By Chris Murray
For the CM Report
The one thing that Michael Vick hasn’t had in his brief tenure as the Eagles starting quarterback is a structured offseason to work on his skills, review film and timing with the receivers during organized team activities.
With a huge influx of new personnel, the Eagles were in a state of disarray on both sides of the football, something that manifested itself during a tumultuous 8-8 season in which they were favored to be in the Super Bowl.
Lack of an offseason certainly affected Vick, who completed close to 60 percent of his passes despite having 14 interceptions. There were a variety reasons why this happened, but some said it was the new personnel on the offensive line and all the hits Vick took last year.
Vick said that he’s been working hard at being accurate from the pocket, especially when teams are throwing blitz packages at him. Last season, Vick was sacked 23 times, something that would say that teams did this quite often.
“You want to have poise during those tough situations during a blitz when you’ve got guys coming at you.” Vick said after Wednesday’s practice. “You still need to be able to be accurate to maintain your confidence and the integrity of the pocket. I’m just trying focus in on ball placement and I think it’s just a mindset to put the.ball where it needs to be.”
While watching film is important, Vick said the best way for him to work on his accuracy is through working with his backs and receivers.
“Defense is going dictate where you’re going to throw the ball,” he said “Watching film is not going to help you with your accuracy, but throwing the ball to your receivers with people around them will.”
Eagles tight end Brent Celek said Vick has been doing well during the team’s seven-on-seven drills during organized team activities. His leadership and work ethic have been unquestioned throughout mini-camp, Celek said.
“He looks real good,” Celek said. “I’m impressed by Mike. He’s the leader of our team, I think we all know about his athletic ability and his leadership is outstanding. I’m always excited for a new season, but this season? I’m really excited about it.”
Tight end Clay Harbor said having OTAs has helped Vick build a solid rapport with his receivers, something that they haven’t been able to do since Vick became the Eagles starting quarterback.
“We haven’t really had the chance to build a rapport with Mike as our starting quarterback yet,” Harbor said. “Last year, we didn’t have the offseason and the year before that, he wasn’t starting until a couple of games into the season. The No.1 quarterback gets most of the reps. All of us are really gelling. He’s putting the ball on the money. The last two seven-on-sevens we didn’t have a ball hit the ground.”
Vick said he wanted to set the tone for this year’ s round of minicamps because he believes that having a winning season starts with him and having a good work ethic.
“I feel like there’s an urgency to win and that’s good,” Vick said. “If we would have had this same feeling that we have now last year, we may have gotten off to a better start,” Vick said. “We all feed off one another. When you see me here everyday busting my butt to be the best quarterback that I can in order to fulfill my responsibilities to the team, guys start to do the same thing and want other guys to follow them.
“Our motto is work as hard as you can and get the most out of yourself, make yourself and make your family proud. That’s what we preach.”