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.

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."