News came down Monday afternoon that Michael Vick had restructured his deal with the Eagles. Here are three instant thoughts:
1. This feels like a “band-aid” move to me. In other words, don’t read this as Chip Kelly pegging Vick as his quarterback of the future, the guy who is going to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl. Instead, it seems that Kelly wants to implement his scheme right away, and Vick may be the guy who’s running it in 2013.
This does not preclude the Eagles from giving serious thought to drafting a quarterback in April. And it doesn’t sound like it guarantees that Vick is the Week 1 starter, although he appears to be the favorite at this point.
As for the other quarterback on the roster, maybe he gets a shot to compete too. But it certainly seems possible that Nick Foles could be had in a trade. Kelly has talked a lot about scheming around personnel, but the Vick move (and rumors of a potential Dennis Dixon signing) would indicate that he’s looking for at least some level of mobility out of his quarterback. Perhaps Foles can get you a mid-round or conditional pick in April?
2. At the age of 33, it seems Vick is going to have to learn a new system once again. And he’s going to have to make serious changes. This is what Kelly once said about the quarterback position during a coach’s clinic in 2011:
In our attitude, every sack is the quarterback’s fault. It is not a sack if the quarterback throws the ball away. Nobody ever lost a game 0n an incomplete pass. Throw the ball away and give us another opportunity to make a first down. If you throw it away, it is second – and- ten for the first down. If you take the sack, it is second-and-16 for the down. If you can stay away from negative yardage plays, you will be successful.
Anyone who has watched Vick over the past three years knows that’s not how he operates. He consistently tries to make a play. In his last 23 starts, Vick has 24 interceptions and 21 fumbles. Have they all been his fault? Of course not. But he’s absolutely been careless with the football. If you want to blame the offensive line for 2012, that’s fine. But remember, Howard Mudd’s group was really good the year before, and Vick still had 14 interceptions and 10 fumbles.
3. One more note from Kelly on quarterbacks:
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.
According to Pro Football Focus, on average, Vick took 3.07 seconds to get rid of the ball last season, second-most in the NFL, behind Russell Wilson. Of course, part of that had to do with the Eagles’ passing game (downfield routes, etc.), but he has a lot of work to do, based on Kelly’s above statement.
The injury history has been well-documented. Vick suffered a concussion in the Eagles’ ninth game last season. It should be pointed out that most of his injuries have taken place while Vick was in the pocket, but running the read option will likely lead to even more hits, especially considering that he often refuses to slide.
Those are some instant thoughts. Much more coming later today after we hear from Kelly.