In order for the Philadelphia Eagles to be successful in 2012 they will need their dual-threat gunslinger Michael Vick behind center for all 16 games of the regular season.
Unfortunately, that is something that has been a rare occurrence in Vick’s nine-year NFL career. Vick has played in 16 games just once in that time, his final season in Atlanta. In fact, Vick is currently the seventh most injury prone quarterback in the NFL behind only Sam Bradford, Matt
Schaub, Colt McCoy, Alex Smith, Kevin Kolb and Matthew Stafford.
Vick is an evident boost for the Eagles, boasting a 15-9 record as a starter with the team. All hope for the Eagles’ 2011 campaign was lost when they lost their lethal quarterback. While he was not fantastic, the way Philadelphia finished out the season—winning their final four games—shows a healthy Vick likely would have meant another playoff appearance for Andy Reid and his team.
If the Eagles wish to return to the postseason in 2012, they will—again—need Vick to find a way to stay on the field.
But what can be done to ensure Vick will last an entire season for the first time in six years?
Vick’s playing style is endangering, as it should be for a quarterback who loves to take off into the open field. You cannot fault a defender for wanting to level Vick at every opportunity they get. Vick, while you do not want to lessen the plays he makes with his legs, must figure out a way to avoid getting hit so hard so often.
At 32, Vick’s body can only take so much punishment. Now, perhaps more so than ever, would be the perfect time for the Eagles quarterback to learn how to slide. There is no reason to have No. 7 down the field, dropping his shoulder and taking a shot from the Justin Tucks of the league more than happy to drill him with a well-targeted shot to the ribs.
The Eagles enjoy every extra yard Vick can pick up for them, but never at the expense of his body. Vick’s presence over the course of the regular season is far more conducive to the Eagles’ success than an extra yard on a scramble in the middle of the field.
Vick knows he needs to stay healthy this season.
“I want to make a promise to all my fans that I’m going to make a conscious effort, a cognitive effort, to make sure that I protect myself,” Vick told WPEN-FM in Philadelphia (via NFL.com). “And you know my motto has been this for the last six months, and I repeatedly said to myself: ‘Get the next yard on the next play.’ Ya know, whether I’m running the football or scrambling or trying to do something improvising. Get the next yard on the next play.”
Whether Vick follows through on this new motto is yet to be seen, but it could very likely be the only thing that saves Philadelphia’s season. The Eagles’ success depends on Vick’s play. If he cannot be on the field—and at 100 percent—there is little chance we’ll see playoff football in Philadelphia.