Ron Jaworski is going through and ranking the Top 32 QBs in the NFL. Michael Vick clocked in at the No. 25 spot. Jaws had some interesting thoughts on Vick.
“Vick is coming off of a disappointing 2012 season, but all will be different in Philadelphia with a new head coach in Chip Kelly. And I’m certain of one thing — Vick is the most talented quarterback on the Eagles roster. Vick remains a dynamic player with top-level arm strength and unmatched movement ability to extend plays with his legs. Few can spin it as well as number 7, especially on the run. Kelly will look at Vick and see a multidimensional quarterback that can pressure a defense in a variety of ways.
“Here’s the positive as the Eagles transition to Kelly’s shotgun, spread attack. Vick was outstanding in the two-minute offense last season with a quarterback rating of 98. I am going to be fascinated to see Michael Vick in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo-speed offense. My initial sense is it will fit Vick very well, less volume offensively, but also defensively. I would not be surprised if Vick ends the season better than my 25th-rated quarterback.”
As far as the ranking goes, I can’t argue with that. Vick isn’t guaranteed to start so you clearly can’t rank him very high.
The most interesting nugget here is that Vick had a rating of 98 in the 2-minute offense. I’d love to know more about that stat. Was he moving the ball down the field efficiently or were there some broken plays that inflated the number? Did Vick thrive because Andy and Marty quit trying to out-think the world and gave him simpler plays that the offense executed well? Did the pace simply help Vick get into a rhythm? Were defenses playing soft and we just had a bunch of underneath passes?
Stats are great information, but you need to know what’s behind them to really put them into context. If Vick was simply doing well vs prevent defenses, there isn’t much to take from this. If he played well because defenses had a hard time being complex, that is good. Kelly wants the no-huddle to limit what defenses can do so that angle would apply to Vick and the 2013 season. I might have to go back and re-watch some 2-minute situations.
We don’t yet know how Vick will play in Kelly’s offense, but this could be a positive sign for him.
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One thing that does bug me in regard to analysts and Michael Vick is all the talk about his talent. Vick was talented last year, but didn’t play well. As the old story goes, Jerry Claiborne, a college coach, went up to a kid during pre-game drills and said “Son, your potential is going to get me fired.”
Talent is talent. But it does a coach no good if he can’t “control” it. A coach needs a player that is on the same page with him. I don’t mean that they get along or anything of that nature. I mean that the player has to understand the coach’s vision for the offense or defense and has to be able to make that come to life.
Ray Rhodes and Jon Gruden benched Randall Cunningham for Rodney Peete because Randall wasn’t on the same page with them.
Bill Belichick was about to bench Drew Bledsoe when he got hurt in 2001. Belichick saw a veteran QB that was set in his ways and not doing what the new staff wanted.
Jimmy Johnson won Super Bowls with Troy Aikman because they shared the same vision. Both were hard, driven men. Jimmy had major struggles in Miami because Dan Marino was on a completely different planet than him.
Vick will be the QB for Chip Kelly only if he is able to listen to Chip and truly understand what he wants. Forget about talent. Kelly wants a player that can run his offense, can make his ideas come to life.
If the QB competition was purely about talent, there wouldn’t be a competition. Vick from 2018 might still be more gifted than Nick Foles and Matt Barkley. The question is whether Vick can soak up the offense as a concept and then execute it on the field. Consistently.
Vick had some ups and downs in the spring. That’s okay. As I wrote a few weeks back, last spring Trent Edwards was struggling to just throw the ball at all since the coaches messed with his mechanics. By the time July rolled around, he looked worlds better. What happens in May doesn’t dictate what happens in July and August.
Honestly, the best thing for Vick was probably to have some struggles. He needs to understand that his strong arm and speedy legs aren’t good enough anymore. Chip Kelly doesn’t want highlights. He wants points. He wants wins. If Vick will look in the mirror and truly acknowledge what is at stake (his future), that could be strong enough motivation to get him to adapt.
My dad smoked cigarettes for about 55 years. We begged him to quit for the last 25. Wouldn’t do it. He had all kinds of excuses. He had a heart attack back in November of 2010 and almost died. When he left the hospital a couple of weeks later, we all wondered about the smoking. Could the man who smoked for 5 decades walk away? Yes. He never smoked another cigarette. The threats to his health were an abstract idea prior to the heart attack. After that, he got it. Sadly, the cigarettes did finally catch up to him in the form of lung cancer. If you do smoke, do yourself and your family a favor and quit. Please.
Vick never feared for his football life. He always knew his talent was good enough that it would help save the day. Vick expected to be a starting QB when he was reinstated back in 2009. He took things slow because he had the Commissioner, Tony Dungy and Andy Reid all over him. But Vick never doubted himself. Once he did get on the field in 2010, Starship 7 took over. 2011 was erratic, but there was the whole lockout and that affected some players and teams more than others. 2012 was the time when things changed. Vick struggled. He got hurt. He then got healthy, but Foles stayed the QB. I’m sure Reid explained this was strictly a decision in regard to the future so Vick could deal with it better.
Then Kelly got hired. Vick finally had a coach that was going to run the ball. Kelly even used some option. That meant Vick could make big plays with his legs as a pure runner and not as a scrambler. I’m sure Vick was a happy camper for a few weeks.
The spring changed all that. Vick quickly learned that this wasn’t his team or his offense. This is Chip Kelly’s team, Chip Kelly’s offense. The man taking snaps will be Chip Kelly’s QB. You do things Chip’s way or you hit the highway. Simple as that. Andy Reid was this way when he started, but time has a way of softening the edges of mortal men (thus Belichick is exempt). Reid let good enough become good enough.
Kelly won’t do that. It might happen if he’s around in 2026, but for now Kelly is going to ride his QBs hard. Kelly will want them to do things his way and they will be held accountable. Vick hasn’t truly dealt with this in a long, long time…if ever. Based on what you saw and heard in the spring it is easy to jump to the conclusion that Vick won’t get it and will lose the QB competition.
But his football life is on the line. If he truly gets that, as my dad did with smoking, Vick can change. I’m not saying the guy will turn into a completely different player, but he can adapt. It is going to be really interesting to see how this plays out. Kelly has told the QBs what he wants to see. This is an open-book test.
I’d love to be a fly on the wall at Vick’s house. Does he have his head buried in the playbook? Is it getting through to him that the next couple of months could significantly shape the next part of his life? Or does Vick hear Jaws report and only focus on all the positives about just how talented he still is?
It does seem funny that such a gifted player, who has mesmerized us all countless times with his artistry, will only win the starting job if he’s able to execute simple plays better than a second year QB and a rookie.
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I will write a column on Vick and what will happen if he doesn’t win the job. That’s another long post for another day.
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Jimmy Bama and I recorded a new show. We discussed the DRC situation for a few minutes. Then we got into a discussion about TD celebrations and things of that nature. Somewhere in the show Jimmy brought up the fact he’s never seen Lone Wolf McQuade and loved the clip I posted the other day. So we talked about Lone Wolf McQuade for a bit.