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.

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

There's another Embiid WWE 2K17 entrance and it includes Hinkie

He’s done it again.
 
Eleven days ago, Sixers social media went wild over a video that showed Joel Embiid walking out to the ring as a WWE character in WWE 2K17. Well, YouTube user Hillman811 is back with an even better version of the video complete with Sam Hinkie and fans chanting.
 
The first video sparked questions to Embiid about his favorite WWE wrestler, and he even did his own Triple H introduction at the Wells Fargo Center after The Game threw him an All-Star vote (see story).
 
Watch the video below and let your mind run wild with what this would look like if it actually happened.
 

Tommy Joseph focused on earning first base job, taking more walks

Tommy Joseph focused on earning first base job, taking more walks

There was no better story of personal triumph on the Phillies' roster than Tommy Joseph in 2016.

Dumped from the 40-man roster and passed over by 29 other teams on the waiver wire and in the Rule 5 draft in 2015, he reported to minor-league camp with his career on the line last spring.

Two months later, thanks to good health and a molten bat, Joseph's career began to spike upward.

But 4½ months in the big leagues and the promise of a starting job in the majors in 2017 hasn't changed Joseph's outlook or the mindset he will take into spring training camp next month.

He's still going to scrap and claw for everything, just like he did a year ago when he was fighting for his baseball life after a series of concussions put his career in jeopardy.

"I'm preparing the same way I did last winter," Joseph said during an offseason stop at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday.

"The job is not given to me. I still have to win it. I'm not going to walk in and have it. Obviously, it's mine to take and I plan on going in and winning the job."

Joseph, 25, earned a significant slice of the starting first base job last year. But with Ryan Howard, the last piece of the 2008 World Series team, gone, Joseph has a chance to stake an even greater claim to the position in 2017 and establish himself as a serious building block in the Phillies' rebuild.

"Tommy came out of nowhere last year," manager Pete Mackanin said. "There's something to be excited about there. He was off the map and he did enough to warrant a real strong look this year. And hopefully, he can improve and take baby steps toward being a final product."

Joseph pushed himself to the majors and cut into Howard's playing time last season by hitting .347 with six homers, 17 RBIs and a .981 OPS in 27 games at Triple A. He came to the majors in mid-May and hit .257 with 21 homers and 47 RBIs in 107 games. In the fall, Joseph briefly played winter ball in the Dominican Republic, but right wrist tendinitis, now fully healed, cut the stint short.

Joseph's good showing at the plate in 2016 was partly the result of his finding good health. As he recovered from a fifth concussion in the summer of 2015, it was discovered that he had a series of ocular problems. They were addressed through therapy and ... well, it's amazing what a hitter can do when he can see the ball.

This year, Joseph will look to improve in the field. The converted catcher is looking to add quickness around the first base bag and that starts with better footwork. At the urging of bench coach/infield instructor Larry Bowa, Joseph has been jumping rope and doing box drills all winter.

Joseph also wants to improve his approach and mindset at the plate. Though he wants to drive the ball like his size — 235 pounds — and position dictate, he wants to improve his on-base percentage and thus his OPS, on-base plus slugging percentage.

Joseph struck out 75 times and walked just 22 times in 347 plate appearances in 2016 and his on-base percentage was just .308. But over the final month of the season, he made an effort to be more selective at the plate and he recorded a .327 batting average and .406 on-base percentage (while slugging .618) over the final 23 games of the season. He struck out 10 times but walked seven over that span.

"My whole career has been a battle when it comes to walking," Joseph said. "I started to listen and read more what veterans around the league were saying about on-base percentage and OPS. Slugging is important on the corners, but there are times you have to take your walks. It's relevant because the best players in the game have a high OPS."

Joseph needs to improve in this area for a couple of reasons. First, the front office is intent on building a long-term lineup around players who control the strike zone, i.e., those who don't chase bad pitches. And second, the Phils have a legitimate run-producing first base prospect in Rhys Hoskins set to take his game to Triple A in 2017.

Joseph knows all of this and takes nothing for granted.

"The only difference this year will be I'm on the big-league side in spring training, but everything still has to be earned," he said.

The Phillies ranked last in the majors — or "last in the world," as Mackanin said — with just 610 runs scored in 2016. The offseason additions of Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders should help run production. So, too, should expected improvements from Maikel Franco and Joseph, two players who have the chance to be long-term building blocks.

"We've got guys at the big-league level that I choose to think are going to get better," Mackanin said. "Tommy Joseph is a perfect example."