Offensive Line Crumbling In Front Of Vick

It has become a familiar sight now: Michael Vick drops back, a defender (or two, or more) breaks free without much effort, and the quarterback gets cracked in a snap. Head on. Sideways. Blindsided. Head. Chest. Ribs. Everywhere.

Seven sacks for the Saints Monday night, and 12 quarterback hits.

“We saw earlier in the week on film that they were giving up a lot of sacks and letting Michael Vick get hit a lot,” said Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, who tortured Vick all game, finishing with three sacks and five QB hits. “We’re glad the defensive line got together and capitalized on that.”

The Saints entered the game with just 13 sacks on the entire season and were dead last as a defense overall, but looked potent against this decimated front. Already missing Jason Peters (Achilles) and Jason Kelce (ACL), things got worse when Todd Herremans was carted to the locker room with a tendon strain in his right foot. (He will undergo an MRI Tuesday morning). Demetress Bell appeared to struggle badly in his place, particularly late.

“I think that’s been the biggest thing: we lost so many offensive linemen this season,” said Vick. “Normally that doesn’t happen throughout the course of the season. So we’re finding ways to work through it. It’s difficult, and it’s tough on the players and the coaches. But we’re battling. Still moving the ball at times, and just not finishing.”

Vick, you’ll recall, was getting hit at a high rate last year as well, but the abuse was mild compared to this season. The quarterback hit total for the Eagles in 2011 was 69 in the 13 games that Vick appeared. That number is already at 67 with eight games to play.  The opposition registered double-digit hits on Vick once in 2011. Four teams have accomplished that feat through eight games this year.

You can’t help but wince.

“Oh, there’s no sympathy in this league,” said Marty Mornhinweg. He sure is a battler, though, isn’t he? Tough guy now.”

The 32-year-old Vick is challenging questions about his durability by continuing to get off the mat. It’s surprising that Nick Foles has not been put in out of necessity, never mind any other motivation. And, with the current state of the O-line, the rookie is probably better off staying exactly where he is — on the bench.

Vick admitted that he can get the ball out quicker at times and did not pin the issues on his offensive line.

“I believe in myself. I believe that in a split second that I can get the ball out. It may not be the case all the time,” said Vick. “It’s tough but I just keep fighting, keep battling. I don’t see anything but that end zone.”

For most of his career, Vick could Houdini his way out of more of these situations. But he is in his thirties now. His body has been beaten at an unsustainable rate for too long, and it’s catching up to him — defenders are catching up to him.

“Michael has taken some big hits this year,” said Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt. “I don’t know that his escapability, maybe because of some of the hits he took, was as good as it was four or five years ago.”

And now there’s no way out.

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  • whattheDEUCE22

    well at least Homeland was pretty good this week.

    • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

      lol. IT WAS. First time I watched the damn show and I got sucked it. Couldn’t turn the channel.

    • daveH

      i had RIDICULOUSNESS going.. thanks mTV i never get to watch it !!

  • http://twitter.com/THEKID_ Mike Jehle

    Does anybody expect to lose that many O-linemen in a year? Of course not. But hey, it was Reid who put that line together and had no quality depth in case of a worst case scenario. As i’m sure Reid would tell you….this is on him, times yours.

  • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

    VIck is still pretty Houdini like – lol – if he wasn’t they’d look even worse than they do now. But he’s 32 and taking a beating – AND tries to be the pocket passer they want him to be. IT is what it is, but can you imagine how dif this team would be with a healthy oline and one just ONE big body receiver. Sigh.

  • TheGhostofNormVanBrocklin

    How come no one is talking about how the 5-3 Colts have not one but TWO Eagle cast-offs starting on their O-Line: Winston Justice and Mike McGlynn. I’m not saying those guys are Pro Bowlers but it was Reid’s decision to cast them off and keep stiffs like Reynolds and Dennis Kelly who are clearly not NFL caliber lineman. You’re only as good as your weakest link. Your back-ups need to be NFL ready and the Eagles are not good at all in a lot of places. That’s all on Reid and his coaching staff. Another reason he needs to go.

  • Ken Raining

    Bad as the line is, the Eagles make it worse by not adjusting enough. I was thrilled to finally see the run game become a factor, but the Eagles are going to have to become almost a run-first team the rest of the way to have any success. They simply can’t call these long-developing pass plays any more; the line can’t block for them.

    • saunhi

      Agreed except this broken O-line makes playing offense, all but impossible.

      Steve Young and the Espn team were saying that anyone else would have been sacked twice as much (if still standing). Young is the First Commentator to state that QB focus now has to be watching for rushers before field reads.

  • The Guru

    The line is awful, but Vick is clueless. If a defense shows they’re blitzing 6-7 rushers, most QBs call an audible. Vick NEVER changes the play, never calls for a hot route, never adjusts his backs or receivers, and has no idea which rusher will be free. It’s as much Vick’s fault as Mudd or the o-line.

    • Matthew Butch

      But he has to have an audible to call. Sometimes there isn’t one. With an empty back set, what do you do? He has less than a second to throw- that’s not his fault.

      • The Guru

        Don’t you see other teams check out of the play? They move the TE in the backfield, move a RB back, or they get rid of the ball quickly. It just never happens with Vick.

    • stormchaser1983

      not true…there were many audibles. For exmaple, the TD pass to desean was an audible by vick. The running plays by mccoy were audibles by vick. The center is incharge of calling out the protections to his linemen. That is where the problems arise

      • The Guru

        That is 100% wrong. The DeSean TD was not an audible. Even when there are audibles being called, he is switching into wrong plays. There are only 5 lineman to pick up 5 rushers. Vick needs to adjust to where the 6th or 7th blitzer is coming from. It NEVER happens. If there is an unblocked rusher, it HAS to be 3 step. 4-5 times last night he was in a 7 step drop because he didn’t make the change.

  • saunhi

    Ok- the Philly bloggers are acknowledging the core problem. Its only a matter of time before they realize that any other QB in the league would be crippled by now (except Roethlisberger). Steve Young and the Espn team said anyone else would have been sacked twice as much (if still standing). Young is the First Commentator to state that QB focus now has to be watching for UNBLOCKED rushers before field reads.

    • The Guru

      Do you ever have any original thoughts of your own or do you just quote what ESPN tells you? Last week it was Ditka….now it’s Steve Young.

  • Matthew Butch

    Four replacement offense line.
    Empty back set- BRILLIANT!

  • Wilbert M.

    Here’s the off-season game plan – use every draft pick on offensive linemen (Andy will be gone, so hopefully we have someone smart evaluating them) and sign every free agent center, guard, tackle & safety on the market.