Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Woes: Michael Vick Is Only Half of the Problem

Zack Lessner@@ZLess1995Correspondent IIOctober 7, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30: Defensive end Justin Tuck #91 of the New York Giants hits quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles after throwing a pass at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

It is a miracle that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has not suffered a serious injury through the first four weeks of the NFL season.

No. 7 has seen way too much turf during the early part of his team’s schedule.

While a scrambling quarterback is more likely to receive hits than the average pocket passer, Vick has passed even his own standard of beatings. At this point, the extra hits Vick is taking are caused not just by himself, but also by another factor.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line is directly turning Vick’s strengths into weaknesses and turning his weaknesses into beatings.

While Vick is holding onto the ball for too long at some points, his depleted front five are doing him no help of holding off the pressure.

Proof of the Eagles’ struggle to get the ball off can be shown by the number of times Vick has gotten hit: a league high of 32 times, six more than the next closest quarterback. This statistic directly translates to success of the offense, as the Eagles are third to last in the league scoring only 16.5 points per game.

We can only wonder how explosive the Eagles’ offense could have been if their offensive line could have stayed healthy.

Even before training camp started, the Eagles learned that they would be playing without their All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters for the entire season. Peters had ruptured his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout and needed the entire season to recover from this major injury.

The Eagles quickly signed former Bills tackle Demetress Bell to a five-year deal, only for him to later get beat out for starting left tackle by former seventh-round pick King Dunlap.

However, Dunlap suffered a hamstring injury only during Week 2 against the Ravens, putting Bell back at the starting spot. Bell has underperformed vastly since, easing little pressure off Vick on the left side.

To make matters worse, starting center Jason Kelce suffered a season-ending ACL and MCL tear during the same Week 2 game. Kelce had started every game for the Eagles in the 2011-2012 season but is now replaced by Dallas Reynolds, a 28-year-old seeing his first career NFL action. 

With the line as thin as it stands now, Vick is looking to keep more plays alive with his feet. More often than not, Vick’s ability to open things up is playing to his disadvantage. 

Not only is Vick getting clobbered, he is getting pressured at the worst times. The Eagles have only scored a touchdown 38 percent of the time they have been in the red zone, among the worst in the league.

It is easy to remember the momentum-swinging hit Vick took at the end of the first half Week 3 against the Cardinals. Down 17-0, the Eagles were about to get back into the game on 3rd-and-goal at the Cardinals' one-yard line. Almost immediately after the snap, safety Kerry Rhodes came in unblocked and caused the fumble return touchdown that all but sealed the game for the Cardinals before the second half even began.

Although the Eagles go into Week 5 with a 3-1 record, they could easily be 0-4 after winning their three games by a combined four points.

As thrilling as the wins have been against the Browns, Ravens and Giants, the Eagles' offense has been showing negative trends that are likely continue in the near future.

Unless Michael Vick spends less time on the ground and more time finding receivers in the end zone, the Eagles will not be an elite offensive team.