I just read this quote (literally 30 seconds ago) – “Refs don’t protect me like they do other QB’s”, Michael Vick following his injury in Philadelphia’s loss to the New York Giants (29-16), 1-2 (last in the NFC East).
Vick had been questionable for Sunday’s game after suffering a brutal concussion (groggy, spitting blood, nasty looking thing) against Atlanta in Week 2.
It’s all in your perspective
He’s right you know. They don’t. Vick’s argument is heard loud and clear here. QB’s with speed, quickness and elusive skills shouldn’t need the protection of a “yellow hanky”, or so is the subconscious thought process of most NFL officials. Michael Vick has helped “redefine” the Quarterback position and with it, the equity of protection. Sure we’ve seen Randall Cunningham, Jake Plummer, Steve Young and even Fran Tarkenton scramble around and make plays with their feet. They too “paid the price” for daring to venture outside the pocket, but that’s the nature of the “open field”.
These QB’s had an uncanny knack for escaping pressure, pressing an edge and getting defenses to open up so they could throw down field. But Vick is different. This is a “high powered”, explosive runner that can also throw a bullet. It’s difficult for defensive coordinators to truly imagine such a dual option threat; one who can just as easily run for a 60 yard touchdown as he can throw for one.
“So let him run! Give him a chance to break in the open, juke & jive and accelerate for 60. This is the NFL’s new breed of Quarterback!” Not that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger or Kurt Warner haven’t taken their own “fair share” of shots. Running QB’s are different. They can protect themselves and prove to be a much greater “game breaking” threat when given the chance anyway. That’s what the fans want to see. “You run, you pay”.
Nature of the “beast”
Here’s the deal. This type Quarterback is what’s coming up from the ranks. More and more we hear from football talent scouts that “Pro Style” QB’s are getting harder and harder to find. Take a look at college football. Offenses are moving to wide open, spread option attacks that require mobility and running skills from the signal callers.
A ton of NFL owner’s money is spent on finding that “dynamic” under center and a lot is spent on eleven players tasked with “taking the head” of the “dynamic”. So too is the financial commitment to the “big fella” that guards his backside. But does a “running” Quarterback deserve any less consideration of “protection” than the “stoic statue”?
The NFL chooses to safeguard these players for a good reason, for the good of the game. Without a quality Quarterback (stating the obvious here) a club can darn near start budgeting for a pick at the top of the first round in the following year’s college draft (probably another dynamic Quarterback).
So what’s it gonna be? Do we start to equally protect the mobile Quarterback (both inside and outside the pocket)? Or do we let our subconscious mind allow us into thinking he’s really a running back? Only time will tell, but ask Cam Newton, Tim Tebow, Colin Kaepernick, Jake Locker or Terrelle Pryor how they feel about life “outside the pocket” in the NFL?
“Give it to the running back”.