Who let the dogs out? I’m sorry I had to.
After weeks of endless “Will Michael Vick ever play again in the National Football League?” talks, the Philadelphia Eagles and Vick agreed on a two year deal. The former Falcons quarterback will receive $1.6 million in his first season with an option of $5.2 million for the second season.
Shocking? You may not be the only one to feel this way. Looking back at training camp, head coach Andy Reid said to all reporters that he was very happy with where the Eagles quarterbacks stood and was not going to look deep into the Vick debate. Less than two weeks later, Vick will wear green and silver. Some believe that the signing of Vick came hand in hand with the injury to Kevin Kolb, while others believe that Reid signed the former No. 1 draft pick in order to impose a “wildcat” type offense. Personally, I think that it is a little bit of both.
There is no denying that Michael Vick has talent. He has speed that makes cornerbacks look like offensive lineman. He has the ability to get out of almost any situation with his legs and can dodge almost anyone in the NFL. But the question that I am asking and what many other Eagles fans are probably asking is this—will he be an addition or a distraction?
Andy Reid is not a coach that enjoys the spotlight. He doesn’t normally take risks on signing players that he believes might disrupt the continuity within the locker room. However, he just signed a player that has been non-stop in the media for the last two seasons after being convicted of conspiracy and running of a dogfight operation. He just signed a player that cannot even potentially see action during the regular season until the sixth game. And let’s not forget, the last game that Michael Vick participated in was on December 31, 2006. Ironically, that game was against the Eagles and Philadelphia won by a score of 24-17. (Vick sprained his ankle in the beginning of the third quarter)
As an Eagles fan I am worried about the negative attention that Vick could bring to the Eagles. Even though he may have cleaned up his act as a person, he will always be remembered for his past. The Eagles organization is now in the spotlight for the next two seasons. The number of cameras and reporters will increase exponentially and I am anxious to see how the ‘Birds handle the media frenzy. Reid believes in second chances, but is this chance worth the potential negativity?
Since my pessimistic rant won’t change Reid’s mind, let’s look at some of the positives in the deal. Think about this wildcat formation: Vick behind center, Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin. The average 40-yard dash in that group is 4.37 seconds. In the words of sports figure Steven A. Smith, “that’s just ri-dic-u-lous.” This gives offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid an opportunity to get inside the heads of opposing coaches and defenses. They can create plays around Vick’s legs while knowing that he can also throw the ball. Who knows, maybe we might just see an “Annexation of Puerto Rico” thrown into the mix.
While his arm is not considered his most talented part of his game, Vick was still an NFL starting quarterback. If need be and the knee injury to Kevin Kolb turns out to be more serious that we thought, he can be trusted to come in behind McNabb and complete passes.
But what if Andy Reid is thinking more than just the next two seasons? Many speculate that the signing of Vick for two years might have been for a reason. Vick’s contract ironically matched up with the two year deal that McNabb signed at the beginning of the season. Here’s what ESPN’s John Clayton had to say about this topic:
“But the most interesting item is the terms of the deal — two years. Donovan McNabb signed a two-year, $24.2 million contract, which was supposed to eliminate any question about who was the Eagles’ starting quarterback. After missing two years of football while he was in prison, Vick shouldn’t pose a threat to McNabb now, but he will make the rest of the summer and upcoming season interesting.”
While it’s safe to say that Vick has a long way to go to think about a starting role, Vick is going to do everything in his power to make it back to the elite level that he once performed at on the Falcons.
For now, however, Vick has to focus on the task at hand. He will be introduced the Eagles in a press conference on Friday and could see action as soon as he is fit to perform. His suspension only keeps him out of potentially the first six games (Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to cut down that sentence at his discretion) and he is allowed to participate in any practice or preseason game.
Let’s see where the next chapter of the Vick saga goes from here.