Vick is Still the Key

Posted: May 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 76 Comments »

For I wrote about Michael Vick and the offseason.

This is a huge year for Vick.  Can he get back to being a Pro Bowl QB?  Does he play sloppy and make the Eagles question if he is still the answer at QB?

I think the most interesting part of all this is that Vick’s greatness can come from just being good.  “Say what?” you say.

We have an offense that is loaded with weapons.  Shady is one of the best RBs in football.  Brent Celek is a very good TE.  DeSean Jackson can be a dynamic WR.  Jeremy Maclin is very good.  Jason Avant remains one of the best slot receivers in football.  The O-line is very talented.  They can run and pass block.  Vick has a great surrounding cast.

At Virginia Tech Vick was the offense.  I still remember the National Title game vs FSU.  I couldn’t believe that Vick was keeping the Hokies in it.  He was like Superman.  VT lost the game, but it was because they got outscored 46-29.

With the Falcons, Vick had Alge Crumpler, Michael Jenkins, Brian Finneran, and Warrick Dunn.  Those guys could move the chains, but weren’t big play threats.  Vick was once again the only “weapon” on offense.

Life with the Eagles has been very different, but Vick’s old instincts still remain.  That’s what we need to change.  We need Vick the playmaker to go away and Vick the QB to take over.  And there is hope.

Look at the final 4 games of 2011:

26-10 W at Miami … 15-30-208, 1 TD, 1 INT, 69.9 rating
45-19 W vs Jets …. 15-22-274, 1 TD, 1 INT, 107 rating
20-7 W at Dallas … 18-32-293, 2 TD, 0 INT, 107.9 rating
34-10 W vs Wash …. 24-39-335, 3 TD, 1 INT, 104.1 rating

The long pass play vs Miami was a 34-yard pass to DJax.  Against the Jets, the long play was a 71-yard pass to Celek.  That was a short throw that he turned into a long gain.  Next longest play was 23 yards to Mac.  Vick hit Celek and DJax for gains of more than 30 yards vs Dallas, but RAC yards were involved.  In the finale, Vick did hit DJax with a downfield bomb for a 62-yard TD.  The point of this is that the offense functioned well without having to rely on fluky big plays.

Vick ran 11 times for 54 yards and a TD…in the 4 games combined.  He averaged more than 7 carries a game for the rest of the year.  He had 50 or more yards in the first game against Dallas and the first game vs Washington.  Here, he had that in a month.  Vick’s legs helped the offense out, but were a limited option.

Vick made a couple of Houdini plays in each game.  I remember one against Dallas where someone grabbed him by the facemask, but he still spun away and got the pass off to Riley Cooper.  There was a play vs the Jets where a blitzing CB came free and Vick made him miss.  Still, Vick was able to have success running the basic offense for the most part.

S Eric Smith of the Jets actually noted after the game that Vick was calling out their coverages.  He was using his brain, as well as his arm and legs.

Vick still had moments in those games when his playmaking instincts took over.  This is where the offseason becomes so critical.  Vick won’t be using his playmaking skills this spring.  He’ll just be running the base offense.  He won’t have live blitzers chasing him all over.  Vick can get in the habit of finding the open receiver and getting him the ball.  That’s what we need from Vick.

Allen Iverson led the Sixers to the NBA Finals in 2001 by being the distributor, creator, and scorer.  He was the offense.  That formula doesn’t work in the NFL.  We need the offense to function as a unit.  We need Vick to be the point guard…distribute the ball and make the guys around him better.

I’m not calling for Vick to become a pure drob-back passer.  He’s got rare gifts.  Ignoring them would be dumb.  I would tell Vick to check out what John Elway did late in his career.  He made the transformation from carrying the Broncos to “just” being a great QB.  There is a difference.

Elway was able to run the offense.  He then mixed in special throws when they were needed.  He also ran and made plays with his legs when they were needed.  Elway embraced the idea of running the offense and no longer being the playmaker.

Vick can do this.  He’s in the right offense.  He’s got the supporting cast.  My advice to him would be to focus on moving the chains and the big plays will come.  When plays break down, rely on your instincts.  When you’ve got a clean pocket, just find an open guy and get him the ball.  That may be only a 5-yard gain, but that’s okay.  Besides, our players have good RAC ability.  You never know when a short pass will turn into a big play.

The biggest key for Vick in 2012 is durability.  He must stay on the field.  This means being judicious about running and going for extra yards.  I know that his 2011 injuries came in the pocket.  That doesn’t mean the big hits he took on the run didn’t affect him.  And he did miss games in 2010 after getting hit while on the run and fighting for unnecessary yards.

Durability also ties in to getting rid of the ball quicker.  Don’t obsess on huge gains and the perfect play.  Be willing to get the ball to the playmakers and let them do their thing.  Our goal is to win the war, not the battle.  Hold the ball when it is critical.  On other plays, get it to your checkdown receiver.  LeSean McCoy only had 48 catches last year.  That is a bad thing.  He’s a weapon.  Get him the ball.  I’d rather have him fighting in the flat for 3 yards than Vick taking a big hit in the pocket and firing the ball to Celek for 8 yards.

I think a happy DJax, a healthy Mac, and the young guys getting offseason work will be huge for Vick.  The timing will be better.  The chemistry will be better.  Improved play by the receivers can help him out in a big way.  Just look at what Victor Cruz did for Eli.

I’m curious to see how Vick plays this year.  Will there be a difference?  Will it just be more of the same?  I thought he showed progress late last year, but doing that for a whole season would be major change.  It is weird that in order for Vick to be better, he needs to be less spectacular.  We need efficient over explosive.  We’re still a downfield offense, but completing 20-yard passes is very different from hoping for 50-yard bombs.  Last year Vick completed less than 60 percent of his pass attempts.  That is unacceptable in the modern NFL.

This offseason Vick and the coaches have a chance to work on his game and the offense.  They have the time to teach and make adjustments.  He can learn.  He can ask questions and make suggestions.  This needs to become his offense, not Andy Reid’s.

I want Vick to come away with a couple of key lessons this summer.

1.  Be smart to avoid big hits, whether in the pocket or on the run.  Get the ball out.  If that’s an incompletion, that’s okay.  Play the next play.

2.  Greatness will come from settling for good.  Execution trumps improvisation.  You won’t get on SportsCenter as much, but the team will win and can accomplish great things.

(I didn’t cover the Red Zone offense because that is a lengthy topic all by itself.  Vick must improve in the RZ for the offense to score points the way we want to.  This is an area where his legs can be a major factor.  In 2010 he ran for 9 TDs.  That number dropped to 1 in 2011. )

76 Comments on “Vick is Still the Key”

  1. 1 Aaron Yang said at 12:01 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    another great article tommy. i really enjoyed reading this one and is filled with a lot of good quotes. “greatness will come from settling for good.” that was really well put.

    i agree that vick is very important to our upcoming season but i really do believe he will have a bounce back season. and i think everyone is concerned or worrying about a lot of different things and i think thats mainly because the team did pretty well this offseason to try and assess all the holes we had. but i think the BIGGEST overlooked and very underrated problem that i am seriously very afraid of us having to face is demetress bell going down with an injury (knock on wood) but everyone is concerned if he will adapt fast enough and learn mudds scheme in time and trying to ponder if he could even be close to what peters is…but i think everyone has forgotten or has just been overlooking the fact that this guy missed 17 games over the past 2 seasons in buffalo. that is a serious number and an even bigger problem if he goes down again. who would fill in for LT if that happened? dunlap? i mean he might be a good back up but we cant seriously consider putting him in for a good chunk of the season can we? i would have to say that 17 games in the past two seasons warrants enough concern to say that we should be just as worried about bell going down as people have been about vick. i know the qb position is far more important but they situations are pretty similar…they both seem kind of injury prone and we dont have a back up that would really ease our minds. i just wanted to bring that up and see what you think about this tommy.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 12:24 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    There are not 32 good starting LTs in the NFL.

    We lost our starter and then went and got the best on the market. Behind him we have a proven backup in King Dunlap. That’s as good a situation as you could have under the circumstances.

    Now, should Bell get seriously hurt, we could slide Todd to LT and put King at RT. We also have young guys like D.J. Jones and Dennis Kelly in the mix. Kelly looks like he’ll need some time. I can’t tell much about Jones at this point. He could end up being a surprise player or he could get cut at Lehigh.

    Depth at LT is a concern for basically every team. When your starter goes down, you have to scramble and come up with the best solution. Dunlap isn’t ideal for a long stretch, but he has shown that he can be good for a few games.

  3. 3 Aaron Yang said at 3:44 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    yeah i understand that…and its not that im saying we should panic because there is no one behind him but the fact that he missed 17 games in the past 2 seasons is eye popping. he basically missed a full season in the past 2 seasons…just over an avg of 8 games a season. so what im really worried about is what would happen if his injury history wasnt just accident and he is fragile and injury prone. even vick hasnt missed that many games the past couple years and everyone is talking about how we should be worrying about our backup because vick is just about sure to go down looking at his history. if everyone is looking at vick and his backup qb’s in that way…then shouldnt we be looking and worrying about bell and the LT spot the same way we do vick and the backup role just as much if not more?? i’ve read countless articles the past week or two about how the season is screwed if vick goes down for awhile and we need to rely on kafka or edwards and blahblahblah…so the logic in the thinking concerning vick should also apply to bell…no?

  4. 4 SebastianAubrey said at 12:29 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Valid concern. I do believe the Eagles can win it all w/out Peters. But at the same time every time you see neutralize some of the top pass rushers or leading a WR 30 yards down the field. That will be hard to replace. The fact that we play JPP, DWare & Orakpo twice each worries me.

  5. 5 Dan Hansel said at 12:33 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Attention Mike Vick: Please read & comprehend this blog post!

  6. 6 SebastianAubrey said at 12:46 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Last year against Atlanta there was one offensive series where Vick play the PG and there was nothing Atlanta could. It was a thing of beauty and all Vick did was distribute the ball. He did the same in the first Dallas game. When the Eagles “click” they are almost unstoppable! When they don’t I feel like its part Vick and part MM. Its almost like MM wants the big play more than Vick.

  7. 7 TommyLawlor said at 2:08 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    The first Dallas game was a thing of beauty. That was Vick at his finest. My memory of ATL is much cloudier.

  8. 8 T_S_O_P said at 2:49 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    The first half against SF. We moved the ball at will.

  9. 9 TommyLawlor said at 3:25 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    But couldn’t score TDs.

  10. 10 T_S_O_P said at 3:46 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    We are covering RZ in a later post. Pay attention! 😉

  11. 11 Aaron Yang said at 3:48 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    plax??? or is it about time we all give up on that notion? i want him…but at the same time…i dont. because he is two faced…he keeps going out in public saying he wants to be an eagle…but if he REALLY wanted to be an eagle then he would be by now…thats how i feel. i think the FO would’ve been happy to sign him to very low risk, team oriented deal. dont understand why he cant just follow in vicks footsteps and sign a team friendly deal and then prove himself worthy of a payday. although plax is getting old…

  12. 12 D3Keith said at 3:20 AM on June 1st, 2012:

    Maybe they never even offered him a cheap contract.

  13. 13 AustinMax said at 12:54 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    If I am not wrong the big play offense came to town with T.O (and then subsequently with DJax)…AR and MM fell in love with the big play and forgot how to play small ball which used to a staple of our offense……

  14. 14 TommyLawlor said at 2:07 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    The big play did get here in 2004. And it isn’t going away.

    There is a difference in mixing in the big play and over-relying on it. Look for the big play, but if it isn’t there, check down. Don’t be afraid to throw short. There are options on just about every play.

  15. 15 Septhinox said at 1:57 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    If Avant is one of the best slot WRs in football and we can agree Welker is the best, how far is Avant from Welker? Is Welker just that much better than everyone else?

  16. 16 Baloophi said at 2:16 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Apples and oranges.

    Welker is essentially Tom Brady’s primary target… or his #1 receiver. Most teams (like the Eagles) use their slot receiver as the 3rd option at best (after both wide-outs and often TE’s and RB’s). In the Eagles’ offense, Avant is primarily a 3rd down, move-the-chains target.

    So while Welker caught 122 passes last year for 1,569 yards as the Patriots’ primary option, Avant “only” caught 52 passes for 679 yards… a little less than half the production (with a slightly better yardage per catch number). BUT, many of those catches were difficult 3rd down catches, designed to go 8 yards on a 3rd and 7 as opposed to 20 yards on a first down. That is why Avant is so valuable to the Eagles and why he is “one of the best slot WR’s in the game.”

  17. 17 Baloophi said at 2:19 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    To put it another way, if you moved DeSean Jackson to the slot and targeted him twice every four downs he might appear “that much better than everyone else.”

  18. 18 Septhinox said at 4:57 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Ah, but even when Welker wasn’t his primary target and Brady had Randy Moss (2007, 98-1493-23), and Sallworth/Gaffney were the #2, Welker STILL had crazy numbers (2007, 112-1175-8).

  19. 19 TommyLawlor said at 3:26 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Baloophi is wise. Listen to him. But only on this.

  20. 20 Septhinox said at 5:46 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    But what about when he wasn’t the primary target.

  21. 21 TommyLawlor said at 6:44 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    I’m confused by that question. You have to go back to when Welker was with another team to find him not being the primary target.

    There are different types of slot receivers. There are playmakers like Lance Moore. There are possession guys like Jason Avant. There is a workhorse like Welker. Each offense uses the guys differently. Avant is very good at getting open and catching the ball. He isn’t fast or special athletically. He’s very good at what he does, but is also limited.

  22. 22 ACViking said at 2:05 PM on May 31st, 2012:


    Given the Eagles’ offensive philosophy, I’m not sure a comparison between Vick and the ’97-’98 version of John Elway works.

    Elway played in an offense that called for passes about 52.5% of the time (when sacks and Elways runs are included in the calculation). Philosophically, Mike Shanahan took the ball out of Elway’s hands and put into the hands of RB Terrell Davis — ALOT.

    Davis had 369 attempts in 1997; and 392 attempts in 1998. By comparison, McCoy had 273 attempts last year (and, if he played in game 16, probably would finished around 295 carries — almost 100 less than Davis had in 1998).

    Vick plays under AR and MM. I don’t see the Eagles in this regime ever coming close to calling passes only 52.5% of the time.

    So, given Birds’ offensive philosophy, the QB is always the centerpiece of the offense. By design, Vick must be the “play maker” that Elway did not have to be late in his career.

    I think the question remains, given the Eagles philosophy, can Vick carry the load that AR and MM put on every Eagles’ No. 1 QB.

    That said, I wholly concur with your point that greatness comes from being consistently good. Execute. Execute. Execute.

  23. 23 T_S_O_P said at 2:56 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Does any team run that much anymore?

  24. 24 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:22 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    yea, IIRC, davis was the reason for their success, not as much elway. i think elway just came in at the right time when he was needed. yea, that sounds like what we need here.

  25. 25 TommyLawlor said at 3:34 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    T Davis did become the workhorse for that offense. My point wasn’t about numbers so much as embracing a role change. Elway went from being a dynamic QB with limited weapons (the 3 Amigos were nothing special) to a QB surrounded by talented players. He then had to get them the ball so that they could do the hard work. How many of Elway’s highlight plays are from his final 5 years? The one TD run vs GB is the one I know for a fact. Most come from the old days when he was leading overachieving Broncos teams to the Super Bowl, aka the slaughter.

  26. 26 ACViking said at 6:41 PM on May 31st, 2012:


    I don’t think the offensive philosophy of AR and MM give Vick — or any Eagles No. 1 QB — the chance to take a step back and “play within the system.” The Eagles’ O-system is all about the QB making plays, IMHO.

  27. 27 Aaron Yang said at 4:03 PM on May 31st, 2012: a little confused. cause i dont remember reading tommy comparing elway and vick at all. he was just saying that vick should take a page out of elways book and go from putting everything on himself to trusting his teammates and evenly distribute it throughout the team. and i agree completely…i also believe that vick knows that as well. theres no way you can have weapons like djax jmac celek and shady and not believe that the offense has dynamic weapons…doesnt matter if your the most athletic, fastest, agile QB there is. and did you really say that you cant compare elway with vick because of the percentage of plays went to the RB? sorry..but elway and vick cannot be compared because elway is a HALL OF FAME QB…vick is a dynamic athlete with a cannon of an arm and that is a convict. i think those reasons come before the percentage of plays he had to share with the RB…

  28. 28 ACViking said at 6:20 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    T-LAW wrote:

    “I would tell Vick to check out what John Elway did late in his career. . . . Elway embraced the idea of running the offense and no longer being the playmaker.”

    I’d call that a comparison.

    Anyway, my point is that, in this offense with AR & MM, Vick has NO choice but to remain THE play maker.

    Just like McNabb was THE play maker. And the next Eagles QB will be THE play maker

    The reason is AR & MM have designed the Eagles offense to have the QB making plays. Not RBs. Not WRs. The QB.

    If Vick — or any Eagles No. 1 QB is to be less of THE play maker — then the Eagles philosophy needs to change.

  29. 29 TommyLawlor said at 6:41 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Not exactly true. Was Kurt Warner “The Play Maker” for the Rams? Manning for the Colts? No. Those guys distributed the ball and let their weapons make plays for them. Watch Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. They are athletic QBs who throw the ball a ton, but take advantage of the weapons around them.

    Vick will still throw 40 passes a game. No one is saying anything different. The key is how he runs the offense. Don’t obsess on huge plays. Take them if they’re open, but don’t be afraid to throw short passes and let the guys work for you. That will lead to some punts, but that’s okay. Do not sit in the pocket and wait and wait and wait for a receiver to come wide open 25 yards downfield.

  30. 30 Baloophi said at 2:18 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    To put it another way, if you moved DeSean Jackson to the slot and targeted him twice every four downs he might appear “that much better than everyone else.”

  31. 31 Baloophi said at 2:23 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Here it is…

  32. 32 Eric Weaver said at 2:40 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    I thought Steve Tasker was the best STs player ever?

  33. 33 TheRogerPodacter said at 3:22 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    maybe not the best ever, but my favorite is still jason short.

  34. 34 Baloophi said at 7:07 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    I sit corrected. Thank you, sir.

  35. 35 TommyLawlor said at 3:36 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Steve Tasker was the great STer. Kelso was a FS for the Bills.

    He did have a special helmet. It was huge. I haven’t read about how that extended his career or if the concussions went away.

  36. 36 T_S_O_P said at 3:45 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    I believe Kelso was originally an 11th round pick for the Eagles.

  37. 37 TommyLawlor said at 7:05 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    I had no idea Kelso was an Eagles pick.

  38. 38 mcud said at 8:07 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    LT for the 49ers, Steve Wallace also wore that helmet. Not sure why that went away, except that it looked ridiculous.

  39. 39 ACViking said at 6:24 PM on May 31st, 2012:


    The Eagles drafted Mark Kelso in the 10th Rd of the 1985 draft — then cut him. Marion “Soup” Campbell dropped the axe.

    Kelso joined the Bills in 1986 and, using that gi-normous helmet, went to 4 SBs.

  40. 40 Alex Karklins said at 8:02 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Wasn’t it a just regular helmet with an extra shell on top of it? They called it a “Gazoo,” I think. I remember the outside shell flying off during a game when he made a big hit or something. For a second, it looked like his head came off and I was briefly traumatized.

  41. 41 Jack Waggoner said at 10:32 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    It’s called a Pro-Cap and they still sell it

  42. 42 Alex Karklins said at 8:40 AM on May 21st, 2013:

    Wow, you spent a YEAR researching that? Awesome.

  43. 43 Jack Waggoner said at 11:04 PM on May 21st, 2013:

    no, I wrote that a year ago. Disqus does some strange things re-echoing posts sometimes

  44. 44 Alex Karklins said at 8:59 AM on May 22nd, 2013:

    That is weird.

  45. 45 Jack Waggoner said at 3:11 PM on May 22nd, 2013:

    yeah, but with Disqus I’ve come to expect odd behavior

  46. 46 Eric Weaver said at 2:35 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    “At Virginia Tech Vick was the offense. I still remember the National Title game vs FSU. I couldn’t believe that Vick was keeping the Hokies in it. He was like Superman. VT lost the game, but it was because they got outscored 46-29.”

    That made me think of VY against USC too. Coincidence they were/are both Eagles?

  47. 47 the guy said at 2:44 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Vince Young was an Eagle?

    I don’t recall that ever happening.

  48. 48 Eric Weaver said at 2:49 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Haha, true.

    I do think you can kind of tell what types of QBs Andy may go for. VY, McNabb, Vick and even Kafka, to an extent, carried their respective colleges in most games.

  49. 49 the guy said at 2:41 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    “The biggest key for Vick in 2012 is durability.”

    You addressed this later in the post, but for me the key is consistency.

    People still refer to the Eagles offense as a West Coast offense and I can’t say it isn’t, but it sure doesn’t look that way to me. It looks like a big play offense (or downfield as you put it).

    For years now, if the Eagles get their big plays (on both sides of the ball and regardless of QB), they tend to win. If not, they tend to lose. They’ve been a streaky, hit-or-miss team. And it has been frustrating to watch.

    Honestly, I’d much rather see an actual West Coast offense. Work with Vick on short-to-medium plays almost exclusively. We have some of the most athletic (but not big) WRs in the NFL, let them focus on RAC yards instead of fighting for a jump ball 40 yards downfield. Mix in the big throws when the D moves in to cut off the short/medium throws.

    Essentially, we need Andy to go back in time and remember what he used to do with McNabb’s offense that drove so many of us crazy. He didn’t have the tools then, but tried anyway. He has them now.

  50. 50 TommyLawlor said at 3:39 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Consistency is very important as well. That’s why I mentioned the throws from the final 4 games. Vick wasn’t hitting on long bombs. He had only the one long pass. The gain to Celek was long, but it was actually a short throw with tons of RAC yards. That’s what we need more of.

    We can be a more vertical version of the WCO, but still remain efficient. I’m not calling for Vick to complete 68 % of his throws. I’ll settle for 62%. Gotta be better than last year.

  51. 51 austinfan said at 5:17 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Actually, Vick only completed 59% the last four games, but for 9 YPA, I’ll take that any day of the week!
    One reason his completion percentage dropped was he was willing to throw it away.

    And that’s why the defense stepping up is so important, I’m not convinced Eli’s a great QB, but when the Giant defense dominates in the playoffs, he doesn’t throw interceptions because he knows he’ll get the ball back. When the Giant defense stinks during the regular season (or against the Eagles in the playoffs), Eli throws it up for grabs. So much of his success is knowing he doesn’t have to make plays and adjusting his decision making (or why he could never have won a SB as QB of the Saints).

    If the defense improves to top 5 status or so, Vick will feel less pressure to make plays and I think will be a better QB. It’s a lot easier to be patient going into a game knowing 20 points is enough to win, rather than thinking you have to outscore the other team.

  52. 52 TommyLawlor said at 7:04 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Keep in mind that Vick was coming off an injury and was rusty in the Miami game when he was just 15-30. Without that, he’s over 60%.

  53. 53 Aaron Yang said at 4:16 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    “We have some of the most athletic (but not big) WRs in the NFL, let them focus on RAC yards instead of fighting for a jump ball 40 yards downfield. Mix in the big throws when the D moves in to cut off the short/medium throws.”

    for this to happen…we would have to 1. yes work with vick on those short to medium passes but also 2. somehow convince djax to go across the middle from time to time and 3. jmac/avant have to stop giving up fumbles when they do attempt YAC…

    dont get me wrong…i still trust jmac and avant with the ball to run it downfield. but there were way too many critical moments and games when they lost the ball fighting for yards…or they just completely misplayed it and or dropped the ball. that ATL game with jmac and that game (forget which game it was) when avant fumbled the ball really broke my heart.

    i still understand what your trying to say and the point your trying to make and i agree cause the deep ball is really what andy has been relying on these past years for wins…but i just think theres more to it than just working on vick with short/medium passes. and you have to admit that last year just didnt go well whenever vick attempted shorter passes. djax with his alligator arms and i doubt anybody forgot steve smith deflecting the ball 10 yards away from the LOS for an easy TD into the giants defenders hands…

  54. 54 TheRogerPodacter said at 5:12 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    it sounds like djax is working on his routes over the middle of the field this off season. thats a good start!

  55. 55 Aaron Yang said at 5:46 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    yeah i did read somewhere that he said that after he signed his new contract. and i really hope we see him more across the middle…but definitely great news to hear.

  56. 56 the guy said at 9:24 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Like most Eagles fans, I’m looking at last year as fluky (if only to save my sanity).

    I don’t expect DeSean to ever be great at going over the middle, but I can live with that. I’m not sure I even really want him to. Send him downfield and let Maclin, Avant, #4 WR, Celek, and Shady run around trying to get open. Until he loses his speed, he’s always going to be a decent decoy.

    I also look at the dropped balls/interceptions/fumbles as fluky. If we see it again, then I’ll worry and the team probably won’t be re-upping Maclin.

    Also, being able to work on the short/medium plays throughout the offseason ought to help, assuming they make it a focus.

  57. 57 TheRogerPodacter said at 10:25 AM on June 1st, 2012:

    sounds like you want djax to play the role of pinkston in the offense. lol

  58. 58 Jack Waggoner said at 3:52 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    I remember some article where Peyton Manning was describing how he made his reads… he would look for the shorter play first before the long play even had a chance to develop. Seemed like the opposite of what Vick does.

  59. 59 Aaron Yang said at 4:22 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    yeah but the way i see it…peyton manning doesnt have that emergency back up plan like vick does. if the big play doesnt develop…run for your life and still get the first and a good chunk of yards. and vick doesnt have the genius defensive read like peyton does…nor the manning touch (as i like to call it) on his throws. but none the less…your still accurate on what you said.

  60. 60 Jack Waggoner said at 10:21 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    But if he’s got to wait for big plays to develop, he’s got to ignore a lot of stuff that’s right there for the taking.

  61. 61 austinfan said at 5:07 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Tommy, I’ve been saying this since January.
    Vick the last four games was a different player.

    Some things people forget:

    1) Vick in 2010 did not know the offense, or how to call audibles or how to go through his progressions. He spent 2009 reworking his mechanics and learning the basics of playing QB, he was the #2 QB going into 2010 and was just starting his education as a true NFL QB. His success came from winging it, when DCs caught up and “Randalled” him, he struggled.

    2) No OTAs really hurt Vick. He needed the reps, especially sitting down with MM and Peddy and seeing the plays he was leaving on the field, where his outlet was, what the defense was doing and how they fooled him. I think some of the blitz packages we’ll see in practice through August are there more for Vick’s sake than the defense, though Juan doesn’t mind giving opposing OCs more to think about. A key for Vick is getting to the point where he doesn’t have to think about what the defense is doing, he sees it and adjusts automatically.

    3) DeSean sulking and Maclin dealing with anemia took away two dangerous weapons and made them ordinary. Vick was at fault as well, it wasn’t until the end of the year that he realized that Celek is this big guy who likes to run over people and you’re allowed to throw him the ball. He still hasn’t quite figured out that Harbor is going to be open a lot since the defense is kinda focused on everyone else. He needs to use McCoy more, but Shady needs to work on his blocking and his receiving, he regressed in 2011 in both areas, more drops, more missed blocks, less YAC.

    They’ve got to work Cooper into the offense, he’s about the same size and athleticism as Jordy Nelson, and look how Nelson blossomed as a 3rd or 4th option in the GB offense. That requires a joint effort by Cooper to improve his game, the coaches to use him, and Vick to recognize when he’s got a mismatch against a small CB or safety.

    The most important thing is to get Vick into McNabb’s mindset before he morphed into a mule, back when he spread the ball around to 7 or 8 players, none of which ( Westbrook didn’t emerge until 2004) was special, but collectively made a lot of plays. Now they have guys who are special, but you don’t have to force the ball to them, if you spread it around, sooner or later someone’s gonna gamble with single coverage on DeSean, or a safety will cheat against a TE pass, and boom, big play opportunity.

    “Patience, grasshopper” should become Vick’s mantra.

    And come the 4th Q, a patient Vick who hasn’t taken a beating against a defense that’s been nickled and dime to death for three quarters is a total mismatch. Use those legs for the key situations, down 4 with six minutes left when a lane opens because they fear your passing ability and overcommit on the rush, then take off like a frightened jackrabbit.

    The less Vick runs, the more dangerous he’ll become, because teams will relax, doesn’t matter how many times they tell themselves to be careful, if he’s getting rid of the ball in 3.5 seconds, pass rushers get frustrated and lose discipline.

  62. 62 TommyLawlor said at 5:32 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Expecting Vick to nickel and dime defenses to death might be a bit much, but your point about running in the 4th Q makes a lot of sense. Make the runs really count.

  63. 63 izzylangfan said at 6:06 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Nickel and Diming to death – no. But what about taking the short pass if they are giving it to you until the defense to moves up a bit? Do the Eagles do enough of that? And what about short passes when a quick release is advisable? Notice that the Eagles had Vick practicing quick releases today.

  64. 64 the guy said at 9:30 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    “I think some of the blitz packages we’ll see in practice through August are there more for Vick’s sake than the defense, though Juan doesn’t mind giving opposing OCs more to think about.”

    That was my first thought when I heard about it. With the D-line they have, I can’t imagine them thinking they really need to be blitzing all the time. It seemed pretty clear the idea was to put Vick (and the O-line) under pressure. And I’m all for it.

    I think Vick can (or already has) learn how to read defenses at least as well as a 2nd year center. Yes, he hasn’t had a real offseason with the team as a starter, but he has had the playbook and access to game film for 3 years now. I have to think the real issue is not what he’s seeing before the snap, but what he does when bodies are flying around.

  65. 65 A_T_G said at 11:04 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Wait, down 4 with 6 minutes left? I thought the plan was to wrap games up in the third and let the young QBs get some time in the 4th.

  66. 66 iskar36 said at 5:10 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    While I agree with your point that Vick can be great by being good, my question is, in a weird way, are you asking too much from him? Vick is the ultimate competitor. His mindset on any play is that he is the best player on the field and is going to do what it takes to get the job done. That’s why we never see him slide or run out of bounds. He truly believes he can make that next guy miss regardless of how hopeless the situation looks (and frankly, way more times than he should, he does manage to make that guy miss).

    I think coaching has improved a lot of his decision making and how to better recognize where the smart play is, and hopefully he continues to improve there. But i’m not sure you can eliminate being great on every play from the mindset of a competitor like Vick.

  67. 67 TommyLawlor said at 5:20 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Vick has to learn that he doesn’t have to do it all himself. There is no guarantee he can do that. Some habits are hard to break (just ask Peter Cetera).

    I’m hopeful that he sees the raw talent of Shady, DJax, Mac, and Celek and realizes that just getting them the ball with accurate, timely passes can help us to have a great offense.

  68. 68 TommyLawlor said at 5:21 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    How many of you realized that Bubby Brister was John Elway’s backup the last few years in Denver and that Bubby as 4-0 as a starter in 1998? I had wiped that from my brain.

    He was devastated when Shanny gave the starting job in 1999 to Brian Griese. Didn’t remember that either.

  69. 69 ACViking said at 6:38 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    T-LAW wrote:

    “Bubby Brister was John Elway’s backup . . . I had wiped that from my brain.”

    Human nature is such that we try to erase nightmares and all things related to them.

    The Birds’ QB situation in 1993, which included Bubby, was a nightmare. Statistics be damned.

    The Eagles started out 4-0. Randall was finding and hitting his first read consistently.

    Eric Allen had one of the greatest INT returns in NFL history.

    But then came the Jets game. And Bubby . . . .

  70. 70 TommyLawlor said at 7:02 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    The worst part was when we lost to the Bears and Bubby was picked off twice by DL in the game. Ugh.

  71. 71 pjxii said at 6:47 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Hopefully he’ll still be available when they Eagles cut Trent Edwards.

  72. 72 Flyin said at 8:22 PM on May 31st, 2012:


    Do you have any info on this new quick release drill that Vick is doing? Mentioned in new video.

    Also, Vick praised Damaris without even working with him. has him as the leading Na Brown Award candidate. What’s your scoop on the hype?

  73. 73 A_T_G said at 11:17 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    I heard they are randomly mixing in balls that were sitting in front on one of those propane heat cannons. If he doesn’t get the ball out in three seconds, it might burn him.

    Also, DJax is running his routes with a parachute strapped to him. Not to strengthen his legs, just to make things fair for Coleman and Jarrett. Apparently it was a little breezy the other day and some reporters thought the parachute was carrying DJax backwards. It turned out he was just working on his punt returns.

  74. 74 Cliff said at 9:54 PM on May 31st, 2012:

    Good job working the Newport News, VA connection in to this post. Bonus point for you, TL.

  75. 75 D3Keith said at 3:07 AM on June 1st, 2012:

    I’ve never watched an episode of the Rich Eisen podcast, but as I was turning the TV off tonight, he’s on there talking to Dawk.

    And he’s being totally honest about ’05 and T.O. and McNabb. And Tebow. If it comes on again, you need to watch it.

    He just said Reid deserves to be on the hot seat. This is awesome. Sorry, I haven’t even read this piece, the Vick piece, and I’m sure it’s important. I just wanted to mention this.

  76. 76 D3Keith said at 3:31 AM on June 1st, 2012:

    Oh, duh. It’s a podcast, you can DL it I bet.

    As far as this post and the comments, you hit all the salient points. I have nothing to add since I’ve said it all before … but hear here. I can’t wait to see a more judicious, wiser Vick. With that, the Eagles should basically be unstoppable.