Gibberman: Vick flies again
The Philadelphia Eagles made the controversial decision to bring in Michael Vick, and I applaud them for this. What Vick did was cruel, but he did his time and should be allowed to return to his job. It just happens that his work is in the national spotlight. The dynamic football player sounded sincere during his press conference and is making a smart decision by continuing to keep Tony Dungy in close company since there is not a better person in football for Vick to have as a mentor.
The Eagles offense is going to be a defensive coordinator’s nightmare. Head Coach Andy Reid has the ability to use a 5 WR/RB set with McNabb under center, plus Brian Westbrook, DeSean Jackson, Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy lined up in all sorts of crazy formations. There would be so many different options for defenses to worry about in that package; multiple types of screens, reverses, throwback passes, draw plays, flea flickers and traditional routes. The quarterback of the defense would have his head spinning.
With all of these options at Reid’s disposal – and I haven’t even mentioned TE Brent Celek, WR Jason Avant and WR Kevin Curtis – he needs to be able to keep everyone happy. He can’t hurt Donovan McNabb’s feelings by taking the ball out of his hands too many plays, DeSean Jackson needs to build on his rookie season, Brian Westbrook still believes he is an elite back and rookies McCoy and Maclin have to be involved in the offense – that was a lot to worry about before Vick got there.
Reid must also figure out how to balance the finesse plays with their traditional offense. When the Eagles have been successful under his watch they were dedicated to running the ball. At times Big Andy fell in love with the passing game, which led to them struggling to put points on the board. If Reid starts to run the Wildcat or use trick plays at a higher rate it could be disastrous for Philadelphia. He must pick and choose his spots carefully to take advantage of mismatches and tendencies that the offense created through the season and in specific games.
I do believe that Michael Vick was brought in to be the eventual replacement for Donovan McNabb. It is a perfect match, Vick is 29, McNabb is 32. Vick has two years to learn the system under McNabb’s tutelage and then Philly has two seasons to decide if Michael is the heir apparent to Donovan – who has had a love/hate with Philadelphia faithful during his career. McNabb and Vick’s contracts are both up in two years (Eagles have a team option for Vick in the 2010 season).
I do not understand the misnomer that Michael Vick doesn’t have the ability to be a full time QB in the NFL. His completion percentage is lower than you would want for a starting QB, but Vick has done nothing but win as a starter. His career record is 38-28-1. In 2003 the Falcons were 2-10 when Vick returned to lineup from injury; they went 3-1 in the last four games including beating the Carolina Panthers, who represented the NFC in the Super Bowl that season. In 2005 Michael led the Falcons to the NFC championship game while his receiving crew was disgusting: Peerless Price, Dez White, Brian Finneran and Michael Jenkins. The leading receiver was TE Alge Crumpler, which makes it incredible that the Falcons were able to get to an NFC championship game with that crew flanked out wide. Michael Vick deserves a lot more credit for the job he did in Atlanta than he was given. I don’t care whether he is a traditional QB; Vick finds ways to win whether it is through the air or on the ground. When he has the ball in his hands there is the chance that it can end up in the end zone no matter where he is on the field. Michael Vick can be my team’s quarterback any day.