Opposing defenses are happy to see Michael Vick take off and run

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:

Vick 4

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:

Vick 6

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:

Vick 1

Vick 2

Vick 3

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:

Vick 7

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?

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49 Comments

  1. Bill says:

    Every argument for Vick being a starter for the Eagles next applies equally well (if not moreso) to the Eagles signing Laron Landry and making him the starting SS next year. Since they’ve apparently doubled down on Vick as starter, sign me (reluctantly) up for the “Sign Landry” campaign…

  2. Hope says:

    $7 million is a bargain for Vick as a “bridge” QB?? I will never hire you as my financial advisor. When you say “bridge”, that indicated its a rebuilding year. Paying $7 mil for a older QB that is not for the future and taking away playing time for Foles or another young QB (assuming you guys draft one this year) is just stupid.

    If this is a rebuilding year, start Foles or a rookie QB to see what you really have and use the cap spaces to fill other holes (CB, OL, S…)

    My point is:
    If Vicks is the starter, it will hurts the development of the young QBs
    If he is a backup, he is an expensive $$$$$ backup
    If he is cut, Eagles wasted the signing bonus money.

    Also if he played the whole season as starter, his contract is worth up to $10 mil. Then what will you do next year?

    1. Hope says:

      This comment is for Tracer Bullet. I don’t know why it listed on top after I hit reply to his comment

    2. Tracer Bullet says:

      He only makes $10 million if he wins the Super Bowl, in which case we’d all be thrilled if he was making five times as much.

      1. Joe D says:

        Vick isn’t even a top 15 Qb…Unless we have the 91 Eagles defense how do you suppose we win the SB with such inferior talent at the QB position?

      2. Hope says:

        Vick gets $3.5 mil signing bonus, $3.5 mil salary, $500k roster bonus, $1.5 mil for playing 90% of plays (or $1.2 mil for 80%, $900 for 70%, $700K for 60%, $500K for 50%).

        So if he plays the whole season and finish 4-12 record, he still could get up to $9 mil.

        Only good thing I see is this contract made him more tradable compare to his last contract. Is not like he has a lot of up side and he was never know to be a smart player or good leader.

        The more I look at the Eagles front office in the last 2-3 years, the more they remind me of the Redskins of the 2000′s

  3. Tracer Bullet says:

    Vick is a temporary answer to the question “Is Nick Foles going to be Chip Kelly’s QBOTF?” And for all Vick’s faults, you’re not going to do much better in free agency without spending a LOT more money and he’s not Tavaris Jackson. $7 million is a bargain if it keeps anyone from seriously considering Tavaris Jackson. Or Joe Webb. Or Seneca Wallace.

    1. I think the fundamental disagreement that you and I probably have here is how good we think Michael Vick is. Over the last few days, I’ve been trying to come up with his positives. The only legitimate thing I could think of was that he’s not a quitter. That’s a nice quality, but when it’s the only you have going for you, that’s not good. Unless I’m missing something, in which case, do share.

      I wouldn’t want him for $1 million, much less 7. He’s a useless player. No matter what he does, bad things happen. And now he’s eating up almost 6% of the cap.

      I don’t really care what else is available in free agency. I’d be far more willing to go into the season with Foles as my 1, while letting some crappy vet and a rookie draft pick battle it out for the 2. That’s more palatable to me than allocating 6% of my cap space to a massively flawed player in decline.

      1. Tracer Bullet says:

        Foles can’t run Kelly’s offense, or at least Kelly doesn’t believe he can, and there is no point in hiring Kelly if he’s not installing his offense from day one. It’s not that I think Vick is a good option; it’s that I think the other options (like Tavaris Jackson) are worse. I don’t care if he gets beat up serving as a bridge to the next QB and I don’t care much about the money. They can always find more money if they need more money and will never see most of it anyway.

        If they ship Vick out, they’ll almost certainly sign a deeply-flawed journeyman as a placeholder, so they might as well keep a deeply-flawed journeyman and save on airfare

        1. “Foles can’t run Kelly’s offense, or at least Kelly doesn’t believe he can”

          You’re presenting that like it’s a fact. Is that factual information that I just haven’t seen yet?

          1. Tracer Bullet says:

            Of course it’s supposition, but why else is Vick here? Everything else says they should let him walk. Either Kelly sees something in Vick or he DOESN’T see something in Foles. That, or he really likes spending Jeff Lurie’s money.

            1. Another possibility is that Kelly wants to give Foles competition. As the roster currently stands, without Vick, Foles would have no legitimate competition until late April, at the earliest. Restructuring Vick perhaps gives Foles a little extra offseason motivation. Otherwise, he’d basically be running unopposed.

              1. Fiftyfourd says:

                I don’t disagree with you, but that’s one hell of a paycheck just for motivation…

              2. Jeff says:

                Speaking of back-ups, I would not be surprised to see Thad Lewis make the trip over to the Eagles. I doubt the Browns will keep him on the roster and he already has a working relationship with Shurmur…

        2. deg0ey says:

          “If they ship Vick out, they’ll almost certainly sign a deeply-flawed journeyman as a placeholder, so they might as well keep a deeply-flawed journeyman and save on airfare”

          Why not sign a deeply-flawed journeyman on a vet-minimum salary with a minimal bonus? David Garrard isn’t doing anything right now; wouldn’t complain if he was holding Nick’s clipboard.

      2. Joe D says:

        PREACH KEMPSKI! PREACH!!

  4. Joe D says:

    Ahh!!! So refreshing to see an opinion with so much substance behind it. I won’t have to mention a name or two, but it’s frustrating reading opinions with absolutely NOTHING to back any of the arguments on other sites.

    The funny thing is, this is just ONE piece that mentions how bad of a move it would be to keep Vick on the roster… Getting into the injury factor, the being a 1 read qb factor, the not going to grow taller to see throwing lines in the short and intermediate field factor, the holding onto the ball too long factor, and the list goes…

    If Chip does indeed start Vick at least we will have all but sealed up another top 5 pick

    1. Thanks, and not to worry, Joe. There are more posts coming with specific reasons. I might make this a daily series.

      1. Joe D says:

        Can’t wait… I need this right now. It’s like therapy. If I have to hear how Michael Vick at 33 is going to turn into a stud qb with a “system change, I swear I’m going to shoot a puppy.

        1. PHILLYRICK says:

          Man…I agree with you Jimmy, and with you, Joe D, but…can you please not make this a daily series? It’s kinda bumming me out. I wish Foles would get a shot too. But now that we are probably stuck with Vick for another year of fumbles and injuries (thanks KSK), it’s…just kinda bumming me out, to keep reading all this negativity. You know what I mean?

          That being said – you the man Jimmy this post is just yet another reason why your Eagles commentary is insightful and useful, unlike most of the slop you get from the national media. Keep it coming bro!

          1. Jimmy Kempski says:

            Ha, thanks. Only half-joking on the daily series thing, but there are a large number of angles to look at the situation, with informational value. Definitely not done on the subject, but I’ll try not to bum everyone out.

            1. DerfDiggy says:

              Let me soothe your pain. Romo for a first and 4th?

              1. deg0ey says:

                Would you consider Romo for Vick and a 4th? :p

            2. sadtimes says:

              like Joe D, I actually find it quite therapeutic. I want a daily series!

              1. Dave R says:

                Me too!

  5. Fumbles are much more than a function of how often the QB runs, as table implies. How many of the fumbles came on strip-sacks? How likely is Vick to fumble when he is being sacked compared to when he is running? If he is like other QBs, the former is much higher.

    1. “How many of the fumbles came on strip-sacks?”

      Second paragraph.

  6. O says:

    He has hand injuries in two consecutive seasons. The past season had the helmet on hand injury in the first game of the preseason, and I remember discussion in the background as to how well it had healed.

    Yes, speed might be a part of it, but a bigger part of holding onto the ball for a quarterback is the hand itself.

    What I’m wondering is if it is the hand, will it ever recover. We all tend to gravitate towards knees and heads when talking about aging, injuries, and decline, but the whole body takes longer to recover — if it ever recovers.

    That’s a part of what happens when you see “sure-handed” receivers accumulate drops. It might be a part of Vick’s issues, too.

  7. Jeff says:

    I’m surprised that no one has brought up his mental state yet. Does he still have the drive to learn a new system? Yes, I’m sure many things will be very similar since Shurmer is OC, but, and I’m no Vick expert, is this the guy you want running no huddle, checking routes and formations, learning to mesh, ride, and read, pretty much all the tenants that Chip brings?

    All QB’s running read option have difficulties even with multiple years under their belt. Look at Kaepernick for example. He reads inverted veer correctly in the Superbowl, He’s running for a touchdown instead of LaMichael James fumbling…

    Just a thought.

    1. sadtimes says:

      well he earns another 3.5 million for starting, so that’ll probably give him the drive

    2. Chris says:

      “All QB’s running read option have difficulties even with multiple years under their belt. Look at Kaepernick for example. He reads inverted veer correctly in the Superbowl, He’s running for a touchdown instead of LaMichael James fumbling…”

      I’m not sure why you decided to include this in your comment- it’s frankly incorrect. Kaep made the correct read on the LMJ fumble, and it doesn’t take a master of the read option offense to analyze that.

  8. sadtimes says:

    So I take it you’re not in favour of the restructuring?

    1. Was I that transparent?

      1. sadtimes says:

        I’m glad you posted- I thought you offed yourself when the news broke! Also glad you posted this as I got into an internet fight with someone on the EMB who flat out denied that vick was run down by any d-lineman last year- I knew he was run down by Kroy but didn’t have evidence.
        I’m absolutely gutted about keeping vick. It’s destroyed any enthusiasm for next season

        1. Dave R says:

          I know it sounds melodramatic that my (well, our) enthusiasm for the 2013 season is completely destroyed in friggin’ February, but I don’t know what else to say. That’s how it feels. It is nauseating.

  9. Dan in Philly says:

    Good to get Chipper a #1 overall pick in 2014…

  10. immynimmy says:

    I’m not saying I disagree with athleticism being one of the reasons for Vick’s turnover issues and overall decline, but I think a big reason for his fumble issues are his small hands…seriously. I remember one of Vick’s biggest drawbacks right when he was about to be drafter were his small hands (8 inches). THat’s super small for a QB.

    1. RogerPodacter says:

      poor vick…

    2. poolboy87 says:

      Pretty sure that’s why he threw the comparison in there about how much more Vick has been fumbling as an Eagle than he did as a Falcon. Or are you saying that his hands have gotten smaller since?

  11. ct17 says:

    We need a poll. Who misses more games, Vick or Terrell Thomas? Maybe throw RG3 in there as well. On the Cowboys side, put up total number of games with league suspensions, Ratliff and Brent may be good for a few.

    1. Vick/RG3 is a great one. That might be a tweet right there.

      1. deg0ey says:

        Do we count games Vick doesn’t play because Foles wins the ‘open competition’ they’re supposedly having in camp as ‘missed games’?

        Because if that’s the case, the only game Vick plays next season is the final game of the season after Foles has tied up the #1 seed.

        And then I woke up.

    2. aoa says:

      Oh come on, you’re missing Miles Austin from the injured list. Heck you can even handicap it on a Miles Austin hamstring injury!

      1. It’s funny you mention him. I was just doing some research on the Cowboys recently, and to my surprise, Miles has only missed 10 games in the last 6 years. He’s always gimpy and sometimes ineffective as a result, but he usually at least gets out on the field.

        1. Brian says:

          Isn’t that kind of a bad thing though? If you’re not effective, get the f off the field.

          If you play through an injury and are worse than your backup, you’re costing the team.

          1. But that’s on the coach, not the player

        2. aoa says:

          Ahhh I never really researched it, I guess it just felt like perception. But does this count the games he starts and then leaves in the 2nd quarter? I feel like he has a few of those on his resume

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