One of the most documented stories of the past calendar year has been Michael Vick’s need to cut back on turnovers. Another was the notion that he needed to regain his 2010 form.
Everyone remembers Michael Vick in 2010. He was dominant and borderline unstoppable. He led the Eagles to the playoffs where they lost in a Wild Card game to the eventual champion Green Bay Packers.
He followed up his incredible 2010 campaign with an abysmal 2011. That’s what happened, right?
Over time people tend to view the past through a much broader lens than they do the present. That’s what has happened with Michael Vick’s 2010 season.
When viewed more closely, 2010 transforms from the stuff of legend to myth.
Before i write any further I should clarify that I am not a Vick hater that hasn’t forgiven him for previous sins. I actually appreciate the guy’s heart, tenacity, courage and desire to win.
It’s just that I don’t think he’s all that great of a quarterback and i don’t see him leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl.
Vick opened 2010 with a seven-game stretch that saw him throw 11 touchdowns, run for five more and turn the ball over just one time. The Eagles were 5-1 in his starts.
Over his final six starts in 2010, Vick threw for another 11 touchdowns and ran for five more. He also threw seven interceptions and fumbled seven times, losing two. The Eagles went 3-3 in those games.
When coupled with 2011, things don’t look so good.
Over 19 games Vick threw 29 touchdown passes against 21 interceptions. When his rushing performance is included he adds six more touchdowns but also 10 more fumbles with four lost.
That brings his totals to 35 touchdowns and 27 turnovers in 19 games. Vick led the Eagles to a 10-9 record in that stretch.
Now to the overall point of this writing: Michael Vick is what he is.
He is an electrifying player that is a ton of fun to watch. He takes risks and chances and when everything works out he takes you on an incomparable thrill ride. When things go wrong, though, they go incredibly wrong. Unfortunately things go wrong too often.
Since Vick’s 2010 slide began he’s started 22 games with a record of 12-10. In those games he’s completed 59.5 percent of his passes and thrown for 5,910 yards, 32 touchdowns and 27 interceptions.
He averages 7.73 yards per attempt, he has a 4.18 touchdown percentage and a 3.53 interception percentage. He’s also been sacked 51 times for minus-320 yards.
With Vick you can never forget what he adds with his legs. He’s carried the ball 150 times for 1,016 yards and a 6.77-yard average. He’s scored seven touchdowns but fumbled 22 times, losing nine.
That brings us to a total of 966 plays that Vick has accounted for. He has produced 6,606 yards, averaged 6.84 yards per play, accounted for 39 touchdowns and 36 turnovers. He turns the ball over on 3.73 percent of his plays.
In total Vick has been intercepted or has fumbled 49 times in 966 plays. That means he throws the ball to the opponent or puts the ball on the ground 5.07 percent of the time.
Since a quarterback can’t actually fumble once a pass has been attempted, I wanted to look even closer. I figured it makes sense to view fumbles on only plays where a fumble could actually occur.
Those would be on rushing attempts and sacks. Vick totaled 201 such plays Vick has netted 696 yards and coughed the ball up 22 times for 10.95 percent. Vick fumbles more than once out of every 10 plays where a fumble is possible.
Obviously some of these numbers are obviously not mainstream statistical markers so for the sake of comparison, here are two of Vick’s contemporaries over a similar period of time.
Since 2010 Tony Romo has started 25 games for the Cowboys and posted an 11-14 record. Not many quarterbacks get hammered by fans and media more than Romo.
Over this period Romo is completing 66.9 percent of his passes for 6,630 yards, 46 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
He’s averaged 7.86 yards per attempt with a 5.46 touchdown percentage and a 2.37 interception percentage. He has been sacked 50 times for 313 yards. Romo also has 39 rushes for 96 yards and a touchdown with seven fumbles and three lost.
|PLAYER||W-L||COMP. %||YDS||TD||TD %||INT||INT %||YPA|
On 932 total plays, Romo has produced 6,413 yards for a 6.88 average per play. He has accounted for 47 touchdowns and 23 turnovers. He’s turned the ball over on 2.47 percent of his plays.
On 89 total rushing attempts and sacks, Romo has lost 217 yards and fumbled seven times for 7.87 percent of the time.
Romo has been intercepted or has fumbled 27 times in 932 plays, equaling 2.90 percent of the time.
Michael Vick doesn’t compare too favorably to the NFL’s whipping boy. How does he fare against the division’s other top QB?
Since the start of 2011, Eli Manning has started 23 games including the 2011 playoffs. The Giants are 15-8 in those starts.
Manning has completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 7,193 yards, 43 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
He has an impressive 8.23 yards per attempt along with a 4.94 touchdown percentage and a 2.30 interception percentage. He’s been sacked 43 times for 306 yards and has rushed 48 times for 38 yards with a touchdown and 10 fumbles and four lost.
|PLAYER||W-L||COMP. %||YDS||TD||TD %||INT||INT %||YPA|
Eli is responsible for 961 plays on which he generated 6,895 yards for a 7.17 average. He has accounted for 44 touchdowns and 24 turnovers with a 2.50 turnover percentage.
On 91 rushing plays and sacks, Manning has lost 268 yards and fumbled 10 times for a 10.99 average. His fumble average is slightly worse than Vick’s although Vick has turned it over more often.
On 961 total plays Manning has been intercepted or has fumbled a total of 30 times. That equates to 3.12 percent of his plays being up for grabs.
After looking over the two other elite level NFC East quarterbacks, Vick clearly hasn’t measured up.
In my estimation it can’t be written off to simply a down 2011 season. This has been a consistently inconsistent performance over the past 22 games.
Over that time he has turned the ball over an average of 1.64 times per game. By comparison, Eli has turned it over 1.04 times per game and Romo just 0.92 times.
While this may seem like an opportune time to pile on, I’ll say that these feelings have been here during all three games, I just haven’t written until now this season.
Also, I wrote something very similar to this after last season ended. You can read it here.
Michael Vick is a good football player and I’d rather have him than all but about six or seven other quarterbacks. He is capable of winning a lot of games this season and maybe even one or two in the playoffs.
That is pretty much the best case scenario though. He just hasn’t shown any capability to play clean football for multiple games in a row.
One last thing in Vick’s defense. He isn’t Tom Brady or Drew Brees. He can be erratic throwing the football and he tries to do too much and makes mistakes.
His head coach, Andy Reid and his offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg should know by now what they have.
They have arguably the best running back in the league. They have a quarterback that is hemorrhaging the football at a clip of 3.0 turnover per game this season.
Isn’t it time to try something that simply has to work better? Vick admirably led this team to two game-winning touchdowns in weeks 1 and 2 but it can’t happen every week.
At some point you have to play to your strengths and Michael Vick having the entire offense on his turnover-prone shoulders isn’t a strength right now.