Was Reid Right About Vick Hits?

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Michael VickAccording to ESPN research, Michael Vick has never faced heavier fire in his time with the Eagles than he did Sunday against the Browns. He was under duress or hit on 19 dropbacks. That is tied for the most in the NFL since the start of the 2010 season and three more than he has faced previously in his time in Philadelphia. In those situations Sunday, Vick was 1-of-16 for 35 yards and an interception.

The Browns defense was officially credited with 11 quarterback hits. Sheil has 14 hits on Vick  documented. The numbers suggest what the eye picks up in real time — that Vick was on his back an inordinate amount.

Andy Reid was asked why his quarterback is susceptible to such a large amount of takedowns.

“You’ve got to bring the numbers, you’ve got to really study the numbers of the other quarterbacks getting hit,” said Reid. “Quarterbacks are getting hit in this league. We’ve just got an eye on that right now; I know as a media we’ve got an eye on that.”

So you don’t think he’s getting hit more than most quarterbacks?

“In the pocket, I wouldn’t say he gets hit more than the other quarterbacks,” said Reid. “I’m not sitting here with numbers for you…but I know that quarterbacks are taking hits within the pocket there.”

For the purposes of this exercise, let’s look strictly at quarterback hits. Here’s  the number for each QB in Week 1 to date:

Mark Sanchez 0
Christian Ponder 1
Josh Freeman 2
Cam Newton 2
Tony Romo 2
Jay Cutler 3
Matthew Stafford 3
Jake Locker/Matt Hasselbeck 3
RGIII 3
Matt Ryan 3
Peyton Manning 3
Tom Brady 4
Brandon Weeden 4
Matt Cassel 4
Ryan Tannehill 4
Aaron Rodgers 5
Andrew Luck 5
Drew Brees 5
Ryan Fitzpatrick 5
Matt Schaub 5
Eli Manning 5
Kevin Kolb/John Skelton 5
Alex Smith 6
Sam Bradford 7
Blaine Gabbert 7
Russell Wilson 7
Ben Roethlisberger 9
Michael Vick 11

As previously stated, Vick was under an unusually high amount of duress Sunday. He only matched that total once last season, which came, interestingly enough, in the opener against the Rams. The QB hit average in Week 1 was 4.5. Opponents averaged 5.3 quarterback hits against the Eagles in games which Vick played last year. That number seems to go to Reid’s point.

While the head coach may have been speaking strictly about pocket passing, there are other hits to talk about.

By Ron Jaworski‘s math, Vick got hit 209 times in 13 games last season. The QB hit total for the Eagles in 2011 was 69 in games that Vick appeared, meaning that at least 140 hits are not accounted for in that stat. That’s an additional 11 per game.

The conclusion drawn here is that Reid was right about the number of hits sustained within the pocket comparative to the rest of the league, but that it is splitting hairs to a certain extent considering all the other abuse that he takes. It also is statistical support for why the coaching staff is trying to get Vick to make smarter decisions once he is out of the pocket.

No matter which way you slice it, Vick is getting banged around. And the numbers were off the charts  in Week 1.

Follow Tim on Twitter or email him at tmcmanus@phillymag.com.