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Steelers Film Room: Michael Vick playing backyard football

Pittsburgh saw Michael Vick succeed late in the fourth quarter against San Diego, but his success did not come from pre-snap reads, but more reminiscent of the younger days of Ben Roethlisberger.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Vick's success came from him opening up and not doubting what he was seeing. He's not going to be an expert pre-snap quarterback that calls out hot routes and audibles at will, but when his early reads are available for one-on-one coverage he can make the play.

First Play:

Vick's first read on this play was Antonio Brown over the middle of the defense, but Vick's second look on this play was Wheaton on his stop and go. There's no pressure in his face to start this play which allows him to make his first two reads. However when he realizes Wheaton will be open there is a player that brings heat downa and lays a solid hit on Vick just after his pass. Haley is going to need to draw up plays that isolate receivers for Vick and give him space to make the necessary play.

Second Play:

This is an example of when Vick takes too long to make reads and fails to recognize blitzers. His first two reads were not open and by the time he makes it to Darrius Heyward-Bey his route is finished and the defender almost takes the pass back for a touchdown the other way.

Once Vick gets past his first few reads, he tends to get hasty with his decisions. Though not always out of order, this was a situation where Vick's weakness of reading defenses before the play worked against him.

Third Play:

Here Vick does go through progressions to find Heath Miller in the red zone, but he makes his decision with conviction and puts it in a place where Miller can make a play on the ball. It was not a great pass, but it was just good enough to get the job done. Quick decisions like this are what Haley will probably try to present for Vick isolating players into single coverage.


Vick's strength is not pre-snap reads, but he does have an asset in his arm strength. This is the most talented cast of skill players he's had in the huddle with him and he has to depend on them to make plays such as what Wheaton and Heath did in these plays.

Fortunately for Vick he gets to work with some of the most reliable players at their positions when it comes to making plays as receivers. Antonio Brown isn't wrong to tell Vick to trust him more, because maybe if Vick learned to trust his receivers with deeper passes like he did late in the fourth quarter against the Chargers, maybe the Steelers will put more points up this week against Arizona.