Watching Vick last season was a breathtaking experience, an edge-of-the-seat sports journey that was enjoyable to the bitter end of the 2010 campaign. He took the necessary next steps in his NFL evolution and enjoyed an MVP-caliber performance.
I can't wait to see how Vick takes his game to another level in 2011. There are going to be subtle changes in the way the Eagles operate offensively; to what lengths I do not know. But the Eagles are going to have enough firepower to do as they choose to do, and they have fortified the offensive line with the selection of three players in April's draft, including first-round pick and projected starter at right guard, Danny Watkins.
This is an offense built for speed and bolstered by some nastiness up front, courtesy of Watkins, first and foremost. Vick is the conductor, the point guard of the offense.
So will his job be to distribute the football and make sure that LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek get their touches? Is Vick a "pass-first" quarterback who will look to make plays with his legs only when he is "open" to do so?
Or do the Eagles rely on Vick as another weapon and make sure he has run opportunities a handful of times a game?
Vick is anything but traditional, but it was very clear by his 2010 play that his talents assimilated well into the scheme. Vick's brilliance saved an offense that staggered out of the starting gates, and he took it to new heights by playing the position of quarterback more completely than he has ever played.
Now, the stage is set for an encore. And the expectations are going to be sky high, maybe unfairly high. If the Eagles don't score 28 points a game, will the fans understand that it's difficult to put up points in the NFL?
Maybe. Maybe not.
What is going to be fascinating to watch is the way the Eagles' coaching staff crafts Vick's role into the offense, how the coaches raise his game from both a cerebral sense and an execution standpoint. I think it is important for the Eagles to develop an offense that is all-around potent, one that withstand an off-game if the passing game isn't explosive, one that can string together a time-consuming touchdown drive to win a game, one that is able to smash-mouth its way to a tough first down in the red zone.
The big plays are going to be there in the offense. There are so many weapons here, and such a brilliant scheme. Defenses are going to show the Eagles the two-deep zone coverage they do at times, and they're going to play soft and not allow the Eagles to get deep down the field. Defenses are also going to blitz until the Eagles show they are capable of defeating it, so Vick is going to have to be in a more traditional role as a "point guard" who gets the football out of his hands quickly.
I'm not sure it is easy to classify Vick in that sense. He has to be a little bit of both kinds of quarterback to make this offense truly dynamic and multi-pronged. Sometimes an offense has to win ugly, and watching these NBA playoffs you see how important the half-court offense is. The Eagles aren't going to have fast-break chances every time they have the football.
What will the Eagles do when they have to change up in the middle of the game? They've got to have confidence to play any kind of game, any style of football, with Vick in the leading role.
Is Vick the kind of quarterback who is better off dishing the football and making sure his playmakers have their touches? Is he the lead playmaker? Is he the one who creates it all for the offense?
There are only five players on the court in a basketball game. The world is much different in the NFL, of course. It takes all 11 players to make an offense work.
Vick, though, is the point guard here. He is the leading player, the main piece of the attack. It's hard to fit him into a box, and that's a good thing. He defies the norm, so the Eagles have to make sure they are on track with any style they choose to play on a given Sunday.