Philadelphia Eagles: Is Quarterback Michael Vick Really Injury Prone?

Dan AdamsCorrespondent IIIAugust 13, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 09:   Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles warms up before a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field on August 9, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and his injuries are one of the most heavily scrutinized topics in the NFL

Vick has been one of the most exciting players to watch when he's been on his game the past two seasons as the starting quarterback for the Eagles, but his main issue has been staying healthy.

His history of missed games combined with his size—at around 6'0'' he's small for a quarterback—and his dual-threat style of play have led to many fans and experts labeling Vick as injury prone.

But is it fair to Vick to call him injury prone?

Injury prone is a label given to players who are prone to frequent injuries. For the most part those players struggle with ankle, knee, hamstring or foot injuries.

Those players tend to develop chronic issues and are at a much higher risk for re-injury. They miss a lot of time and have trouble stringing consecutive games together. 

Being injury prone can also mean not being able to take hits, a tag often given to small receivers and running backs who are one shot away from being out of commission. 

Although it's true that 2006 was the only NFL season that Vick completed all 16 games, calling him injury prone might be a bit of a stretch.

If you discount Vick's rookie season and the 2009 season, both years where he was not a full-time starter, Vick has played at least 12 games in every season except for one.

That season, 2003, Vick suffered a broken leg in the preseason. A broken leg, while a serious injury, isn't one that typically reoccurs. It's not a common injury and probably doesn't make Vick any more likely to be injured.

Vick also had three seasons of 15 games played for the Falcons in 2002, 2004 and 2005. Vick missed one game in each of those seasons, all due to injury.

But in Vick's defense he was the future and face of the Atlanta Falcons franchise, and as such there's a good chance that he was treated with kid gloves in regards to any injury.

It's possible that Vick could have played through those injuries if given the chance, but that the Falcons didn't want to risk it.

Since Vick has taken over for the Eagles has has been less durable, only appearing in 12 games each season and being limited even in those games, although that's not necessarily due to a lack of durability on Vick's part.

Vick takes a larger volume of hits than most quarterbacks for a variety of reasons. One of them being his tendency to extend plays with his feet coupled with his refusal to slide. That's on him, and it does make him more likely than most QBs to get injured.  

But there's also the typical breakdowns of the offensive line that lead to sacks and quarterback hits.

The Eagles had a good offensive line last season and Vick didn't take many of those hits, but coupling them with his rushing attempts add up to a lot of physical abuse.

The final contributor to Vick's injury problems are the way the referees view him. It's not an excuse, it's a fact that rushing quarterbacks are treated differently than pocket passers.

It's in the rules that once a QB becomes a runner and not a passer he is no longer treated as a protected quarterback. That means he can take bigger and harder hits without the defender needing to fear a flag.

Vick is different from Cam Newton and Tim Tebow, other prominent dual threat quarterbacks, in that he is smaller than them.

He is more a running back when he runs than they are, as they are closer to fullbacks or, at the very least, power backs. 

Vick's style of play and size do contribute to his injuries, but he's also been unlucky. He has now twice in two seasons hit his hand on an offensive lineman's helmet.

His injury against the Redskins when he was diving toward the endzone would have injured almost any skilled position player. He was crunched between two defensive players while he was in midair. 

Michael Vick has had his share of injury problems, but there isn't really any pattern in them. While his style of play may make him more likely to get injured than some QBs, it hasn't been his play style that's gotten him hurt every time. 

Calling Vick injury prone is unfair to him, and there's no reason he won't make it through all 16 games this season.

Unless, of course, he sits a few meaningless ones at the end if the Eagles can lock up the division early.