The Philadelphia Eagles were looking for Michael Vick to give them an encore of his 2010 performance but the Eagles’ super-talented quarterback was not able to deliver. It was not for a lack of trying though.
As a matter of fact Vick could be accused of trying to do too much last season. The Eagles made changes on defense last season which affected their ability to keep their opponents out of the endzone.
Vick tried his best to compensate for the defense’s inability to stop anyone but ended up getting battered and bruised for his trouble. The Eagles allowed five teams to score 30 or more points on them last season. Needless to say they lost all five games.
But on the eight occasions that the Eagles were able to keep their opponents under 20 points, they won. Philadelphia’s defense struggled to put together consecutive games where they were able to keep the opposing team under 20 in their first 12 games.
Things came together at the end of the season though as the Eagles held their last four opponents to an average of 11.5 points-per-game. The Eagles were victorious in all four games.
The Eagles can’t afford for Vick to miss a whole lot of time this season though. Quarterbacks Mike Kafka and rookie Nick Foles look to be his main backups this season and they have a combined four games of NFL experience between them.
All four of those games were situations where Kafka came in off the bench to replace Vick. Kafka was pretty accurate completing 11 of his 16 throws but he threw two interceptions and zero touchdowns.
Coach Andy Reid has had lots of success with backup quarterbacks over the years but if you ask him who puts them in the best position to succeed and his answer will always be Vick. Vick gives the offense a dynamic that no other quarterback can give them so having him on the field is vital.
But he has got to get Vick to learn to pick his spots more. Vick hates to throw the ball away and in his zeal to become more of a pocket-passer, he has chosen to dance around in the pocket more as opposed to using his speed to get downfield.
His desire to become more of a conventional quarterback is hurting the team though. His insistence on staying in the pocket takes away the one thing that makes him so dynamic: his running ability.
It wouldn’t be so bad if he learned how to throw the ball away in order to avoid hits but he hasn’t. And with him being one of the smallest quarterbacks in the league he doesn’t need to take the abuse he subjects himself to.
Vick won’t change his game though until he truly realizes how valuable he is to the team. Vick threw eight more interceptions than he did the previous year. If he can learn not to force the ball and how to take the opportunities to run when they present themselves then the Eagles can go back to being the unstoppable force they were two seasons ago.
And if the defense does its job this year then Vick will feel even less pressure to either create something out of nothing or subject himself to needless injuries. That way Eagles’ fans won’t have to worry about getting acquainted with Mr. Kafka or Mr. Foles anytime soon.
Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at RHall_TPFB@Yahoo.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.