Through his film study, Ron Jaworski tracks the amount of hits the quarterback takes in a given game. According to Jaws’ count, Vick was knocked to the ground 15 times in the opener and was involved in some sort of contact play an additional eight times. That’s 23 of 77 snaps (30 percent) where the 33-year-old was mixing it up.
“No one can sustain those kind of hits at the quarterback position and stay healthy,” said Jaworski. “It’s too many.”
Chip Kelly, like the coach before him, has stressed that Vick avoid unnecessary punishment. Kelly said that they are happy with how the veteran is handling that in some respects, while other areas need some work. One thing the staff could definitely do without is seeing Vick assume the role of lead blocker on some of the running plays, as he did Monday night.
“I talked to him during the game, after the game, on Tuesday,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “The one thing I admire about Mike — something we’ve all seen — he’s extremely tough, he’s very competitive and when the game is going on, he reacts to things like you want a football player to react.”
A football player, yes. But a quarterback?
“Now, we don’t want him lead blocking on sweeps. And so we told him, ‘Don’t do that,’ so we assume he won’t.”
Jason Peters was jokingly asked how Vick graded out as a blocker. He laughed and gave him a zero.
“I told Mike, ‘Don’t do that again. Let me do it,’” said Peters. “We don’t need him out there blocking. If it’s a key block and it triggers a touchdown, hooray, but we don’t need him out there blocking. We need him out there for all 16 games.”
Vick wasn’t ready to quit the blocking game completely when he addressed reporters on Wednesday, however.
“I try not to do it but just the way we run the read option sometimes the ball gets cut back and I’m standing there, and I’m not going to let my teammate get hit by a guy,” said Vick. “Maybe I’ll just get in the way next time and just try to wall him off.
“I’m a football player at the end of the day. I’m not just a quarterback, I’m a football player and I do whatever it takes to win.”
The problem there, though, is that you need your quarterback in the lineup consistently to have a chance of winning anything significant. As Jaws points out, other positional players can hurt their hand or injure their shoulder and still might be able to go out and perform their job at a high level. Not as easy for a quarterback given the job description.
Vick recognizes the importance of being there for this team for the long haul, even if his actions don’t always reflect it.
“I understand that if I put my body in jeopardy, at risk, then I’m putting this football team at risk and I feel like I’m being selfish to my teammates,” said Vick. “It’s just something that I have to gauge and we’re not going to try and change it at this point. I think I can make it through.”
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