Michael Vick: Week 1, at Washington.
Vick ended up with efficient numbers Monday night, but the real story of the game was the way Philadelphia’s running game dominated in the no-huddle attack. The Redskins couldn’t slow down (or, for much of the night, tackle) LeSean McCoy and Vick ended up with 34 yards rushing on read option plays in addition to the 20 he gained on scrambles. The strength of the Eagles’ ground game apparently opened the floodgates for play-action, too, as Vick had over half his yardage and both his passing touchdowns come after fakes to the running back – a ploy the Eagles used on less than a third of Vick’s total dropbacks. It was hard to watch the first half of Monday Night’s opening game and not envision a monster season for McCoy and a Coach of the Year award for Chip Kelly.
That Coach of the Year award may be incumbent on Vick being more accurate over the course of the season, however. Over a quarter of Vick’s throws were off the mark Monday Night and when the Eagles simply dropped back to pass with no deception embedded into the start of the play, the results didn’t look too different from Andy Reid’s last season. Vick still took more sacks than were necessary and missed too many wide open throws. One positive sign: his lone fumble was a fluky lateral pass that got batted away by Ryan Kerrigan a few inches behind the line of scrimmage – otherwise, there were no ball security issues to speak of. If Vick can actually shore that area of his game up over the course of an entire season, the strength of the Eagles’ rushing attack and Kelly’s innovative coaching may be enough for the Eagles to win a weak division.
Robert Griffin III: Week 1, vs. Philadelphia.
|Dropback||4||24||0||1, -10 yards||5||3|
|Total||4||24||0||1, -10 yards||7||5|
It was a sloppy night for both RGIII and his receivers. Griffin didn’t get to spend hardly any time on the field in the first half but played long enough to throw a horrible interception to Brandon Boykin in the midst of three Eagles defenders in the middle of the field. His second interception, to Cary Williams at the beginning of the third quarter, was more a poor throw than a poor decision – it was the rare RGIII pass to the sideline without enough arm strength and Williams made an excellent diving catch on the ball.
All of RGIII’s inaccurate throws also came in the first two-and-a-half quarters and the vast majority of his receivers’ drops came in that time frame, too. After the midpoint of the third quarter, Griffin caught fire and generally looked like the budding superstar he played like in 2012 (at least through the air – he’s retained his mobility with his legs, but he didn’t show the extra gears he possessed last season outside the pocket). Structurally, there’s nothing wrong with the Redskins offense – the Shanahans still generate open receivers on passing plays as well as any offensive coaches in the league – and with more playing time to shake off the rust, Griffin should return to his 2012 form pretty quickly. The most worrisome aspect of Monday Night’s loss for Redskins fans should be the play of the defense, which didn’t look improved at all from last year even with the return of Brian Orakpo.
Player Who Was Better Than His Stats Would Indicate
McCoy. And that’s saying something considering he rushed for 184 yards and a touchdown. With the amount of times the Eagles figure to run the ball this season, it’s really not outside the realm of possibility that McCoy could wind up with 2,000 yards this year.
Player Who Was Worse Than His Stats Would Indicate
Vick. The fact that he left a lot of yards out on the field should alternately terrify opposing defensive coordinators (because as good as the Eagles looked at times Monday Night, there’s plenty of room for them to be even better) and soothe them (if Vick was ever going to solve his problems with accuracy, wouldn’t he have done that by now?).