The Philadelphia Eagles have made some stunning moves this off-season. The biggest of which have been on the defensive side of the ball but there have been a few solid offensive additions as well.
Most of the attention has gone strictly to how much the defense will be improved and of course the impact the new players will have on the team’s success. However, perhaps nobody should be more happy than Michael Vick.
There is a reason why Donovan McNabb sounded like a bitter girlfriend who was dumped and then watched as her now ex-boyfriend ascended into stardom.
Vick has every reason to be all smiles this year. The Eagles took a chance on him when not many others would (maybe even nobody) back in 2009. They allowed him to come along slowly and gave him opportunities for redemption.
He took advantage last season and provided Philly fans new excitement they haven’t had in quite some time. Now, the Eagles have just loaded up with top tier free agents and appear to be going “all in” this year.
The Eagles are giving Michael Vick every chance possible to succeed. By doing what they’ve done, it has taken some of the pressure off of Vick because now they’ve crowded the spotlight with other star players.
Here are my top 5 reasons for how this off-season will make Vick’s life that much easier…
5. Ronnie Brown’s presence gives the offense a legitimate red zone/goal line running back. Not that McCoy isn’t, but Brown has a definite size advantage over LeSean and is a proven talent.
This means that Vick should not have to subject himself to a pounding at the goal line by feeling the need to run as much as last season. If you recall, that’s how we lost him for two games.
And who knows, maybe having the combination of Brown and McCoy will convince Reid to actually run the ball more, period. (Yeah right! I couldn’t help but laugh as I just wrote that)
However, in reality we all know that having a legitimate running game takes a lot of pressure off of the QB. I just wish Reid would realize that!
4. The addition of Steve Smith to the WR corps. Smith is not a burner or a big play guy but he is exactly the kind of receiver every QB needs: one that knows how to get open and provide a reliable target for his QB.
Once they build a chemistry together, Vick could easily be looking Smith’s way when the blitz comes. If trust is built between the two and Vick can get the ball out quickly, he will endure less hits.
He will also simply be another target in the passing game so when Vick scrambles to buy time, instead of feeling the need to take off running he might instead find an open Steve Smith.
In essence, Vick has another go-to guy while under duress.
3. The drafting of Danny Watkins and signing of Ryan Harris. These are obvious. The theme I’m building so far is taking the pressure off of Vick by way of other players stepping up. Now I’m talking about taking the pressure off of him in more of a literal sense.
Watkins and Harris were brought in to reinforce a porous right side of the offensive line. They both have been touted to be upgrades at their respective positions although Harris has been recently battling a back injury.
However, if they can do their jobs and give Vick the protection he needs, it will not only keep Vick healthy but it will allow for even more big plays from this dynamic offense.
2. The defense should now minimize the impact of turnovers. They will now have the ability to bail Vick out of a tough spot. Such as, a costly turnover at an inopportune time. Many times a turnover is a momentum changer.
If Vick were to throw an INT deep in his own territory, last season that would have been an automatic TD going the other way.
This year, that should change dramatically.
The Eagles’ new and improved defense should be much more stout and be able to limit the scoring and time of possession for the other team. Knowing there is a fighting chance that a huge turnover by the offense might not be as costly as before should be provide a big relief for Vick.
1. A good defense is a QBs best friend. Having a defense that keeps the other team out of the end zone greatly reduces the pressure on a QB that may otherwise always feel the burden of “putting the team on his back”.
The Eagles have added tremendous talent to their defense. Last season, they had the NFL’s worst red zone defense when they allowed 33 TDs out of 43 possessions inside the 20.
They were also historically bad in that they allowed an overall 97.7% scoring percentage when teams got inside their 20 yard line. In 11 of 16 games last season, the defense allowed 24 or more points as well. Those are unacceptable numbers to say the least.
The late Jim Johnson used to set 17 as the benchmark for maximum points allowed. During his heyday with the Eagles, they often met that goal. But the defense has taken steps backwards the last few years.
Now it’s time for that unit to rise up once again hold up their end of the bargain. Vick can’t do it all and being able to rely on your defense provides the mental comfort a QB needs to be successful.
More than anyone else on the team, Michael Vick must have been ecstatic with Eagles’ off-season additions. He looks and is acting like a confident man these days.
As well he should, he no longer has to bare the weight of an entire franchise like he did in Atlanta.
He should be feeling pretty good this year. I known I’m ready to witness him lead this team to the promised land!