Eagles Go as Vick Goes

If Michael Vick doesn't hold onto the ball in 2012/13, the Eagles could be in for another lost year.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the upcoming Eagles season is which version of Michael Vick will show up. He had an outstanding stretch for most of 2010, but followed that up with average-at-best play for most of 2011.

Vick's regression was troubling. Offensive turnovers were the biggest reason the team had such a disastrous campaign and Vick was the main culprit.

More than any other statistic, turnover margin indicates the success of an NFL team. In 2010, the Eagles won the division while finishing in the top five in the NFL in turnover margin. In 2011, the team finished tied for last in the league in that category and, predictably, had a terrible season.

From 2010 to 2011, Vick lost nearly twenty points from his QB rating. He went from being the fourth-ranked passer in the NFL to fourteenth, primarily because he threw more than twice as many interceptions in 2011 than he had in 2010.

In addition to his interception woes, Vick still ran effectively, but his rushing TD total decreased from nine in 2010 to one in 2011.

The reason this decreased production from Vick is so troublesome going forward is because in 2010, the NFL had not seen Vick in a starting role since 2006. Fans have to worry that Vick’s decreased effectiveness was due to other teams adjusting defensively to his unique style of play.

Vick’s performance in his first seven or eight games in 2010 was nothing short of miraculous, as he confused the opposition routinely. There was a sharp decline thereafter.

Then in the 2010 postseason, the Eagles were one-and-done. They lost a home playoff game in which Vick was pedestrian. The season ended, fittingly, on an ill-advised heave from Vick that was intercepted in the end zone.

The 2011 season saw a sluggish Vick struggle through the first half of the season, throwing as many interceptions as touchdowns. Then he got injured and missed three games. By the time he returned, the remaining four games were effectively meaningless.

So was it just a down year for Mike Vick? Was it a down year because he was plagued by injuries? If so, will he be able to stay healthy this upcoming season? The answers to these questions will determine if the Eagles made the right choice to give him a $100 million contract and hand the franchise over to him.

Some conflicting remarks from Vick himself have also clouded the issue. Ominous is Vick’s lack of recognition of his responsibility for the Eagles' lost 2011 season. He noted that he had to cut down his turnovers, and then said he didn’t think the Eagles fell short as a result of his turnovers.

Vick also said he knew he had to be more cautious in order to avoid injury, while at the same time noting that he only knew one way to play.

Andy Reid and the coaching staff have their work cut out for them to drill it into their quarterback that he has to stay healthy and protect the ball.

In a January 31, 2012 press conference, Andy Reid noted that Vick needs to stay healthy and limit turnovers.

Reid said at that time that Vick needed to study this offseason to accomplish these goals. Fans can only hope Vick has the work ethic to do just that. The Eagles' success in 2012 is more dependent on Vick’s health and ball security than anything else.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Yeah, he lost several fumbles last year as well. I agree and that's what he did in 2010. He's go so many weapons to work with. That year he sat in the pocket and found those guys all day long. When the sh*t hit the fan against the Giants, he threw caution to the wind and ran and threw like the season depended on it because it did. Long as he picks his spots, they're good.
Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Toast? I don't think he's terrible at all. Let's all focus on Vick for now and the backup later.
Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Big Giants fan who doesn't even know how to spell Hostetler. EXPOSED as a fraud.
Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Great point on Brady. Poor point on misspelled Hoss. That's so rare that we should just figure if Vick goes down for the year, we're done. If he goes out for a few games, we need a backup who can allow the Eagles to survive that stretch- they had that in 2010, not in 2011. More focus needs to be on Vick for now, not who the backup might be.
Phil McConkey July 09, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Only 7 back ups have won a SB. If you include Brady as a future hall of famer then 3 of the 7 are Hall of Famers and a 4th is Jim Plunkett who should be. I don't think there are any HOF backups on the Eagles roster. The 3 that are not -Doug Williams, Trent Dilfer (Giants were in but lost that one and I'm not crying about it) and HOS (Giants win)
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Where do you put Kurt Warner on that list?
Phil McConkey July 09, 2012 at 07:06 PM
he's not on the list. That list are QB's who started the season as a backup. Warner took over in the preseason and was named starter from Day 1
Matt Skoufalos (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Fair point; couldn't recall when he was given the keys.
Reed Rothchild July 09, 2012 at 07:36 PM
So if VIck goes down for the year and "we're done" what does that do as far as Andy Reid's job stability? Does he get ANOTHER year since he'll have an excuse that his QB got hurt? I don't think he deserves it. A "top tier" coach, with his amount of control, should not be in that position. Hopefully it's a non-issue, but if Vick goes down and that's the scapegoat all season then Reid can take a hike out of Philly! Again, HOPEFULLY it's a non-issue, but if it is...see ya Andy. (I also think it's just a matter of time before Andy chokes on his 4th dinner or has another health related issue of his own causing him to pass the mic)
Porterincollingswood July 09, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Andy is coach for life, he helped Lurie make millions and millions and his floor is probably 5-11. So the fans stay interested, the season ticket waiting list stays long, and aside from some unhappy callers on WIP and the Phanatic there are no negatives for Jeff. An NFL team makes most of its cash through TV and NFL merchandise, which they share. So even if the fans stopped coming, the team would make a healthy profit.
Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 08:31 PM
What was the first health-related issue Reid had? Far as his stability if he loses Vick. Hate to tell you, any coach who loses his starting QB for a long time gets a PASS!
Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Porter: Jeff loves Andy because he keeps fans coming to the games which makes Jeff money. Porter: Even if no fans come to the game, Jeff makes the same money. Huh?
Fabiola Et July 09, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Great article, nice job!
Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 08:36 PM
You can't look at a team and say their current QB won't make the HOF so they won't win a Superbowl- too much unknown info. If Vick were to win a Superbowl, he would make the HOF, but it's immaterial because it's unknown. You have to let it play out.
Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Not sure that Kurt Warner was starter from Day1 that year, but I think you're right. Kurt Warner is a Hall of Famer HANDS DOWN!
Porterincollingswood July 09, 2012 at 09:04 PM
I said he makes money. Not "same" or "more". He won't go in the red if people stopped coming, that's the beauty of the NFL.
Porterincollingswood July 09, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Trent Green was the starter that year, got hurt in training camp and Warner was named the team starter in a tear-filled Vermeil press conference.
Phil McConkey July 09, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I think the Eagles can opt out of Vick's contract after this season. Pretty sure it's after 2012 but may be 2013 So let's say Vick gets hurt and the Eagles opt out, I don't think you have to bring Andy back then? Do you still give him one more year with a new QB? or do you move in a different direction?
Porterincollingswood July 09, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Not only can, but almost certainly will. The contract value escalates after this season from $12.5M up to $16.5M (may go down $1M if he doesn't reach certain goals, probably games played given his injury history). The guaranteed money was also front-loaded, so they don't get killed cap-wise if they cut him loose. All in all, a pretty well-designed contract for both parties.
Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 11:10 PM
One of many tear-filled Vermeil pressers. I think the Warner season in question was 2008 with the Cards, but I could be wrong. You're right, no NFL owner can really go in the red from owning a franchise.
Mike Diviney July 09, 2012 at 11:15 PM
They can't "opt-out" of the contract, but they gave themselves an obvious out after 2 years. I believe because the "signing bonus" is converted to a roster bonus from the 3rd year forward, meaning if they didn't want to pay it they could cut him with no negative cap repercussions.
Baumer July 10, 2012 at 12:52 AM
This season will definitely all come down to Mike Vick. The defense has improved immensely and will be solid, if not spectacular. They're not going to lose five 4th quarter leads again so a lot of these games are going to rely on the arms and legs (and health) of Vick. He'll never learn to slide. He can say whatever he wants about being smarter but when he's in the moment he'll always go for that extra yardage. Let's just hope none of his injuries (because he will get hurt) are season threatening. I think if he misses 3 or less games then the Birds are back in the playoffs.
Mike Diviney July 10, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I agree with EVERY point you made. He will get dinged, but if it's relatively minor like the last 2 seasons have been- about 3 games each- they should be able to weather that storm. However, we tend to forget that last season, he missed the end of the Atlanta game and the end of the Giants game- both of which were losses and probably would not have been had he been in there. As always, we'll see...
Jono July 10, 2012 at 10:18 PM
I don't trust Vick to be smart enough to protect either the ball or himself from injury. Yet another reason to establish the run - get the ball out of his hands.
Larry O'Doyle July 11, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I agree with Reed Rothchild concerning the gross negligence Andy and the front office will be guilty of if Vick goes down and they don't have a legitimate Plan B. Everyone knows he will miss games, the question is how many. As evidenced last year, the difference between one win and one loss determines your ultimate fate more often than not. In today's NFL, preparation for worst case scenario is a requirement not a luxury. There are NO free passes! Just ask all the former employees of last year's Colts organization. Go Birds!
Mike Diviney July 11, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Agree with establishing a running game, which they have done a better job of- see Shady's production last year. However, if their goal is to get the ball out of their playmaking QB's hands, they have problems too big to overcome. I have some misgivings about Vick, but have to admit he's a playmaker. You have to acknowledge what he did in 2010; hanging in the pocket, firing strikes downfield, running when he had to, and get him back to that. It's on the coaches to do so.
Mike Diviney July 11, 2012 at 06:01 PM
You're right, but I'm not going to accuse them of "gross negligence" before it even happens. If they judge that whomever ends up as their backup can win a few games, they'll be held responsible for that when the time comes. If he can, they should be lauded. If he can't, like you said, 1 game often makes the difference, and they'll be crucified. But we're not there yet.
J D IN TENNESSEE July 11, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I agree with Jack. Mike Vick needs to mature his game. That is, trust his coaches and offensive line to do their jobs and play with in him self. Focus on where his talents are today ...not where his skills were back in college. Time to become a leader instead of trying to force plays. Otherwise..no one knows the plan on or off the field.
Christian Giudice July 11, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Great point about how teams figured out and adapted to Vick. It is alarming how quickly he went from as you said "miraculous" to "pedestrian." Thanks for the article, can't wait to check out the next one.
Mike Diviney July 11, 2012 at 11:01 PM
All about getting him back to what we saw in 2010. Big Red has to figure out how to adjust to the adjustments.


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