Michael Vick had a disappointing season in 2012, but new Eagles coach Chip Kelly doesn’t think that’s Vick’s fault.
Kelly told WIP in Philadelphia that injuries along the Eagles’ offensive line were the biggest problem Vick had in 2012, and there’s every reason to think that Vick can play as well in 2013 as he did in 2010, if the Eagles can protect him.
“The one thing I think with a quarterback is they get too much blame when things don’t go well and they get too much praise when things do go well,” Kelly said, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “But which Michael Vick do you have? The guy in 2010 who is the comeback player of the year and is running all over the field making great decisions? A lot of that because he’s clean in protection, he’s not getting hit immediately after he’s getting the snap. The one thing, when I watched the film and I saw Michael last year, you just kind of almost felt bad for him, is you lost four lineman to season ending injuries.”
The return of tackle Jason Peters, who missed all of 2012 with an Achilles injury, and the arrival of first-round draft pick Lane Johnson, should make a big difference for Vick.
“There is a comfort level when you are playing quarterback when Jason Peters is your left tackle,” Kelly said. “There is not as much of a comfort level if I’m playing left tackle. So when you’re worried about a guy coming off the edge before you can get to the top of your drop and make a throw, then that’s a tough thing to do. The one thing I’ll give Michael, when you watch Michael Vick on film and no one, there’s absolutely no one that can question his toughness. As he stands in there with people bearing down at him and still is trying to throw the ball and deliver the ball. He can throw the ball, it comes off his hands, he can make people miss, but no one, there’s no quarterback in the NFL, there’s no quarterback in any level of football that can function when you are missing four of your offensive lineman. So a lot of things that happened when you watch the film last year, it isn’t all Michael’s fault.”
The Eagles’ offensive line will almost certainly be better in 2013 than it was in 2012. And a better line should lead to a better quarterback.