the back of the endzone.


You have to wonder how much of these turnovers are due to Vick feeling he can't just take off. One area he struggles with is decision making when out of pocket. Maybe his next coach should make it simple- just run.

Verdict: HIS FAULT



Vick had a clean pocket and threw the ball to Celek in really the only place he could.


The coverage was tight, but it went right off of Celek's hands and was intercepted.


Week 3 vs. Arizona



The play that to many is the perfect example of why they don't think Eagles can win with Vick. Blitz was coming, he either didn't see it or didn't care, just stood there and got nailed. Game changing turn over. As Dennis Kelly put it, Peyton Manning doesn't take that hit.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 5 vs. Pittsburgh



The Eagles were 3 yards from the endzone. You can't kill Reid or Mornhinweg for the call. Vick clearly tried to hold the ball, it was just a great play by Clark. Notice how much more emphasis he is putting on holding securing the ball.




The pocket had collpased and when Vick stepped up he decided to run. Nothing seemed to be open. As the defender came in Vick tried to secure the ball- it wasn't as bad as some of the other ones he has fumbled. It's clear he was more aware of how he was holding the ball when running last year then he was the year before. Just another good play by the Steelers.


Week 6 vs. Detroit



Vick was facing some pressure in his face, but decided to not try to move around to get away from it. One thing Nick Foles did when he played was show great pocket presence- better than Vick ever did.


Vick lets it rip down the field, and it was a horribly overthrown ball.

Verdict: HIS FAULT



Vick had all the time in the world and this picture above was the result. Vick would say afterwards that the wind took the ball, and the All-22 tape afterwards showed the ball did change direction. But given his history of innacurate down the field passes....

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 9 vs New Orleans



Amazing to watch all of the times Vick just didn't have a chance. It didn't happen as much as people think it did, but there is not doubt that the offensive line had a hand in Vick's fumbles.



This is a good example of Vick not doing a great job reading the defense. Pretty sure my 11 year old brother could tell you throwing this ball isn't a great idea. Roman Harper is basically standing there saying "Don't do it!". A player is in his face and Celek isn't open. Vick still throws it and actually manages to get it on Celek's fingers- but it is tipped. Anyone watching this play has to wonder if Vick decided before the play he was going to Celek no matter what the defense gave him.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Week 17 vs. New York Giants



Vick was under a little pressure, but was again another horrible pass. Can blame it on rust, but has shown throughout his time here he lets balls sail on him.

Verdict: HIS FAULT

Final Verdict:

I went into the piece thinking that Vick was not as responsible for all of the turnovers as many thought he was. The Eagles seemed to have bad luck with tipped balls and bad blocking. I finished it, however, finding it hard to not blame Vick for almost any of them.

After watching all of Vick's turnovers during his time with the Eagles, a few things were clear. First, the notion that the offensive line had a lot to do with Vick's struggles really isn't true. Vick had plenty of time on alot of his interceptions, but just made a bad throw. At times Vick did get rushed out of the pocket, but he showed poor judgement when he did by not just letting the play go. A quarterback who isn't very accurate- and is not willing to let a play day- is going to drive Kelly crazy. Kelly said it himself that his quarterback needs to be able to live to see the next play, not throw the game away. That was not Vick these past two seasons.

That being said, the fumbling problem was not as bad as most make it out to be. Vick showed he improved in holding onto the ball as he was going down, a good sign that he is listening to the coaches. It's hard to kill Vick for fighting for extra yards on third down when he team needed a fresh set of downs. The same can be said for some of his interceptions. Vick really does take every play on it's own and does everything he can on each play. It's a great attribute to have in a player if you are a coach- a fighter attitude that his teammates love. Kelly might see that on the tape and rather live with the 4-5 fumbles per year then have a quarterback back there who isn't capable of rushing when the play breaks down.

Watching Vick, it's clear to me he still has talent. It's just a matter of if Kelly thinks he can either live with or take away the few boneheaded plays Vick makes a year.

Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks

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