What about Vick?

This was originally supposed to be a weekly feature on Kevin Kolb called What about Kolb?

But with Kolb sidelined, Week 2 against the Lions was all about Michael Vick's performance.

Vick completed 21 of 34 passes for 284 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Lions.

Sometimes, in the NFL, numbers can be deceiving. So were they on Sunday?

Not really. If anything, Vick's numbers could have been even better. The offensive line struggled, and his teammates dropped five passes by my count. Replacing the drops with catches would have bumped that completion percentage from 62 percent to over 76 percent.

Here's the complete breakdown of Vick's performance:

  Targets Catches Yards YAC Drops
DeSean Jackson 7 4 135 34 0
Jeremy Maclin 6 3 36 5 1
Jason Avant 5 3 33 16 1
Brent Celek 5 3 27 14 1
LeSean McCoy 4 4 8 12 0
Riley Cooper 3 1 20 9 1
Owen Schmitt 2 2 21 17 0
Garrett Mills 1 1 14 0 0
Mike Bell 1 0 0 0 1
TOTALS 34 21 284 107 5

For the second straight week, Jackson was the most thrown-to receiver, and that's really how it should be throughout the season. Note that nine different players were targeted and eight had catches. Bell dropped a pass, or it would have been nine. Of the Eagles' active skill-position players, only two were not thrown to: Hank Baskett and Eldra Buckley. Neither got on the field.

Notice the YAC category: a total of 107 yards, which is over 37 percent of Vick's passing total. The most successful play in terms of YAC was obviously the 45-yard touchdown to Jackson, in which 33 yards came after the catch.


In his post-game press conference, Vick spoke quite a bit about facing the Lions' blitz. By my count, Vick dropped back to pass 43 times and was blitzed 21 times (48.8 percent). Would you believe that Kevin Kolb was blitzed more (53.8 percent) in the first half of the Week 1 game against the Packers? It's true. Vick was blitzed on 45.1 percent of his dropbacks against Green Bay.

Going by the final passing numbers, Vick did not have a lot of success passing against the blitz, completing 7 of 16 passes for 81 yards. But three of the four drops came on blitz plays, so that could have been more like 10 of 16. The touchdown to Maclin came against the blitz. Vick was also sacked four times on blitzes and scrambled once for a 12-yard gain. The most-targeted receiver on blitz passing attempts was Maclin, who Vick looked for four times.

Overall, Vick was pressured 17 times out of 43 dropbacks (39.5 percent). Those were plays where he was either forced to scramble, was sacked or got rid of the ball but absorbed a hit.

Vick stayed in the pocket for 25 of his 34 pass attempts. He was 13-for-25 for 134 yards on those throws.

But maybe the most impressive stat that shows the improvisation he brings to the table is how Vick performed on throws outside the pocket. On those attempts, he was 8-for-9 for 150  yards. Spectacular numbers.

Vick was in the shotgun for 28 of 43 dropbacks (65.1 percent). On those throws, he was 13-for-20 for 182 yards. He was forced to scramble or was sacked on eight of those 43 dropbacks though.

Under center, Vick was 8-for-14 for 102 yards.

Going back to last week, Vick has been in the shotgun for 43 of 74 dropbacks (58.1 percent).


As a team, the Eagles converted six of 14 third-down opportunities. Vick was 4-for-8 for 78 yards on third down. He ran twice on third down and picked up a first on one of those plays. Avant and Bell also had drops on third-down plays.

In the red zone, Vick was 2-for-4 for 5 yards. The one completion was the 9-yard touchdown to Maclin. The other was a 4-yard loss to McCoy. As I wrote after the game, the Eagles have converted five of six red-zone chances into touchdowns with Vick in the game.


Here's a chart of Vick's throws by distance. I used the same ranges that Football Outsiders uses so we'd have a point of reference. Short is 5 yards or less. Mid is 6 to 15 yards. Deep is 16 to 25 yards. And Bomb is more than 25 yards. These are measured from the line of scrimmage to the point where the ball is touched, hits the ground or goes out of bounds.

  Completions Attempts Yards
Short 10 14 63
Mid 9 13 139
Deep 0 3 0
Bomb 2 4 82

The Eagles did a good job of trying to get Jackson the ball down the field. Of his seven targets, two were in the Deep range and three were in the Bomb range. Last week, 62 percent of the Eagles' throws were in the Short range. This week, that number dropped to 41 percent.

Vick had four completions that yielded 20 yards or more and three that yielded 25 yards or more (all to Jackson).


Is it reasonable to make the case that the Eagles should go back to Kolb? Yes. I did so in yesterday's video.

And if you just don't like Vick, that's OK too. I'm not here to tell you who to be a fan of.

But there is no denying that Vick has played well in six quarters of football this year, and there's no denying that he looks capable of being a starter in the NFL. He provides a threat with his legs that is unmatched by any quarterback in the league. And as proven by his numbers on throws outside the pocket, Vick's improvisational skills present a unique challenge for defensive coordinators.

As strictly a pocket passer, Vick is passing the test too. Does he sometimes get happy feet and leave the pocket too early? Yes. But as I stated above, he faced pressure on nearly 40 percent of his throws on Sunday, so that's understandable.

My prediction on how this whole thing is going to play out? Kolb is going to start as long as he's healthy this season. But factor in that defenses are going to attack him and that the Eagles' offensive line is having problems right now, and staying healthy could be difficult for Kolb. In other words, I don't think we've seen the last of Vick as a starter this season.