In what was certainly quarterback Michael Vick's last game in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform, Vick capped off his three-year tenure as the Eagles' primary quarterback in truly disappointing fashion. Against the New York Giants last Sunday, Vick was able to complete just 19 of his 35 passes attempts for 197 yards; he also threw one touchdown and one interception and was sacked one time for a loss of four yards. As a result of his lackluster performance, Vick was responsible for having one of the worst games for a quarterback in Week 17 of the NFL season.
Fortunately, Vick will not be at risk of falling into a deep depression because of the mediocre way in which he played on Sunday because he did not consider his game against the Giants as an audition for his future employers. While Vick was correct in making that assertion as any team who is thinking about signing him to a contract for next season should really not base their final decisions on one game, that does not mean that he gets a free pass, either. When a team looks at his production over the past three seasons, it will not need to just examine his most recent game to decide what kind of quarterback he would be for them.
Just like Vick said, his play in the NFL over the past three seasons, and his career in general, will speak for itself much louder than the whisper of one game. However, it would seem that what Vick thinks his play says for himself and what it actually says are two different things.
What Vick's performance in an Eagles uniform suggests is that his next employer will under no circumstances be receiving the player who lit up the NFL landscape in 2010. During this season, Vick was the primary quarterback for the Eagles in 12 contests, in which he completed 61.8 percent of his passes en route to gaining 8.1 yards per pass attempt, 8.4 adjusted yards per pass attempt, 6.9 net yards per pass attempt, and 7.2 adjusted net yards per pass attempt. He also posted a touchdown percentage of 5.5 percent, an interception percentage of 2.7 percent, and a sack percentage of 8.4 percent.
Although Vick took way too many sacks during 2010, as is his wont, it was still the most successful season he had ever had as a quarterback, made even more surprising since it was the first season he had played regularly since 2006 due to legal issues. As it turned out, it was a season so successful Vick has not been able to replicate it and has spent the last two seasons inevitably regressing to the mean.
Over the past two seasons for Vick, which encompass a total of 22 games as primary quarterback for the Eagles, he has been able to complete 59.0 percent of his passes while gaining 7.3 yards per pass attempt, 6.7 adjusted yards per pass attempt, 6.5 net yards per pass attempt, and 5.9 adjusted net yards per pass attempt. Additionally, Vick has posted a touchdown percentage of 3.8 percent, an interception percentage of 3.1 percent, and a sack percentage of 6.3 percent.
He has declined as a quarterback across every area, with the exception of sack percentage, and his drop-off in adjusted yards per pass attempt has been so precipitous it is of the statistically significant variety.
To make matters worse, Vick has also lost 42.9 percent of his fumbles over the past two seasons compared to losing 27.3 percent of his fumbles in 2010. Overall, he has been a turnover-making machine since the 2011 season began.
Vick's play over the last two seasons, coupled with the futility he experienced in his career prior to 2010, has been such that we can all learn an important less from it. Vick will never again be the elite-level quarterback he was in 2010, not for any sustained period of time. Instead, what he will be for the rest of his career if he is given the starting job for another team is at best an average quarterback. No team should hope for more than that unless they enjoy having parades rained upon, bubbles burst, and hopes dashed.
Even without his middling performance against the Giants, the truth would have been the same regarding Vick's ability level to be a successful quarterback. For those paying attention, the answer is obvious that Vick will be incapable of leading a sustained level of excellence and will only be an upgrade over the worst quarterbacks. No final-game audition was needed.