Vick’s interceptions are misleading

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.

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.