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17 Nov 2010

Cover-2: Career Days

by Doug Farrar

Vick 2.1
Philadelphia Eagles 59 at Washington Redskins 28

When I first put the new and improved Michael Vick under the microscope in late September with Greg Cosell of NFL Films and ESPN's NFL Matchup, it was before the chest injury that held Vick out for four weeks. It was also before his return to the Eagles' lineup that has resulted in two consecutive NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards. The Vick I saw then was an evolved version of the exciting-but-limited speed-option superstar who set the Atlanta Falcons running game ablaze, and an enormous improvement over the misplaced backup who looked slow and low for the Eagles in 2009.

With a full season under the tutelage of Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg, Vick finally became what everybody hoped he could be -- an actual quarterback who could read defenses and wait for plays to develop. Those new skills are now combined with foot speed that apparently hasn't decreased a bit despite all the obvious drama in his life.

At the time, Greg and I believed that we saw the best game of Vick's career in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions. It was Vick's first NFL start since 2006, and he completed 21-of-34 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. In that game, and in the season opener against the Green Bay Packers, Vick also amazed with a rocket arm that could fire off mercilessly accurate 40-yard bombs with minimal effort. I saw a Vick that stuck in the pocket and made plays with his head first, his arm second, and his feet third. It was only a question of keeping it going.

Figure 1: Vick's first score

Vick was injured two weeks later against the Washington Redskins, sat out three games and a bye, got his feet back under him in a close win over an injury-depleted Colts team, and went absolutely off the grid in the Redskins rematch at Fed Ex Field. Mere hours after the 'Skins signed Donovan McNabb to a contract extension that could be worth anywhere from 25 bucks to the all the money in Dubai, depending on which report you might be reading at any given time, Vick shoved that hot news back in the bin and put up one of the most amazing single-game quarterback performances in recent memory.

He finished with 333 yards and four touchdowns through the air, and 80 yards and two more touchdowns on the ground. He torched a Redskins defense that had no answers for what was about to happen to them. On the Eagles' first play from scrimmage (Fig. 1), a first-and-10 from the Philly 12-yard line with just four seconds gone by, Vick threw a perfect dart 65 yards in the air to DeSean Jackson, who beat deep safety LaRon Landry for an 88-yard score.

As Mike Mayock pointed out on the Tuesday edition of the NFL Network's outstanding Playbook show, Landry's failure on this play came early in Jackson's route -- at about the fifth step, after DeAngelo Hall let Jackson by without trying to slow him. Landry turned his back to Jackson and started running deep, which caused him to lose sight of Jackson and Vick. Not good. Jackson cut his deep post underneath Landry, got past Landry, who turned late, and it was off to the races.

Figure 2: Vick stays in the pocket

We've discussed Vick's ability and willingness to stay in the pocket and process his reads, and his 27-yard completion to Jason Avant with 2:47 left in the first half (Fig. 2) was a great example. Avant hit the right seam on one of the intermediate-to-deep combo crossing routes the Eagles love so well (and run as well as any team in the league), and you can see Vick read left, middle, right, run through his progressions, avoid happy feet, and only move in the pocket a step to the right as Avant came open deep. This was another Deep Safety Awareness Fail. By now, the Redskins were predetermining the need for a center fielder up top, and that affected their ability to deal with four-receiver concepts despite what should have been an effective zone blitz scheme.

Of course, when Vick found nothing but closed windows downfield, he made tracks of his own. The best example was his seven-yard touchdown run with 10:25 left in the first quarter (Fig. 3). The Redskins were still trying to recover from the previous play, a short pass to halfback LeSean McCoy that gained 27 yards. They sent eight men into coverage and rushed just three against an oft-maligned Philly line that held up with extra protection through most of the game.

The Redskins did "spy" zone gaps, as opposed to treating Vick like Joe Average, and it worked from a passing perspective. They broke out of a more traditional 5-2-4 look into a two-tiered zone idea. Because of this, Washington had good brackets from left to right in the end zone. Problem was, that left about five yards of empty space between the line of scrimmage and the first Redskins defender. At that point, Vick rolled right and did what he does -- zoomed it toward the end zone, gave end/misplaced spy Lorenzo Alexander a juke he's probably still feeling, and scored.

Figure 3: Vick's touchdown run

There's no question that Vick's performance was incredible, but the inevitable hyperbole should be tempered to some degree by Washington's defensive meltdowns. Jim Haslett's defense wasn't an effective unit before this game, and these results didn't help. That said, you have to consider advanced metrics and opponent adjustments and put them aside until you watch the game tape again ... and again. This was something very special.

What's clear in this incarnation of Michael Vick is a quarterback I've never seen before. He's a considerable improvement over the sometimes tentative, simple-read player who was still trying to integrate into a more advanced offense mere months ago. With the talent around him -- especially his deep receivers -- Vick now commands an offense that's lethal in the same way that Oregon's offense is lethal when it faces a half-decent Pac-10 opponent. That he's doing this in the NFL is the thing that leaves everyone incredulous -- and wondering just how long it can last.

What Vick brings to the game at this point in his career is no fluke. There has never been an NFL player with this combination of speed, agility and consistency in short-to-long throws. (Yes, the Randall Cunningham arguments start ... now!) But the most amazing aspect of his play now is the comfort with which he reads and steps into legitimate NFL throws. It's the one thing that takes spies and turns them into defenders vacating their coverage assignments so that they can be further exploited. It's the one thing I'd never seen from any other speed quarterback of his caliber, and if Vick can stay healthy, I don't see any reason for this bubble to pop.

As for the Redskins? Well ... this radio rant kind of sums it up for some people.

The Big Gronkowski
New England Patriots 38 at Pittsburgh Steelers 26

And yet, with all that Vick did, the opponent-adjusted aspects of our stats put Tom Brady atop the weekly quarterback list because Brady did what he did against the Steelers in Pittsburgh -- a slightly more formidable challenge. (Kyle Orton finished ahead of Vick as well, although you have to wonder if the adjustments for playing the Kansas City defense will look a bit different a few weeks from now.)

Both the Pats and Eagles were able to combine high-flying passing numbers with protection sets in which one or two tight ends stayed in to help with pass-blocking issues. And in New England's case, I was particularly impressed with the blocking of rookie Rob Gronkowski. His blocking stood out to me as much as the three touchdowns he caught. One of two tight ends taken by the Patriots in the 2010 draft, Gronkowski is now a symbol of the team's supposedly more integrated and versatile post-Moss offense. Results have been hit-and-miss overall, but the Sunday night win was a series of steps in the right direction.

What made Gronkowski's performance especially impressive was that it came a week after a 34-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns in which the rookie added to the collateral damage by blowing a fair catch on a kick return and fumbling in the red zone near the end of the first half. Against the Steelers, Gronkowski was tasked with several different assignments -- straight inline blocking, chip-and-release catches, and motion-to-route concepts that helped keep Pittsburgh's defense off-guard.

We'll start with his 25-yard touchdown, if only because you don't expect a tight end named "Gronkowski" who blocks well to be quick enough to get downfield. With 4:31 left in the game, the Pats lined up in a shotgun set on third-and-5. Gronkowski was inline to the left of left tackle Matt Light, and fellow rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez (who was featured far less than usual in this particular game) was in the right slot. Gronkowski hit the left seam at the snap and headed toward the end zone with single coverage. Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead took up the intermediate defenders with quick routes. Few teams employ route confusion to better effect than the Patriots, and this was an excellent example.

Still, I was focused on the blocking. With 4:15 left in the first quarter, Gronkowski subbed in for Hernandez and lined up outside eight tackle Sebastian Vollmer. Set up against end/linebacker LaMarr Woodley, Gronkowski basically acted as a functional third tackle on the play -- this wasn't the typical "hold him up and push him out" blocking you see from even the best blocking tight ends. Gronkowski displayed a reasonably good kick step and drop back on the play, taking Woodley out of Brady's perimeter. He also pulled off some nice edge blocks out of motion and seemed eager to look for blocking targets downfield. But the inline blocking ability is especially important in this new Pats offense and shouldn't be taken for granted. Exhibit A would be Alge Crumpler's epic whiff on Casey Hampton with 10:34 left in the third quarter.

As a pure pass-catcher, Gronkowski impressed me with his ability to get through a route even with initial contact, sync up with the quarterback, and stay open in short spaces. Less impressive were the efforts of Steelers cornerback William Gay, who was beaten outright on two of Gronkowski's touchdowns and was late to cover on the other one because he was reading Crumpler coming out of the backfield. On that score (which came with 9:54 left in the third quarter), Gronkowski was inline again, and pulled off a nice chip before releasing. The Pats will now use these inline releases from their tight ends to fool defenses on little out routes or flare patterns. As with Vick's record performance, Gronkowski's pace-setting day came with assists from the defense, but it's all about taking advantage. I like the way New England gains the advantage with different route combinations out of power formations. Gradually, you start to see the new offense come together.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 17 Nov 2010

47 comments, Last at 19 Nov 2010, 10:20am by Jimmy

Comments

1
by Micranot (not verified) :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:45pm

On second vick play section, lists QB as Mcnabb instead of Vick.

2
by chemical burn :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:48pm

God, why does FO hate Vick!

3
by Bobby Wommack (not verified) :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:50pm

The same reason people hate rationale discussion.

4
by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:55pm

Whoops. Fixed that.

One thing I'll note. I don't think it is strange to refer to Vick's performance as the most amazing we've seen in a long time, but also to think that Brady's was slightly more valuable this week. Brady had a really, really good standard Brady game against a great defense -- but it was essentially the same type of game that Brady and Manning each have a couple of times each season. What Vick did was a ridiculous display of athletic ability combined with improved quarterbacking skill. I don't think anyone can remember seeing anything quite like it, at least not in the NFL.

5
by Doug Farrar :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:57pm

"One thing I'll note. I don't think it is strange to refer to Vick's performance as the most amazing we've seen in a long time, but also to think that Brady's was slightly more valuable this week."

Precisely. To highlight one is not to denigrate the other.

6
by chemical burn :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 1:00pm

Also, your own stats show that Vick was more valuable on a per-play basis. What's the complaint folks have? He threw only 2 passes after 6:15 in the 3rd quarter. I don't think he scrambled even once. He produced a value in 2 and a half quarters comparable to what Brady and Orton did in a full game.

10
by Dean :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 1:23pm

I only saw the 3rd quarter of the New England/Pittsburg game, but that seemed to be where Brady really did the bulk of the damage. My comment at the time was "wow - what pissed Brady off?" You could tell he was on fire.

On the other hand, watching the dogkiller, you could sense as it was happening that you were witnessing something special. I am proud to be one of his biggest detractors. However, even I had to simply marvel at what I saw. At the time, the game I kept coming back to was Marino's performance in the 51-45 game against the Jets. More recently, I would compare it to Peyton against the Chiefs in the game where they were scared to punt because they knew they were simply incapable of stopping the Colts, and more specifically, Manning. I'd compare it to Steve Young in the Super Bowl against the Chargers.

One was a great QB having a great game. The other was (and I feel dirty just for acknowledging it) a legendary performance for the ages.

The Hall of Fame has requested, and is getting, his jersey from that game, and I completely understand why they want it. It really was that amazing. After ten years of hype, he finally gave us the game his glad-handers always pretended he was delivering all along.

13
by Led :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 1:48pm

It's maddening that this point keeps having to be repeated.

20
by nat :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 4:18pm

And mildly annoying that the FO team don't do the obvious things to solve this issue: add DVOA and YAR to the Quick Reads table.

I'm okay with the ranking being by DYAR. But having YAR would give us an FO-approved measure of the great results Vick was getting, and DVOA would give us an objective read of how well he was playing.

21
by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 5:18pm

I guess it's hard to statistically quantify the "holy crap, did you see THAT!" aspect of Vick's performance.

35
by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 5:48am

I guess that is something that is covered in game charting.

29
by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 8:30pm

Can anyone compare his performances to Steve Young circa '90-95? He's the "great" quarterback who stands out because of his speed, and the one that pops to mind when people say they've never seen an accurate, strong-armed quarterback with this kind of athletic ability.

7
by FireOmarTomlin :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 1:00pm

But Tomlin the Great is a profound expert who can't be questioned at any time. The fact he still thinks William Gay is NFL quality, for example, be damned!

---------------------
Men are more ready to repay an injury than a benefit because gratitude is a burden and revenge a pleasure.

14
by DeltaWhiskey :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 2:04pm

So, if I understand it correctly, you're a little bit unhappy with the coaching staff in Pittsburgh?

15
by chemical burn :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 2:16pm

Shit - I misunderstood. I thought he hated that character on The Wire.

17
by mikegillnz :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 2:47pm

Surely you mean shiiiiit

18
by Dean :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 3:30pm

I thought he didn't like Darnell Jefferson, the tailback from ESU.

8
by Nathan :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 1:11pm

We'll start with his 25-yard touchdown, if only because you don't expect a tight end named "Gronkowski" who blocks well to be quick enough to get downfield.

You do, however, expect him to be a gritty fan favorite who plays with a lot of heart?

9
by dmb :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 1:21pm

There are currently three Grownkowskis in the NFL. The two non-Robs -- Chris and Dan - have career averages of 4.6 and 6.7 yards per reception, respectively. Both play positions (FB and TE) that generally require some blocking ability. So if you pay more attention to the Cowboys or Broncos than to the Patriots, a blocker/receiver named "Gronkowski" probably wouldn't bring to mind a downfield threat, regardless of racial stereotypes/cliches.

32
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 10:03pm

Denver's Gronkowski can't block, or catch, or run good routes. Every time #82 steps on the field, look for a negative, drive-killing play.

36
by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 5:51am

At least they didn't effectively trade a first round pick for that sort of production.

Oh. Wait.

11
by jds (not verified) :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 1:29pm

and has deceptive speed

12
by jw124164 :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 1:42pm

That radio rant is the funniest thing I've heard in a while. Guy is in full on Lewis Black mode for 10 minutes.

22
by HJF (not verified) :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 5:18pm

What a psycho. I nearly died of laughter when Arrington quietly asked if he was done and he just kept yelling. Also, I can think of at least 8 teams that have had a worse decade than the Redskins, but when you're blinded by rage this badly, you aren't always reasonable... or pleasant...

30
by bill (not verified) :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 8:31pm

Loved the radio rant. Especially "I was born in Alexandria, I lived here and here and here in Virginia, I attended TJ Williams High School, I deserve better".

Many thanks for the link.

Bill

16
by RaxGrissman :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 2:35pm

Michael Vick is clearly the best QB in the NFL. After all, it has been 4 years 6 months 4 days 1 hour and 13 minutes since he threw an interception in real time.

23
by ChaosOnion :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 5:44pm

I am not one to cite internet memes, but this is most definitely full of win.

19
by Ezra Johnson :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 3:54pm

Yes, I was truly shocked by Mexico's electrifying performance. Nothing concentrates the mind like being $20 million in debt.

24
by Theo :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 6:32pm

...and where can I re-watch this game? I only found a 6 gb torrent I can't play properly.
How much money is the NFL making of games played in the past? So why not throw them online.

25
by Tampa Bay Mike (not verified) :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 6:47pm

NFL Rewind...

33
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 10:05pm

NFL Rewind is AMAZING. It's half price for the rest of the season... best $25 I ever spent!

26
by Jerry :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 6:50pm

Not only did Gronkowski fumble in Cleveland, but he couldn't catch a cold. And Brady was much less accurate than he was in Pittsburgh. Overall, it was like the same uniforms and names, but two different teams.

I didn't look Sunday night, but was Polamalu covering Hernandez? That would explain why Hernandez wasn't featured and Polamalu wasn't making plays elsewhere.

41
by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 1:27pm

Hernandez was sitting down much of the game, because they didn't trust him to take on Pittsburgh's LB's (or Polamalu) in pass pro. Crumpler couldn't pass pro either, but fortunately he's been in the league long enough that they don't call holding on him anymore.

I think it was an intentional scheme thing; to get two TE's on the field who could protect Brady if necessary so that Pittsburgh wouldn't be sure who was going out on a route, and to give Brady more options in dealing with blitzes. It's not a bad idea for dealing with an aggressive 3-4 defense.

27
by Rich Arpin (not verified) :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 8:23pm

Hey all,

Regarding Gronk, I was wondering what you were all thinking about the patriots play calling. It seems very one dimensional and very tied to the gameplan for the week. Some weeks they feature A Hernandez and this week was Gronk, and other weeks they seem lost.

Over on Patspulpit it was rumored that O'Brian stayed home for the game for some sort of appointment and that's why there was an inclusion of some plays that the patriots hadn't run before; such as welker from the FB spot, or Gronk with the delayed release that led to his second TD. Another thought of mine is the influence of Urban Meyer and the motion that they used to get Harvin into space and how the Pats are trying to find creative wrinkles to get Welker the ball and with Belichick and Meyer being buddies, this doesn't seem like that far of a stretch.

It also seems odd to me that Belichick would single out Gay to target, when it has been reported that Belichick likes to take away the oppositions strength, not so thoroughly ram it to players being guarded by a certain player (Maybe that's Brady's doing). Though it did seem like Polomolu was completely neutralized in this game, which could be it's own discussion.

Do you guys think the Pats play calling has been quite vanilla so far (offense and defense), and that this new aggressive style will continue or do you think they'll go back to the boring spread with airraid staples and a two-gap react defense? Do you think the offensive play calling will successfully merge a gameplan with the sheer variety of weapons the pats have (imagine creative calling with moss, wait that happened a few years back, with a legit 3rd WR)? Do you think that the pats are transitioning away from a two gap system to a more penetrating style on defense as they are gaining comfort with their two starting corners and the lack of a third two gap D-lineman?

And what does all this mean for the upcoming colts game?

39
by Jimmy :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 12:32pm

Belichick takes away the opponent's strengths when playing defense. On offense he used to go with what he can make work but since Brady has improved he will now go after the best matchups he can find. I wouldn't try to play the Steelers out of a base set, if you put them in Nickel (or preferably dime) you can expose poor thrid and fourth CBs whilst also making the excellent players on their D-line less effective as you spread the field.

This isn't the first time that Belichick has hammered the Steelers by having Brady throw loads of passes from spread sets and I doubt it will be the last. Why everybody else doesn't follow suit is beyond me. The Steelers front seven is killer (albeit less so without Smith) so play against their reserve CBs.

40
by mrh :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 12:38pm

This isn't the first time that Belichick has hammered the Steelers by having Brady throw loads of passes from spread sets and I doubt it will be the last. Why everybody else doesn't follow suit is beyond me. The Steelers front seven is killer (albeit less so without Smith) so play against their reserve CBs.

While it's not exactly responding to your point, I think Greg Cosell's comments at Fantasy Guru after watching the game tape are pretty much the answer:

This game plan of pass first, often out of “12” personnel, was executed perfectly; Not every QB in the league can do this, Dependent on pre snap recognition and the ability to utilize “dummy” snap counts effectively

disclaimer: I write part-time for that website

47
by Jimmy :: Fri, 11/19/2010 - 10:20am

I used to love Cosell's columns after he has watched the all 22 tape but then they were hidden behind a pay wall. I do get that these things don't write themselves but I don't play fantasy and consequently don't much feel like subscribing to a fantasy website.

As far as the quote you have lifted, it makes plenty of sense; the Pats have a good pair of TEs both of whom can line up away from the formation (especially Hernandez) and force the defense to tip its hand or start off in positions where they will get no leverage in coverage. Combined with the Pats having perimeter screen plays coming out of their ears and you are starting to have an ideal playbook for beating Lebeau's zone blitzing defense.

I thought Brady executed the gameplan very well but it was a fantastic gameplan that Belichick put in place.

28
by Rich Arpin (not verified) :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 8:25pm

Hey all,

Regarding Gronk, I was wondering what you were all thinking about the patriots play calling. It seems very one dimensional and very tied to the gameplan for the week. Some weeks they feature A Hernandez and this week was Gronk, and other weeks they seem lost.

Over on Patspulpit it was rumored that O'Brian stayed home for the game for some sort of appointment and that's why there was an inclusion of some plays that the patriots hadn't run before; such as welker from the FB spot, or Gronk with the delayed release that led to his second TD. Another thought of mine is the influence of Urban Meyer and the motion that they used to get Harvin into space and how the Pats are trying to find creative wrinkles to get Welker the ball and with Belichick and Meyer being buddies, this doesn't seem like that far of a stretch.

It also seems odd to me that Belichick would single out Gay to target, when it has been reported that Belichick likes to take away the oppositions strength, not so thoroughly ram it to players being guarded by a certain player (Maybe that's Brady's doing). Though it did seem like Polomolu was completely neutralized in this game, which could be it's own discussion.

Do you guys think the Pats play calling has been quite vanilla so far (offense and defense), and that this new aggressive style will continue or do you think they'll go back to the boring spread with airraid staples and a two-gap react defense? Do you think the offensive play calling will successfully merge a gameplan with the sheer variety of weapons the pats have (imagine creative calling with moss, wait that happened a few years back, with a legit 3rd WR)? Do you think that the pats are transitioning away from a two gap system to a more penetrating style on defense as they are gaining comfort with their two starting corners and the lack of a third two gap D-lineman?

And what does all this mean for the upcoming colts game?

31
by Beau (not verified) :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 9:35pm

Re-reading Week 1's Quick Reads on Mike Vick:

"Since I've gotten a couple of fantasy answering service e-mails from people wondering whether they should use their waiver priority on Vick, I want to reiterate this here: There's a very, very slim chance that Michael Vick will end up as the starting quarterback in Philadelphia, and it relies almost entirely on Kevin Kolb suffering a long-term injury. Vick isn't functionally accurate enough to play in the Eagles' system, and any team preparing for Vick as the starting quarterback will put in the sort of spy packages that teams prepared for Vick in Atlanta. He also lacks the patience for his receivers to run downfield; part of it was the offensive line, but Vick only threw two passes 20 or more yards downfield. I'm not sure the playbook on the final Eagles drive was quarterback scramble, quarterback scramble, quarterback scramble, draw, but that's just about what it ended up being."

Wow, does that not look stupid now. What is strange is how someone could make the sort of assumptions above on a player that hadn't played full-time in 3 years.

34
by chemical burn :: Wed, 11/17/2010 - 10:24pm

You should find Farrar's article from that same week (or one week later.) He essentially says the exact opposite thing. Can we get a template for this?

1) FO is not a hivemind.
2) Some players wildly defy expectations.
3) What you are complaining about was written by Bill Barnwell anyway.

44
by Doug Farrar :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 4:34pm

My first piece on Vick went up after the Lions game. I was impressed by a few throws he made in the season opener against Green Bay (specifically that long pinpoint shot to Brent Celek with three defenders around Celek), but didn't think too much about it. It wasn't until he started again and showed a new ability to stick in the pocket and go through his reads that I thought, "Hmmm ... we might have something here." But nobody expected this, especially after he looked so out of place in 2009. I don't think Vick himself expected this. If Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg were now to come out and say that they expected it, they'd be laughed off the planet. I don't know that I would have been quite as harsh in my assessment as Bill was, but let's be honest -- if you're going to bash everyone who doubted Vick before everything changed, you're going to be very busy for the rest of your life.

45
by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 6:29pm

Gravity is too strong for Andy Reid to get off this planet.

46
by anotherpatsfan :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 6:53pm

Hitler certainly didn't predict this kind of success for Vick in the fall of 09...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts774S5iaeU&feature=related

37
by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 5:56am

Whereas assuming someone can improve their short accuracy, ability to read defenses and pocket presence while spending 2 years in prison is a completely rational thing to assume?

And assuming that a team will bench the guy that gave them enough confidence to trade away the starting QB who had led them to 5 Conference Championship games in 10 years based on 1 game is also a rational assumption?

42
by Zheng :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 2:53pm

What other kind of assumptions can you make? Before jail, Vick was known for inaccuracy, poor decisions, and a tendency to take off running that was only encouraged by his innate running ability. After jail, for half a season, Vick was known for inaccuracy, poor decisions, and a tendency to take off running.

Sure, it was -possible- that Vick was a diamond in the rough that could really blow up under Reid's tutelage, -if- Kolb got hurt. But it wasn't what I would have considered likely after '09.

43
by chemical burn :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 4:24pm

My main issue with the Quick Reads blurb cited is that it ignores what really happened on the field that day (and, again, see Farrar's article from the same time-frame that backs up my perspective.) The most striking thing about Vick's performance vs. Green Bay is that he was already playing very differently. In the play that changed the game (and more or less lost it for Philly,) The Eagles had 3rd and goal from the 5: Vick gunned an incomplete pass out of the back of the endzone... even though he was rolling out and easily could have run in the ball. But Vick was so focused on going through his reads and keeping his eyes downfield that HE DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE THE WIDE OPEN RUNNING SPACE.

The whole game Vick made plays that were unlike anything he had done in Atlanta: taking his time, going through reads, finding open receivers... and only then taking off running. Granted, he still took to running plenty of times, but in his very first game, he played very differently than he had ever done in the past. The question was not whether COULD play more like a real live passing Q.B., but rather if he would CONTINUE to play that way. Anyone who doubted him before that game was 100% correct. Anyone who doubted he would continue to play that way going forward in the future was 100% reasonable. But anyone who characterized his performance as being "same old, same old" was 100% wrong.

38
by mrh :: Thu, 11/18/2010 - 12:32pm

2 QBs (A vs. B), first four seasons of their NFL career:
comp pct: 53.4% vs 53.6%
td pct: 3.6% vs. 3.8%
int pct: 3.6% vs. 2.7%
yd/att: 6.7 vs. 6.9
sack pct: 11.1% vs. 10.2%
ANY/A: 4.3 vs. 5.2 (see P-F-R for ANY/A explanation)
yd/rush: 4.4 vs. 7.1

They played in different eras so the numbers aren't exactly comparable, and 4 years is a very arbitrary cutoff, but I'd give a slight edge to Vick (QB B) over Steve Young (QB A) in this comparison based on fewer INT (which ANY/A reflects) and better yd/rush.

I've never been a Vick fan - and still am not convinced of his personal reclamation - but if Young can go from QB A to HoF, it seems possible that Vick can go from QB B to the same place. Obviously there is a long way to go for Vick, and he's lost some time on the journey, but it sure seems a lot less far-fetched than a year ago.