By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Andy Reid’s offense is predicated on scoring with long pass plays, a quick strike attack. Michael Vick is at his least effective when he’s making passes down field. That, according to NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi, is a very bad combination.
“I think it is [impossible to win a championship with Vick and this style of offense]. I think it is going to be too inconsistent. You have to find some level of consistency,” Lombardi told 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and the WIP Morning Show. “The concern you have to have, if you’re an Eagle fan sitting at home, is that when Michael Vick throws the ball down the field, that’s not usually a good play for Michael Vick. Michael Vick is not an accurate thrower and this Eagle offense requires accuracy on the third level because they’re a big strike—they’re never going to be a 10 play drive offense.”
Though likely rusty due to limited preseason snaps, Michael Vick’s performance on Sunday in Cleveland was still disconcerting. In 56 pass attempts, Vick threw four interceptions and completed just 51.8% of his passes. His lack of success last season and so far this season is not at all surprising, Lombardi says.
“Under 10 yards [Vick] is about a 64% completion thrower. When he goes from 11-20 yards, he drops down into the 50%. And then when he throws it over 20 yards, his percentage completion is less than 30%. This is not a good deep ball thrower,” he said. “Michael Vick in his career has thrown 91 passes over 30 yards, and has only completed 17 of them. That’s an 18% completion rate. He is not a great deep ball thrower. That’s the reality of who Michael Vick is. We don’t need to keep analyzing this—I defend Andy Reid here. Everybody wants him to change the offense to fit Michael Vick. Look at Michael Vick, this is who he is. They are trying to manage him the best they can, and we have to face the reality Michael Vick’s play has to get better within the framework of what he does.”
Still, Lombardi says the number of times Reid chose to throw against the Browns makes sense. “When you watch the tape, there were a lot of times, and what fans don’t realize, is when there is like an eight man front and it’s hard to run the ball, and you can’t really figure out where the safety is coming down to create the eight man front, on which side right or left, and you have a negative play, it is easier to throw the football,” he said.
Michael Vick’s game has never been one that would thrive with this sort of play calling, and if this is going to change, it means Vick is going to have to perform at a higher level. “Michael Vick has to play better than he did last year. Michael Vick has to play like he played the first 4 or 5 games when he took over as the starter,” Lombardi said.