Why Did the Eagles Air Raid Fall Apart in 2011?

I’m not sure what happened to the Eagles vaunted quick-strike passing attack of 2010. And after combing through some of the stats from last year, I still don’t have a good read on it.

Let’s just take a minute to compare Michael Vick’s passes of 20 yards or more over the last two years, courtesy of Pro Football Focus:

Michael Vick Deep Passing Stats

The numbers show a complicated picture. By some measures, Vick’s deep passes were as good as they were a year prior. Yards per target and per reception were almost identical. The interception rate was similar, and completion percentage actually bumped up to 50 percent.

On the other hand, Vick’s touchdown rate dropped precipitously from 12.3 percent of all deep passes to just 6.3 percent. There were also seemingly fewer opportunities downfield — Vick’s percentage of throws 20 yards or greater fell by more than a third.

What about for DeSean Jackson, Vick’s frequent target on deep passes?

DeSean Jackson Receiving Deep Stats

DeSean received a higher percentage of deep targets (54.2 percent vs. 44.6 percent in 2010), but his reception rate went in the opposite direction. A few drops here, a few bad passes there caused his yards per target figure to drop as well.

The odd thing about Jackson’s numbers is the interceptions column. Notice anything? Yes, all four of Vick’s interceptions throwing deep were targeted at Jackson. I’m not sure what to make of that. Was Jackson not putting in the effort to go get the ball? Was Vick forcing the ball to his top target? Whatever the problem, is it fixable?

It may be time to go back to the tape.

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