Vick Slowing Down? Giants Say ‘Just Go After Him’

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick.Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka talked about a shifting philosophy both within his organization and around the league when it comes to defending Michael Vick.

“It used to be try and contain him, don’t pressure him because he’ll get by, but now it’s more like, just go after him,” said Kiwanuka, via the New York Post.” We’ve had that philosophy here for a while. We don’t change that. We do that no matter whom we’re playing. I think you’re seeing other teams adopt that same game plan. I think it has just become a point of emphasis for everybody.”

If they no longer fear him enough to focus on contain, does that mean he has lost a step? Or is it a matter of simply finding a more successful approach?

Going by the eye test alone, it does appear that Vick has lost a little off his fastball compared to a couple seasons back. His body fresh from time off from football, Vick was so quick, so fast and so elusive in 2010 that it hardly seemed human. Wear and tear has seemed to dull that once razor-sharp edge. By Ron Jaworski‘s count, Vick has sustained over 250 hits from the start of the 2011 season to today. There have been dings and more serious injuries. He has crept a little farther into his 30′s. Though still world-class fast, it is entirely possible that he is not as fast as he once was.

Here is a look at Vick as a rusher since he became the Eagles starter:

Year
Rush Attempts
Yards
Avg.
TDs
20101006766.89
2011765897.81
201221944.51

The nine touchdowns in 2010 were a career high, and he didn’t come close to a repeat performance the following season (though LeSean McCoy‘s emergence at at least a little something to do with that). While the average per run increased in ’11, the number of total rushes dipped despite starting two more games that year.

Though it’s still early, Vick’s 4.5 yards-per-rush average this season is well off his career average of 7.1.

Is it the schematic changes across the league that have slowed Vick? Or has he simply slowed?

Best guess here is a little of both.