Michael Vick looked very shaky in his second preseason game against a stout defensive team in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Vick needs to make some major improvements in the passing game to take the Eagles further in 2011.
Vick’s performance against their cross-state rival Steelers was embarrassing.
In a game which the Eagles could showcase their multitude of offseason acquisitions and their new schemes on defense, Vick stole the show as being horribly deficient as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
Vick’s stats were deplorable. He completed 5-of-12 passes for a paltry 47 yards and had three interceptions. His quarterback rating was 13.5 percent.
The interceptions were not only off-target passes, but they were telegraphed.
He didn’t read the defense when Steelers’ safety Ryan Clark anticipated the pass and easily snatched it out of the air for the Vick’s first interception.
The Steelers’ reserve cornerback, Keenan Lewis caught a gift from Vick when he skied the ball over Riley Cooper’s head.
Then a tipped ball off a Steelers defender on a pass that should have just been thrown away, instead of risking injury with the pressure, landed in Troy Polamalu’s lap for an easy interception.
Foolishly, Vick, out of frustration was the one to make the tackle on Polamalu. This dangerous move could have ended up as a significant loss for the Eagles if Vick had been injured.
An injury early on in the season would have meant that Vince Young, the troubled former starting quarterback from the Tennessee Titans would start at quarterback.
The Eagles do not want that.
Playing against second- and third-stringers, Young was pretty mediocre. He passed for 34 yards, completing 5-of-8 passes and also had an interception.
Mike Kafka looked like the Eagles best quarterback last night as he completed 14-of-19 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Yes, it was against the fourth-string defense for the Steelers.
But, you may say, “It’s only preseason, who cares?”
That’s right. This game matters little in the grand scheme of things. However, one thing the game did highlight was the Eagles numerous holes that didn’t seem to be patched up in free agency this offseason.
The NFL is not like the NBA. You can’t hire three or four key players and expect your team to immediately be Super Bowl contenders. An NFL team is made up of more than 20-plus starters, compared to the NBA’s five.
The Eagles so-called “Dream Team” needs a ton of work to live up to their billing.
Vick passed for a modest 175 yards and a touchdown, but what really excited the Eagles’ faithful was his run ability. He ran for 103 yards in the game, almost 70 yards more than LeSean McCoy, the starting tailback.
The Eagles lost that game when they got behind early and didn’t have enough to overcome the future Super Bowl champions.
Vick needs to play from a lead in order to really thrive, as was evidenced Thursday night, when he became more erratic and desperate as the game started to get away from him.
One of the biggest trades of the offseason involved former Eagles quarterback, Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals.
Kolb is a more traditional quarterback compared to Vick, whom many believed during last year’s offseason would be a successful quarterback in the Eagles’ system for years to come.
However, last year after a few injuries, when Vick took the job away from Kolb, he wanted to go somewhere else to be a starting quarterback.
The Eagles received a premium price for their talented, but largely inexperienced quarterback, believing that they had in Kafka a valuable backup and they also added Vince Young, an up-and-down starter for the past couple of years.
Vick is one of the most unpredictable quarterbacks in the NFL and is a high risk for injury. The Eagles no longer have a backup they can go to with a great amount of confidence if and when Vick goes down again.
Also, if Vick struggles in games and it becomes evident that the team needs to go another direction, their options are slim pickings. At this point, Kafka looks much more viable compared to Young.
The Eagles run a high stakes risk versus reward game trading away Kolb and rolling the dice on Vick.
This season the Eagles are betting their season on Vick’s health and consistency.