ESPN’s John Clayton stopped by Lehigh Monday and came away impressed with Michael Vick:
The former Atlanta Falcons leader who used to let disks of game tape collect dust in the back of his car has become an intense student. As soon as the 2011 season was over, he came to the Eagles’ office to watch tapes and review his game. Vick can’t remember how many times he watched tapes of his disappointing Week 10 game against the Arizona Cardinals, when he passed for only 128 yards and was intercepted twice. Vick spent so much time working on his game, Reid ordered him to get away for a few days. Vick is spending time working with a quarterbacks coach to become more precise with his footwork. In Atlanta, he was so fast with his backpedal, no receiver was able to completely run his route. His timing with Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant was fun to watch.
Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders writes that the numbers project the Eagles to win the NFC East:
The Eagles went 8-8 last season even though they outscored opponents by 68 points, and they finished ninth in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. Going back to 1991, teams that finish in the top 10 of our ratings at 8-8 or worse win an average of 9.9 games the next season. The Eagles also improved significantly on defense over the course of last season, ranking 22nd in DVOA in the first half and sixth in the second half. But late-season defensive improvement doesn’t seem to carry over to the following season, so we don’t project the Eagles to have a great defense. We do project that it will be good, not the disaster it was in the first few weeks of 2011.
Based on what he’s seen so far, Redskins linebacker London Fletcher thinks Robert Griffin III has Vick-type qualities:
“He reminds me a little of Cam [Newton] and also Michael Vick, with the athleticism and the arm strength, his talent, his skill set,” Fletcher said on “NFL AM” Tuesday. “Cam had such great success last year he set the bar really high. From an athletic stand point I think he compares to him and Michael Vick.”
Andy Benoit of Football Outsiders explains why Asante Samuel is not as good as some of the numbers indicate:
Samuel excels in FO’s game charting metrics, and he has long been regarded as one of the best off-coverage corners in the NFL, but an “off-coverage” corner is all he is. Telling a corner he’s great in off-coverage is somewhat of a backhanded compliment –- like telling someone they are a lot of fun when they’re drunk. (Thanks! …Wait … only when I’m drunk?) Samuel’s strengths include identifying route designs and making breaks on the ball. His weaknesses are jamming receivers at the line, bump-and-run plays that are headed downfield, responding to sudden changes of direction, and anything remotely related to tackling. There is practically zero physicality to his game.
ESPN analyst Herm Edwards thinks the Eagles can be a dangerous team in 2012:
Reid must keep Vick healthy. If he gets hurt, Philadelphia’s season is over. Vick needs to improve his fourth-quarter passing against the blitz, get better in the red zone and not turn the ball over. He had 18 turnovers last season, five in the red zone. He can’t be careless with the ball or his body. After he makes the first guy miss on a scramble, he has to go to the ground or get out of bounds.
Reid knows the time is right for this Eagles team to make a run. If Vick can stay healthy and Philadelphia plays some defense, this is a very dangerous team in 2012.
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