Eagles quarterback Michael Vick replaced an injured and ineffective Kevin Kolb in 2010, and led Philadelphia to an 8-3 record while posting a 21:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio and playing terrific football.
Vick took a step back after last year’s lockout-shortened offseason, going 7-6 as a starter and regressing to 18 touchdown passes compared to 14 interceptions. Vick also played banged up throughout the year.
ESPN’s Ron Jaworski studied every snap of Vick’s 2011 season. While there were obvious deficiencies in Vick’s playing style, Jaworski believes Vick is capable of taking a big positive step in 2012.
“This offseason is the most important of his career,” Jaws said on SportsCenter Friday. “It’s the first time since 2006 with the Falcons that he will go through the OTAs and training camp as the starting quarterback.”
As Jaws sees it, talent is no obstacle for Michael Vick. He must play with more discipline.
“There is not another quarterback in the NFL with Vick’s dynamic combination of passing skills and explosive running ability. There are some plays only Vick can make. The issue I have always had with Vick has been his willingness to run. To play the position outside of the pocket, outside the structure of the offense. There’s no question he’ll always make plays, but he also leaves throws on the field.”
“I charted all of Vick’s snaps last season,” Jaworski said. “He was taken to the ground more than 11 times per game. You can’t play 16 games that way. Vick always reminds me of something my former coach, Dick Vermeil, says: ‘The problem with quarterbacks who can run is, they run.'”
Still, Jaworski suggested that 2012 could go down as Vick’s best season after a full, healthy offseason in the system and as the surefire starter. Jaws believes Vick has a chance to put it all together this year.
“Vick has shown he is capable of throwing the ball exceptionally well from the pocket,” said Jaworski. “His overall throwing skill set can be top five in the league. His objective in 2012 must be to play that way more often. It becomes an availability issue. You can’t be an elite NFL quarterback if you can’t be counted on every single week.
“I am really excited to see Michael Vick in 2012. A more disciplined player will result in fewer turnovers. I would not be surprised if we’re getting ready to see the best year of Vick’s ten-year career.”