This is a guest post from Lucas McMillan of FootballSchedule.me.
Through the first two games of the season, Michael Vick turned the ball over six times, yet the Eagles were 2-0. However, after the Eagles’ devastating Week 3 loss against the Arizona Cardinals, in which they turned the ball over three times, it’s clear that that kind of luck simply doesn’t last.
The problem, of course, is that Michael Vick plays fast and loose with the ball. However, that’s also the primary reason he’s so successful. Much like other great gambling quarterbacks like Brett Favre and Jay Cutler, Vick will have weeks where he looks like the best offensive player in football history, and others when he just can’t get it going. He’s like a streaky three-point shooter in basketball; if he’s on, he can win the game by himself. If he’s ice cold, like he was against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, it’s virtually impossible to overcome.
“Just thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach as far as how many times we turned the ball over in two games,” Vick said last week after the Eagles’ win over Baltimore. “We just have to do a better job at holding on to the football. I have to do a better job with my decision-making and everything will work itself out.”
However, Vick simply played terribly against the Cardinals. He lost two fumbles, and only averaged 5.9 yards per pass. A lot of people are saying that he’s lost it, but I don’t think that’s the case.
So what does Vick have to do to get better? Well, first of all, Vick didn’t look bad against the Ravens in Week 2. One of the interceptions wasn’t his fault (a tipped pass off the hands of Brent Celek and into the hands of the ever-present Ed Reed) and many of his passes were crisp and on the money. One of the primary problems with Vick’s turnovers is his red zone play. When Vick can smell the goal line, he simply tries to do too much, whether it be lobbing the ball into a crowd of defenders or scrambling around and taking a long sack. The fault doesn’t always lie with him. If I was an Eagles fan, I would be outraged by Andy Reid’s offensive play-calling.
Too much of the Eagles play-calling this season has relied on long, downfield passes. Vick is more than capable of making these plays, but when your offense has a leaky offensive line like the Eagles do, these plays are putting Vick in serious jeopardy. He is not being given the time necessary to execute these seven step drop offensive plays, and Reid must recognize that and adjust his play-calling. When you have a bad offensive line, there are a few things you can do to adjust, like screen-passes, draw plays and quick slants. And here’s the most frustrating part: these are Vick’s strengths anyway. Reid and the coaching staff should recognize that their o-line is struggling, and that they have a special talent in Vick who can do some pretty unique things. Right now, they’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole by forcing Vick into an offense that isn’t suited to him.
Ultimately, Vick is a talented quarterback that will have good weeks and bad. However, it isn’t all his fault. If he can limit his turnovers from here on out in the red zone and the play calling becomes a bit more conservative, this offense will be able to both move the ball and stop giving away easy opportunities to the other team.
Lucas McMillan writes for FootballSchedule.me. For the latest Philadelphia Eagles news, commentary and schedule information, visit FootballSchedule.me.