The greatest appeal to Michael Vick’s game has always been that he’s able to make plays with his feet. His rushing numbers over the last 2 years, from the standpoint of yards, and yards per carry, are good:
However, on plays in which it was determined that he was running the ball (meaning that these numbers do not include fumbles on sacks), Vick fumbled a staggering 14 times… on 138 carries. That means that he fumbled every 9.9 times he ran the ball, which is absolutely awful.
To be fair, those fumble numbers include things like bad QB-center and QB-RB exchanges, which contribute some to that total, but he’s fumbling at a far higher rate than he did earlier in his career:
So why is he fumbling so much more now than he did when he was younger? If you look at old highlight reels of Vick running the football, you can see that he was just as careless with the football then as he is now. Perhaps even more so:
Unfortunately, the Michael Vick we know now is nothing at all like “The Ghost of Michael Vick Past.” In Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons, 255 lb DE Kroy Biermann fought off three blocks (first Brent Celek, then Stanley Havili, and finally a shove by Todd Herremans), before he had a shot to chase down Vick. Here’s Biermann chasing down Vick from behind:
Biermann ran a 4.75 40 time at the 2008 Combine.
On the replay, FOX’s cameras showed Michael Vick’s eyes on that run. He was not scanning the field looking for a receiver to throw to, which would have slowed him up some. He had his eyes fixed on one spot, which I’m guessing was probably on getting around the corner past DT Corey Peters (#91 above). By the time Biermann dives for Vick’s ankles, Vick is sprinting and has no intention to throw:
The above example is one of many in terms of evidence to Vick’s deteriorating physical skills. The Ghost of Michael Vick Past would have never been run down by Kroy Biermann. Michael Vick circa 2012 was. This is just a theory, but I think Vick’s decline in athleticism is the biggest contributing factor in the higher rate of fumbles. Opposing defenses used to be terrified of Michael Vick in the open field. They were happy just to get him down. That fear of Vick breaking off a 70 yard run no longer exists, and opposing defenses are being more aggressive in trying to knock the ball loose.
If Michael Vick can’t control the fumbling issues, he’s more of a detriment to the offense than he is a weapon, and if indeed he is no longer a weapon as a runner, then what good is he?