Michael Vick Report Card: Handing Out Grades After Win vs. Rams
Today was a special day for Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. It was the first time that he started the season opener since 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons.
With his new contract in hand, Vick began his quest to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl. The bar has been set very high and he is now the leader of this football team. He has an intense focus right now, so it was time to see if he could start his team in the right direction.
Vick was able to take the Eagles into St. Louis and come out victorious.
He had some big help from a few of his play makers, but for now, we're going to take a closer look at Vick's play in the win against the Rams.
This was a bit hard to judge for a few reasons. To start, there was a number of balls that were dropped. He also saw a lot of pressure early in the game, which had an impact on how he threw the ball.
On the day, Vick completed 14 passes on 32 attempts for 187 yards with two touchdowns. His completion percentage was nowhere near where you would have liked to see it, but it was effective enough to put his team in a position to win.
When looking at Vick's play during the game, I really believe he got stronger as the game went on. On the Eagles' first drive, he missed DeSean Jackson on a first down pass and also had Brent Celek open. He missed an easy throw to Owen Schmitt and also tried to force a ball to Jason Avant on the Eagles' second drive, which could have easily resulted in an interception.
Later in the game, he seemed to tighten up more and did a much better job of putting the ball where it needed to be. He had a great deep ball in the second quarter that Jackson should have hauled in and taken to the house. Two plays later—facing a third and long—he delivered a perfect ball to Jeremy Maclin to keep the drive alive.
His best throw probably came in the third quarter. After driving down the field, Vick rolled out to his left, and just when it seemed he had no receivers to throw to, he threw a floater that Jackson got under for a six-yard touchdown.
Vick has always been known for how effortlessly he can throw the ball down the field, so it's nice to see him make a finesse play like that every once in a while.
With the amount of money that the Eagles have thrown at Vick, it's hard not to hold your breath when he takes off running. He's been injured many times in the past because of his aggressive style of play, and the Eagles definitely don't want to see him on the sideline at all this year.
Against the Rams, Vick ran the ball 10 times, a number much higher than I'd like to see. However, I was impressed about how he went about it. He's still very aggressive when he runs, but it seems like he's making much better decisions about how to end his runs.
On his way to almost 100 yards on the ground, there was plenty of "wow" factor from the gifted quarterback. There were times where he kept himself up by putting his hand down, times where you thought he was going to get sacked—and escaped—and times that you just admired his speed in the open field.
No one wants to see Vick get hurt, but he's so good at running the ball, you simply can't ask him to not do it. I think we got the best of both worlds today. He avoided big hits, ran out of bounds when needed and even stayed in bounds to keep the clock running at the end of the game.
I was very impressed by Vick's running performance today.
Although the transition of the leadership of the Eagles heading into Vick's direction started last year, I think it has come full circle now. This is Vick's team. He plays the position that demands this, and he's now getting paid to be a leader as well.
There were plenty of comments from players last year about Vick and his leadership. They look up to him, especially the younger guys on the offense. I think there is a trust level there, and there's also a lot of excitement because they know how good they can be when they fire on all cylinders.
However, I want to physically see Vick being a leader and I saw that today.
The first offensive series for the Eagles didn't go to well, then they got put in a hole when the defense gave up a big play for a touchdown. That kind of thing can take the wind out of a team, but Vick didn't let that happen.
He rallied his troops and put together a drive to tie the game. After scoring, you could see him on the sidelines going around to everyone on the offense and letting them know they did a good job and they needed to keep doing that same thing.
Another thing that I saw that I liked was at the start of the fourth quarter. The Eagles offense had the ball and before Vick gave the call, the offense all put their hands together and did a cheer for something. Although it's unknown what was said, you have to believe it was Vick saying that it was time to finish the game strong.
For a team with so many young players on it, the Eagles need strong leadership and they should be able to rely on Vick for it all season long.
After a shaky first series, the offense turned things around pretty well. The line still has its questions marks, but I think Vick maximized the success as much as he could with the way they played.
As the game went on, the line got better and we saw Vick step his game up. That was the first time that line played together, so as they get more comfortable and improve, I think we'll see better play out of Vick.
He relied on his legs today because he had to, and it's nice to have that luxury. When Vick needs to make a play with his legs, he can do so with ease and he was very smart about it this week.
When he goes back and looks at the film, I think there are some throws that Vick will see that he'll want back. At the same time, he'll also notice a couple throws where his receivers didn't give him a lot of help.
The Rams are a team who seem to be getting better, but they still have a lot of work to do. They shot themselves in the foot a lot today and also had some injury set backs.
Despite the margin of victory, I think everyone on the team will tell you that there's still work to be done, including Michael Vick.
Overall Grade: B+