Michael Vick has been taking way too many hits lately, so much so that Eagles fans expect him to be knocked out for multiple games virtually every time he runs with the ball. It’s an extremely nerve-wracking way to watch a football game. But Vick and Andy Reid say this wouldn’t be a problem if the referees didn’t LET Vick get hit so much. From Jonathan Tamari at philly.com:
"It bothers me," Reid said when a reporter asked about some of the big hits Vick has absorbed when he runs. "I see the same thing you're seeing. He does run, but he's still the quarterback and there has to be, you can't treat him like he's a running back there. That's not what the rules state."
Actually, if the QB doesn’t slide, that’s EXACTLY what the rules state. If the QB takes off with the ball and doesn’t slide, you can hit him just as hard as you hit a wideout or a running back. You can even wrap your arms and everything. It’s true!
For his part, Vick says refs are refusing to throw flags even when he gets hit late in the pocket:
"If you go back and watch the film, I’m getting hit after I throw the ball repeatedly, it’s time after time after time. I’m getting my face mask pulled, I’m getting hit in the head, the calls are not being made," Vick said in an appearance on 610 AM WIP.
"Every time I get hit I look up at the ref and I see no flag. And I see other quarterbacks standing in the pocket, the minute they get touched there’s a flag on the field… I’m getting tired of getting up off the canvas… The defense is going to continue to do it because it's not getting called."
Vick and Reid are using a bit of gamesmanship here, the same way Lakers coach Phil Jackson does when he complains about fouls just before a playoff game. Reid and Vick are speaking publicly so that the refs go into the next game LOOKING for illegal hits on the quarterback, so that they throw more flags.
The problem is that Vick has brought this issue on himself. Again, he never slides, which is remarkably dumb, not only because it subjects Vick to unnecessary injuries, but because it also has a way of influencing the referees. Maybe Vick is right in saying refs don’t protect him, but the reason they don’t is because he consistently refuses to protect HIMSELF. Vick doesn’t treat himself like a quarterback when he runs, and that in turn signals to the refs that they shouldn’t either. If Vick slid and was more cautious in avoiding contact, I guarantee you the refs would be quicker with flags when he does take late hits. We’ll see if the QB ever learns his lesson.