The Perfect Storm: Quantifying Mike Vick's Penchant for Getting Hit

The Perfect Storm: Quantifying Mike Vick's Penchant for Getting Hit

I'm not typically one for defending Mike Vick. With the Nick Foles era appearing set to begin, it's unclear that Mike is the Eagles' concern for much, if any longer.

But we just sat through nine weeks of 3-6 football led by No. 7, so we might as well do some number crunching.

In short, Vick shares plenty of the blame for why he's under near-constant duress and frequently on the ground. Of course, it's not all his fault either.

It's one part the guys up front, one part Andy and Marty and one part Vick. I like to think of it as the perfect storm of how to kill a quarterback:

The guys up front
It's without Jason Peters. It's without Jason Kelce. It's without Todd Herremans. It's even without Danny Watkins. And it's with guys who are  out of position and, in certain cases, in over their heads.

According to ProFootballFocus, who specializes in assigning blame to specific parties, the offensive line has allowed 125 total pressures this season, second in the NFL to the Cardinals' 162. The unit has also allowed the most total hits (42), eighth-most hurries (71), and is the seventh-least effective in pass-blocking efficiency.

Funny thing, PFF only credits the line for ceding 12 sacks and 42 hits when Vick's been sacked 27 times and hit a whole lot more.

So as bad as the Eagles' line has been, there's clearly more to it.

Andy and Marty
Knowing how just patched together their line is, and how its been credited for ceding the most total hits in the league, Reid and Mornhinweg are still doing what they've always done.

The Eagles' line has dropped back to pass block 412 times, the second-most in the league.

They take a bad offensive line and make it work in pass protection on more occasions than 30 other lines in the league.

Granted, the Eagles are 3-6, and it's not like you're looking to run the ball and the clock when you're already trailing, but there's a long-standing body of work that exists for Andy and Marty when it comes to the run-pass ratio.

Vick
Finally, Vick does almost nothing to help himself. In fact, he really only succeeds in exacerbating the other issues.

Regardless of who specifically is at fault, whether it's the line or tight end or running back who failed to pick up a block, Vick has dropped back under pressure a league-high 162 times and thrown the most pass attempts while under pressure (118). He then has the worst third-worst completion percentage while being pressured (40.7).

Alright, so aside from not being very accurate when rushed, how much of this does Vick bring on himself?

Vick takes an average of 3.1 seconds per play to throw the ball; that's the second-slowest time in the league. He gets sacked in an average of 4.02 seconds; that's also the second slowest time in the league. Using Kevin Kolb — who's second to Vick in percentage of dropbacks under pressure — for reference, he gets rid of the ball in 2.84 seconds (fastest in the league) and gets sacked in 2.28 seconds (fastest in the league). Bear in mind, he's also been sacked the third-most in the NFL, so that extra time isn't necessarily making it any harder for guys to hit him.

Some of this we can attribute to Vick holding the ball, some of this we can attribute to him actually extending plays and some of this we can attribute to the play calling we mentioned, setting him up for deep drops rather than quick outs.

Conclusions
So, why is Mike Vick getting hit/sacked/brutalized with such regularity? It's things you already thought but now can now confirm thanks to the horrifying bits of data above:

1) The patchwork offensive line that can't stop anybody doesn't stop anybody.

2) The head coach and offensive coordinator are dropping him back the second-most times in the league behind the second-least effective line.

3) The quarterback doesn't recognize pressures at the line, doesn't audible so as to save himself from Parts 1 and 2, and, as we just evidenced, throws poorly under pressure and holds the ball too long.

Only one of those three parts is potentially subject to change by way of direct substitution when the Eagles put Nick Foles under center.

Will he be in any better position to succeed? Two-thirds of that equation is up to Andy, Marty and the line.

Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

Doug Pederson: For the Eagles, 'this was a good benchmark'

On his way to the locker room following his team's stunning 34-3 victory over the Steelers, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson reacted, well, like you probably did.

Pederson had to be surprised by what had just transpired. After all, this wasn't the Browns or the Bears. This was the Steelers, who entered the game with the second-best odds behind New England, per Bovada, of winning the Super Bowl (the Patriots were first). 

And the Eagles didn't just beat them. They clobbered them.

But minutes later, when Pederson met the media for his postgame press conference, he tried his best to act like it was no big thing.

“I told the team way back in OTAs that it just takes a little bit of belief," Pederson said. "Belief in themselves. Trust the process. Believe in the coaches and the coaches believe in one another. That’s what they did tonight. 

"Am I surprised? A little. But at the same time, I know that locker room, I know those guys and I know what they are building. By no means have we accomplished anything yet. The season is still extremely young. But what they did tonight just proves that they are coming together as a football team.”

Yeah, yeah. Sorry, Doug. It's OK to be surprised. Scratch that. Make that stunned. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year. But now? Forget that. 

At least for the next two weeks. The Eagles are on their bye week and don't play again until Oct. 9 at Detroit. 

“It is still a young season, only three games. This was a good benchmark," Pederson said. "That’s a good football team, the Steelers are a great football team. They are going to be there at the end, they always are. Coach (Mike) Tomlin always has those guys ready to play. 

"But for our guys, it is just a little glimpse of that belief that I have been saying since the spring and summer. If they just do their jobs, I just feel that good things can happen. We just protect each other in that dressing room in there and keep coming to work everyday.”

Pederson is the only head coach in team history to win each of his first three games. It's only the ninth time the Eagles have started 3-0.

And of course, a big reason they've done so is their prodigy quarterback Carson Wentz, who became only the second rookie in team history to record a 300-yard passing game (Nick Foles is the other).

More impressively, Wentz now has attempted 102 straight passes without an interception, the longest streak ever begin an NFL career (per ESPN). Dallas'  Dak Prescott is at 99 after the Cowboys beat up the Bears.

But don't ask Pederson to admit he's amazed by Wentz or the fact he had the presence of mind to make plays like the riveting 73-yard TD pass to Darren Sproles (much more on that here).

“You know, you just put on his college film. Just watch him," Pederson said. "We exhausted his college tape and those were the plays that he made at North Dakota State. That play tonight was just a tremendous play by both he and Darren Sproles. Those are the types of things that we know he can do. He just keeps gaining confidence every single week.”

As does the defense, which kept one of the league's most potent offenses out of the end zone

"They just weren’t going to be denied," Pederson said. "They just weren’t going to bow their necks. They weren’t going to let them in the endzone. It just came down to our will versus theirs and I was just so happy with the way the guys played. Just a great team effort.”   

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

Report: Nerlens Noel upset with Sixers' situation at center

After being in the middle of trade rumors over the last few months, Nerlens Noel appears to frustrated with his situation with the Sixers, according to the Inquirer's Keith Pompey.

The Sixers have three starting-caliber centers — Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, who's now healthy — heading into this season.

"I think it's just silly," Noel told Pompey. "With the departure of [former general manager and president] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to set something done this summer.

"Don't get me wrong. We all get along great on the court and off the court. But at the end of the day, it's like having three starting quarterbacks. It doesn't make any sense.

"And it's just not going to work to anybody's advantage having that on the same team. That's how I'm looking at it. I'm not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated."

The Sixers flirted with having two big men on the court at the same time last season, with Noel and Okafor but with no real success. 

He has a point, and the team knows it.

During the summer, reports swirled saying the Sixers were looking to trade either Noel or Okafor for backcourt help.

Noel, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, doesn't appear to believe the current situation will work.

"I think something needs to happen," he said.