Eagles Wake-Up Call: Dissecting Vick’s Four INTs
Number one: The offense faced a 2nd-and-21 from the Browns’ 49-yard-line in the first quarter. Vick set up in shotgun and set his feet, but King Dunlap got beat inside by defensive end Emmanuel Stephens. The Browns only rushed four on the play. Vick scrambled to his right to avoid pressure, but decided to throw across his body, which, as we’ve learned over the years, rarely leads to good things. It’s tough to tell whether he was looking for LeSean McCoy, who was open at the 45, or Brent Celek, who was covered at the 39. If it was McCoy, Vick made a terrible throw. If it was Celek, he made a terrible decision. Either way, it was a bad pick. To make matters worse, Vick made a similar throw that went incomplete to Clay Harbor in the third quarter.
Number two: The offense had a 1st-and-10 from its own 39 in the third quarter. Vick faked a handoff to McCoy and set up in one of the cleanest pockets he had all day. The Browns only rushed four, and Vick had all kinds of time. But this one had more to do with the decision than the throw. He fired a pass to Harbor, who had three defenders around him at the Browns’ 48-yard-line. Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson broke up the pass, which popped up in the air before L.J. Fort came down with it. The replay showed Vick probably had a chance to connect with Harbor had he gotten rid of the ball sooner.
Number three: Late in the third quarter, the Eagles faced a 3rd-and-10 from the Browns’ 36. They went empty backfield with four wide receivers and a tight end. This time, the Browns only rushed three, but Danny Watkins had trouble with defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, forcing Vick to step up and fire a bullet in Jeremy Maclin’s direction. The ball bounced off of Maclin’s right hand and into the arms of cornerback Joe Haden. Vick ended up making the tackle on the play. Watkins was called for holding. Of the four picks, this was probably the least egregious.
Number four: After an Evan Mathis false start, the offense faced a 1st-and-15 from its own 13. Fullback Stanley Havili and McCoy lined up in the I-formation with DeSean Jackson out wide to the left and Maclin to the right. Celek was lined up next to Dunlap. Vick faked a handoff to McCoy and dropped all the way back to the 3. One of the Browns linebackers fell for the fake so he was up at the line of scrimmage. But they were really only rushing four. Stephens started out at right defensive end, but looped inside, and Mathis and Jason Kelce were slow to pick him up. Vick had some pressure, but was able to step into his throw cleanly. He once again threw into traffic, looking for Maclin. D’Qwell Jackson picked it off and took it to the house for a touchdown. Again, this one was a bad decision – Vick trying to force a throw that had little chance of being completed.
Vick averaged one interception every 62 pass attempts in 2010, an unsustainable rate. But last year, he threw one every 30.2 attempts. The expectation this year was for him to cut down on the INTs and fall somewhere in between the past two seasons. But he got off to a bad start in Week 1.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Looking for a bright spot? DeMeco Ryans got the attention of his teammates with a strong debut. Details from T-Mac.
Vick talked about his performance and said he’s just got to get out of Cleveland.
Safety Kurt Coleman talked about getting his helmet knocked off by Trent Richardson. Coleman had a good game with a pair of interceptions.
Here are my instant observations from the 17-16 victory.
And finally, Andy Reid tried to explain why the Eagles had 60 called pass plays and 23 run plays.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Kevin Kolb finally had something go his way. The former Eagles quarterback went in for an injured John Skelton and was 6-for-8, throwing the game-winning touchdown for the Cardinals in the fourth quarter against Seattle. From The Arizona Republic:
“It was pretty special, I’m not going to lie,” Kolb said. “To win a game in that fashion, after the way the preseason went, I’ll definitely enjoy it.”
It appears Kolb will be the starter for at least the next several weeks. The Cardinals will know more about Skelton’s condition Monday, but the best scenario seems to be that he has a high ankle sprain.
The Eagles take on the Cardinals in Arizona in Week 3.
And I’m guessing they’re going to sell some Robert Griffin III jerseys in D.C. today. The rookie went 19-for-26 for 320 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his debut, a 40-32 win over the Saints. Griffin also ran for 42 yards. From The Washington Post:
“It was definitely loud, first of all. You could feel it in your body, the amount of loudness,” Griffin said. “The guys told me it was going to be like that – the loudest place I’ll ever play in – but why not? It’s New Orleans and the Superdome, so we came out and played big in a big arena, big stage and did a good job.”
Reid will address the media at noon. We’ll have plenty of day-after reaction, news and analysis. And don’t forget, the debut of Birds 24/7 radio is tonight from 6 to 7 p.m. on 97.5 The Fanatic. Tim and I will be broadcasting live from 360 at Parx Casino in Bensalem.
eil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at email@example.com.