Michael Vick went 14 for 27 passing against the Broncos in Week 4. (USA Today Images)
Michael Vick didn’t throw a touchdown against the Broncos and completed less than 44 percent of his passes against the Chiefs. Both opponents combined to sack him nine times.
There are plenty of reasons for the steep drop in production from the Eagles’ quarterback over the past two games, but Vick insisted Thursday that he’s not taking too long to the pull the trigger.
“No. I’m not holding the ball too long,” he said. “I’m not holding the ball too long all. Don’t try to make that an issue. It’s not.”
Vick was both testy and somewhat playful with reporters at his Thursday press conference in the face of questions about his performance over the past two games and whether offensive pitfalls are related to his timing with receivers.
Responding to a question about perceptions that he’s prone to holding onto the ball, Vick at first dismissed the notion.
“Listen, whoever is saying I’m holding onto the ball too long, they don’t know anything about football,” he said. “They need to go watch the film.”
At first, he seemed annoyed by the question, but his tone changed. He joked about giving reporters a film tutorial, but then suggested that maybe the media is onto something.
“I’m going to pull out some film for y’all and keep a clicker right here and we’re going to go through every play so I could break it down verbatim, play by play for y’all,” he said.
He then paused for a few seconds and added, “But if y’all think I’m holding onto the ball too long, then maybe y’all [are] right. Sometimes we don’t give y’all enough credit either.”
The issue could be less that Vick is holding onto the ball and more that he’s avoiding interceptions and turnovers, which had plagued him over the past two years. Kansas City and Denver each played mostly man coverage and got pressure up front, often forcing Vick out of the pocket and unable to target secondary receivers.
Vick ran eight times for 41 yards against Denver and scrambled for a season-high 99 yards against the Chargers.
“That’s what they’re coached to do, take away the first read,” Vick said. “That’s why it’s called progression, from a quarterback standpoint.”
On the flip side, quarterbacks can beat man coverage with lead passes and quickly timed throws that can be made without receivers beating their defender by two steps.
Asked if he was playing too carefully, Vick said, “I play within the offense.”
Vick picked apart his first two opponents, Washington and San Diego, as Chip Kelly’s offense erupted out of the gate. He passed for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against the Redskins, a 33-27 win, and threw for a season-high 428 yards against the Chargers in a 33-30 loss.
In each game, he completed more than 60 percent of his passes, registered passer ratings above 112.0 and was sacked a total of five times. He has since completed 47 percent of his throws and hasn’t registered a passer rating over 83.6 in each of the past two games.
Receivers have dropped passes and the offensive line has struggled to keep Vick upright, which are reasons his coaches have cited when discussing the offense’s recent struggles.
“I think when you look at it, the last two weeks we've played against some pretty good fronts, all right, and I think our guys battled in there,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Wednesday. “And there are times, when you watch any game, there are times when it's not a perfect pocket.
“Ideally, you want them to be able to take one step from the gun or three steps from the gun and be able to play it, hitch, and throw the football. There are a lot of times when that doesn't happen. We're very fortunate that we have a guy like Michael that can escape and extend the play.”
With the Eagles at 1-3, Vick was asked if he felt more pressure going into Sunday’s game against the winless Giants.
“There’s no pressure on me,” he said. “I put pressure on myself, more pressure than anybody could apply. That’s to be the best that I can be each and every Sunday and do my job. That’s the most important thing.”