Oct 9, 2012, 12:20 PM EST
At this point we’ve already heard about one million reasons why Michael Vick can’t hang on to a football this season. Some believe it’s because he’s trying too hard to be a pocket passer, others claim he’s being asked or forced to run too frequently, and a whole bunch of nonsense in between.
Heck, if we were to take his comments at face value, supposedly the quarterback doesn’t even realize it’s a problem at all.
Both Geoff Mosher and Les Bowen seem to interpret Vick’s responses in the press conference that immediately followed Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh as the quarterback leaving ball security up to divine intervention. More likely, Vick was just tired, exhausted, and exasperated — not just from battling the Steelers to a last-second loss after 60 minutes, either. Reporters have been beating him up over giveaways for weeks.
Thankfully, former All-Pro Eagles running back Brian Westbrook brought some pure, fundamental football analysis to the table on Monday’s edition of Daily News Live. Seeing as he touched the ball nearly 1,900 times over a nine-year NFL career, you might want to hear him out on this one.
In the video at the top, somebody raised an excellent point about Vick’s flak jacket possibly being a factor in the increasing number of fumbles, and B-West all but confirmed the added layer of rib protection would affect the way a player carries the rock. In summary, the extra padding might be causing Vick to tuck the ball further away from his body, leaving more of the pigskin exposed to defenders.
When it was pointed out that Vick leads the league in fumbles, Westbrook went on to add that naturally a mobile quarterback is going to have a higher fumble rate, which is also completely accurate. The top eight fumblers in the NFL right now are all quarterbacks due to that position handling the ball the most, and two of the three players who are tied for second behind Vick with five loose balls are Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III. No coincidence there.
It’s true number seven is the league’s active career leader in fumbles, and with eight already this season (six lost), he’s currently on pace to best a single-season record 23 set by “all-time greats” Kerry Collins and Daunte Culpepper. In this particular case, that’s not company you want to keep.
It’s not some great mystery what’s happening here though, which is probably why neither Vick or Andy Reid don’t have much more to say about the issue. There will always be some fumbling with Vick, and everybody would freak out if he ditched the Kevlar vest, so suddenly he has to learn how to carry the ball closer to his body while wearing one.
That’s not to excuse all of his fumbles either, or to argue that every one can be blamed on the vest. Regardless of what’s causing these turnovers, it’s up to Vick to fix, and I sincerely doubt he’s simply going to leave ball security in the hands of a higher power.
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