This system is tailor-made for Michael Vick. Play volume and time between plays are the emphasis, much more so than the complex reads of a traditional drop back passing offense. Michael Vick can react instead of overthink, allowing his natural talents to take over.
The short time between plays and spreading out the defense is what this offense lives on. In Week 1 for instance, the normally aggressive Jim Haslett-led Redskins defense was passive early on, electing to go with more basic coverages and a four-man rush to combat the speed of the offense, making Michael Vick’s job that much easier.
Because the of the receiver alignment, spread out across the formation, opposing defenses have been forced to tip their hand, defining the coverage quicker. This is vital for Michael Vick, allowing him to just react and play. That’s always when he’s been at his best.
The spread also results in 6-man boxes, leaving tons of room for the speedy and dangerous LeSean McCoy. The riding action between Vick and McCoy on almost every play puts safeties and linebackers in constant conflict. Bite too hard on the run action, and passing lanes are wide open. React too slowly to the run, and McCoy is 3-5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage before being touched. McCoy is about as dangerous as any running back when he gets in space – quick and elusive, able to make defenders miss.
There are still issues with Chip Kelly’s offense, as we saw on Sunday. The Eagles only possessed the ball for 19 minutes and 43 seconds, leaving their suspect defense on the field for over 40 minutes, exposed.
When defenses do attack Vick with disguised coverages or blitzes, this offensive juggernaut slows down. For instance, once Redskins Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett did decide to dial up the pressure, Vick became an indecisive passer and was sacked 3 times on blitzes. This has always been one of the issues with Vick throughout his career – recognizing complexities in the defense and reacting accordingly. This is where his lack of precision has and will always hurt him. You can’t always outrun the pass rush.
Additionally, there is the legitimate fear that Vick won’t last the entire season because of the hits he takes on a regular basis.
Regardless, this is the offense the Eagles have to run. When they slow it down they are not as effective. They are not a power running team. They do not have a precision passer. High play volume and spreading out the defense is the system that’s here to stay in Philly. The Eagles will just have to hold their breath and hope Vick can stay healthy.