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 Post subject: Vick under pressure to elevate play
PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 3:57 am 
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SETH WICKERSHAM WEBLOG - ESPN

A couple of weeks ago on ESPN Radio, Dan Reeves recalled his last meeting with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. Coach Reeves was getting fired. He told Blank something along the lines of: You're setting Michael Vick back a few years by letting me go and making him change offenses.
Vick is now in his sixth year, although it's basically his fifth considering he missed most of the 2003 season. He has never completed more than 56.4 percent of his passes, never had a passer rating above 81.6 and has only two seasons of averaging one touchdown pass per game.

He has accounted for 70 touchdowns in 58 career games, averaging 1.2 touchdowns a game. By comparison, Tom Brady averages 1.57 a game and Peyton Manning averages 1.97. Even Marc Bulger, who's not even close to the same star-power orbital of Vick, averages 1.79 a game.

Some in Atlanta, including columnist Terence Moore, are suggesting that it's a pivotal season for Vick.

Moore, in responding to coach Jim Mora's unequivocal support of offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, wrote three things that "stick" on Vick: (1) Mora's contention that Knapp raised the offense from 29th in '03 to 12th is skewed because Vick missed most of the 2003 season; (2) Vick's 73.1 rating last season ranked 25th leaguewide; 3) there aren't any excuses left for Vick's passing ability.

The most common assumption about Atlanta's offense is that it's the West Coast scheme, where QBs should be hitting 67 percent of their passes and have at least a 2:1 TD-to-INT ratio. The Falcons do not run the West Coast. Denver -- even in the late '90s, when Mike Shanahan was fresh from San Francisco -- does not run the West Coast. The Broncos run a cousin of the West Coast. So Vick shouldn't be compared to guys like Steve Young and Brett Favre, who not only ran pure versions of that offense but also did it under coaches who, at this point, are more renowned than Knapp.

That said, Vick has accuracy problems. This isn't news. His completion percentage went down in '05, from a career-high 56.4 in '04 to 55.3. Among his worst games was against Chicago last year, when in the cold he put on a terrible display, completing 13 of 32 passes for 122 yards.

It's up to Knapp to find a way to get the most he can out of Vick. I think accuracy can be improved upon, but for the most part you're born accurate or you're not. Vick has a level of accuracy that he can build on and has stretches in games when he hits nearly every pass he attempts. But those need to be more the norm and less the exception.


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 12:00 pm 
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Vick has a level of accuracy that he can build on and has stretches in games when he hits nearly every pass he attempts. But those need to be more the norm and less the exception.

Wow, an ESPN writer/analyst that has actually seen Vick play when its not on Monday Night?! Far too many analysts IMO seem to just focus on Vick's play during the big primetime games, because that's the only time they've managed to watch Vick play. So his poor performance vs. the Jets last year is the main basis for their opinion.

But anyway...I agree with this writer that Vick hitting 60% of his passes anytime soon is probably not an option, and that expectation should not be placed on him. He can come close, but I beileve he's a QB that completion % will always hover between 55-58. He's just not a supremely accurate QB as the writer states. Also Vick is not going to put up huge TD totals because we are a running team. In a good year, we may see Vick run and throw for 30 TDs, but most likely it's going to hover between 20-25 which is less than the other QB averages he posted.

Vick is never going to be a numbers guy from a fantasy standpoint. IMO, the ceiling for Vick's production is probably about 3100 yards, 20 TDs, and a rating of 90. So those numbers aren't going to be lighting fantasy owner's worlds on fire, which I think contributes significantly to the "hating" that Vick gets from fans outside Atlanta (Falcon fans have more substantial reasons for hating Vick)
:wink:

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