On Friday, we looked at whether the Philadelphia Eagles should or shouldn't let Michael Vick take off more as a runner this season, concluding that too many green lights would probably be too risky with regard to Vick's short- and long-term health.
If what took place in the team's third preseason game Saturday is any indication, Vick and the coaching staff don't spend a lot of time reading the B/R NFC East blog.
Vick ran the ball seven times on 32 dropbacks (with one fumble also counting as a run) against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He barely played half of the game, and yet he nearly reached his carry average from his peak running years in Atlanta (7.5, 2004-2006).
To get a feel for all six runs and what kind of danger Vick could have encountered, let's look at each one.
Run 1: He picks up just two yards on an option play on 1st-and-10.
Injury risk: Low. It wasn't a dangerous run, and he was taken down safely after a short gain in the hole he was given.
Run 2: He scrambles for five yards on a 3rd-and-18.
Injury risk: Low. He was flushed out of the pocket and had no other choice, but he smartly got out of bounds without taking a hit.
Run 3: He scrambles for 16 yards on 3rd-and-8.
Injury risk: High. This is what makes Vick special, and I think he did the right thing. The problem is he still doesn't know how to freakin' slide. This would have been far less risky had he slid properly after picking up the first down.
Run 4: He scrambles for 12 yards on 1st-and-10.
Injury risk: Low. He had no other choices here either. In his defense, the pass protection was far from crisp against Jacksonville. Vick got his yards and got out of bounds without contact.
Run 5: He scrambles for 10 yards on 2nd-and-5.
Injury risk: Low because he went out of bounds instead of taking a hit after converting the first down.
Run 6: He scrambles for eight yards on 3rd-and-15.
Injury risk: Low because he got out of bounds before contact yet again. Vick also deserves credit for spending at least three seconds in the pocket going through reads before resorting to the run here.
Ultimately, Vick took zero big hits as a result of five scrambles and one semi-designed run. Had he slid properly on his biggest run, it would have been a risk-free day with 50-plus yards rushing. That's gold.
Ideally, the pass protection would be stronger and he wouldn't have to run as often as he did, but he ran smart against the Jags and that's a good sign with the regular-season opener looming in two weeks.
Vick's entire effort Saturday was good, not great, but he excelled in terms of his ability to manage the offense from the pocket and gauge when and how to run.
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