Nov 14, 2012, 2:12 PM EST
I’m not typically one for defending Mike Vick. With the Nick Foles era appearing set to begin, it’s unclear that Mike is the Eagles’ concern for much, if any longer.
But we just sat through nine weeks of 3-6 football led by No. 7, so we might as well do some number crunching.
In short, Vick shares plenty of the blame for why he’s under near-constant duress and frequently on the ground. Of course, it’s not all his fault either.
It’s one part the guys up front, one part Andy and Marty and one part Vick. I like to think of it as the perfect storm of how to kill a quarterback:
The guys up front
It’s without Jason Peters. It’s without Jason Kelce. It’s without Todd Herremans. It’s even without Danny Watkins. And it’s with guys who are out of position and, in certain cases, in over their heads.
According to ProFootballFocus, who specializes in assigning blame to specific parties, the offensive line has allowed 125 total pressures this season, second in the NFL to the Cardinals’ 162. The unit has also allowed the most total hits (42), eighth-most hurries (71), and is the seventh-least effective in pass-blocking efficiency.
Funny thing, PFF only credits the line for ceding 12 sacks and 42 hits when Vick’s been sacked 27 times and hit a whole lot more.
So as bad as the Eagles’ line has been, there’s clearly more to it.
Andy and Marty
Knowing how just patched together their line is, and how its been credited for ceding the most total hits in the league, Reid and Mornhinweg are still doing what they’ve always done.
The Eagles’ line has dropped back to pass block 412 times, the second-most in the league.
They take a bad offensive line and make it work in pass protection on more occasions than 30 other lines in the league.
Granted, the Eagles are 3-6, and it’s not like you’re looking to run the ball and the clock when you’re already trailing, but there’s a long-standing body of work that exists for Andy and Marty when it comes to the run-pass ratio.
Finally, Vick does almost nothing to help himself. In fact, he really only succeeds in exacerbating the other issues.
Regardless of who specifically is at fault, whether it’s the line or tight end or running back who failed to pick up a block, Vick has dropped back under pressure a league-high 162 times and thrown the most pass attempts while under pressure (118). He then has the worst third-worst completion percentage while being pressured (40.7).
Alright, so aside from not being very accurate when rushed, how much of this does Vick bring on himself?
Vick takes an average of 3.1 seconds per play to throw the ball; that’s the second-slowest time in the league. He gets sacked in an average of 4.02 seconds; that’s also the second slowest time in the league. Using Kevin Kolb — who’s second to Vick in percentage of dropbacks under pressure — for reference, he gets rid of the ball in 2.84 seconds (fastest in the league) and gets sacked in 2.28 seconds (fastest in the league). Bear in mind, he’s also been sacked the third-most in the NFL, so that extra time isn’t necessarily making it any harder for guys to hit him.
Some of this we can attribute to Vick holding the ball, some of this we can attribute to him actually extending plays and some of this we can attribute to the play calling we mentioned, setting him up for deep drops rather than quick outs.
So, why is Mike Vick getting hit/sacked/brutalized with such regularity? It’s things you already thought but now can now confirm thanks to the horrifying bits of data above:
1) The patchwork offensive line that can’t stop anybody doesn’t stop anybody.
2) The head coach and offensive coordinator are dropping him back the second-most times in the league behind the second-least effective line.
3) The quarterback doesn’t recognize pressures at the line, doesn’t audible so as to save himself from Parts 1 and 2, and, as we just evidenced, throws poorly under pressure and holds the ball too long.
Only one of those three parts is potentially subject to change by way of direct substitution when the Eagles put Nick Foles under center.
Will he be in any better position to succeed? Two-thirds of that equation is up to Andy, Marty and the line.
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