Heading into Week 16 last year, the Eagles were the trendy NFC Super Bowl pick. They looked headed for a bye.
The Vikings ended all that on a Tuesday night by blitzing Michael Vick into submission. Vick didn’t handle Dom Capers’ blitzes particularly well in the playoffs either, and the Eagles lost again.
That’s led to a lot of talk this year about Vick needing to improve in that area. Andy Reid and Vick discussed the issue to open training camp, as revealed by Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“You have your little list of things you think, and one of things Mike said was, ‘I need to be a little sharper with the blitz,’ ” Reid said. “Boom. OK. That’s where we’re going. That’s one of my things. That’s one of your things. Let’s roll.”
The Eagles say Vick has improved, but it didn’t show up last week against the Steelers.
“Vick [had a ] poor game mentally v. PIT,” NFL Films guru Greg Cosell wrote on Twitter. “Did not read basic coverages. Pre-determined his throws. Must transition better from pre snap to post snap.”
Cosell says Vick has never been strong before the snap. Vick admitted publicly it was the one area he needed to improve. His numbers last year against the blitz were actually very good because he could escape the rush. The Eagles don’t want to take away Vick’s instincts.
“He has very, very good blitz awareness at this point,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. “Now the choices are how much do you give him because too much could be just as bad as not enough.
Vick can show progress Thursday night against the Browns, but the real test comes in Week One against the Rams. For all the talk about the additions in Philly, Vick’s development will tell the story of the season.
A slide back for Vick would be crushing for Philly. A step forward from Vick’s incredible 2010 allows the Eagles to dream big.