Sports Central Message Boards

Sports Central Message Boards (
-   National Football League (
-   -   Falcons Brass far sighted or near sighted??? (

Tarkus 01-21-2005 01:34 AM

Falcons Brass far sighted or near sighted???
The following article brings up that exact question where you wonder if the Falcons aren't "living in the moment" & turning a blind eye to a possible major injury brought on by running.

There are comments made how it will take at least 3 more years for Vick to "really take off" in the West Coast offense yet you also read where a Falcon coach has repeatedly reminded Vick to stick with the run.

So in one comment we hear how they've invested in Vick for the future but their current plan is to utilize every Vick run opportunity regardless of the risk to said future investment.

Giving a QB a green light for running whenever he wants tends to have them leave the pocket earlier than other QBs without that talent for running. That begs the question if Vick would be possibly a bit farther along learning the offense & QB position if he wasn't being spurred on by a staff looking for immediate dividends via his running.

It makes you wonder how high a ceiling the Falcon Brass have in mind for Vicks QB future. If they thought it was that he has the tools to be one of the greats of the game, you would think they wouldn't want to expose him to unneccesary risks. Or are they actually thinking he'll be a good one & would rather have some immediate returns in wins knowing that if he has a career threatening or ending injury that all they lost was "a good one"??

Far sighted or near sighted??? I'll go with near sighted....


There's no debating Vick's value to Falcons

Dan Pompei

.....The first step in determining Michael Vick's value is to write some of his statistics on a piece of paper: 2,313 passing yards, which ranked 26th in the NFL; a 78.1 passer rating, which tied for 21st; a 56.4 completion rate, which ranked 27th; 16 fumbles, most in the NFL; and one sack for every eight dropbacks, worst in the NFL.

The second step in evaluating Vick is wadding up the paper. Or shredding it. Or, if you want to live dangerously, putting a flame to it.

These are the numbers that matter: The Falcons are 24-12-1 in the regular season with Vick as their starting quarterback and 3-11 without him. The other numbers are irrelevant. Statistics describe Vick no better than words describe the birth of a child.

.....Several times this season, one of the Atlanta coaches gingerly approached Vick on the sideline to let him know the plan was to stick with the run. Um, it's OK with you, Mike, isn't it? Whatever it takes to defeat the opponent, Vick replies. And he means it. "I just want to win football games," he says. "As long as I'm in the playoffs every year, I'm good. Everything's all right with me."

A long-term investment

As a passer, Vick is a dazzling runner. But his passing has improved in his four years in the NFL. Part of the philosophy of investing in Vick was realizing he is like a growth fund. There will be regular dividends, but the real payoff is years away.

......Since the offseason, Falcons offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has been preaching it will take Vick three seasons before he really takes off in the West Coast offense. "Mike's completion percentage will go up because his knowledge of the offense will be better, and once you get the knowledge of the offense, you don't worry about the offense; you see what's on the other side of the ball," Knapp says.

.......No one wants to discourage Vick from playing instinctively. "I just want him to be him," Falcons coach Jim Mora says. Rather than forcing Vick to become a pocket passer, Falcons coaches have encouraged Vick to run, and run he has. His 902 rushing yards this season were the third most by a quarterback in NFL history. On his sideline sheet for every game, Mora has a reminder: Get Vick 10 to 12 runs. The Falcons have made better use of designed quarterback runs as the season has gone on, incorporating about five each game late in the season as opposed to maybe one per game early in the year. About 35 percent of Vick's runs have been by design, according to Mora.

......The natural progression for athletic quarterbacks is to rely more on their arms as they age. If Vick's runs decrease, it's likely his sacks will, too. Atlanta's coaches aren't overly concerned about the inordinate number of sacks Vick suffers because the rewards outweigh the risks. In the Falcons' 47-17 rout of the Rams in the divisional playoff round, Vick escaped what looked to be three sure sacks and turned the plays into 71 rushing yards.

Still, Vick can improve by giving up on some plays more quickly. "When you have that kind of ability, you want to be a hero every play," says former quarterback Ron Jaworski, an analyst on EAS NFL Matchup.

Anthony 01-21-2005 03:45 AM

Interesting, insightful article - but the experience of Atlanta's opponent in this Sunday's NFC championship game provides some important object lessons.

Not long ago Donovan McNabb was in the same danger as Michael Vick is in now (and had about the same passing numbers too) - and indeed, did get seriously injured in November of 2002 - before the Eagles front office finally got the hint and acquired a franchise wide receiver, that of course being T.O. A genuine "go-to" receiver gives an offense "blitz control" because any time the blitz is not adequately picked up it can spell six points on one play. Fewer blitzes, in turn, lessen the chance of injury to the quarterback.

Of course Vick is considerably smaller than McNabb, and hence is inherently more vulnerable to injuries, but that doesn't alter where the Falcons need to go from here - and that is to get Vick a true #1 receiver.

Tarkus 01-21-2005 04:47 AM


Originally posted by Anthony
....but that doesn't alter where the Falcons need to go from here - and that is to get Vick a true #1 receiver.
Great point, Anthony....

I just get the feeling the impact & success of his running influenced them to minimize the huge risk of incorporating his running as a weapon as opposed to chasing down that #1 type receiver to help his growth & save his health....

They would return to a sub par team with no immediate change in sight if Vick went down for a lengthy time. It doesn't seem like they've invested in the future as much as they've gambled with it....

p.s. 46 sacks...while some can be attributed to Vicks growth, a lot are receiver & OL based. If that's not a red flag I don't know what is...

coachJ 01-21-2005 06:56 AM

Vick is a better runner then McNabb is though. And i believe that it would be stupid to tell Vick not to run. When you have something why not use it? It could be the deciding factor on whether your team wins or loses a game, but you dont want your QB to run with the football just because he might get injured. That risk is for EVERYONE on the field, why should it be any different for your QB??

And in a couple years there will be another QB just like Vick by the name of Vince Young who is just as dangerous with his legs and makes plays as well. Are we going to tell him he shouldn't run either??? Think about it, if it wasnt for Young's ability to run with the football, the Longhorns never would have won the Rose Bowl.

Tarkus 01-21-2005 07:14 AM

Well if you want to put it into smart or stupid, I guess while I would like to use the term ill advised, I'll change it for the moment to stupid when you are a known sub par team without Vick & you actively choreograph running plays for the absolutely only guy on the field you can ill afford to lose.

While the Falcons have dodged the bullet so far this year, to not show a bit of restraint & allow Vick to mature as a QB & wait till you have a go-to receiver to help that maturing along & shore up the OL while they get a better feel on where Vick is behind them due to that maturing, etc. , is trying to "harvest before the crop is ready".

So in other words, no one is suggesting telling him not to run but saying that it's silly to risk your teams future by having Vick be a halfback at times. Besides, the pounding he's already taken in the league will catch up to him sooner or later & if he's not matured into a well rounded efficient QB by that time, his effectiveness will be in the past....

Anthony 01-21-2005 09:15 AM

Vick also appears to have a more secure ego than McNabb, who has stated that he doesn't want to be stereotyped as a "running quarterback" because of the supposed racial implications attached to it (hey Donovan, ever heard of Steve Young by any chance?). Vick, to his credit, has never expressed similar sentiments.

HibachiDG 01-21-2005 01:42 PM

McNabb has stated he doesn't want to be a "running quarterback" because he doesn't want to be a running quarterback. The racial overtones weren't added to it by McNabb.

Ross 01-21-2005 02:22 PM


Originally posted by Anthony
but that doesn't alter where the Falcons need to go from here - and that is to get Vick a true #1 receiver.
Wasn't Peerless Price supposed to be that when they picked him up?

KevinBeane 01-21-2005 02:44 PM

Back to Vick...we used to debate whether a qb with a strong instinct to run and a playbook full of running qb plays had any reason to exist. Since that's debatable, the squawk is now, "Well, okay, they can run him, but only if the rest of the team is good and they have something to fall back on if he gets hurt, because having a running qb is DANGEROUS!"

First of all, can someone explain to me why the injury risk to a running qb is greater than that of a tailback?

Second of all, it's sort of funny to shame the Falcons into reining in Vick when they are playing in the NFC championship game in two days...yeah I know, it was their surprising defense that got them there. I reckon they would still be in the championship game with Billy Jo Hobert at QB. (Read with sarcastic intent).

We have had tons of threads on running qb vs. pocket qb and this is an extension of that. The bottom line is the Falcons position on Sunday validates their handling of Vick in my mind, I don't buy into the notion that him running a lot is slowing his learning of the nuances of the offense (unless running or improvisation causes amnesia, or he's refusing to do West Coast reps and study in practice), and I can't think of a single other example where a superstar on a playoff team was asked to rein in their athleticism for ANY reason. I guess I'm with Pompei above.

I ALSO can't remember the last time I disagreed with Tarkus. So many firsts! :-)

Marc 01-21-2005 03:31 PM

Vick should continue to run because it's what sets him apart from everyone else. It would be foolish for him to try to be more like McNabb and refuse to run. There are plenty of pocket passers, but no one on this planet is the freak that Vick is in the open field. That said, I prefer a quarterback to be mainly a passer, with the ability to scramble, i.e. Culpepper or McNabb. It's better to be a great passer who can scramble when needed, but Vick is an exception.

MountaineerDave 01-21-2005 04:23 PM

I like Billy Joe Hobert!!


KB is once again aggravated that the world wants their QBs to skin the cat in the one way that QBs in the '00s should: passing.

I think Vick might be an exception, in the short term, but he can't have a career of any length playing the position the way he does now.

You bring up other running backs. He's not any more prone to injury than another running back.

I would suggest, however, KB, that you check the stats on RBs who actually played in all 16 games for their team this season. Compare that to the number of games that they started all year long.

You're going to find that the majority of running backs spend some time rehabbing rather than running, some more than others.

Interestingly enough, when you've completed your research, one of very few (in fact, the only starter I can presently think of off the top of my head--oh, wait, a second one might have just jumped in there) of the 16-game starters actually plays for the Falcons (Dunn). This is unusual for Warrick Dunn, however, and he shares the carries enough with Duckett and Vick that he's doubtless got fewer carries than a great many starters around the league.

Also note: neither Vick nor Duckett played the entire season for the Falcons, either.

If, as you suggest, Vick's ability to run is fundamental to the success of the Falcons, they need a Vick, Jr. to be able to carry the ball on weeks when Vick's in the repair shop.

Or: Vick's career could end the way Steve Young's did.


Brad O. 01-21-2005 05:40 PM


originally posted by KevinBeane
First of all, can someone explain to me why the injury risk to a running qb is greater than that of a tailback?
Dave touched on this, but there are a few factors that need to be considered. Running backs have, on average, the shortest careers of any position. Successful QBs can usually stick around for 15 years, no problem.

It's not just about injuries, either. Guys wear down if they run a lot. Look at the rapid declines of Eddie George and, to a lesser extent, Marshall Faulk. Earl Campbell won ROY, was the best RB in the NFL for two years, and then he was basically done at 26. He had two more productive seasons, but he was never the same player.

I disagree with Dave, though, that Vick is "not any more prone to injury than another running back". QBs tend to be taller than RBs without being proportionately heavier. They're often less muscular, particularly the lower body. Some QBs (I don't know about Vick) wear less protective facemasks or different pads. And scrambling or bootlegging is, IMO, more dangerous than running off tackle or up the gut. QBs, if they get hit, usually get hit at full speed, and often are at least partially blind-sided. A blitzing LB seldom develops a full head of steam by the time he reaches a running back. When a QB reaches the point of contact, someone has usually chased him halfway across the field.

All that said, I usually find myself sticking up for "running QBs", and this is no exception. Vick needs to improve his passing, not change his style of play. He's like having two players on the field: a QB and an RB. If the QB half were any good, defenses would turn into jelly when they played the Falcons. It would, however, probably be wise for Vick to start sliding, and to throw the ball away more often.

That, I think, is the biggest problem with a lot of running QBs. They hold the ball too long. Sacks don't just hurt the team, they can end careers, especially if a retreating lineman trips on you or something.

Vick flirts with disaster to an extent, but if he didn't he'd be Billy Joe Hobert. He's unlikely to enjoy a long career if he keeps running so often, but he'll become Kordell Stewart if he runs too seldom. I think throwing the ball away a little more often would put him in a pretty good position for now.

MountaineerDave 01-21-2005 05:58 PM

Brad: I was referring to the Running Back Vick. I should have clarified. Quarterbacks can be more prone to injury, and with Vick being a split guy (as you suggested in your two-player analogy) he's actually more prone to injury.

But, if he weren't, you still need a Vick, Jr., to pick up the slack in weeks when the Falcons 38DDs are bedridden (please read's The Sports Guy to understand the reference).

I agree he needs to throw the ball away more often, but, and I've said this since the Falcons traded for him, Price is not a #1 receiver, and the Falcons (and by extension, Vick) ache for a legitimate #1 receiver. They have none on their roster right now.


Tarkus 01-21-2005 07:47 PM

I didn't mean to imply this thread was about running QBs vs pocket QBs. My point was more for the Falcon Brass running designed plays to put him in more of a contact position as opposed to Vick just running from danger on his own & sliding or going out of bounds.

Without a doubt his running ability has allowed him to success on the field whereas if he didn't have the ability, his #s would be a glaring weakness at this stage of his career.

I like how he delivers the ball with authority & how he has improved QB wise but just wonder how long his career will be if he's used too much in a DESIGNED running game plan.

It just strikes me as a tremendous risk for someone so young & promising. I would like to see him take off on his own before I'd run plays designed to increase potential disaster.

When he takes off from a busted play, defenders have been influenced to certain places on the field & Vick just hits the vacated areas. On the designed runs, it's basing success on subterfuge that when it doesn't work has defenders on the attack as opposed to when they're trying to chase him down.

So once again, it's that the risk is increased by management game plan of running Vick & not about Vick running. In no way would I suggest Vick not to run when he's shown the success it brings...

trayhezy 01-21-2005 09:45 PM

I think the whole circunstance is a catch 22.....youhave to do what you can to protect your future but every game is a win now situation. You rarely get a chance to have a championship quality team and if you believe you have one a coach is going to go all out, and call any play to get to that level. Otherwise he won't have a job long. Coaches and GM's have to win now in order to justify themselves.

I think it lies more on the shoulders of Vick himself. As he progresses to be a better reader of defenses and a better passer, his runs will decrease and he should be able to do more damage from the pocket. I would like to see him be smarter as in when to slide, run out of bounds, and throw the ball away.

His athletic ability gives him the chance to make something happen on every play but he needs to be smarter about knowing when to give up on a particular play.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:59 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.