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Vick's interceptions are misleading

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)

Michael Vick's passes are landing in defender's hands at an alarming rate.

It doesn't mean Vick has suddenly turned into Spergon Wynn.

Vick has thrown more interceptions - seven - five games into this season than he did all of last year when he led the Philadelphia Eagles to the NFC East title.

His turnovers are just one of several reasons why the Eagles are off to a 1-4 start in a season that began with Super Bowl expectations.

But a closer look at Vick's picks shows the Pro Bowl quarterback isn't really at fault for at least five, perhaps six of them. A combination of mistakes by receivers and poor protection has hurt Vick.

''I think it's just guys just trying hard and trying to be the best they can be at their position,'' Vick said Wednesday. ''We're just going to try to limit that and keep doing what we've been doing. We've been very productive but at the same time we beat ourselves. So we've just got to cut it out.''

Vick threw a career-high four interceptions in a 31-24 loss at Buffalo on Sunday. He deserves blame for only one of those picks, though. That was the one Nick Barnett returned 31 yards for a touchdown.

''That interception was sort of my fault,'' Vick said. ''I had a guy coming down my gun barrel and I should've just taken the sack. I was trying to force it, not trying to take the sack. You've got to be disciplined in the moment. Sometimes it's hard, but I think that was a game-changer. You go from 14-7 to 21-7, now we're in the hole trying to fight our way out. Those things can't happen.''

The first interception came when Vick attempted a blind screen on what seems like a poorly designed play. The ball was tipped and caught by Buffalo's Reggie Corner.

Vick threw another pick when an unblocked defender leveled him from his blindside and his pass fluttered into George Wilson's waiting arms.

''When you look at the interceptions, you look at is the quarterback making the right decision, are you putting the quarterback in the right position according to that coverage with the called route, is the quarterback making the right decision, how is the protection holding up,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said. ''And then you talk about routes, and route-running, and those things. So there are a lot of things that go into those. In most cases, especially with a quarterback like Michael, it's a joint effort there. He's not just throwing it to the other guy to throw it to the other guy.''

While Reid defending Vick for his interceptions, he returned the favor. Reid has been heavily criticized by fans and media for the team's poor start.

''It's not coach's fault,'' Vick said. ''Coach can't go out and hold onto the ball. Coach can't throw the ball down the field. Can't go out there and do it, he can only give us what we need. The recipe for victory and that's what we need.

''It's the little thing that's killing us in games.''

The last interception sealed the loss to the Bills. The Eagles were driving when Vick's pass to Jason Avant was stripped out of the receiver's hands, bounced off his foot and to Barnett.

''If that's an incompletion, we've got fourth-and-two,'' Avant said. ''But that's the game of football. It can go really bad one week, and it can go real right for the next 11.''

Vick's other three interceptions were fluke plays. He was picked by Kelvin Hayden in Week 2 against Atlanta. Hayden made a diving grab, got up and ran two yards before he was tackled.

Replays showed the ball hit the ground before Hayden caught it and NBC apologized to Reid for not showing a replay quickly enough.

In Week 3 against the New York Giants, Vick threw an interception on a ball that bounced out of receiver's Steve Smith's hands and to a defender.

Against the San Francisco 49ers the following week, a similar pick occurred when a deep pass to DeSean Jackson bounced out of his hands and to a defender.

''As a quarterback, an interception is an interception,'' Vick said. ''Regardless of how you look at it, the world is going to judge you as throwing an interception. Some of them are tipped and some of them are straight shots, where guys just pick them off. You hate that balls that are tipped because you can't control that. But an interception is an interception and you just can't have them in this game.''

Vick is 29th on the all-time list for the lowest interception ratio at 2.8 percent. Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young were at 2.6. Peyton Manning is at 2.7.

Wynn, by the way, threw seven interceptions and one touchdown in 152 pass attempts for Cleveland and Minnesota in 2000-01.

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Notes: Reid denied a report that former NFL coach Eric Mangini was offered a position as a defensive consultant. ''I didn't offer it to anybody. That was all fabricated,'' Reid said. ... DE Trent Cole (calf), DE Juqua Parker (ankle), LT Jason Peters (hamstring) and DT Cullen Jenkins (triceps) didn't practice Wednesday. S Jarrad Page (stinger) had limited participation.

Tagged: Falcons, Bills, Eagles, Michael Vick, Kelvin Hayden, Jason Avant

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