NFL Predictions Week 5: Will Michael Vick Break Cunningham's Rushing Record?

Tom LoughreyAnalyst IIIOctober 8, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 02: Quarterback  Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field on October 2, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The 49ers defeated the Eagles 24-23. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Michael Vick has revolutionized the game of football, coaxing a more athletic brand of quarterbacks to surface among the college and NFL ranks. However, Vick is not the first of his kind.

Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young and Randall Cunningham all come to mind when thinking of the best running quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen. Right now Vick sits ahead of Tarkenton and Young, and only trails Cunningham by 70 yards going into Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills for most rushing yards all time for a quarterback.

Yes, all of the aforementioned quarterbacks could scramble, but none have done it more often and effectively as Vick. Everyone Vick is surrounded by on the list played around 15 seasons of football; Vick has gotten to 4,858 rushing yards in just 102 games.

In a span of nine NFL seasons, Vick was only healthy for almost all of five seasons. Two of his campaigns were ended by injury, and we’re only a quarter of the way into this season. Vick's style of play is very unique and very dangerous.

He’s already suffered a couple injuries this season, but were no fault of his own. He was in the pocket during both injuries, not scrambling around asking to get hit. Since he joined the Eagles, Vick has transformed his game and my mindset toward running quarterbacks.

For some reason, I’ve always felt that a quarterback’s sole purpose for the team is to pass the ball, and that a running quarterback shouldn’t be part of the game. If a quarterback was forced out of the pocket by pressure it seemed OK, but multiple plays drawn up (not including goal line or 4th-and-1 situations) to send the quarterback on the move didn’t seem right.

As an Eagles fan, watching Donovan McNabb scramble when necessary or in crucial situations was amazing. The way Kevin Kolb ran the offense didn’t feel right, as Philadelphia's system only functions with a QB capable of scrambling.

The Eagles offensive line of the Eagles isn’t built to protect the quarterback for an extended period of time; they’re smaller and more agile for screen plays. So, the only way the Eagles receivers can get away with their long routes is if they have a quarterback that can fend for himself behind the line of scrimmage.

Vick was the perfect fit for the Eagles, and he showed that last season by leading the Eagles to an NFC East title. He used his legs but also developed his game in the pocket, which is a huge testament to how smart of a quarterback he really is.

Now, Vick is on the brink of catching former Philadelphia Eagle Randall Cunningham. They clearly love quarterbacks with wheels in Philadelphia and Vick needs just 71 yards on the ground to pass Cunningham.

Vick and the Eagles are going to overwhelm the Buffalo Bills defense with speed and trickery. Vick , however, will not reach the record yet, as he’ll do most of his work with his arm on Sunday.

Eagles fans will have to wait until Oct. 16, when Vick will pass Cunningham in a tough divisional game against the much-improved Washington Redskins.