Michael Vicks work ethic has become legendary around the NovaCare Complex. The clich about being the first to arrive and last to leave? Its really true with him.
And Vick, who has often said he never worked as hard as he should have with the Falcons, said Wednesday that his work ethic has a dual purpose. To make him the best player he can be and to inspire his teammates.
Vicariously, we all feed off one another because were all working hard, Vick said after OTA practice. The guys see me here every day busting my butt to be the best quarterback I can be in order to fulfill my responsibilities for this team. When everybody starts to see that, I think that everyone does it and the other guys will follow them.
My motto is: work as hard as you can to get the most out of yourself and make yourself proud and your family proud. That is what we preach.
The knock on Vick has always been his accuracy, and he knows that.
Since Vick entered the NFL in 2001, 58 quarterbacks have thrown at least 1,000 passes, and Vick ranks 54th among those 58 at 56.0 percent. Ahead of only Mark Sanchez (55.3 percent), Gus Frerotte (55.2 percent), Rex Grossman (55.2 percent) and Derek Anderson (52.6 percent).
After completing a career-high 62.6 percent of his passes in 2010, Vick dropped down to 59.8 percent last year. A good chunk of that can be attributed to dropped passes, which became an epidemic last season. But Vick knows that for him to take the Eagles where they want to go, he has to be more accurate.
And thats what hes been focusing on during these OTAs.
My ultimate goal each and every year is to improve my accuracy and just creating a general understanding of the offense in and out and know where all my guys are going to be, he said.
I try to figure out the best way to make the game as easy as possible, even though sometimes thats not possible. Im trying to just come in and get better with the blitz and blitz schemes so I can get my guys in the right spots at the right times.
Vick has already made huge strides as a passer. He completed 53.8 percent of his passes in six years with the Falcons, and hes at 60.9 percent since joining the Eagles in 2009. Since he got here, hes actually 17th out of 40 NFL quarterbacks whove thrown 500 or more passes
Its June, theres no pads, no hitting, but Vick certainly looks sharp this spring as he builds up his chemistry with his receivers, tight ends and backs.
Hes looked really good, Brent Celek said. Im impressed by Mike. Mike is the leader of this team, and we all know about his athletic ability and his leadership is outstanding. Im always excited for a new season, but Im especially excited for this one.
Vick, who turns 32 later this month, said the key for him when it comes to accuracy isnt anything mechanical but just making smart decisions.
Thats what he didnt always do last year, when his touchdowns dropped from 21 to 18 and his interceptions skyrocketed from six to 14.
When you change things mechanically, usually it means changing your form, he said. Im too late in my career to start changing my form so Im just focusing in on ball placement and I think its just a mindset to get the ball where he needs to be.
Obviously, you want to have poise during tough situations and during the blitz and still be able to maintain accuracy and the integrity of the pocket. Ive been just trying to do that and Ive been working hard on it. I think that anything you work hard and set your mind up to do, you can do it.
E-mail Reuben Frank at email@example.com