Vick vs. Kolb: Myth and reality

I've done What About Kolb? And I've done Mike Check: Evaluating Vick.

Now, as the Eagles prepare for the Colts and the final nine games of the season, let's take a look at how the two compare in a two-part post. Today, I'll break down pass distribution and third down/red zone production. And later today, or tomorrow, I'll do success by distance, against the blitz and intangibles.

I've heard a lot of statements in recent weeks - Kolb can't throw the deep ball, Vick's benefited from an easy schedule, etc. Which are true, and which are false? The numbers should provide some clarity.

Let's start with the overall numbers:

  Comp. Att. Comp. % Yds. YPA TDs INTs
Vick 59 96 61.5 799 8.32 6 0
Kolb 97 153 63.4 1,035 6.77 6 4

Vick has the edge in pretty much every category. There are two numbers that really stand out. One is yards per attempt. Vick is at 8.32.  Only one starting quarterback in the NFL has a higher number - Philip Rivers at 8.66. Vick has not thrown an interception in 96 attempts. He fumbled once, but the Eagles recovered.

Kolb, on the other hand, is way down the list at 22nd in the league in YPA (6.77). It's worth mentioning that Kolb played the last seven quarters without DeSean Jackson, a guy that can dramatically change that number with two or three big plays per game.

Kolb's also been playing with King Dunlap, not Jason Peters protecting his blind side, and the game-plan has changed as a result. It's been critical for Kolb to get rid of the ball quickly, and the Eagles often relied on screens to LeSean McCoy, which did not require a lot of protection.


Here's a look at how each quarterback has spread the ball around, starting with Vick:

  Rec. Targets Yds. YAC TDs
Jackson 14 23 324 109 2
Maclin 9 16 136 28 4
Celek 9 15 101 36 0
McCoy 12 14 88 91 0
Avant 8 13 79 26 0
Schmitt 4 4 27 20 0
Cooper 1 4 20 9 0
Mills 1 2 14 0 0
Buckley 1 1 10 7 0
Bell 0 1 0 0 0
TOTAL 59 93 799 326 6

And now Kolb:

  Rec. Targets Yds. YAC TDs
Maclin 21 30 322 77 2
McCoy 27 30 206 178 0
Celek 12 25 128 58 2
Avant 16 18 161 47 0
Jackson 5 14 71 15 1
Schmitt 8 9 67 49 0
Hall 3 7 19 6 0
Cooper 3 6 51 4 1
Mills 1 1 5 0 0
Bell 1 1 5 1 0
TOTAL 97 141 1,035 435 6

Vick's favorite target has been Jackson, followed by Maclin, Celek, McCoy and Avant. He's been pretty balanced in terms of spreading the ball around.

Again, keeping in mind that Jackson's been injured, Kolb's favorite target has been Maclin. Look at the McCoy numbers, though - 27 of Kolb's 97 completions (27.8 percent) have been to McCoy, compared to 20.3 percent for Vick. Kolb's most efficient connection has been with Avant. He's completed 16 of 18 targets in Avant's direction.

The other number to look at is YAC. Let's take away the running backs. Wide receivers and tight ends had 208 yards after the catch on 42 receptions from Vick for an average of 4.95.

With Kolb, they had 207 yards after the catch on 61 receptions for a 3.39 average.

Before the season, the idea was that this offense would change with Kolb at the helm and feature short passes that would allow the receivers to run after the catch. But the offense has actually been better in terms of YAC with Vick running the show. And in either case, many of those yards have been on deep balls where receivers are simply running away from defensive backs downfield.

The Jackson YAC number with Kolb is troubling. He only picked up 15 yards after the catch on 14 receptions for a 1.07 average.

With Vick throwing to him, Jackson had 109 yards after the catch on 14 receptions for a healthy 7.79 average.


Here are the numbers on third down:

  Comp. Att. Comp. % Yds. TDs INTs QB rating
Vick 16 26 61.5 272 2 0 122.5
Kolb 23 36 63.9 190 2 0 95.83

Both quarterbacks have been very good here. Combined, they've thrown four touchdowns and no interceptions on third down. Vick's rating is better as he's averaged 10.46 yards per attempt on third down, compared to 5.28 for Kolb.

And the red zone:

  Comp. Att. Comp. % Yds. TDs INTs QB rating
Vick 5 9 55.6 38 2 0 105.5
Kolb 15 20 75.0 87 4 0 122.2

The numbers here, specifically the quarterback rating, are a little misleading.

Let's start with Vick. The Eagles were nearly flawless in the red zone with him running the show. They converted six of seven red-zone opportunities into touchdowns. Three of those were McCoy runs. Two were Vick-to-Maclin scores. And one was a Vick run. The other red-zone opportunity resulted in a field goal.

With Kolb in the game, the Eagles converted four of 12 red-zone chances into touchdowns. Two of those were Celek scores, one was to Maclin, and one was to Cooper. The Birds settled for seven field-goal attempts and had one turnover - the Kolb/McCoy fumble that was the result of a missed block by Mike McGlynn against the Titans.

The argument that the running game is more effective with Vick in the game has some backing here. With Vick, the Eagles had four rushing touchdowns (three by McCoy) in the red zone. With Kolb, they've had zero rushing TDs in 12 trips in the red zone.