Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You Get Paid for This?

At first I'd like to say I respect Mike Florio* for the work he does at profootballtalk.com, its a great site with all the rumors and tidbits you could want on the NFL. However, this piece that he wrote for the Sporting News on Michael Vick, and this related article on PFT are both utter pieces of crap. Florio's argument basically boils down to this: Michael Vick is better than half the quarterbacks in the league because he once won a playoff game in Lambeau six years ago, and because he once signed a contract for a $130 Million dollars. I'm not impressed, so it's time to take a swing at him. His words are in italics.

Vick shouldn't settle for second string when he gets his second chance

Mike Vick is due to be released from federal custody on Monday, and the NFL news-and-rumor mill is slow right now, so it makes sense to focus again on the man who has experienced the kind of personal collapse that only Maximus Decimus Meridius could truly appreciate.

For those of you not familiar with the movie Gladiator, Maximus is an esteemed Roman general who is offered the position of Emperor, declines it, then has his entire family slaughtered and is made into a slave, who then is forced to battle people to the death as a gladiator. The only way I can really see how this comparison is apt is in the battling to the death part. You know, that thing Vick made dogs do.

The difference, of course, between Vick and the character played by Russell Crowe in Gladiator is that Vick is solely responsible for his dramatic fall from grace. But like the general-turned-slave-turned-gladiator-turned-martyr-turned-Oscar winner, Vick will at some point receive a shot at redemption.

I'll stop here for a second just to state that I Do hope Vick gets a second chance. I do. I find what he did to be unforgiveably reprehensible, but if the law has decided hes' done his time I feel the NFL should allow him to work again.

To get there, Vick must project a delicate balance of remorse and defiance. On one hand he'll need to show humility and contrition and change when he meets with commissioner Roger Goodell; on the other, Vick must be ready to project the same swagger that made him one of the best players in the game.

Best? Or just most overrated. I remember in high school, back in 2005, the 10-3 Bears were headed into a match up with the 8-5 Falcons. In Chicago. In December. The mindless morans who weren't Bears fans at my school were positive that Vick "was going to fuck the Bears up." I asked them why. I asked them if they knew his statistics, his team's records, or even what he'd done the game before. I asked if they knew that Vick had faced the Bears twice in his career before, and had managed just one total touchdown as the Falcons lost both games. None of them knew. They did know, however, that he was on Sportscenter a lot and had that cool commercial where there was the "Michael Vick Experience" roller coaster type ride. That was enough. The Falcons lost that game to the Bears 16-3, with Vick completing just 13 of 32 passes for 122 yards, no touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and he rushed for just 35 yards on 6 carries.

Specifically, he needs to resist any opportunities that are beneath his abilities. If he isn't immediately reinstated by the NFL, he should tell the United Football League he's not interested. When he does get back into the NFL, Vick should politely advise anyone who wants to make him into a Wildcat quarterback that Mike Vick 2.0 won't be the second coming of Kordell Stewart in his rookie year.

"This guy who's trying to show how remorseful and humble prison has made him and that desperately needs a job in order to pay off his towering debts should tell people willing to give him an income to fuck off! Michael Vick is a star baby! And hell, he should answer the people who won't give him a chance to start becuase he hasn't played football in two years by refusing all chances and sitting out another year! His stock will soar!"

Vick should take the position that he's an every-down quarterback and that his second chance at football should include a chance at winning a starting job with one of the league's 32 teams, even if that means voluntarily sitting out the 2009 season.

Then Vick can take a position asking people if they'd like fries with that.

After all, Vick had enough potential as an every-down quarterback to become the first overall pick in the 2001 draft. And he did enough with that potential in less than four seasons as an every-down quarterback to score a $130 million contract.

Tim Couch also had enough potential to be a first overall pick. Are you arguing for him to come in and demand a starting job? And yes, because Vick's overrated playmaking abilities made the Falcons a ton of money in ticket sales, he was locked down with a $130 million dollar contract. Hell, Alex Smith showed so much potential that he once got a $49.5 Million contract before ever playing a Down in the NFL! He's better than Michael Vick! Using contract numbers is the BEST way to compare quarterbacks!

It's a risky proposition, to be sure. He has speed and agility that no other quarterback ever has displayed, but his throwing skills are suspect. Vick has generated a full-season passer rating above 80 only once in his career (81.6 in 2002), and his 75.7 rating from 2006 would have placed him behind players like Tyler Thigpen (76.0) and JaMarcus Russell (77.1) and Kyle Orton (79.6) in 2008.

For the record, Vick's career passer rating is 75.7, and combining both his passing and rushing totals...he averages a grand total of 207.6 yards per game. That would have put him 17th in yards per game in the league. He averages just around 15 td passes and 4 rushing TDs per a 16 game season. Meaning his career average year of a 75.7 passer rating, 19 TDs, and 207.6 ypg would have ranked him 28th, 12th, and 17th respectively among quarterbacks. Wow. He's truly one of the best out there.

Then again, the next guy on the list last year was Ben Roethlisberger (80.1), and he only won the Super Bowl.

Exactly. So not only should Vick demand a starting job or bust, he should also demand one on a team with the league's best defense, so he can ride their coattails to a championship.

Indeed, playing quarterback is much more than a complex formula based on completion percentage and average gain per attempt and touchdown percentage and interception percentage. The only stat that matters is winning -- and Vick did a fair amount of that during the first phase of his career.

Ahh yes. The Win-Loss Record. Boil it down to a quarterback's .winning %, which is certainly never affected by other factors. At all. Vick has a career .567 winning %, which equates to a 9-7 record every year. Most years that won't even get you into the playoffs. He's a regular Joe Montana. Kyle Orton's win percentage? .636%, or a 10-6 season every year. His last two years in the league teams figured out how to contain him, and the Falcons went 15-17 and Jim Mora was canned. Most in the league were already starting to talk about Vick's failure to develop as a quarterback.

He won a playoff game at Lambeau Field at a time when that was a lot harder to do so. He also got to the NFC title game in 2004, the same year he scored that $130 million deal.

Ahh, was it Vick that held the Packers to just 7 points in that game? How about the fact that that was during the Packers playoff decline, when from 2001-2004 they went just 2-4 in the postseason before collapsing to 4-12 in 2005. Trust me, as a Bears fan I can testify that the Packers from 02-04 merely took advantage of a pathetically weak NFC North and played only 16 games against winning teams in that entire stretch, and were 7-9 in those games. Also, that NFC title game in 2004 came during a year in which a weak NFC lead to not one, but two 8-8 teams making the playoffs, one of which the Falcons beat to make it to that NFC title game, where Jim Johnson's defense destroyed Vick and held him to a 46% comp. %, 162 total yards, and no touchdowns.

There's another important reason for Vick to insist on playing quarterback only, and not some hybrid jack-of-all-trades role. He's 29. Eventually, he won't be able to make defenders look like the Keystone Cops. He needs to find a team that will help transform him into a pocket passer, if he truly hopes to spend another decade in the game.

Yes. He does need someone to overhaul his passing mechanics, which can be done on the practice field. As a back up. Is this guy seriously arguing that Vick needs to be a starter because he's a terrible passer and needs to work on that on the field?

Vick should exclusively target teams that will give him a fair chance to become their starter, either in 2009 or 2010 (he also should pay particular attention to the coaching staffs and ask whether they can do what Dan Reeves and Jim Mora could not in Atlanta).

Oh yeah. He should definitely ask that. "Excuse me, do you believe you are able to do what three previous coaching staffs have failed to do since college and fix my horrible passing fundamentals, all while avoiding getting fired because of my slow development?"

Depending upon the speed, or lack thereof, with which Goodell processes Vick's request for reinstatement, Vick might have no choice but to compromise a bit – say, sign a one-year deal with a team that allows him to flash enough ability in limited duty to set the stage for an opportunity to compete for a starting job elsewhere in 2010.

Wait. Are you f*&king kidding me? Did you not just write this entire article about how Vick shouldn't take a job as a second string quarterback, only to just write that he MAY very well have to do just that? You f&%king suck, man.

Though he has been away from the game for more than two years, Vick's God-given abilities likely haven't evaporated. He must display confidence in those abilities by resisting a long-term role that's any different than the one he had in Atlanta.

Yes. He must refuse any team that doesn't make the flawed decision to make him one of the league's richest players and build an entire team around his incomplete skill set, one that makes his team entirely one dimensional and vulnerable to any defense with fast enough linebackers to effectively pull off a quarterback spy.

Sure, he didn't win a Super Bowl in any of his six NFL seasons. But only 27 quarterbacks ever have.

But at least Rex Grossman's been there. You should sign him! He once flashed enough potential to be a first round pick!

The question for now isn't whether Vick will win a title or otherwise become the best quarterback in the game. The question is whether he's currently one of the best 32.

He's by far the best non-retired NFL quarterback that hasn't thrown a pass or played in a game in two years, I'll tell you that. Unless Jeff George is still looking for work.

There's no reason to think he isn't, and so there simply is no reason for him to accept any other role.

You know, other than that one reason. The one where he has hasn't played football in two years and was actually a mediocre quarterback the last time he did.

Fin.
*- I'm just kidding, he's a smarmy halfwit douche with no credibility.