The Eagles need Michael Vick at his best today if they're going to advance out of the Wild Card round. (Photo: Ryan Messick)

Vick Needs to Protect Ball, But "Struggles" Overstated

Michael Vick’s return to prominence in the NFL has been built around key improvements to two areas of his game: ball security and pocket passing.  Through his first nine games, five of them starts, Vick had zero turnovers and just two fumbles.  In the last two games, Vick committed his first two turnovers as an Eagle, an interception and a lost fumble, but also put the ball on the ground six times.

Clearly, Vick needs a renewed focus on ball protection.  In fact, Reid pointed it out two weeks ago after Vick fumbled twice, when asked about his lack of interceptions.

“I will tell you that I don’t like him dropping the ball,” Reid said. “So you’re asking me about one thing and I’m not very fired up about the other two things that ended up on the ground. But he’s doing a nice job of not throwing the interceptions.”

After the Jump: Why the worst two games of Vick’s year were actually impressive.

While Vick did throw a pick, ending his streak at 240 passes without an interception, that isn’t of as much concern.  It had to come sometime, but Vick’s fumbling has ramped up significantly, even though he was expecting the Bears to go after the ball coming into the game.

“You’ve got to do a great job protecting the ball against [the Bears],” Vick said on Friday. “They make a living off of getting strips and turnovers, and it’s something they do real well. You don’t see too many teams stripping the ball the way they do.”

Nevertheless, Vick fumbled four times in the game and was fortunate to see the Eagles recover each one.  Now the quarterback has a chance to learn an important lesson from a tough loss, one in which many Eagles struggled.

In spite of the fact that Vick has had his worst two games of the season in the last two weeks, when you consider the defenses he was playing, his performances were actually well above average.  The Bears have held opponents to the lowest quarterback rating in the league, while the Giants defense is fifth in that category.  On the season, Vick’s rating of 106.0 is around 22 percent higher than the league average.  His 83.0 rating against New York was nearly 9 percent above their opponents’ average and his 94.2 rating against the Bears was 36 percent higher than the norm.

Vick also became the first quarterback in 2010 to throw two touchdowns against the Bears defense, which has given up just eight touchdowns all season.  Of the 13 quarterbacks who have faced Chicago, six have been held without a touchdown and only two have thrown more scores than picks – Vick and Matt Hasselbeck, who had one touchdown.

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