As Michael Vick prepares for what is quite possibly his final
game in an Eagles uniform, this week has been a sort of time of reflection. How
did the quarterback’s play decline so rapidly after being named Comeback Player
of the Year in 2010?
We all know an offensive line that was decimated by injuries
shares a huge part of the blame for the travesty that was this season. However,
Vick insists that changing the protection schemes has also been partly responsible for
his less-than-stellar play the past two seasons.
The Inquirer’s Zach Berman asked Vick on Thursday if
promoting Juan Castillo from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator and
replacing him with Howard Mudd had anything to do with his own struggles.
Vick explained that he needed to
learn protection schemes all over again, which was difficult to do coming off
the lockout that wiped out the 2011 offseason program. When players returned,
the Eagles introduced Mudd's unique style - one that produced considerable
success during his decorated career - while trying to figure out which players
fit and which didn't.
"We all kind of gradually
worked our way into it until we got comfortable," Vick said. "I had
to learn new protection schemes, verbiage. And we shuffled around a lot of
players. So everybody had to start all over."
That’s probably fair to an extent. The Eagles tried to do
way too much in a lockout-shortened offseason, and the dramatic overhaul of
personnel and scheme on the offensive line took awhile to jell. To say it was
not ideal might be an understatement.
Of course, that doesn’t really explain all the turnovers –
32 in 22 games over the past two years. Furthermore, it’s an ugly trend that
started toward the end of 2010, not just since the moves were made up front.
There are a lot of reasons things haven’t been working the
way they should around here, and perhaps Vick is right, he would be more
comfortable standing behind a different blocking scheme. Then again, as was the
case when he was in Atlanta, plenty of the problems still begin and end with Vick’s erratic
style of play.
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