I Think Michael Vick is a Myth

image from mobilwi.typepad.comPhoto from 2011, Bob Grotz

For a while now, readers and friends alike have given me a somewhat hard time about being so indifferent toward Michael Vick. I don’t dislike him because of the dog fighting thing anymore (I’m over it– he paid a steeper price than anyone before him for that crime). By all accounts, he’s been mostly a model citizen since taking over the reigns as the Eagles’ starting quarterback (or, he has good PR people). He’s extremely entertaining to watch, still gives me an unfair advantage in Madden, and – from a blogging perspective – him being a supremely polarizing figure doesn’t hurt business. 

But what I can’t get past, and why I’ve struggled to get overly enthusiastic about the Dream Team or the coming dynasty, is the fact that Michael Vick isn’t that good. Or, put more lightly: the Eagles aren’t going to win a Super Bowl with him.

It continues to boggle my mind why Jeffrey Lurie, a talented businessman, has put all of his eggs in a high-risk, medium-to-high-reward basket. It doesn’t make sense. All teams are built around their quarterback and would be extremely worse-off if he were to get injured. But that situation is magnified for the Eagles. Maybe it’s because their backups are a collective crapshoot, or because, since 1999, their offense has been built around mobile but not-so-fundamentally-sound quarterbacks. Maybe it’s because Vick himself is wildly inconsistent. Maybe it’s because he’s more likely to get injured than the average quarterback. Or, maybe it’s a combination of all those things. 

Whatever the reason for the prevailing thought that the Eagles season hangs in the balance every time Vick gets hit, one thing is clear, to me, at least: this isn’t going to end the way Lurie wants it to– with a Super Bowl win.

Only once has Vick played in all 16 of his team’s games (2006, with the Falcons). Though he’s played 15 games three times, he’s had his 2003, 2010 and 2011 seasons significantly shortened due to injury, and he comes into the 2012 season off of two preseason injuries. As such, the collective gasp we take every time Vick holds the ball too long or improvises outside the pocket is well-founded. It’s not a matter of if… it’s a matter of when. When will Vick get hurt, and for how long? 

That’s concern number one. But let’s, if for just a moment, pretend that injuries won't shorten Vick’s season and career. Let’s be silly. Let’s play pretend. I’ll be a dragon, you be a believer.

Even if Vick doesn’t get hurt, will it really matter all that much? Could the Eagles really win the Super Bowl with him? Is he really that good? The whole thing feels like the Kevin Kolb situation to me. He was jammed down our throats as being some great quarterback, even though he had shown us very little. Ultimately, he didn’t work out here and it’s not going so well in Arizona. That's how I feel with Vick– what we keep being told and what we're led to believe is not what we're actually seeing on any sort of consistent basis.

Perhaps the worst thing to ever happen to the Eagles was Vick throwing for 4,000 yards and 17 TDs against the Redskins on Monday Night Football in 2010. Not only has the national media bought into (created?) the hype, but I think the Eagles did, too. Vick certainly has*. 

It’s mostly a bunch of shit.

Facts, because I’m doing facts this week: Since starting the 2010 season with no interceptions in his first seven games (which sent the hype machine into overdrive), Vick has been intercepted 24 times in 19 games. I’m shittay at math, but I think that’s more than one per game, Holmes. And that’s not good. 

Also not good (relative) is Vick turning in four 100+ QB ratings in those first seven games of 2010 but only six in the 19 games since.

More bad: Last year Vick was 14th in the league in QB rating, 19th in completion percentage and 11th in yards per attempt. All decent, but hardly great. His highest-ranked meaningful metric? He was 10th in interceptions. 

Now, none of these stats are atrocious. In fact, most are better than average. But we’re somehow led to believe that Vick is the guy we saw for a few games in 2010, not the guy he’s been for, oh, I don’t know, the rest of his career.

The reason he was so good for a few games two years ago was because he caught defenses off-guard with what he had left in the tank and, for the first time in his career, had a creative coach drawing up plays for him. I’ve written this before: Once defenses adjusted to how Reid was using Vick, the Eagles quickly came back down to earth. 

The one thing that separates Vick from other quarterbacks, of course, is his running ability. He was 35th in the league in rushing last season, second amongst quarterbacks (Cam Newton finished 26th). But the very thing that separates Vick from other average passers is the thing we want him to do less of this season… so he doesn’t get hurt. It’s a Catch 22 (or, intercepted before it got to 22, if Vick’s throwing) if there ever was one: To be a top 10 quarterback, Vick has to run. And if he runs a lot, he’s going to get hurt. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s not a winning formula. 

Despite overwhelmingly positive feelings toward the Eagles during the offseason and massive sympathy felt for Reid, I once again, like last year, found myself subconsciously rooting against the Eagles in the third quarter yesterday. I didn’t want them to lose… but part of me still felt like that would ultimately lead to a better outcome than a 10-6 season with first round playoff loss. I want to feel differently – for real, I do – but Vick (and Reid) haven’t shown me much over the past few years to convince me otherwise. 

I'd love to be proven wrong this year… but I don't think I will be.


*He talks like LeBron James and Allen Iverson at his press conferences. “My teammates” may be the most grating phrase a self-absorbed athlete can use, because by it’s very nature that statement makes the player bigger than the team.


17 Responses

  1. “It continues to boggle my mind why Jeffrey Lurie, a talented businessman, has put all of his eggs in a high-risk, medium-to-high-reward basket.”
    High risk? They can cut him after the year for peanuts. And there’s no Super Bowl QB tree to shake to get a high-quality replacement. Maybe they win the lottery with Foles, maybe they go into next year trying to trade up to get the next big thing – either way, I’m puzzled where the “risk” comes from or how the Eagles are somehow more in an “all eggs in one basket” situation then anyone else is at QB. No one has 2 championship caliber QBs.

  2. I watched a small clip on ESPN First Take today about the game. One of the things the staff *almost* got to, was the play calling. They tip toed around the fact the play calling, which falls on Andy and Marty.
    You have Michael Vick who had very few pre-season snaps. Its Game One of the regular season and your QB is rusty and its showing. You have a top 5 Running Back. Why the fuck do you call 56 pass plays and give Shady 20 rushes, against a team that ranked well defensively against the pass?
    I was on the fence about Andy Reid a bit after last year, but this is the shit that will keep happening. The man does not know how to call a game or adjust. Make him your GM, he has a great eye for player talent and he does a great job of finding his diamonds in the rough.
    Yes Michael Vick will not win you a Super Bowl, is always hurt and blah blah blah. But Neither will Andy Reid. Lurie must blow up the field leadership. Marty, Juan, Andy, and Vick all need to go. Its time for fresh blood, other wise the fans are going to demand it.

  3. I am a firm believer that Vick will never win a superbowl. When he was 2010 Mike Vick he was awesome, but since he signed that 80 million dollar contract what has he done? Pretty much nothing, and he’s not getting any faster out there. Sucess nowadays is measured in more ways than one and Vick’s measuring stick is how much money he can make and how hard he can get the media to hype him up. I’ve been saying all year that the Mike Vick that is currently starting for the eagles is a slightly better Tim Tebow, and he showed it by getting picked 4 times against the freaking Browns. Let Foles get his snaps. Maybe he develops into a good, reliable QB for the Eagles in the future.

  4. Once FatMan and Little AR stop trying to turn Vick into Drew Brees, and design a game plan that focuses on Shady (and to a lesser degree both Brown and Polk) that in turn allows Vick to:
    1- play against a Defense whose #1 priority is stopping the run,
    2- take advantage of his never-seen-before athleticism @ the QB position (think bootlegs all day long) and
    3- increases the effectiveness of play-action with (arguably) the most dynamic WR in the NFL,
    this Offense could be unstoppable and Super Bowl bound.
    Making him diagnose Defenses and throw the ball 3 out of 4 plays is like asking Honey Boo Boo to give a dissertation on being classy and elegant.
    I hope Vick can prove me wrong, but that being typed, I cannot wait till the Mr WonderFoles era begins.

  5. what people are forgetting is that the browns had the 2nd best pass defense last year. their run defense is the joke their secondary is ballin

  6. Jeff Lurie could care less about winning. He cares about fielding a team good enough to get all your sheckles. He wants a coach who wont make waves and he likes the occasional news splash to keep the eagles in the minds of the national media so some retard in idaho will buy a jersey. News flash it’s gonna get alot worse with the divorce, he’ll be watering down the beer and asking hatfield to make the hot dogs shorter.

  7. You’re not shitting son. That fat piece of shit Andy Reid and his stupid mustache can’t even manage the clock let alone a championship team. He has always put just a bit too much on his QB’s. He plays Donovan and Vick like they are Peyton and Brady. Well they aren’t Peyton and Brady so you don’t put the game in the air as much as Peyton and Brady do. You just don’t if you aren’t totally stupid. If Andy played a more balanced game Vick would absolutely get better. He puts the target on Vic, just like Mcnabb. Now go get mommy a bottle of Mad dog Kiwi lime like a good boy.

  8. “since 1999, their offense has been built around mobile but not-so-fundamentally-sound quarterbacks.”
    Actually that should read 1989, Cunningham was the original poster-child for that phrase.

  9. If Andy Reid has so much as one fuctioning brain cell (given his crappy playcalling, that’s often debatable), he’ll give Nick Foles some reps with the first team. After watching Baltimore demolish Cincinnati last night, it isn’t a question of IF Vick, the man, the myth is knocked out of this Sunday’s game, but WHEN.

  10. Ray Lewis shanks Vick pre game warmups.
    friend of mine had business dealings with Modell family in the 90s…..he met with Art Modell and after the meeting my friend was told ” Mr Modell liked you; he said ” I liked that kid, he didnt kiss my ass and try to bullshit me”

  11. I’d really like to see Vick step into some kind of rhythm but I don’t see it happening. He’s going to get hurt… and then I’ll lead all of you into believing I am in fact the next great QB in Philadelphia!

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