Celek's Disappearance Exposes Flaw in Vick's Game

What you have to understand first is where Celek runs most of his routes and catches most of his passes. Last year, when he caught 76 passes, over two thirds of them came in the middle of the field, between 0 and 19 yards downfield. Of those, 31 were passes under ten yards.

That worked great for Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb. In 2009 and 2010, both quarterbacks passed into that short middle area more than 30 percent of the time, by far their busiest target on the field. And it was also one of their most effective. McNabb completed more than 68 percent of his passes into that area (with a 93.0 QB passer rating), while Kolb hit a cool 75 percent (with a 103.4 rating). That is the West Coast Offense, in action.

Vick sees the field differently. He favors the sidelines and the deep ball over short or intermediate middle passes. Under 23 percent of his passes go over the middle and less than 10 yards downfield. That accounts for some of Celek’s drop in production — he has less opportunities to catch the ball.

But what is more interesting is that Vick is also significantly less effective throwing into that space…