Without the advantage of having the "All-22" game film during the preseason, it's difficult to see what Michael Vick was seeing down the field last Saturday in Jacksonville, and whether or not receivers were open.
While that is certainly a major determining factor on how long a QB holds onto the ball, the bottom line is that Michael Vick held onto the ball for an eternity against the Jaguars. In fact, he held onto the ball longer in Jacksonville than he had in any game last season.
During one of Chip Kelly's first interviews after he was hired by the team, he was asked about quarterbacks holding onto the ball to long. Kelly's answer, via Tim McManus of Philly Mag:
“That depends on the system that you run. Some systems don’t ask you to get the ball out quick. Do I think he can get the ball out quick? I think he’s got an unbelievable release. It’s up and out and it’s quick,” said Kelly. “I don’t know what he was asked to do in the past but that’s our job as coaches to put him in a situation where he can get the ball out quickly because we do have some playmakers on the offensive side of the ball who are going to flourish when we get the ball in their hands. That’s on us as coaches — a lot of times that’s not on the quarterbacks.”
Earlier this offseason, I timed every dropback in 2012 from snap to release, snap to sack, or snap to scramble that reached the line of scrimmage. Vick avergaed 3.0 seconds per dropback. Here was the game-by-game breakdown:
Last Saturday in Jacksonville, Michael Vick held onto the ball an average of 3.66 seconds per dropback.
Kelly was asked about Vick holding onto the ball before practice this morning.
"There was just a couple, but I thought there was great coverage," said Kelly. "A couple of those were seven-man protections, so we didn't have everybody out there. There were 3-man routes and Jacksonville wasn't blitzing, but those guys were in great coverage. Part of being a great QB is making great decisions, so if people are covered I'd rather our quarterback hold onto the ball than release the ball."
19 of Vick's 30 dropbacks took at least 3 seconds before he either got the ball out, got sacked, or got to the line of scrimmage on a scramble. I highly doubt the Jaguars' coverage was that good.