A popular discussion topic of late is the number of hits Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is taking. There are debates about referees treating him differently than other quarterbacks around the league, and the Eagles have submitted some documentation to bring it to the attention of the NFL.
Regardless of whether the hits Vick keeps taking are legal, one thing is apparent: he’s taking too many hits.
There are a few things that add up to Vick being knocked all around the field. To start, you have to look at his style of play: Vick is a pure competitor, and he has a lot of abilities. When he takes off running, he always tries to inch out every extra yard. He never slides, and has openly admitted that he pretty much doesn’t know how.
This style of play has caused Vick to miss time this season. It’s been brought to his attention that if he doesn’t change his style of play, he may end up on the sideline again. However, for such an explosive player, the extra effort he gives can often be rewarded with a big play. There is a lot of risk and reward.
Although I appreciate the effort that Vick gives on the field, I’d still like to see him use more caution. Recently, we’ve seen some instances where Vick takes a hard hit a long the sideline. Most of the time, these are plays where Vick knows he won’t be able to run any further and shuts it down. What Vick doesn’t do is completely take himself out of the play, but tiptoes along the sideline allowing defenders to put these borderline hits on him.
Vick needs to do a better job of clearly putting himself out of bounds so that if he does end up being hit, it will be a 15 yard penalty.
When Vick finds himself running in the middle of the field, it’s a lot harder for him to avoid being hit. This isn’t only because he doesn’t have an out of bounds area to save him; Vick believes that every time he runs the ball he has a chance to score. Quite frankly, he does.
However, there are times when it becomes quite clear the run is going to end. In these situations, I’d like to see Vick do a better job of protecting his body and going down on his own to avoid being hit. It’s a tough thing for him to do because his natural instinct is to keep going, but we’ve seen first hand that a player’s season can end on a single play.
Another reason I’d like to see Vick be more cautious when he runs is because of the inconsistent play of the offensive line. They’ve been good at times, but also bad at times. Vick has seen a lot of pressure recently, and there’s only so much he can do with his legs. Being hit as a quarterback is inevitable.
In the end, I don’t want to see Vick get hurt doing more then he really has to. Kevin Kolb is a good quarterback, but Vick is playing on a whole different level right now. Vick is the guy who needs to lead the Eagles to the playoffs, but he must make sure he takes care of himself.