When the Phillies were coming down the stretch drive of their 2010 season, you might remember there was a little concern about Roy Halladay and whether he was wearing down from the long campaign and his new career record for innings pitched.
Big Roy had a few starts in August and September that were a cause for worry, and he himself said it would be nice to get some time off before the postseason. Fortunately for Halladay, the Phillies clinched in time for Charlie Manuel to give him a little rest and, well, you probably remember what Halladay did in his first postseason start. No-hitter. So, he had that going for him.
Here we are heading into the postseason of a different sports season and some of that same sort of conversation is taking place regarding Michael Vick. In his case, it isn’t so much just wearing out, but the toll of being smacked around, which doesn’t affect Halladay except in a figurative sense. And there is also the argument that NFL defenses, having watched a number of different approaches to limiting Vick’s effectiveness, have settled on one that works – lots of blitz pressure and a soft umbrella secondary to stop the big plays.
The numbers that go along with the concerns are worth considering. In his first 212 pass attempts this season, a streak that lasted until midway through the Nov. 28 loss at Chicago, Vick had not thrown an interception and he was atop the NFL’s passer ratings. Since then, he has thrown six interceptions in the space of 160 pass attempts.
It’s true that this might be the law of averages evening out. There were some balls that could have been intercepted earlier in the season that were dropped and so forth. But still the numbers seem to indicate that Vick is under more duress – our eyes indicate the same thing – and that yanking a miracle from his hip pocket is not as easy as it seemed to be earlier on.
Does that mean anything for Sunday against the Packers? Maybe, but maybe Vick will also pull a Roy Halladay and come back from his 10 days of rest to have a career game. He’d certainly opt for a no-hitter as it applies to Clay Matthews, Frank Zombo, Cullen Jenkins, B.J. Raji, et. al.
One report this week that I don’t believe even a little bit is that Andy Reid is on the verge of yanking Vick and replacing him with Kevin Kolb if Vick’s blitz recognition doesn’t improve early against the Packers, or if the game is going badly.
Barring an injury, it is hard for me to imagine a scenario in which Kolb takes over for Vick. It isn’t as if Kolb has been a genius at avoiding sacks when he’s been in the games (16 in 5.5 starts), and I think Reid understands the Eagles have only gotten this far because of Vick’s ability to make something out of nothing.
Beyond that, I think it’s very possible that the assumptions regarding Kolb’s return for a FIFTH SEASON as a backup are dead wrong. The market is out there for quarterbacks and if the Eagles have decided Kolb’s potential is good not great, they will trade him. For a more in-depth look at that issue, read this column from today’s Inquirer.
Aside from Andrew Luck, the QB class in the draft is weak. Ryan Mallett of Arkansas is a first-rounder and then it depends on how you feel Cam Newton of Auburn will be used in the pros. Before the season, Jake Locker of Washington was slotted as a first-rounder, but his stock went straight downhill. Teams that need QB help – and there are a bunch of them – might look at Kolb and see a diamond who hasn’t gotten a chance to shine. What the Eagles see will be apparent by what they do.