Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How do Vick's hits compare?

News flash: Michael Vick gets hit too often. It’s difficult to measure how much is too much compared to other quarterbacks but the 16 hits he endured Sunday against the Browns can safely be described as too many.

How do Vick's hits compare?

Michael Vick loses the football as he is hit by Ahtyba Rubin. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Michael Vick loses the football as he is hit by Ahtyba Rubin. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

News flash: Michael Vick gets hit too often. It’s difficult to measure how much is too much compared to other quarterbacks but the 16 hits he endured Sunday against the Browns can safely be described as too many.

The NFL keeps a tally of quarterback hits in its official stat sheets, although STATs, Inc., which compiles the numbers, said that the quantifying of “hits” is subjective and depends upon the stat keeper in each stadium across the league.

By the league’s count Vick was hit 11 times behind the line of scrimmage, including two sacks. The numbers don’t include the shots he took when he scrambled. By comparison, his counterparts in the NFC East took a significantly less number of hits in Week 1. Vick did take considerably more snaps (95) on Sunday than usual.

-- Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants – 5 QH.
-- Tony Romo, Cowboys – 2 QH.
-- Robert Griffin III, Redskins – 3 QH.

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There were a host of reasons why Vick took so many blows against the Browns. The blame can be sprinkled around, but Vick has to do a better job of protecting himself. Eagles coach Andy Reid said that he didn't think Vick got hit more than other quarterbacks in the pocket.

"In the pocket, I wouldn’t say he gets hit more than the other quarterbacks," Reid said. "Now, I’m not going around studying [the numbers]; I’m not sitting here with numbers for you on the other quarterbacks. Maybe you’ve got the numbers, but I know quarterbacks are taking hits within the pocket there.” 

The NFL average for QB hits per team through the first 14 games of Week 1 was 4.4. Here are the numbers for some other notable quarterbacks from the around the league:

-- Peyton Manning, Broncos – 3 QH.
-- Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – 9 QH.
-- Tom Brady, Patriots – 4 QH.
-- Drew Brees, Saints – 5 QH.

Here’s a quick look at all 16 hits that Vick took:

1. Vick didn’t get hit on the Eagles’ first possession, which ended when LeSean McCoy fumbled. He did get hit just as he released a pass to Jason Avant on the fifth play of the second drive. Defensive end Juqua Parker got around right tackle Todd Herremans and slapped Vick in the helmet and upper chest area. Vick fell to the ground. There probably should have been a penalty called.

2. A play later, Vick connected with DeSean Jackson for 18 yards. Just after the throw, however, Ahtyba Rubin knocked him to the ground after he blew by running back Bryce Brown.

3. On the next play, Vick ran left on a designed bootleg. He ended up taking a sack when linebacker L.J. Forte pushed him out of the bounds. It wasn’t a big hit, but Vick should have just thrown the ball away before contact was made and he lost a yard.

4. A series later, Vick was blindsided by a blitzing Dimitri Patterson. He completed his throw, in rhythm, to Jeremy Maclin for nine yards, though.

5. Vick was thrown to the ground by Rubin two plays later when the linemen penetrated the Eagles’ interior blocking. Vick’s throw to Jackson was incomplete.

6. The next hit was a perfect example of Vick unnecessarily holding onto the football too long. Browns end Emmanuel Stephens got to Vick's legs, but as he was trying to bring him down the quarterback kept looking for a receiver. Vick’s toughness is admirable. There are times when it is necessary. This was not one of them. As Vick kept looking to throw he was pelted by two more Browns defenders. He ended up throwing the ball away.

7. Two series later, Vick scrambled for 11 yards on first down. He dove and was tackled. Vick should slide in that situation, but he never will. At least he fell to the ground.

8. On the next play, Vick didn’t see cornerback Buster Skrine inch up the line and blitz. He rolled away from Skrine by design but was pushed to the ground just after he missed Brent Celek on the flat.

9. Halfway through the second quarter, Vick was sacked when the pocket collapsed and he spun into the waiting arms of safety T.J. Ward. Celek appeared to be beat inside by Stephens and Herremans was late to help. Ward, meanwhile, was spying Vick and then attacked on a delayed blitz.

10. Just before the half at the start of a drive that netted the Eagles’ first TD, Vick appeared again to have held onto the ball too long when a blitzing Eric Hagg knocked the QB on his back. Vick had McCoy open short over the middle. But he waited too long and when he finally threw to the running back Hagg was in his face.

11. Danny Watkins was called for holding Rubin, but the defensive lineman still beat the guard inside and managed to swipe at Vick’s left hand just as he threw to Maclin. It wasn’t necessarily a “hit,” but Vick has had his hand injured on similar plays.

12. Ward blitzed and Vick threw to the “hot” receiver, but he was still rag-dolled to the ground. The pass to Celek was off target.

13. Hagg blitzed again and Vick was forced to throw the ball away. He was shoved to the ground.

14. As the protection improved in the second half, Vick was more upright. His throws, however, were shaky. It’s fair to wonder if all the hits had started to take their toll. During the game-winning drive, Vick was decked to the grass when Rubin hit him late. Rubin was assessed a roughing the passer personal foul.

15. Vick hooked up with Maclin for 11 yards. Parker, though, motored past Herremans and hit Vick.

16. Vick’s scramble for a first down that ended just shy of the marker in some ways summed up his career. You love him for his effort, but did he really need to keep churning when the Eagles had another down to get a first? Vick ran 9 yards and on second effort appeared ready to reach for a first down. But the ball was knocked loose when he was walloped by two Browns defenders. Somehow, Vick recovered.

About this blog
Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
Zach Berman Inquirer Staff Writer
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