Why is Vick a Good QB, Bad QB, a Mediocre QB, or whatever?

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Why is Vick a Good QB, Bad QB, a Mediocre QB, or whatever?

Postby Wease » Sat Jan 06, 2007 10:35 am

I know this will probably be an impossible task, but can we have people lay out their reason why they believe he is what their opinion of him is without getting into Ad hominem (aka personal attacks)? Let's make this a flame free zone.

what makes Vick special, or overpaid or average or whatever?

This is about Vick, not Knapp, Mora, Dunn, etc.

Is there a possiblity that we can do this? (I am thinking not, but I am giving it a shot).

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Postby Birdman » Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:14 am

Good thread. I really like the ground rules.

I say Vick is a "very good" QB, but I do not know just how "great" he can be because of the unusual obstacles he had placed in front of him the last 3 seasons.

In terms of what makes Vick "Very good":

Vick has shown that he can deliver the football to various places on the football field in a catchable fashion.

This year alone:
1. I've seen him drop the football in over the top at the back of the endzone to Jenkins (Cincinnati). I've seen him drop 50 yard passes over the top to Roddy (Cowboys). I've seen him make about what I estimate to be 80% of his deep fly passes catchable -- whether thrown to the left or the right.

I've seen him lead the receiver on a nice out pattern (crumpler, Philly).

I've seen him throw very nice seam passes (crump).

He's thrown very nice swing passes to Norwood (Cincinnati) and post patterns (Jenkins - Washington)

And of course I've seen him gun an out pass to WR's for TDs with velocities such that only his receiver could catch the pass (Crump -- Pittsburgh, Lelie - Cowboys)

2. I have seen him make positive plays when pass protection has been "less than stellar" with his legs.

3. I have seen him have actual run plays called for him and gain positive yards.

4. One of the most important facets of the game is making first downs. Especially given the Falcons preference for multi-play drives instead of being a team focused on big plays. Since the team looks to establish "first downs" Vick's contribution of 54 first downs were huge. He contributed more rushing first downs than anyone else on the team in much fewer rushes. And the primary runner on the team were much below NFL average -- but had NFL-typical opportunities. In other words, Vick uniquely filled a MAJOR GAP that would otherwise have been seriously exposed were a more "traditional" (less capable) athlete were the QB.

5. Despite the many struggles of teammates, Vick remained steadfastly supportive. He said he would continue to throw the ball to them and he did. Sometimes showing faith most observers would not have.

6. Vick was restricted from changing plays even even when he clearly recognized the defense had anticipated the play. Audibling is something high school/college/Pro coaches install in order to maketh QB MORE effective, not less. However, Vick endured this deliberate obstacle and used unique capabilities to overcome it.

There is no justification for imposing such an obstacle as Vick successfully audibled in college just as Matt Leinart and many other QBs did. Vick was the highest rated passer in NCAA history while audibling as a FRESHMAN. He had the pedigree, yet had to endure and overcome an unreal obstacle.

Basically, a QB needs to be able to make certain throws. Vick has demonstrated an ability to make all throws.
A QB must be able to have faith in teammates. Vick showed tremendous faith and trust in struggling teammates. And when it really came time to win, he tried very hard to find a way regardless (New Orleans).

If Vick had the same surrounding weaponry and audibling flexibility of other touted QBs he would execute the throws on par with most QBs and his "extra abilities" would put the team in truly "elite" category. Unfortunately, things were deliberately designed to "require" special abilities in order to win and this is a failed philosophy.

I feel that any offense here in Atlanta capable of actually generating 50% WINS without Vick will be a dominant offense with him. This is why Vick is a "Very Good" QB for certain based on evidence. The "Great" QBs are most often allowed to be determined to be "great" by way of top tier OLinemen, physical runners, above average or "great" receivers and a top tier defense. The more of these components the "great" QBs had, the more "Team success" they had. History confirms this. Go down the list of "great QBs" and look at their supporting cast.

Supporting cast helps reveal your "greatness" and you can't win the SB without it.
There's no question about that!

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Postby backnblack » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:07 pm

Good reply, Birdy, but isn't this essentially the topic of 80% of the posts on all Falcons' MBs anyway? I could probably make an argument for all of the above but, damn, it has been hashed over so many times in so many places I don't see the point.

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Postby BirdBrain » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:26 pm

I suggest we bring in a coach...keep Schaub, and let them fight it out during the camps...best man wins. Course the crying towels for vick would hurt Blanks wallet more than his contract.

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Postby Wease » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:44 pm

backnblack wrote:Good reply, Birdy, but isn't this essentially the topic of 80% of the posts on all Falcons' MBs anyway? I could probably make an argument for all of the above but, damn, it has been hashed over so many times in so many places I don't see the point.

Well my point is to try and discuss this without the vitriol that normally is on the boards, if you don't want to participate, fine. Then don't even bother commenting.

BirdBrain wrote:I suggest we bring in a coach...keep Schaub, and let them fight it out during the camps...best man wins. Course the crying towels for vick would hurt Blanks wallet more than his contract.

Come on this is not what this thread is about. Post on topic or begone from the thread.

Is it so hard just to have people to say - without commenting on others - why they think Vick is whatever? This is not about new coaches or about whether this has been talked about before or about Schaub, and people should just say what they think and not comment on others. Take it to another thread.

If you don't want to post about this then go to the other bazillion topics. If you want to post, bring why you think he is whatever.

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Postby dirtybirdnw » Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:29 pm

I have a big long post to make but I wanted to make a quick note while I was thinking of it.

Vick is still Vick's own problem. He is always so lost in the pocket and can never seem to commit to either the pass or the run unless one of the two options is sitting right their in front of his face with undeniable chance of success.

But everytime when Vick doesn't have a called run, the run lanes are tight, and the receivers have good coverage he loses his mind. He starts running around like a chicken with its head cut off and does one of the following:

#1 - Most commonly he runs right into a defensive player and gets sacked.
#2 - He for whatever reason runs to the sideline and instead of throwing the rock away throws it down field and a covered receiver (which more often than not it turns into an INT).
#3 - By some act of god he runs about 35 yards before finally shaking the defenders and getting a 2 or 3 yard gain and is gassed for the next play.
#4 - And lastly, and the least common, he gets out side of the tackle box and throws the ball away.

At the end of the day Vick's decision making is STILL the #1 reason he isn't a Top-10 quarterback. Sometimes he makes fantastic decisions, more often than not he makes horrible decisions, then there are those games where he goes back and forth. Unfortunately in 2 of those 3 scenarios we usually lose.

The big problem with this latest version of the Falcons is once again they lost their identity on both offense and defense. Yes it was fueled by injuries but we can never stick with one style of football for an entire season. We start our with historical rushing numbers and eventually become one of the least effective teams at running the ball. What the hell?!!! We start the season out with a feared pass rush and eventually STOP blitzing and STOP pressuring the quarterback. What the hell?!?!?!

At the end of the day Vick is Vick's own problem but the identity crisis of this team I put squarely on the coaches whom got themselves fired for that.

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Postby Herr Doktor » Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:48 pm

I think with the offensive line we have, it would be difficult to expect Schaub to compete in a "Real world" setting. Our line is designed for a quick cut back and then to go with the runner, blocking downfield if possible. Schaubie is quick, but no where in Mike Vick's class when it comes to the wheels.

I think they both can throw all of the necessary passes, Mike's might get there a tad sooner. I think Vick has been shackled with not being able to audible. I think that was a slap by Knapp.

MIke is greatest when he is winging it. No other QB can do what he does at the SPEED in which he does it. Physically he is strong and durable. However, I think what stops him from being a true pocket passer is his size. He is listed at 6 foot. I'd say more like 5"10". He will always hav eot roll out to be able to pass, whcih is fine since when he is moving, he can create. Thats what makes him great.

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Postby Pudge » Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:20 pm

Birdman, your post started off pretty strong, but towards the end it seemed you were more critical of Knapp & others as opposed to "fairly evaluating" Vick.

But I would say I agree with the majority of what Birdman said. Vick does those things from time to time. We can go back and forth about how often he does them, and which players, coaches, or positions "conspire" against him to do them rarely, but I'll just point out the key areas where I think is what holds Vick back the most from being a consistent, accurate, top-ranked passer.

And a lot of what I have to say was mentioned by dirty. And these are in no particular order...

1. Vick's Management of the Pocket

In watching tape of Vick, there is a rare occassion when he actually steps up in the pocket, like most QBs do. Instead, when he feels pressure, he usually immediately looks to evade that pressure laterally as opposed to vertically. As dirty said, sometimes this leads him to run right into an opposing defender, particularly a DE rushing from the edge (e.g. watch the Saints games). Well frankly, the pocket as Paul Brown created it is a vertical structure crafted to provide protection for the QB in front and to his sides, and with the gaps between the O-linemen are essentially throwing lanes for the QB to throw to. Thus, why stepping up in the pocket is preferred, because usually the QB steps up into one of these already available throwing lanes and thus gets an even clearer view downfield. Instead, when Vick "side-steps", he is typically side-stepping right where an OL is or DL is being blocked.

So what you're going to see a lot when you look at the tape is Vick turning to run, but then he has to turn again because the space he was headed to is now occupied by a OL or DL. At this point, his eyes have ceased being downfield. And the key to stepping up in the pocket is that a QB's eyes remain downfield. Once Vick makes that second direction change, he's no longer looking downfield and is instead focused on the pass rush. This is going to lead to a greater number of sacks simply because instead of focusing on getting rid of the ball, he's focused on holding it now.

Now, one of the many causes of this behavior is Vick's natural tendency and comfort zone from throwing and surveying the field from outside the pocket. He's a mobile and athletic QB that is used to throwing on the run. A more "traditional" pocket passer (which is the majority of QBs in the NFL) lacks this comfort zone, and when they begin to scramble, they look lost, make poor decisons, bad throws, etc.

So when Vick is side-stepping, it's him trying to escape the pocket in order to find his comfort zone. You'll often see from examining the tape that when Vick makes the majority of his downfield throws, he's outside the pocket.

2. Vick's Progressions (Lazy & Inconsistent)

Ron Jaworski first pointed this out to me when he was talking about how well Vick played in the Steelers and Bengals games, in that Vick was comfortably going through his progressions in those games, and thus was making the right decisions and accurate throws.

Without being a part of the Falcons play-calling and knowing their playbook, I can't be 100% sure if in the games where Vick's performance has been subpar if he was not going through his progressions, but it seems to me that is the case.

It's not the sole cause, but I think one of the contributing factors for the decrease in catches for Justin Griffith and Warrick Dunn is Vick's inconsistency when going through his progressions, and rarely looking for the dump-off. Instead, a lot of what I saw on tape, particularly in the 2nd half ot he season, was Vick rolling out of the pocket and chucking the ball deep. Now this obviously doesn't mean that Dunn/Griffith were open on every one of these plays, but I think there are probably too many examples on tape of Vick forcing downfield or ill-advised throws instead of taking the 4-yard throw to the flat or shovel to the RB.

I've seen examples on tape of Vick abandoning his reads rather quickly, at the moment a passing lane begins to widen enough that he tries to run it, and often times that new running lane closes just as fast it opened.

He was an effective college QB because he didn't have a lot of progressions and reads to go through. 1, 2, then run. This is a similar instance for a lot of college passers, particularly ones that have top notch WRs on their teams (as Vick did with Andre Davis). College QBs either force a helluva lot more passes or run the ball a lot more than NFL QBs, and it has a lot to do with the progressions.

As Birdman said, we've seen him do good things. He has the arm to make all the throws. We've seen pinpoint accuracy from him. We've seen him thread the needle, lead receivers, throw passes that only his guys can make, make the plays with his feet (like 1st downs) that need to be made, and improvise his way out of impossible situations. But IMO, for all those positives, these 2 issues I outlined above probably are just as big negatives. These 2 issues IMO are the 2 biggest when it comes to why he's so inconsistent, or at least why his great games are so far in between.

IMO, it's up to the next head coach/offensive coordinator to either do his best to eliminate these flaws or design a system where tehy can be disguised and/or minimized. IMO, at this point in Vick's career, you'll have a lot better success going for the latter.

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