Friday, December 19, 2014

Comparing Vick now to Vick in Atlanta

Michael Vick has spoken at length about how he didn't work as hard as he should have when he was with the Falcons.

Comparing Vick now to Vick in Atlanta

Michael Vick is a different quarterback now than he was in Atlanta. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Michael Vick is a different quarterback now than he was in Atlanta. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Michael Vick has spoken at length about how he didn't work as hard as he should have when he was with the Falcons.

In an NFL Network interview, he told his former coach, Jim Mora, that he didn't pay much attention to the playbook when he was away from the team's facilities.

He's even gone so far as to say he wishes Andy Reid would have been the one who drafted him right out of college. Maybe his career would have turned out differently.

Vick's issues last year have been well-documented. Many have jumped to the conclusion that he's "reverted" back to the player he was with the Falcons. But looking at his numbers, that really has not been the case.

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PASSING EFFICIENCY

A couple simple stats to look at here: completion percentage and yards per attempt.

  Completion Percentage Yards Per Attempt
Falcons (2001-06) 53.8% 6.7
Eagles (2010) 62.6% 8.1
Eagles (2011) 59.8% 7.8

Even last year, Vick's completion percentage was a full six points higher than it was during his Falcons days. And his yards per attempt more closely resembled the 2010 number than the 6.7 number from his time in Atlanta.

Part of that is the offense and the weapons around him. But the other part is that he's clearly a better passer now than he was earlier in his career.

TURNOVERS

This one's a bit trickier. In 2010, Vick was intercepted just once every 62 attempts, an unsustainable rate.

But in 2011, that number moved significantly to once every 30.2 attempts, a mark that was even worse than the one he posted in Atlanta - once every 33.3 attempts.

The point's been made before that not all of Vick's interceptions were his fault, and that's true. By my count, three can be blamed on wide receivers (Jason Avant, DeSean Jackson and Steve Smith). And one was a Hail Mary.

That leaves 10. Three were tipped at the line of scrimmage, and while luck is involved, those are still on Vick. They are not in the bad decision/bad read category, but rather the execution category, meaning finding the right passing lanes.

Overall, though Vick still needs to improve his decision-making. And the luck factor goes both ways. Per Football Outsiders, defenders dropped six potential interceptions against Vick in 2011.

Fumbles, meanwhile, have been an issue for Vick his entire career. He led the league with 16 fumbles back in 2004, and in 2010, while he played well overall, he led the league with 11, according to Pro Football Reference. Last year, he fumbled 10 times.

In 111 career games, Vick has fumbled 76 times. Over the course of a 16-game season, that translates to 10.95 fumbles. He has fumbled at least nine times in each of the six seasons in which he's started at least 11 games.

That's a long way of saying it'd be surprising if Vick suddenly cut down on the fumbles at this point in his career.

VICK THE RUNNER

Vick will turn 32 later this month, but he doesn't appear to have lost a step as a runner. He averaged 7.8 yards per attempt last year, which is higher than his career average of 7.2.

In terms of attempts, Vick averaged 5.8 per game last season, compared to 8.3 in 2010. He averaged 7.1 attempts per game with the Falcons.

Overall, Vick has been a far better passer with the Eagles than he was with the Falcons, even when you take into account the struggles from a year ago. He has plenty to improve on if he wants to lead the Eagles deep into the playoffs, but to say Vick has reverted to being the player he was in Atlanta is inaccurate. Some of those bad habits may still surface, but overall, Vick 2.0 is a better quarterback.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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