Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Friday, October 12, 2012
New angles on the Vick fumble problem

By Dan Graziano

Vick
Okay, so, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick spent the week carrying a football around the team's training facility to help drill himself on the importance of not dropping it during games anymore. It's a trick that's been successfully employed by high school players, characters in movies and, yes, professional football players as well as they've worked to overcome fumbling problems, and good for Vick for at least not ignoring the problem. Per Tim McManus:
"Breakfast, to the meetings. Everybody thought it was funny but I didn't. That's how much I care about this team, that's how much I care about our success and winning on Sundays. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that I take care of my responsibilities."

Guy says all the right things, and I'm sure wants to do right, but of course the proof is in the pudding and the NFL only serves the pudding once a week, so Sunday will tell the true tale. In the same story, Vick says he does not blame the new flak jacket he's wearing this year (and for whose manufacturer he's a paid spokesman) for the problem, and I might not have thought anything more of that except that I found this little item in this week's mailbag from Jim in Fairfax, Va., and wanted to share it with you guys:
I have worn such armor in the military. When it is on, it is awkward because it does sit off the body and so holding things feels uncomfortable, as the arm is extended out. In addition, when Vick runs with the ball, it is tucked against the hard plate, not in closer to his own body, so he doesn't feel it as well. More important, when the ball is pressed against the hard armor, it will tend to squirt out from the pressure point (like squeezing a grape between two fingers until it pops). Hence, I firmly believe part of Vick's fumble problems, especially seen last week as he fell forward is being caused by the chest protector - there is no doubt about it. Remember how football players are taught about the four points for proper ball tucking (is it four?). Vick is not meeting those criteria because of the armor. I would modify the armor by putting curved indentations on each side where he could better tuck the ball in instead of the extended sternum style of the current protector.

Hey, I don't know. I've never worn such a thing, but Jim says he has, and so I thought it was worth posting here as we continue to mull the Vick fumble question. I've heard dumber attempted explanations, that's for sure, and if something is different about the way Vick's carrying the ball this year -- especially if it's a difference in the way the ball sits against his body while he carries it -- it's obviously worth considering as part of the problem. Would help explain why it might be easier for opponents to knock the ball out, as well.

So thanks for the tip, Jim, and of course for your service. Always appreciate an unexpected, helpful perspective.