The Bears vs Michael Vick
This Sunday, the Bears take on Michael Vick and the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles -- or is it the red-hot Vick? Either way, the Bears have nothing short of a monumental task in stopping the Eagles offense. Since his public shaming of the Redskins a few weeks ago, the narrative around Michael Vick has changed from feel-good story of redemption, to "this is not the same Vick."
The Philadelphia Eagles are a very good team. Football Outsiders Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) statistic currently ranks the Eagles offense #2, and the defense #7 -- just behind the Bears at #6. Combined, that makes them the top team going into Week 12. On top of that, Michael Vick has always been an electric player. There is a reason he signed that record-breaking contract in 2005 -- the dude was good. But, at the same time, he really seemed more like a halfback imitating a quarterback.
Now, under the offensive mastermind that is Andy Reid, Vick seems to be imitating nothing. He's instead carving out a new legacy for himself.
So, yeah, Vick is great, the Eagles are great -- what chance to the Bears stand? Well, maybe a good chance.
I hold to the theory that Vick struggles against fast defenses. I first began believing this a few years back when Vick (before his incarceration) was about to play the Colts. I theorized ol' Vick struggles against fast defenses -- namely, Tampa Two-style defenses. Tony Dungy's general defensive scheme is super simple, but relies heavily on ultra-quick defenders. As a result, scrambling QBs lose a facet of their game and a degree of their effectiveness.
In his career, Vick sports sub-par traditional numbers against the Bucs, Colts, and Bears. And though Carolina does not employ the Cover 2 defense per se, they did employ a particular defensive end, Mr. Julius Peppers, as well as a slew of super-fast defenders.
In his career, Vick has typically fared better passer-wise when his legs are working too. There are only three exceptions, as hi-lighted below, but that allows us to make this logical assertion: When Vick runs well, he throws well too (plays break down and receivers open up); but when Vick has no time or targets, he can run and only run.
If the Chicago Bears want to beat Vick on Sunday, they need to either keep him under 50 yards or over 130 yards rushing, and consistently flush him out of the pocket to the right (where, as a lefty, it's hard for him to throw).