Monday, May 7, 2012
Examining Michael Vick's 2011 injuries
By Dan Graziano
Sheil Kapadia has a post up this morning about the four significant injuries Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick suffered last season. Intended as a rebuttal to the idea that Vick's "reckless" style of play has contributed to his history of missing games with injuries, Sheil points out that all four of those injuries were suffered while Vick was in the pocket, and on plays that resulted in completed passes.
Now, if you read this blog regularly, you know I'm a fan of Sheil's work. I like the way he looks at the game and the thoroughness with which he does his analysis. But as someone who wrote a column last week about Vick's need to be more responsible with his body and with the ball in order for the Eagles to succeed in 2012, I feel the need to speak on this issue.
My point, at least (I can't speak to other people's points) is not that Vick's 2011 injuries were suffered on reckless plays. My point was that Vick's overall decision-making needs to be better, and that his own treatment of his own health is a part of that. For example, on the broken ribs in the Arizona game: It's clear they affected his performance the rest of the way. And it's entirely possible, given how close that game was, that he might have served the team better by revealing the injury so that the team could have decided whether to take him out of the game, call more run plays for LeSean McCoy, whatever. It's also entirely possible that the injury got worse as the game went along, and that Vick might not have had to miss the next three games had he missed the post-injury portion of the Arizona game.
So, while "recklessness" is and continues to be an issue for Vick, it's not as simple as saying he exposes himself too much to injury based on the way he plays. It's is about Vick's overall decision-making as it pertains to throwing the ball, running the ball and accurately assessing the way he feels and what he can accomplish at a given moment. These are areas in which he has to improve, and just because recklessness wasn't the cause of any of the big injuries he had in 2011 doesn't mean (a) that it won't be in 2012 or (b) that injury is the only way it manifests himself.
Vick is an electric and exciting player, and no one wants to take away the electric and exciting parts of his game. There will always be chances for Vick to showcase his unique abilities. He just needs to be smarter going forward than he has in the past about selecting those opportunities.