Friday, May 22, 2009

Vick is back...Now what?

With Favre Watch ‘09 at a temporary standstill, the media has decided to focus their attention on another inactive quarterback: former Leavenworth inmate Michael Vick.

Now as a low-wage construction worker, where does he go from here? After a lengthy hiatus, teams will definitely be more hesitant to sign the former superstar turned manual laborer (if he is even reinstated to the NFL at all). A factor that will deter many teams will be the negative publicity that will ensue. Vick is without a doubt public enemy number one on PETA’s hit list, and they will definitely do what they can to go after him. This likely entails PETA going after the sponsors of Vick's potential team in order to send a message. We’ll have to see if NFL teams gives in to the eco-terrorist’s demands.

NFL teams considering Vick have to ask themselves: What does Vick have to offer at this point in his career? He’ll turn 29 in June and has been out of the league for two seasons, so he’ll clearly have a rust factor going against him. Personally, I think Vick is a situational player at best. During his career Vick has not demonstrated he can be a great pocket passer despite his great athletic abilities. During one of his “Pro Bowl” seasons, Vick threw only 14 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. In addition, he also had 16 fumbles... Are you going to pay a player 100 million dollars to fumble all over your million dollar field: I mean COME ON!

Luckily for Vick, however, Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano has provided him with a golden ticket in the shape of the Wildcat formation. (I don’t know if they have TV in prison, so he may need an instructional video.) Miami has shown the package can work well with a running back utilizing it, so it should work even better with an athletic player like Vick who has much better passing skills. Vick's competitive advantage his whole career as a QB was his ability to run. However, his team was always worried about risking their prized 100 million dollar asset out of the pocket. Considering he will now be anything but a prized asset, rather some second hand retread, playing in the Wildcat as a dual threat will give Mike Vick the chance to reignite his career. It's ironic that he was in jail for treating dogs poorly and his career might be ignited once he is treated like one of the pit bulls he used to fight.

So who will have the opportunity to trot out Michael Vick? Miami seemed like an ideal situation, but the Dolphins drafted Pat White, so that’s out of the question. In determining where Vick will go, there are three factors that need to be evaluated. First, the prospective team needs an owner who's willing to take a chance on a wild card like Vick. (Jerry Jones does love headcases and the Cowboys do need someone to back up Mr. Jessica Simpson...It might not make the front page of US Weekly, but it would be a big deal.) Secondly, you need a head coach who can keep troublemakers in line. (Marvin Lewis: Don't bother applying) Lastly, you need to have an innovative offensive coordinator who can best maximize Vick's abilities. (Don't bother Detroit.)

After examining these factors, one intriguing team meets all of the criteria: the New England Patriots. If anyone could reign Vick in, it would clearly be Bill Belichick. He's always looking for an advantage and he would be best suited to unleash Vick's potential. The Pats took Randy Moss when everyone was down on him, and he subsequently turned in one of the best seasons for a wide receiver ever. With Tom Brady coming off ACL injury, Vick would be a decent insurance policy who could take 5-10 snaps a game to take the heat off Brady. It's honestly doubtful the Patriots will take the chance on Vick, but it's definitely an intriguing possibility.

Regardless of where he goes, I think everyone is excited for the first time Vick gets serenaded on the road with everyone's favorite, “Who Let the Dogs Out.”

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