Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick had the most impressive season debut of any quarterback in the NFL Week 1. While he didn’t throw for an NFL record-tying seven touchdown passes (see Peyton Manning) or throw for 400-plus yards (see Colin Kaepernick). What Vick did was even more impressive.
This offseason, Vick restructured his contract and is on the books for upwards of $10 million in 2013. But that alone didn’t secure his starting role. With new head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles evaluated Vick, Nick Foles and rookie Matt Barkley to see who could run Kelly’s high-powered offense.
As we saw in Week 1 against the Redskins, there is no question Vick is the right man for the job. Vick finished the day 15-of-25 for 203 yards and two touchdowns while adding 54 rushing yards on nine rushes and a touchdown.
Vick’s impact on the game is huge. As a duel-threat QB, the defense is forced to either play zone or place a QB spy on Vick while in man coverage. With the play of his offensive line, Vick had time to pick apart the zone, and also has the speed and agility to get past a spy. This creates major headaches for defensive coordinators.
What made Vick’s debut so impressive was his knowledge of the offense, and his ability to not only win the starting QB job, but to thrive in the system. Kelly has resurrected Vick’s career and if he can stay healthy, Vick will have a Pro Bowl season.
If you compare Vick’s numbers to other quarterbacks in Week 1, he does not wow you. But the impact he had on the game is the biggest takeaway from his Week 1 performance. It’s hard to imagine another quarterback on the Eagles roster making the plays Vick made. On Monday night, he had the whole football world buzzing.
The most impressive play Vick made against the Redskins was after an RGIII interception. For the first time in the game, Vick got under center, took the snap and hit DeSean Jackson on a 25-yard touchdown. Vick showed his versatility getting under center and delivered a strike for the score.
The Eagles put up 263 yards on the ground and while Vick only had 54 of those, the threat of Vick running opens up running lanes for LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown.
Throughout his career, Vick has been criticized for his inability to read defenses and his poor decision-making leading to ill-advised turnovers. But in the spread/read-option offense, the game has been simplified. The reads Vick has to make are much more straightforward, and as a last resort he can use his speed to scramble out of the pocket.
Many people believe Kelly’s offense is a fad, much like the Wildcat. But with the pieces he has in place like McCoy, Jackson and Vick, their skills are perfectly suited for this high-octane offense.
Vick is the perfect quarterback for the Kelly offense and his performance Week 1 proved that Vick has an incredibly high ceiling this year.