Michael Vick: 10 Reasons He Is Headed for a Disastrous 2011 Season
To say Michael Vick had a great season in 2010 would be an understatement.
He went from backup quarterback to star in Philadelphia during his redemption tour, putting up huge numbers as he went and leading the Eagles on his back at times to a NFC Title when most around the team thought eight or nine wins would be the limit.
But as good as Vick was, he was also starting to shows signs of wear by the end of the season. And despite everything he accomplished, it's hard not to remember the image of Vick hobbling off the field as he threw the season-ending interception to Green Bay's Tremond Williams to seal the NFC Wild Card win for the Packers.
For what he did during the season, Vick earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and the franchise tag. But here's 10 reasons why he is headed to a disastrous 2011 season.
10. The Lure of a New Contract
Vick signed his franchise tender, locking him up for at least next season (if there is a next season). With the franchise tender, Vick will earn $16 million next season, but he'll be back on the market after the season.
It's no secret that he wants a long-term deal and he hasn't said anything publicly about wanting to be anywhere else other than Philadelphia. But let's look at it this way, isn't there a possibility that the pressure of playing for a long-term contract can weigh on him and perhaps bring his level of play down?
It's unlikely, but considering the history of the Eagles' organization with players in their 30s, it can become a problem. Especially when he'll have to answer the questions about it.
9. Kevin Kolb Waiting in the Wings
Remember it was around this time last year that Kevin Kolb was thought of as the heir apparent to Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia. Of course, no one knew McNabb was going to be traded at the time, but the idea was that Kolb was the quarterback of the future. That was until he got hurt and Vick stepped in and took the job.
Kolb wasn't electrifying like Vick, but he wasn't awful either when he stepped in for an injured Vick. He's made it clear he wants to be a starter, but Andy Reid also said he wants to keep him around. So it's very possible that Kolb could be positioning himself to possibly be a starter.
And if Vick happens to get injured and Kolb catches fire, the Eagles have shown a penchant for going with the hot hand.
8. Injury Concerns
Speaking of injuries, that leads into the next point.
Vick played at a very high level, but by the time the playoffs rolled around, he was absolutely beaten up. He did a commendable job playing through the injuries and trying to play at a high level, but it's extremely difficult for anyone to play at a high level when he or she is injured badly.
It wasn't all on Vick, a lot of it was because of the lack of protection, but he can't continue to take the beating he did last season. He just won't last, and in a league when a devastating injury is always a snap away, that's a big risk to take.
7. No Help from the Offensive Line
I mentioned the offensive line giving Vick a lot of problems last season. A big part of the problem when it came to Vick getting hit was that as the season went on, the holes in the offensive line were more and more pronounced. That led to Vick either getting sacked more, or scrambling more later in the year, which in turn led to more hits.
Like I mentioned previously, Vick can't take the hits he took last year. And a big step towards fixing that starts with the offensive line. If it's just as bad or worse than it was last year, that injury's coming sooner rather than later.
6. Too Reliant on the Big Play
There's no question the Eagles' offense is explosive and extremely dangerous. Vick can be one of the most electrifying players in the game and he has great skill players around him, to say the least.
But it's no secret as the games got tighter at the end of the year and as defenses started to take away the deep threat, the Eagles had problems trying to move the ball up and down the field in pieces. One of the media members in Philadelphia described the Eagles' offense like the Phillies: too dependent on the big play.
If you take away the big play, you can control the Eagles' offense. Unless the Eagles get better at being able to incrementally move the ball, the offense will be feast or famine. And that goes for Vick, too.
5. All Vick, All the Time
Vick can be one of the best players in the game, but especially with his skillset, he's better when he doesn't have to throw the ball too often. In the first six games he played (including Opening Day against Green Bay), Vick had 153 pass attempts, an average of 25.5 attempts per game. In those six games, Vick threw 10 touchdowns and no interceptions.
In the last seven games (including the playoffs), Vick had 255 attempts, an average of 36.4 attempts per game. In those games, Vick threw 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Basically, Vick is better when he has to throw less. That won't be the case as it is right now.
4. No Running Game
Andy Reid has never been one for having a balanced offense, no matter how much the Eagles might say they will or the fans beg them to.
But in this case, they need to.
LeSean McCoy can be a very good running back, but only once last season did he get more than 16 carries in a game. For a player who ran for more than 1,000 yards, that seems like a major underutilization. We've talked about Vick being better when he doesn't have to throw as much. That won't be the case if the Eagles continue to abandon the running game.
3. Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers
Vick was doing a great job early in the season in making the smart plays and protecting the football. But as the season went on, too many times Vick tried to do too much and turned the ball over. It was either because of an interception or a costly fumble.
The interception problem can be cut down by the number of throws and not trying to do too much, but the fumble problem might be bigger because of the way he carries the ball sometimes when he's trying to keep a play alive. It all comes back to Vick getting help, but if he continues to try and do too much by himself, the turnovers will continue.
2. Reverting Back to the Old Vick
There's a time in each mobile quarterback's career where they go from being a runner to a passer, and it inevitably lengthens their career. Steve Young, Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, they were runners earlier in their careers who became passers as their careers went on.
To Vick's credit, he was starting to make that transition early in the season, but he started to revert back as the season went on. He's done some great work to make that transition, but he has to be able to continue to progress. If he continues to slide back to his old form, then the Eagles have a problem.
1. Defenses Starting to Adjust
Vick and the Eagles set the league on fire when they were putting up points left and right. But as the season went on, defenses started to make adjustments. There was safety help deep, there was extra coverage on DeSean Jackson over the top to make sure he can't get behind the secondary. Basically, defenses took away the big play and also contained Vick, making him a sitting duck.
As defenses continue to adapt to the Eagles, Vick and the Eagles will have to adapt themselves. But if the Eagles and Vick continue to do what they have already done, it won't be as explosive as it was last season.