Today, Bleacher Report’s lead draft writer Matt Miller did a piece on the top 50 quarterbacks in the NFL. Any guesses where he had Michael Vick? If you guessed 23rd, you’re the lucky winner. That’s right, 23rd. Michael Vick is in the bottom tier of quarterbacks according to Matt Miller behind guys like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Moore and Matt Flynn. I figured that my exasperation would be met with a similar response but to my surprise, some people sided with Matt Miller. So since I can’t fit this argument into a couple tweets on twitter, I decided to write about it.
Michael Vick was obviously given a perfect ten score in the category labeled “mobility” along with Tim Tebow, Vince Young, Jake Locker and Cam Newton. Aaron Rodgers was given a score of 9.5. Those players are certainly mobile, Miller is right about that but if Tebow, Young and Newton are perfect tens, Michael Vick is a 12. Not one of these players has the mobility that compares to Michael Vick, the greatest scrambler and most mobile quarterback in the history of the NFL.
If any other QB can do this…
…it’s news to me.
Clearly Matt Miller needs to adjust his mobility scale because Michael Vick isn’t getting the proper credit for mobility if he’s being grouped with the likes of Tebow, Young and Locker. Vince Young in particular probably couldn’t break the five second mark in the 40 yard dash if you asked him to run it today.
Vick was given a score of seven. And yet Michael Vick completed 73% of his passes within 10 yards last year and 78.2% in the year prior. Shall we compare that to some players who were given higher short accuracy scores?
|Player||Completion % On Passes < 10 yards|
And that doesn’t even account for the 79% completion rate Vick put up in 2010, a mark which was one of the best in the NFL. Matt Miller needs to either bump Vick’s short accuracy score up or bring some of the other players’ scores down.
Accuracy On The Move:
Michael Vick was given a score of 7.5 which would be a fair score if Mark Sanchez, Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Donovan McNabb, Joe Flacco and Matt Moore weren’t given similar scores. Yes, Tim freakin’ Tebow was given a score of 7 in “Accuracy Out Of The Pocket”… And further, I’d argue that Michael Vick is plenty accurate outside the pocket. More so than classic pocket passers like Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Sam Bradford and Matt Ryan.
The primary reasoning behind the score of 7.5 was bad decision making, citing interceptions because Vick didn’t read the defense. Yet I can’t seem to recall one interception that Vick threw when he was outside the pocket this past year. Perhaps Miller, who claims to have watched over 100 hours of film, could remind me of one.
Vick was given a score of “8”. Michael Vick completed 41% of his passes beyond 20 yards and had the receivers not dropped 8 passes, it would’ve been 51%. Do you know how many players had a higher accuracy score on deep passes than Michael Vick? 4 (Rodgers, Freeman, Romo & Brees). Yet somehow Matt Miller had 17 players with an equal or higher “Accuracy Deep” score than Michael Vick.
Michael Vick was given a score of 9 out of 10 from Matt Miller which is simply laughable. Kyle Boller, Ryan Mallett, John Skelton, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton, Matt Stafford, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers were given scores that were equal to or greater than Vick’s.
Michael Vick has an exceptionally strong arm. It has been reported that Michael Vick can throw the ball 80 yards. With the flick of the wrist, the ball is gone on a rope. Michael Vick may well be in the conversation for strongest arm in NFL history (or at least functionally).
Vick lets that ball go at the 4 yard line and it hits DeSean Jackson in the hands at the 33. That means the ball traveled approximately 67 yards through the air in a live football game with Brian Orakpo bearing down on him.
Make it a 10 Mr. Miller.
Vick was given a score of 5.5 out of 10.
1. Michael Vick had 4 comeback wins in 2010 including what might be the greatest comeback in NFL history against the Giants.
2. Show me one game where Michael Vick made a bad decision down the stretch and made sure the Eagles had no shot of winning. You won’t find one.
“Michael Vick iz da dumbest QB in da leg.”
That’s essentially what Matt Miller said about Vick, calling his intelligence “well below standard[s]“. He says that Michael Vick’s inability to read the defense leads to “many interceptions” and that his audibles are “poor”. All in all, only 3 players got a lower “decision making” score than Michael Vick. Curtis Painter got a higher score than Vick. For being such a mental midget, Vick sure has found success running one of the most productive offenses in the NFL. It’s really a miracle that Michael Vick knows how to write his name.
We’ll start with the whole “many interceptions” thing. Michael Vick has thrown 20 interceptions the past two years. Eli Manning, who got a score of seven, has thrown 41 interceptions the past two years. Drew Brees, who got a score of nine, has thrown 36 interceptions the past two years. So much for that whole “many interceptions” thing.
And I’d love to know how Matt Miller knows what audibles Michael Vick is making. He appears to just know that Vick’s audibles are terrible. Was he in the huddle? Was he on the field? Did he read the defense and determine there was something better? Methinks that Miller is guessing.
Apparently Michael Vick has a “hammer-like delivery”, whatever that means… I’m assuming that Matt Miller is comparing Vick’s delivery to someone putting a nail in the wall; the wall doesn’t allow for a follow-through. I may be wrong about that. I’m not exactly sure what Miller is looking for. Perhaps he wants to see more violent body motions (legs lifting off the ground, legs swinging ala a baseball pitcher or arms flailing) but as someone who has watched every snap Vick has taken the past two seasons, it’s a load of bull. Lets look at two clips.
On that play you can very clearly see Michael reset his feet, step into his throw and follow through. Over the top delivery. Quick throwing motion. Little wind-up for a huge throw. The mechanics check out a-okay.
Again you can clearly see Vick set his feet, step into the throw and follow through. You can watch that entire clip and you’ll keep seeing the same thing.
Methinks Mr. Miller is making assumptions based on his perception of Michael Vick.
How do you gauge pocket presence? Personally I think the way to measure pocket presence is to find out three things:
1. How many times did the QB let hurries become sacks?
-On plays where Michael Vick was under pressure, he was sacked 11.6% of the time. That was the third best mark in the NFL amongst QBs who played over 25% of their teams snaps behind only Jason Campbell and Eli Manning.
2. Was the QB able to get off accurate passes under pressure?
-When pressured only 56% of Michael Vick’s passes were considered accurate. Only 11 QBs who played 25% of their teams snaps had lower accuracy percentages.
3. Did they make more good decisions than bad when the pocket was collapsing around them?
-Michael Vick had a TD:INT ratio of 7:7 (or 1:1 if you really want to simplify it) when under pressure. Only 13 passers had a better TD:INT ratio than Michael Vick. If you bump the criteria up to QBs who played at least 50% of their snaps, Vick had the 9th best QB:INT ratio in the NFL. This puts him in the above average category.
He scored great, poorly and above average when judged against other QBs in the three criterion that I proposed. This places him firmly in the “above average” group which would mean that a score of 7.5 is probably a fair score from Mr. Miller (although he was a bit generous when grading others).
Michael Vick was given a score of seven which would be fine if Jay Cutler, Matt Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger didn’t receive nines and tens. In the past two seasons Jay Cutler has had a serious MCL injury and broken the thumb on his throwing hand. Matt Stafford has had consistent shoulder issues since entering the NFL. And Big Ben is constantly banged up.
Vick has missed seven games the past two years.
Cutler has missed seven games the past two years.
Stafford has missed 13 games the past two years.
Big Ben has missed five games the past two years.
So how is it that Vick scored lower than all of them?
My Case For Vick:
Is Michael Vick a traditional passer? No. But he certainly isn’t as atypical as a guy like Tim Tebow or Joe Webb. Simply tossing Vick aside as a mobile passer is a mistake.
Vick Is A Super Talent:
-Vick is capable of doing things that no other QB in the history of the NFL was capable of doing. His athleticism is second to none. He has the running ability of a great running back and one of the best arms in the history of the game. He can get throws off at a number of different angles. He can reestablish his throwing platform better than anyone in the game. He can win you games on talent alone. His escapability is second to none. He is capable of burning defenses with his feet and being a one man show.
Accuracy On All Levels Of The Field:
-For some reason people seem to think that Michael Vick is inaccurate. If you take away throw aways, drops, spikes, batted passes and passes where the QB was hit while throwing, Vick was the 10th most accurate passer in the NFL in 2011. In 2010 he was the 3rd most accurate passer in the NFL. He is on target with short and intermediate stuff and his deep ball is one of the best in the NFL. If you keep Vick clean, he will rip a defense apart.
Michael Vick Just Wins:
-Since taking over as the starter of the Philadelphia Eagles Vick is 15-9 as a starter. That is a .625% winning percentage. That number would likely be even better if Vick hadn’t left 3 games because of an injury. Against the Redskins, Falcons and Giants the Eagles were in a position to win the game before Vick had to leave. He very well could have been 18-5.
Yards Per Attempt:
-There is an easy way to measure how well a QB is playing, yards per attempt. Yards per attempt is a great stat for a couple reasons:
- You have to be completing a good number of your passes to get a high YPA (accuracy).
- A higher YPA would imply accuracy because it means that the QB is affording WRs the ability to create after the catch.
- It shows that players aren’t being a “captain checkdown”, that they’re not just making easy short throws but they’re also pushing the ball down the field.
Over the past two seasons Michael Vick has a YPA of 7.95 which is significantly better than marks put up by other QBs in the same time frame and on par with some of the best in the game. Drew Brees has a YPA of 7.6 over the past two years. Big Ben has a YPA of 8 over the past two years. Eli Manning has a YPA of 7.9 over the past two years. The YPA stat firmly places Michael Vick as a top QB in the NFL. It also highlights a couple guys who are extremely overrated like Matt Ryan (6.9 YPA), Ryan Fitzpatrick (6.7 YPA), Joe Flacco (7 YPA) and Mark Sanchez (6.4 YPA).
The Eagles gave Michael Vick a 100 million dollar contract for a reason, he’s good. Some writer from bleacher report doesn’t have one up on the Eagles. Michael Vick is just fine and he most certainly is not the 23rd best QB in the NFL.