Buried beneath the wreckage of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2011 season, is the fact that Michael Vick hasn’t played like a $20 million quarterback should.
It seems to have been forgotten that Vick became a $100 million man last offseason, with roughly $40 million guaranteed. His salary for 2011 is $20 million, and he’ll receive the bulk of his remaining guaranteed money in 2012.
After signing that deal, Vick put himself into some highly esteemed company. To put things in perspective, in 2011 Vick made more than twice as much as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
Between Rodgers, Brees and Brady, they have an average of 40 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions this year. Michael Vick? He comes plodding along with 15 TD passes and 13 INTs.
Quite a discrepancy, is it not? Vick is making over $1 million per touchdown this year! He also hasn’t supplemented his TD passes with rushing touchdowns either. He has just one so far this season as compared to nine last year.
I realize Vick is not the same kind of quarterback as those other three guys and he also missed three games this year. However, he was paid like an elite player and therefore he should be expected to produce like an elite player.
The best way I can describe Vick’s overall play this season is “meh, he was okay.” Some of his interceptions were not his fault and his receivers dropped a few passes that would have been scores.
However, his magic that embraced Eagles fans in 2010 has been missing in 2011.
Luckily for him, the ire of the fans and media has been largely directed towards Andy Reid. Instead of questioning Vick’s play on the field, everyone saw Reid as the ultimate root of the problems that ail the team.
The fact is, Vick has been mediocre this season. He’s had a few good games, a few bad games, and a bunch of average ones in between.
Had the Eagles’ defense played better for much of this season, Vick likely would have taken some heat for his play this year. Even with all the anger directed at Reid, I still find it amazing that Vick has been essentially given a pass.
Remember all of his red zone turnovers? It was almost like clockwork through the first half of the season that at least once per game, he would throw a killer interception or fumble the ball and kill a scoring opportunity.
And all of his talk about “playing smarter” hasn’t materialized either. He apparently can’t learn to slide in order to save himself from at least a few crunching hits per game.
If you want to look at his penchant for going head-first and getting every last yard he can get out of a run as “being tough”, I’ll give you that. However, he’s ultimately more valuable on the field than on the sideline nursing an injury.
Learn to slide Mike, it’s not rocket science.
The question heading into 2012 is: Which Michael Vick is the true Vick? The one we saw in 2010 or the one we saw in 2011?
The answer is likely somewhere in between, but given his history as a quarterback, one has to be a little concerned that he really is the player we saw this year, i.e., mediocre.
Is he really good enough to lead this team to a Super Bowl? Let me put it another way…
Do you think Vick is the kind of player who can lead his team at crunch time? Is he the guy you feel good about running a two minute drill at the end of a big game with the team down by six points?
Unfortunately, I don’t see Vick as that kind of quarterback. He’s like Donovan McNabb in the sense that he’s a good player, but would come up small at crunch time.
If I could pick a quarterback to lead my team in a two-minute, do-or-die kind of drive to win the game, there would be at least eight guys I’d pick ahead of Vick. Potentially more if I had a better feel on some of the rookie QBs this year.
Throughout Vick’s career, the only thing that has separated him from the pack has been his immense physical ability. However, if you look solely at his passing numbers, they’re average at best.
The best season of his career was in 2010 when he passed for 3,018 yards, 21 TDs and just six INTs. It is the only season that he ever eclipsed 3,000 yards passing.
He’s poised to pass for roughly 3,200 yards this season, which will again be the best of his career, albeit with a dramatic reduction in total touchdowns.
It would be nice to see what kind of numbers Vick could put up if he played a full 16-game slate. But unfortunately, we may never know given his style of play.
He’s going to turn 32 years-old before next season. The wear-and-tear on his body will take even more of a toll so he needs to truly “play smart” next year. If he does, maybe we will find out what a 16-game season would be like with Vick.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Michael Vick and think he’s the best option we have right now. However, he needs to share some responsibility for the Eagles’ failures this year.
There are bigger problems to worry about, yes, but that doesn’t excuse mediocrity from the team’s most pivotal position. Plain and simple: he needs to play better next season if the Eagles hope to contend for a Super Bowl.
We all thought Vick was Superman last season. This season he turned into Clark Kent.
He better find a phone booth by next September because we need to see Superman again in 2012.