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.

DeSean Jackson talks possible Eagles reunion, says Wentz 'killed it' as rookie

DeSean Jackson talks possible Eagles reunion, says Wentz 'killed it' as rookie

The connection hasn't been hard to make. And it's been made plenty of times over the last couple months. 

DeSean Jackson will become a free agent on March 9 and the Eagles are in desperate need of help at receiver, specifically someone who can stretch the field — just like their former second-round pick. 

So a reunion just makes too much sense. And it was a topic of conversation when Jackson joined Adam Schefter's ESPN podcast recently. 

"It definitely is a great story, I guess you could say," Jackson said. "Starting your career somewhere and obviously going to a division rival team and having the possibility of maybe going back. I mean you kind of just think about all of that, where you started from and maybe where you want to finish it. It’s just a lot of speculation of a lot of thoughts. It almost sounds good but you never really know until the final decision is made. 

"But I’m just a firm believer of you work hard, you put in the work, and continuously go out there and show everybody what you’re capable of doing. I think the sky is the limit for me. My agent, Joel Segal, he's in a great position. I’m in a great position. Really, I’m just going to let him be the expertise guy. He’s the one with all the experience. He’s been doing this for plenty of years. With the conversations we’ve been having, it’s great on our end. The best thing we need to do is stay under the radar, me continuously working out, and from there we’ll just sit back and see what teams are putting out there."

Jackson, 30, is probably in line for a big payday. And really, there's a pretty good chance he'll just end up going to whichever team offers him the biggest and best contract. But aside from money, Jackson, who is entering his 10th year in the NFL, said he wants to play for a team that gives him a chance to win. A big part of that is playing with a great quarterback. 

While he said Kirk Cousins is a great quarterback, having another one to catch passes from is important to Jackson. 

"I want to win," Jackson said. "Obviously, I haven't won a Super Bowl, so the team that can win, a team that has a great quarterback. And that's definitely what stands out to me."

Carson Wentz might not be a great quarterback yet, but he did have some impressive moments during his rookie season in 2016. And Jackson was watching. While Jackson first praised all the quarterbacks in the NFL, he then answered a specific question about Wentz. 

"Carson Wentz, he came in and had a heck of a year as a rookie," Jackson said. "I mean, I don’t think a lot of people saw that coming. You know, they had Sam Bradford who was there, who ended up getting traded to Minnesota, so he didn’t have no choice but to step up and be that guy. But that was a gutsy call for the organization to really believe in a young guy like that, just came out of college and give him that shot. I think he killed it. He was lights out, had heck of a year. He definitely showed me he can do it and he has all the intangibles of being a big-time quarterback in this league."

If Jackson does return to Philly, the question would be: Can Wentz reach his full potential while Jackson is still a dynamic player? 

Jackson, who turned 30 in December, said he still wants to play four, five or even six more years in the league. He thinks he can be a dynamic outside deep threat for three or four of those. 

Has he seen any drop-off in his speed? 

"Not at all," Jackson said. "I really feel like I could still (run in the) low 4.3s or 4.29 (in the 40-yard dash) like I did when I came out the combine." 

If Jackson's speed ever does diminish, he said he could play in the slot. He pointed to the end of Santana Moss' career as an example. While Jackson's planning ahead in case his speed vanishes, he is hoping it never does. 

If the reunion happens, the Eagles will be right there with him. 

Best of NHL: Trocheck's last-second goal lifts Panthers past Blues

Best of NHL: Trocheck's last-second goal lifts Panthers past Blues

ST. LOUIS -- Vincent Trocheck scored with just under 5 seconds remaining to lift the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday night.

Jonathan Marchessault also scored and James Reimer stopped 26 shots to help the Panthers complete a 5-0 road trip -- their first perfect trip of at least that many games in franchise history.

Reimer has won five straight decisions and has not lost in regulation since Jan. 7 against Boston, going 6-0-1 since.

The Panthers moved into a tie with Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division, but have the edge because they have a game in hand on the Bruins.

Kyle Brodziak, playing for the second time after missing 10 games due to a broken foot, scored for the Blues and Jake Allen finished with 31 saves. St. Louis lost its second straight since winning six in a row (see full recap).

Coyotes use three-goal 1st period to beat Ducks
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Radim Vrbata capped Arizona's three-goal first period and the Coyotes held on for 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.

Christian Dvorak and Jakob Chychrun also scored for Arizona, and starting goalie Mike Smith had 27 saves before leaving about 4 1/2 minutes into the third period after a collision in the net. Marek Langhamer helped kill a power play after being pressed into action for his NHL debut and stopped six of the seven shots he faced.

The Coyotes have won four of their last six.

Langhamer gave up Ryan Getzlaf's second goal of the night with 26.8 seconds to play, but thwarted two quality shots in the final seconds.

Jonathan Bernier gave up three goals on six shots in the first period for the Ducks. John Gibson came on to start the second and stopped all 14 shots he faced (see full recap).