In the second preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Philadelphia Eagles as a team overall looked lost and disorganized. The Steelers made easy work of them, cruising easily to a 24-14 win and a 21-0 lead against the starters at halftime as well. Most worrying, however, about the loss is the incredibly poor play of Michael Vick at quarterback.
Vick completed 5-of-12 passes for 47 yards and an alarming three interceptions in just one half of play. Although it was just preseason and there is plenty of time to work out any kinks, the Eagles were so confident that Vick would continue to play well that they traded away their long-term project of the future in Kevin Kolb for a shot to win now with Vick. While Vick does not need to be spectacular in 2011, he cannot play poorly and turn the ball over like he did against Pittsburgh.
This article is evaluating the quarterback play of Vick from the second week of preseason. The categories consist of: accuracy, decision-making, scrambling/elusiveness and calmness in the pocket.
Completing 5-of-12 passes for a completion rate of approximate 41.7 percent, Vick’s accuracy was certainly not great against the Steelers. But a closer look at his passes will show that, while the decisions he made were less than ideal, a lack of accuracy in his passes was also apparent and could have prevented interceptions.
He overthrew Riley Cooper on a 20-30 yard pass, which resulted in an interception by Ryan Clark. He would attempt a pass to Celek, which was broken up by Troy Polamalu, but appeared to be a bit early, as Celek was still running his route.
And his second interception was an attempt to Chad Hall that, while unwise due to there being three Steelers around him, was thrown a bit behind and not to where Hall was running.
Lauded for the light years of improvement Vick had made in accuracy in 2010 and for the impressive precision passes he completed in Week 1 of the preseason against the Ravens, Vick has shown that, while he may have a high completion percentage, he is still not an accurate passer. And he certainly proved that against the Steelers.
The worst aspect perhaps of Vick’s night was his horrid decisionmaking.
Consistently throughout the night, Vick threw into coverage. He tried to force passes into receivers who were blanketed by three defenders.
He tested his accuracy in windows that he is not known for being effective at hitting. All in all, Vick’s decision-making was lacking to say the least and awful to supply a more honest answer.
Anyone who saw the preseason game would know the extent of Vick’s poor performance in this area.
One of the lone bright spots in Vick’s quarterback play that one forgetful night is that Vick has shown that he is clearly still agile, quick and elusive as ever.
On his third interception, Vick dodged a sack, scrambled around and bought time with his legs, evading multiple defenders before he finally aired out the pass, which was picked off by Troy Polamalu.
Still, despite the end result, the point of these preseason games is to evaluate. And anyone who watched would say that Vick’s scramble was impressive.
95 percent of quarterbacks would have been sacked, but Vick bought as much time as he possibly could and extended the play. Lack of athleticism will clearly not be an issue for Vick in 2011.
What may have been one of the biggest attributes that separated Vick from Kevin Kolb when Andy Reid made the decision to appoint Vick as the starter was Vick’s calmness in the pocket.
In each of Kevin Kolb’s starts, whenever there was pressure in the pocket, Kolb appeared to get nervous and jumpy. Vick, on the other hand, seemed poised and would remain in the pocket and not relinquish his excellent throwing form by panicking.
Against the Steelers, that calmness was not prevalent. Despite a few plays when Vick had a great deal of time to throw, he chose instead to force a pass, seeming to distrust his protection and therefore wanting to get rid of the football fast.
This was most notable on his second interception of the night, when he chose to try to force the ball to Chad Hall rather than look for better options, as he had at least four more seconds to throw.
Vick’s performance, despite being a preseason game, was still unacceptable.
He made poor decisions, was not calm in the pocket and did not throw the ball as accurately as he did against the Ravens.
He has two more weeks to get his act together, and his mistakes are all fixable with relative ease. Let us hope that he can get himself up to speed by Week 1, or the “Dream Team” might find itself significantly underachieving.