Holding on to the ball is one of the most basic concepts of football, yet it has posed very real problems for Mike Vick as of late.
How do you reinforce such a fundamental lesson to a professional athlete? Get him to eat, drink, and sleep with the football?
Pretty much. That’s what Vick has been up to this week to focus on being aware of hanging on the ball at all times. The quarterback revealed his tactics to the media on Friday to add to his preparation for facing the Lions on Sunday.
Where all did Vick carry the ball?
“Breakfast, to the meetings, lunch. Everyone thought it was funny, but I didn’t. That’s how much I care about this team and that’s how much I care about our success and winning on Sundays. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that I take care of my responsibilities.”
Teammates tried to knock the football out of Vick’s hands to test him. However, he decided to end the exercise when, he joked, things got too series and a bounty was placed on the football.
In addition to focusing on the physical feel of ball security, Vick studied what happened during his fumbles in Pittsburgh to see where he needs to improve. And he is confident that his flak jacket is not contributing to the issue.
I don’t think that [the jacket] had an affect on the ball coming out. The guy put his helmet right on the ball. With the second fumble, if I just go through my progressions, it would have never lead to that. I went back and looked at all of the film with the turnovers that I had and what I could have been able to do to correct it, and they are all things to do to prevent it. They are all things that could be corrected and it’s all self-inflicted. I just have to trust in what we’re doing.”
Vick was also mindful of how others in the league were hanging on to the ball as he watched games throughout the week.
“I’ve taken tips from some of the running backs who carry the football. I love football so much and with all the football I’ve watched – this entire week I’ve watched guys carry the football – and everybody has it high and tight. Even quarterbacks that I’ve watched. It’s something that I definitely need to do. There’s a comfort level that I’ve been able to develop when holding the football.”
To add to the work he’s already done this week in focusing on ball security, Vick should visualize a ’90s fade when thinking about what he needs to do to hang on to the ball: keep it high and tight, my man.