Vick To Tackle Yet Another Offensive System

Chip Kelly had done a little homework on the whole Michael Vick age thing, and was armed with a response when the subject was broached earlier this week.

“Number one, I think when you look at his age and study it for quarterbacks, he is actually younger than Tony Romo and about the same age as Eli Manning.  I think sometimes when you look at him because he has been in the league for a while and he came out early from college. And you look at his age and say, boy, he’s aging.  And it’s funny,” said Kelly. “So I think there is a lot more to Michael.”

Fair enough. But the question wasn’t about how Vick ranks by age compared to his contemporaries, but rather how Kelly planned on getting a soon-to-be 33-year old to change his spots.

We have referenced several times Kelly’s stated stance on what he expects out of the quarterback position. This is from a 2011 coach’s clinic [Kelly warned not to believe everything you read, but did not deny these were his words when presented to him]:

The job of a quarterback is simple. He has to “let it happen, and not make it happen.” We want to move forward. That is a concept you have to make your team understand. The cardinal sin at our place is the quarterback sack. We want the ball out of the quarterback’s hands in 1.5 seconds. That does not mean holding the ball until 2.5, waiting for someone to get open.

How can he get Vick to fit that description?

“Some of the systems that they run they don’t ask him to get the ball out quick.  Do I think he can get the ball out quick?  I think he’s got an unbelievable release.  It’s up and out and it’s quick,” said Kelly.

“What he’s asked to do from a read progression and all those other things, I don’t know what he’s been asked to do in the past, but that’s our job as coaches where he can get the ball out quickly, because we have some play makers on the offensive side of the ball that are going to flourish when we get the ball in their hands, so that’s on us as coaches.  Not on the quarterback.”

Sounds like, in Kelly’s view, the system should help correct the problem. Even if true, there is still the whole issue of gaining command of said system. Vick was asked to re-learn the quarterback position in certain respects when he came to Philadelphia, with mixed results. Sometimes the Masters degree he crammed for under Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg helped him, sometimes he looked encumbered by it.

Now, he’ll be asked to learn another language.

“I don’t know if it’s rebuilding. I think it’s going to be very new from what he was trained to do because systematically it’s going to be different,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “But it’s something that we’ll teach it in a way where he’ll be able to pick it up quickly and get out there and do what he does.”

Kelly seems to prefer a simplified approach to football, and the coaches have been quick to point out that they are not reinventing the wheel here, so they don’t anticipate a gigantic learning curve. But there will be one. A lot of it is about getting accustomed to new verbiage. Kelly wants everything to be truncated.

“It will probably be a less wordy operation,” said Shurmur. “No matter what we decide to run or what the plays are, we’ll try to have one or two words to paint the picture instead of five or six.

“Whether you called it ‘Z-in’ and now you call it ‘Apple’ — I called it ’22 Z-in’ for a lot of years, now we decided to call it ‘Apple.’ I know what ‘Apple’ is, and I think they’ll learn it. I think what’s important is we decide what we’re going to teach, we teach it to them in a way that they can understand it, and then let them go out and play fast.”

How fast can Vick [and the rest of the QBs on the roster] play in the new system? I would imagine that will be part of the evaluation during Kelly’s open quarterback competition.

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