Friday, August 14, 2009

Surprising no one, Vick returns to the NFL

The big NFL news of the day is Michael Vick signing with Philly.

It should be of no surprise that someone signed Vick. Of course someone would--as much as the NFL (and its fans) would like to think that at some point, character issues outweigh tantalizing talent, the reality is that when you get a player that is as captivating as Vick is when he's at his best then he's going to find someone who will turn a blind eye to it. On a side note, it'll be interesting to see how Vick does in Philadelphia, the city that booed Santa Claus. I expect to see plenty of dog collars on the Beagles... uh... Eagles fans this season.

But this isn't about Vick's character issues, whether he should or should not be allowed to play again, or which Philly fan will be the first one to sing "Who Let The Dogs Out?" when Vick hits the field. No, this post is about what Philadelphia is actually going to do with him on the roster.

The obvious and quick answer is that Kevin Kolb sprained his knee so the Eagles need to line up another backup QB. But Kolb's knee isn't expected to be season-ending, and AJ Feeley is tolerable enough to fill the gap.

The NFL is a copycat league... and this year, the cat being copied is going to be a wild one--the trendy Wildcat formation that Miami had so much success with last season. In the Wildcat, the snap goes directly to the running back. Really, what better role is there for Vick? We all know his running ability, and as a passer he has one of the strongest arms in the league (though with accuracy that approaches Shaq at the free throw line some days).

You don't sign a player with Vick's talent if you don't intend to use it, and you don't sign a player with Vick's baggage if you don't intend to try to get something positive in return for the distraction it brings to the team. McNabb is still clearly the starter, so there has to be another way to get Vick on the field. Getting him a few plays a game in situations designed just for him seems to be a good way to get him back into the speed of the NFL game. Andy Reid is certainly capable of figuring out a way to get the most of Vick.

So, the bottom line for Vick? A few rushes, a few passes, and probably a few highlight reel runs in the process. Lots of mocking in every stadium he plays in, including his home field. Dog collars thrown at him in Dallas, snowballs thrown at him in Philly. It's a shame he won't get to play against Cleveland and the Dawg Pound.

This is going to become the new media obsession. His first practice, first preseason game, the time he'll have to sit out, the reinstatement, the first regular season game. We're going to hear about it all. In all things, there is an upside, though--at least we won't get anymore stories about Brett Favre's un-re-un-re-un-re-un-re-tirement for a while.


  1. I expect him to catch some short passes from McNabb too; perhaps "out of the backfield", or lined up in the slot or something. He's a hell of a weapon for a West Coast Offense, as a runner/receiver.

  2. One thing I've noticed by its conspicuous absence is any talk out of Vick or his agent about how "he's a quarterback and he's only going to accept opportunities to play quarterback."

    Now, maybe that's what his goal still is, but the lack of any insistence upon it, especially right off the bat, is at least a sign that some level of common sense has entered into the thought process for Vick and his agent.

    The reality is that with Vick's baggage, he should be happy to have any job with any team right now, including water boy. (Which, on a side note, isn't all that bad a gig for getting started--just look at Larry Fitzgerald, former Viking water boy.) If Vick will truly keep up an attitude of "I'll do whatever my team wants of me" it's at least a good first step.

  3. By the way, I'm calling it now: the first time Vick makes a big play out of the Wildcat, some media wags are going to start calling Philly's version of it "the Wilddog formation."


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