Michael Vick: 'I'm not holding the ball too long'

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. (Jack Dempsey/AP)

When asked if he’s holding the ball too long this season, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick offered an emphatic response.

“No. I’m not holding the ball too long,” Vick said. “Don’t try to make that an issue. It’s not.”

Vick has been holding the ball an average of 3.4 seconds, according to the website Pro Football Focus. They rank that the longest in the NFL, and it’s measured as the time it takes to throw the ball, get sacked, or cross the line of scrimmage. He’s 3.06 seconds to throw the ball, which also ranks the highest in the league, according to the website.

When asked about this topic on Tuesday, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur insisted Vick is throwing the ball quick enough. He questioned timing from outside sources, and said the Eagles have their own internal metrics depending on the play, and they’re satisfied with those results.

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“Listen, whoever’s saying I’m holding the ball too long, they don’t know anything about football,” Vick said later. “They need to go watch the film. I’m gonna post some film up for y’all and I’m gonna have a clicker right here. And we’re gonna go through every play so I can break it down, verbatim, play for play for you.”

The number can somewhat misleading because the Eagles run deep routes that need time to develop, and a moblie quarterback is often more willing to hold onto the ball because he can escape. 

This issue was examined in an article in Wednesday's Inquirer about protecting Vick. 

"If he's in the pocket and we're throwing something that's a three-step rhythm, then the ball hits out extremely quick," Shurmur said. "Later in the game, when you're trying to drive the ball down the field and chuck it a little bit because you're behind, there are times when you hold it a little longer. . . . I think it's neat that everybody tracks that. But we look at it a different way."

When Vick was asked last week if the clock in his head is different under coach Chip Kelly than other coaches, he offered a similar answer to the one Shumur gave.

"It depends on the play, the design of the play," Vick said. "Sometimes it's designed to get out fast, sometimes you've got to hold it."