Were Michael Vick’s “some fans are just ignorant” Comments Correct?BREAKING NEWS, Eagles, News, Quarterbacks Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
I felt I needed to comment on the dustup involving Eagles quarterback Michael Vick which occurred last week. He was on Mike Missanelli’s 97.5 The FAN radio show, when he was confronted with the criticism that he holds onto the football too long and takes too long to read the defensive coverage before passing the ball to the receiver. He was offended.
“I’m really tempted right now to just say no comment to that because like I said a second ago, you don’t last 12 years in the NFL not being able to read the defense,” Vick said. “Those people who are talking and saying that are just ignorant, and they know nothing about football. Unless they turn on the film and watch my game and see what goes on, then they’ll replace those comments with the right comments.”
Clearly Vick is open to criticism of his ability to read the defense quick enough to get rid of the ball before the rush gets there and make a good decision about which receiver is open. Vick knows the coverages, but that’s just a third of the job and probably the easiest. He’s got to be able to read the defense as he drops, then make the proper decision of where to go with the football, before getting rid of the ball and throwing the ball accurately to the target.
Let me say it again. Three tasks for the quarterback: 1. read the defense, 2. make correct decision about who is open and 2. deliver the football accurately.
He did show he could do it during a stretch in 2010, but that was a long time ago, in football terms. Quality NFL quarterbacks are able to complete these tasks consistently.
I don’t know too many players who are not very sensitive about criticism of their play and that includes yours truly, but you keep some things to yourself, when commenting to the public. They are the customers. You give your customers more room than others because they are your customers, as long as they’re being respectful in their criticism.
Vick has to realize that the Eagles fans are his customers and he shouldn’t call them ignorant because they do have good reason to be critical of his ability to read the defense, make a good decision and deliver the football accurately. I understand how he feels, but he would admit that he comes into this season with something to prove.
In fairness, we also know that there were quite a few times last year when nobody was open before the pass rush was on Vick, or the pass rush was on him so quick that he didn’t have time to even look downfield, but I think if you were to get him in a private setting and ask him if he could improve his reading of the defenses, decision-making of where to go with the football and accuracy in passing, he would say yes he could improve.
I thought much of Vick’s problems last year were the mistakes made by head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. They continued to run a downfield and deep passing game, despite three-fifths of the offensive line, going down to injury. Without a good offensive line, you can’t run a deep passing game. They got Vick killed last year while waiting for wide receivers to get open deep. Nobody can every accuse him of not having the toughness to take a hit, then get up and play fearlessly on the next snap. But there is plenty of room for improvement.
Reid and Mornhinweg also completely changed the pass blocking and blitz pickup rules with the hiring of Howard Mudd. Vick had learned the previous system and knew it like the back of his hand, but he had to now learn Mudd’s system. In addition to learning the new system, he also was given more responsibility in making the pass blocking calls.
Previously the burden of recognizing the blitzes and making the pass blocking calls to pick them up was shared by the Eagles quarterback and center. Last year it was all put on the back of Vick. It was another bad decision by Reid, who didn’t do much right a year ago. Still Vick has plenty of room for improvement in these areas.
I’ve been learning more and more about Chip Kelly’s system and it’s much more quarterback friendly, which could help Vick. I’ll be interested to see how he does in the blitz pick up area in comparison to Nick Foles and Matt Barkley. They’ll need to be clearly be better than Vick in that area to win the job because they’re no where near as capable as he is in running the read option.
Dennis Dixon is the other quarterback, who has a chance to make this team. I think they have reduced his reps at practice because he’s much more comfortable than the other quarterbacks, so they need the reps much more than he does. Other than Vick, he’s the only other quarterback, who can run the read option. I giggle when Foles and Barkley run it because they will get destroyed if they try to run with the football very often.
I was also amazed to hear Vick talk about solving his fumbling problem. The veteran quarterback says Kelly solved his fumbling problem by teaching him how to properly carry the football. Here’s what he told Missanelli.
“The other day, I broke out in the pocket, and the first thing Chip told me was to tuck the football,” Vick said. “So I showed him how I was running with it, and he looked at it and he knocked the ball right out of my hands. And he was like, ‘Hold it like this.’ And what he told me felt comfortable. I had a tighter grip on the football. That should secure that problem as long as I work on it. Like I said, you’re always a work in progress, and even when you think you know it all, sometimes you don’t. The people who feel like they know everything, they don’t.”
We’ll have to wait and see if Kelly’s advise proves to be the answer to all of Vick’s fumbling problems. I think it might help, but whatever Vick is taught, the key is implementing it on the field.
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