Howard Mudd Is Eager To Have His Offensive Line Improve In Protecting VickBREAKING NEWS Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd coached an offensive line in Indianapolis which protected future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning for years. In six of the 12 years Mudd’s offensive line blocked for Manning, they led the league in six of those years in sacks given.
Clearly part of the reason the offensive line did such a good job was Manning’s ability to get rid of the football. Surprisingly Mudd doesn’t feel there’s much of a difference in blocking for Michael Vick as compared to blocking for Manning.
“I’m going to categorically say no,” said Mudd. “I mean, we can only do what we can do, which is, there’s a spot right there. That’s the original throwing spot right there and that’s what we’re going to protect and we’re going to try to do it until the ball is thrown. And then, if Mike takes off, if it’s one of us breaking down, we correct that guy. Now, do I expect him to throw from there every time? Probably not, because you’re taking away his athleticism. That’s one of the valuable things that he has. We’re going to start in one spot and protect it as best we can.”
Mudd and the Birds offensive line want to cut down on the number of knocked down passes. The offensive line coach does admit that Vick’s lack of height, he’s only 6 foot, makes a difference because Manning, who stands 6’5″, has the ability to both see and throw the ball over most defensive linemen.
“The only thing that we really stress is the depth of the pocket, because Mike isn’t real tall, so the more separation, when he gets to his throwing spot, the more separation you can have between the original line, if you will, and Mike. It’s really important so that he feels, ‘Oh, there’s a bunch of space here, I can see, I can deliver.’”
I also think Vick needs to get a better feel for finding the throwing lanes in between defensive linemen, in much the way that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is able to do. Brees is about 6 foot like Vick, but rarely has passes knocked down.
This is something to keep an eye on during the season. How’s the Eagles offense doing with knocked down passes and hits on Vick? Vick and the line will have to work together in these areas. The Birds signal caller has made it point to try to resist the urge to run before he gives the pass pattern a chance to work.
“He wants, and works really hard, to overcome his instinct to, when a little something goes wrong, to take off”, Mudd said.
Vick will have a lot on his mind when he drops into the pocket. The quarterback will need to be smart about getting rid of the football quickly, not leaving the pocket too soon, while looking for passing lanes and protecting the football. Mudd’s offensive line will need to be consistent about not giving up the quick pass rush.
“I think he knows that he’s a critical part,” said Mudd. “I would wish that he doesn’t think he has to take on more than his part. Don’t do it. Don’t get hurt. And if somebody’s loose, he knows that if he’s got problems up front, he knows those guys are getting coached very hard. Don’t let the guy get hit. Don’t let him get hit. Don’t let him get hit. And that’s a mantra that we have.”
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