Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Feb 2007

Vick: Now, With Audibles

New Falcons coach Bobby Petrino is going to allow Michael Vick to -- gasp -- call audibles at the line (hey!) if plays look doomed next season. No word on whether he will stop Vick from employing the offense solely to earn Madden Challenge Points.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 03 Feb 2007

29 comments, Last at 06 Feb 2007, 2:37pm by Joe T


by Spoilt Victorian Child (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 1:42am

Fantastic. Does anyone know what Reeves's policy was?

by David (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 1:51am

From previous reports, prior policy was that Vick was not allow to audible, ever. He ran the plays as called, regardless of what he saw at the line (although "as called" frequently meant he had the choice of whether to throw or scramble, so it's not like he wasn't allowed to improvise at all). If that's true, I guess we'll see next year if it's because Reeves was an ass, or because Vick's really bad at audibling.

by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 2:08am

I'm banking on Vick audibling to the Aaron Brooks special. Twice.

They'll never see it coming.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 2:19am

Um...doesn't effectively audibling rely on an understanding of the playbook and a comprehension of how to read defensive coverage schemes?

by Ryan Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 2:30am

Ha ha yeah this will certainly work out well.

Maybe this way it will be easier for the Falcons to admit to the Vick experiment mistake and move on with Schaub in 2008.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 3:32am

They say Vick keeps his job because he sells a lot of tickets in Atlanta.

I'd pay money to see Vick call his own plays, live.

by Sergio (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 3:42am

Um... ok...

See, now... THIS will be entertainment.

by Frankly Bored (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 5:29am

Apparently Petrino has been very impressed with Vick's decision making ability. He had this to say today about the situation:

"Michaels' decision not to put any actual weed in his secret water bottle marijuana compartment was pure genius. It showed great anticipation, elusiveness and demonstrated the he is ready to fully take the reigns of an NFL team."

by suave_andrew (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 5:35am

Word to the wise, but Reeves has been out of Atlanta for a while.

by langsty (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 6:04am

He was allowed to audible to change the direction of run plays before, and that's about it. The explanation Greg Knapp (former OC) gave was that there just isn't much audibling in the WCO he ran, and that Steve Young basically never audibled when Knapp was in SF.

I like this, it makes Vick more accountable. He's always looked more comfortable to me in hurry-up mode, and there were too many times this season where I saw him waste timeouts cuz he didn't like what he saw and couldn't change the play.

by tim (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 6:09am

at what rate are NFL quarterbacks allowed full audibling?

by James C (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 8:54am


I read Young saying something similar, but with the slight difference that he would move guys about until he got a look from the defense that he liked. That does mean that he must have understood the offense and the plays well enough to know how he wanted the defense to be aligned. Basiscally Yooung's take on game management was to get to the line really early in order to give himself lots of time to change stuff around.

by Mark (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 10:54am

Basiscally Yooung’s take on game management was to get to the line really early in order to give himself lots of time to change stuff around.

Getting to the lkine early and putting your hands under center also forces the defense to stop the jitter-bugging and fake stunts and get into their pre-snap positions. This effectively makes the defense give away their immediate post-snap positions.

by Mark (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 10:56am

Well, so much for the theory that giving us the "Say it!" screen helps us edit our work to get rid of clumsy sentences/paragraphs.

by BigManChili (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 11:50am

Vick's always looked more comfortable in the hurry-up, and he defied the coaching staff a few times during the season in drawing up his own plays, and they mostly worked.

I'm just glad he gets the chance to audible. College QB's get to do it a lot, and yet they wouldn't let him?

by Spoilt Victorian Child (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 12:20pm

Word to the wise, but Reeves has been out of Atlanta for a while.
Yes. I was asking about him because I already knew Mora didn't let him audible.

by Alex (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 2:04pm

"I’m just glad he gets the chance to audible. College QB’s get to do it a lot, and yet they wouldn’t let him?"

That's what I've been wondering. If they expect him to be a good QB, why don't they give him some control over the plays he runs? He's their franchise QB, and his seventh season is coming up. It's about time they took off the training wheels.

by Dervin (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 2:38pm

This is a good sign from the coaching staff, it's allowing/forcing Vick to have more responsibility for his performance.

Not to be too insulting, but this is like dealing with children, you give them a bit more responsibility than they are used to and you can get dramatic improvements in behavior.

by Sociojoe (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 4:18pm

Hey, maybe Bobby Petrino really IS a genius. If/When Vick screws this up it will be that much easier to replace him next year!!!

by mactbone (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 4:59pm

Just wanted to add that Sexy Rexy isn't allowed to audible either. Granted, first year as a starter and only his second year in the system but still.

by Gordon (not verified) :: Sat, 02/03/2007 - 9:37pm

Re: 20

Now that's what I want to see next year: Rex Grossman audibles.

It'll be just like playing a 12-year-old in Madden: "Fuck it, I'm throwing it deep- on every play!"

by joe (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 1:28am

Next season the Falcons will have the worst use of their timeouts since Martz was calling them for the Rams.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 11:21am

Worst idea EVER.

Isn't that the same Ron Mexico that said that he didn't watch film until months into the season?

Vick is too dumb and lazy to start " thinking" on his own. The guy ran a college football offense last year with option plays, but now you want to let him start calling plays? There is a reason why Knapp never let Vick change plays, you see you have to UNDERSTAND the coverages and UNDERSTAND your own plays before you can start calling them.

So who is Pick going to blame when he's 6/20 for 130 yards and 2 picks now?

by Zac (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 2:21pm

Well, that's the point Chris. When you as a coach know that the ownership would rather fire you than fire the medicore QB responsible, what do you do?

Exactly what Petrino has done. Jim Mora tried to hide Vick's weaknesses. That led to him getting fired. Now Petrino is saying "He's our franchise QB, and we will give him every opportunity to prove it." If Vick somehow pulls it together, then Petrino looks like a genius. If he doesn't, then Vick has no one to blame but himself, and maybe Arthur Blank will finally see the light.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 4:46pm

Petrino's offense shouldn't be that hard to pick up.

I mean, if the athletes at Louisville can learn it...

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 5:00pm

THAT was Vick's problem... he didn't have ENOUGH responsibilities!

by Vince (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 7:33pm

Jim Mora tried to hide Vick’s weaknesses.

Explain to me how taking an erratic passer and placing him in an offense designed around quick decisions and accurate throws is "hiding his weaknesses."

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 02/05/2007 - 11:27pm


The Falcons didn't REALLY run a west coast offense, that is just what it was labeled by the media.

by Joe T (not verified) :: Tue, 02/06/2007 - 2:37pm

Petrino is just getting the offense ready for the Matt Schaub era. Art Blank ought to hurry up and trade Vick for Randy Moss and/or Jerry Porter while they're available.