Will the Real Michael Vick Please Stand Up?

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There are few things less ironic than the way sports fans react to events. Beyond their noticeable penchant for memory loss, their compassionate ability to forgive is remarkable.


Turn back the clocks to August of 2009, and the Philadelphia Eagles signed controversial, high-profile QB Michael Vick. With Pro Bowl QB Donovan McNabb in place, many questioned the move. But Andy Reid maintained it was just an opportunity to add a weapon. Andy Reid is a smart man.

At the time, the discussion revolved around how anyone could take a chance on such a despicable human being… who should never be given the chance work again because of what he had done.

Vick said and did the rights things and, from all reports, he is a changed man. Sure, a certain segment of society (PETA) still condemns him, but most who rode their high horses of criticism are now in silent awe as Vick flashes the rare ability we saw back in the early 2000s.

When Eagles’ starting quarterback Kevin Kolb was injured in the first half of the Eagles first game, the reign of Michael Vick began. He’s dazzled his away out of ignominious memories and back into revelations. Every spinning escape and 40-yard strike captures another fan and somehow, in a period of 2.5 games, Michael Vick has gone from greatest villain to greatest hero in the NFL.

But the question is… how long can he keep this up? For all his athletic prowess, Vick was never a refined passer in the NFL. He has the remarkable ability to roll, duck and dive out of trouble and then throw it 50 yards on a rope between defenders for a first down. But he’ll follow that magic up by throwing it into the dirt on the simplest of passes.

Such is the type of player Michael Vick is. But, even as a non-conventional quarterback, he can still be plenty effective for exactly that reason: he’s non conventional. Vick is as fast as anyone on the field. If he breaks containment, he’s likely to burn you for major yardage. You’ll never see Peyton Manning do that.

But what happens on a 3rd and 7 when the Eagles need him to convert through the air? Can he do it? Can he keep up his current torrid, statistical pace? Has the 30-year-old Vick suddenly turned a corner as a player? Perhaps his new coaching staff and surrounding talent will offer him the talent he never had in Atlanta? Perhaps those were the elements which kept him from developing as a quarterback?

In Philadelphia, Vick has an outstanding receiver corps, including one of the most exciting wide receivers in football, DeSean Jackson, and emerging second-year player Jeremy Maclin. He’s got an outstanding tight end. Most of all, he’s playing in a system that produced friendly stats from all quarterbacks involved ranging from Donovan McNabb to A.J. Feeley to Jeff Garcia. These things bode well for Vick.

But the question remains: How long can he keep this up?