Teammates Endorse Vick: ‘He Can Be So Deadly’

Michael VickThere seems to be no question in the Eagles’ locker room that Chip Kelly made the right decision in naming Michael Vick the starter.

Many of Vick’s teammates saw him go through a magical stretch in 2010, a spell of mediocrity in 2011 and an outright disaster in 2012.

Now he’s in a new offense, playing for a new coach. And even though Vick is 33, his teammates believe Kelly’s scheme is tailor-made for the veteran QB to succeed.

“The biggest thing with Michael Vick is, when you say his name, when you see him in the lineup, when you prepare for him, is the running ability that he has,” said LeSean McCoy. “In this offense, we do tons of running, as far as the quarterback and the running back, so you never know who has the ball. And we’re going at such a high tempo/pace in the offense that Mike can throw it, he can run it.

“This offense, it fits him so well. He can be so deadly. There’s times where we watch tape and he hands the ball off to me and then he’s going around with his fake and he’s taking two guys with him until they realize that he doesn’t have the ball. When that happens, you take less defenders out of the box where you don’t have to block ‘em.”

There’s no doubt that Vick’s running ability will benefit McCoy. The Eagles ran plenty of read-option plays against Carolina. When Vick hands the ball off, the unblocked edge defender has to freeze and respect his ability to take off.

There are also the run-pass options that we’ve written about extensively.

“With the reads and all those types of things, Mike is a very dynamic player with the ball in his hands,” said Jason Avant.

“Having the opportunity to do things that we haven’t done in the past in this offense as far as just normal football player natural things that we do since little kids. In the old systems, in traditional systems, it’s by the book. Here, it gives the football player the autonomy at times. And that’s gonna bring out the best in all football players.”

Added Evan Mathis: “There’s just a lot of opportunities for the quarterback to show their athleticism in this kind of offense. There’s a lot of choices for the quarterback. There’s some plays we run that are options, and if you have a quarterback with the speed that Michael Vick has, then some of those plays can end up being pretty dangerous.”

Vick skeptics will point out that having the ball in his hands the past two years hasn’t worked out great. He’s thrown 24 interceptions and fumbled 21 times in his last 23 games. If those issues aren’t addressed, it won’t matter how dynamic Vick is.

“I think this offense, we try to make it easier for the quarterbacks, running enough and passing to stay balanced,” McCoy said, arguing that the scheme would help the turnover issue. “As you can see, the last couple preseason games, we showed balance. I think that doesn’t put so much pressure on the quarterback to throw the ball as much, which causes turnovers. So I think we’ll have enough balance, running the ball and throwing the ball, that minimizes the chances of having turnovers.”

Another factor to consider is Vick’s standing in the locker room. Mathis described him as “a natural born leader” and said “all the guys look up to him.”

DeSean Jackson agreed.

“He honestly teaches us a lot of things on and off the field, things he’s gone through,” Jackson said. “I’ve been saying that since Day One. It’s almost like a big brother figure in that locker room. Just really motivates us and tells us things that the average teammate or the average older brother probably wouldn’t tell us. But he cares [about] us and he sees the future bright for our careers here in Philadelphia.”

There have numerous stories written in the last decade about Vick changing his methods, on and off the field. Some have proven to be true; others have not.

Jackson, however, said he’s definitely noticed differences this offseason.

“Oh man, he’s eating better, he’s eating healthy, he’s eating salads,” Jackson said with a laugh. “I can go on and on. He’s staying after practice. He’s staying in the meeting rooms. He’s one of the first guys in the building, one of the last players to leave the field and things like that. He’s really, from Day One when Chip Kelly came in this offense, he’s really grasped an understanding of what it is that he’s gonna have to do as far as reads… things like that to really be able to throw defenses off-guard.

“With him having a year left on his contract… he kind of always just stressed that, like, ‘I’m gonna do what I can on this last year. What happens is gonna happen, but I think it’s gonna be a great shot.’ He wants everybody to know he still can play this game at a high level.”

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  • Kuney

    These seem like genuine comments of guys excited that he got the job. If foles would have won it they would of supported but the comments would be very generic. I’m sure they would of been supportive but just generic in that sports cliche kind of way. Vick getting the job was probably kelly’s best chance of a fast start and the best choice but i think he handled it perfectly. Made it a competition to see what he had, even though he probably already knew but was able to push his QBs just a little harder and got everyone to buy in and didn’t over do it by not having having his starter for the 3rd game. That would of just had the air of smarter than everyone in the rooms stuff.
    Really like CK handled this situation.

    • ftotheyu

      I agree. I do have some worries about Vick reverting back to old habits of holding onto the ball too long and trying to make a play. Kelly’s offense requires quick decision making and quick strikes to move the chains fast. Vick needs to buy into that 100% and play within the system. This is the offense that could boost his completion % as well as boost his run stats.

      • Kuney

        Thats the next evolution for him if thats possible at 33. Is the learning when enough is enough. Where is the line between making a play and the smart play. I don’t want to see him just throwing the ball away but maybe being more judicious with his extra efforts. If its first down, or were up in the game maybe just throw it away, but that ability to make something out of nothing is a skill…just needs to harness it.
        We’ve been saying it for years but if aging does anything it brings discretion

        • #7

          It seems like this is the time to do it. We all do things betting when we’re older. If he doesn’t, he’ll be benched

  • Shark

    Glad to hear all the hard work Vick is putting in. But I specifically remember reading the same crap going into last year. How he “never left the film room”. Not saying its untrue, but really, when people say stuff like this about teammates, it’s not always the case.

    • Adam

      The old coaching adage comes to mind “Son, your potential is going to get me fired,’”

    • Daniel Norman Richwine

      Let’s not forget there were a lot of extenuating circumstances last year. The death of Andy’s son, the devistated OL, the defense which could.not generate a turnover, playcalling which relied on the deep ball over and over despite all this.
      I suspect Tom Brady would have been challenged to produce in such an environment. It’s possible.Vick deserves.more blame than I am giving him, but its possible he deserves less than he has generally received. This year will tell a lot.

      • All In Eagles

        Agree with all of those extenuating circumstances but also agree with last years ‘he never left the film room, first guy in last guy out’ quote. As fans we can only believe (pray) that it’s actually different this year. Watching the tape so far this year you’d have to say it is different as last year he got crushed in the first PS game. In the end, he needs to learn to slide still or no matter how good he plays he’ll be knocked out at any given moment.

        • hokieduck

          I wasn’t a fan pre-Chip, so I don’t know. But I will say this, I think that this offense has given Michael Vick his only shot at redemption in the NFL and he knows it. It is a new lease on life for him and his statements about falling back in love with football due to this change ring true to me.

  • ReggieKush

    I honestly believe that The Philadelphia Eagles will be marked, starred,highlighted on opponent coaches schedules. Unfortunately, we have multiple teams coming off a bye week, but that may come to our advantage physically on the field. Meaning if eagles get on a roll and chemistry gets going and we’re steamrolling defenses. Our opponents extra week out of game speed will not be prepared physically for the first half blowout *muwhahaha evil laugh

    remember coaches can scheme & practice all they want but Gamespeed is GAMESPEED.

    • hokieduck

      Reggie. Hope you are correct. But remember, Chip’s offfense (while it definitely can blow teams out) is really built for the 4th quarter not the first or second. The blur offense is built to absolutely beat the defense to a pulp (particularly the line) until they no longer can put up a fight.

      Examples from Oregon, both games which Oregon lost, but which were lost on freakishly bad plays/misses.

      2010 NCG. Auburn looked like they were killing Oregon with their SEC defensive line. But in the 4th, Oregon started absolutely rolling over Auburn’s defense and tied the game with a minute left. Had Dyer not done the freaky rollover and stopped until the sidelines started screaming for him to run, which he did … all the way to the redzone for the last second FG, Auburn would not have had it left in the tank to hold the Ducks in OT. That is what the Oregon offense is built for.

      2011. USC beat the Ducks in Eugene. Again got a big lead and the Ducks then killed them in the 4th and had a medium range FG to tie the game. Missed it (just like they missed 2 against Stanford last year which kept them out of the NCG).

      Often, teams will take an early lead but the pace just kills them by the second half. Oreogn offensive linemen were often interviewed and talked about looking across the line and knowing that the other team was toast.

      Go Eagles. WTD.

  • Pennguino

    To a man they all said the same thing from the eyes of a fan. They see highlight reels. Vick is perfect b/c he runs real fast. If we limit his chance to turn over the ball he will do fine.
    Shady: Running ability
    Avant: Natural instinct (Sandlot football)
    Mathis: Athletic ability
    We have seen enough of Vick over the last ten years. He has looked good in these two vanilla PS games. JAX is a bad football team so I don’t expect anything to change. I am not a believer. I am not drinking the cool-aid. I’ll wait to see if he can change his spots.
    He looked good in 2010 because he was playing for a contract. Same thing this year. What happened when he got his contract. You saw the true Vick. If I am Laurie, and Vick made it through the whole season and we make the playoffs then I can see a 2 year contract heavily incentive based. Vick needs that carrot. He gets his money, he is in coast mode.

    • Anon

      But what’s the alternative? Start Foles, it’s a recipe for disaster, especially for a new coach. Aside from 2 pressure-based turnovers in 4 drives against pre-season defenses, even if Foles does well, people are going to say “imagine what the offense would look like with Vick”, if he does poorly the reactions are worse. I actually think the competition has brought the team together as well, if there were doubters in the locker room at least you had an objective (and transparent) decision making process.

      I take all of that rejuvenation worth a grain of salt as well. I agree with some of what you are saying above, but this year we have a coach that will cater the offense to Vick’s strengths, while doing things to take the pressure off of his weaknesses. Chip in his press conference said that now that they have a QB they can add plays based on Vick’s strengths and the types of plays that the players feel comfortable running, and take some plays out that aren’t catered to the skill sets of the starters. That’s pretty much the opposite of what Andy’s done the last couple of years. I agree Vick needs to work on sliding, ball protection, and working within the system and not trying to make plays. But notice that after Vick makes a mistake in a game, Kelly does stuff in practice to fix it. Kelly taught Vick how to hold the ball and they work on ball security drills, they worked on hail marry’s in the open practice after the Carolina game, and i’m sure he’s doing sliding drills. When something goes wrong in a game, they practice that situation is practice. I think that’s pretty amazing.

      I like Vick, i like Foles, but i’m excited to see the team try and win some games and a lot more All-22 analysis from Sheil and Tim.

      • Dutch

        I thought Chip Kelly saying he will prepare the game plan around what the QB and receivers believe they are most comfortable with and drill on those things which they may not be was the most profound concept in game planning I had ever heard a coach say.

        There is good news and bad news. The Eagles offense gives the Eagles an advantage by spreading out a defense and exploiting the numbers advantage in some portion of the formation.

        The bad news is that opposing defenses have the blessing of the commissioners office to hit option QBs and hit them hard without fear of penalty or the noted protections attributed to pocket passers. Whomever is under center playing for the Eagles is going to have to practice getting down quickly. The offensive line is going to have to maintain their blocks through the whistle.

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

          “I thought Chip Kelly saying he will prepare the game plan around what the QB and receivers believe they are most comfortable with and drill on those things which they may not be was the most profound concept in game planning I had ever heard a coach say.

          EXACTLY my sentiments that I posted on another blog. I was all “Wow ain’t that the most revolutionary and simple thing I’ve ever heard come out of a coaches mouth.”

          • hokieduck

            Simplicity is genius and simplicity is the heart of Chip’s offense (it is all about the math).

            Dutch. Not only will the O linemen have to hold their blocks but the WRs are going to have to hold their blocks all the way down the field. That is one of the biggest changes that the team will have to make. Most pro WRs don’t even run their routes if the ball is not coming their way. These dudes are going to have to block… really block.

      • Pennguino

        In the arena they were both given, apples to apples, Vick won the competition. I have no problem with Chip choosing Vick. He earned it. Kelly will game plan for Vick’s abilities and he will work on his deficiencies. Chip may even be able to alter his natural thought process that makes Mike, Mike. I am sure will take the methodology to heart and try to conform with a different way of thinking. But when the bullets start to fly, and instincts take over, how long can Mike suppress his own instincts.

        Mike has admitted to being scared to sliding. He has admitted to not knowing how. I am sure he tries to work on it but it goes against every fiber of his soul to slide. From not sliding and faking hand offs, he will be fair game for the defense to clean his clock.

        The one player the late Jim Johnson had a hard time with is Peyton. JJ could scheme and devise a plan to take away every physically gifted QB. But he could hardly find a way to stop the heady QB’s. I think Foles has a chance to become one of those players. He has the physical talents and he has shown a mature understanding of how to play the game. He needs more time to learn and hone his craft but I can see him have a long successful career. If he gets a shot to play for a few games, it may be hard for Chip to take him out. I am sure Chip will do everything he can for Foles that he said he would do for Mike.

        It’s going to be an exciting season.

  • Anon

    Interesting that there are 500 comments (collectively) on the articles regarding the selection, but the article that says the whole locker room wanted Vick and thinks Kelly made the right choice…no comments.

    Even after all of the turnovers and the poor play of the last two years, the team is genuinely behind him and not holding all that stuff against him. Hopefully us, as fans, can do the same.

    BGN has a bunch of articles on a 9 win season. Anyone think that’s probable?

    • Eagles4Life

      ONE THOUSAND UP VOTES

    • Richard Colton

      because its a dog bites man story. Of course the locker room will publically agree with the coach. Besides, no NFL player is in win-games-in-the-future mode. their careers are win-now dependent, and Vick gives you a better chance to win now.
      wasn’t that obvious?

      • Anon

        We’ll compare to comments form Jets locker room when they announce sanchez…

    • OregonEagle

      9 wins is doable but it’s on the defense. This offense is going to score. 24 pts a game is a reasonable expectation (vs 17 last year). Defense gave up 27 pts and change a game last year. If they can cut that by a field goal, 9 wins is in sight.

  • #7

    Vick had the locker room and it’s good to see that they’re behind him. Foles would be supported also, but the players know way betterthan any of us do who the starter should be. Teams have to prepare for the THREAT of the run and that’s important. No disrespect to Foles, but he’s not going to scare anybody. At least you have to prepare for Vick. Vick makes things better for our best player, McCoy.

    Foles earned my respect and he did not back down. The competition made them both better.

    We’re going to surprise some people

    • Richard Colton

      and by “we” he means Jason Garrett, Tony Romo, and co.

    • hokieduck

      Not that I disagree with you, #7. But Chip’s offense, to use a baseball analogy, is not about hitting the long ball… it is about small ball. Vick’s ability to run, his very athleticism, can work against him if he is not very disciplined. He needs to take the first down and slide. Occasionally, he will get the seam and he can fly, but he is going to have to remember that this offense is all about moving the chains and moving them at a very fast pace. Foles did that simply by virtue of necessity. If MV tries to extend the play, that is when he will get hurt or fumble or throw an interception.

      I like Chip’s pick and how he pushed both guys through competition. It is a blast watching and listening to these players buying in and changing (just like watching the early Chip years at Oregon).

      Go Eagles! WTD!

      • #7

        That’s what Vick did this preseason. He hit the long ball when it was there. Nice post

  • Adam

    None of these guys were too upset last year when Foles took over. And I bet they were thrilled when Vick called them all out after they got spanked by the Giants last year. It’s all peaches and cream when things are going well, but after some turmoil we’ll see if the tone is the same.

    • Token

      I cant believe the franchise is willing to go down this path again.

      Its like, for a second years ago they looked very smart around the league for giving Vick a shot. Now they look ridiculous since then, so they just keep forcing it hoping for a different result.

      Ugh, as a fan all I can do is hope its just for one more year and that the injury comes sooner than later so we can finally move past this era.

      This takes a lot of thrill out of the post-Andy era.

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

        It was a competition. One guy won (handily). Why are you bitching? If he was as bad as you and so many others claim he would have lost and he would be the one holding the clipboard.

      • hokieduck

        Token. This franchise is going down a very, very different path. Period. Why don’t you give the team (and MV) a chance to play a few meaningful downs before throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    “a natural born leader” coming from a HIGH character guy like Mathis…that’s a big deal

  • dislikedisqus

    Agree he win the job but I don’t expect a full season from him. He has only played two quarters and he had his bell rung once by CAR. He takes too many risks when he runs to make it thru a full season. And he holds the ball too long on pass plays for his health. I don’t wish an injury, it just seems probable from watching him many years. Sooner or later, he is going to take a hit that knocks him out. Until then it will be fun to watch.

  • Feet FIrst

    Now Make Him SLIDE…. dive head first and the Def can drill you and knock you out of the game and cause you to fumble…. Please slide!

  • greenblood20

    HE can be so deadly; particularly his to his own team that last two years. Vick needs to learn to play within a system, until he does that his play will continue to be erratic.

  • ridusofreid

    Learn to slide. It’s that f’ing simple

  • MEDIA LIES

    Vick is in a contract year. He needs another payday to stay in the league. He will do everything right for that check.

  • Phils Goodman

    Imagine what a talented QB would have done.

  • #7

    Lol