The Sports Broadcast

A blog about sports broadcasting from the great state of Florida. They report. I decide.

Friday, September 09, 2005

On Michael Vick and Winning

Michael Vick is understandably a popular subject this time of year. A new NFL season awaits and ever-growing expectations mount on his shoulders. Everyone asks the same question: Will this be the year for the Falcons?

Earlier this week Skip Bayless took his turn on writing about how Vick must learn to pass in order to win. Of course, Bayless writes at least one column a month on either Michael Vick or Terrell Owens, so that's really not surprising. Also, an AP story recently surfaced on No. 7 and how he and the team deal with his fame. Good points all around, but the reason the Falcons won't win the Super Bowl, or probably even the NFC, only partially deal with Michael Vick.

For all his bluster, Skip Bayless is right. Michael Vick must learn to become a quarterback first in order to become truly dominant. He brings up the point of Steve Young and how only once he became pass-first did the 49ers win a Super Bowl with him at the helm. When Vick scrambles he can be spectacular, but still very beatable. Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has had his number since he entered the league, and Vick has had only one or two decent games against the Bucs his whole career. Once you get inside his head, as the Bucs easily do, he starts making a lot of terrible stnanks.

The AP story talks of off-the-field distractions that might influence him and how despite all that, the Falcons are hoping he will bring them a Super Bowl title. Well, even if Vick can put the distractions behind him and become a good passer, he won't bring them a title. Why? Well, the cliché "Defense wins championships" really is true in the No Fun League. As John Clayton points out, the 1984 Raiders were the last team to capture a Lombardi Trophy without a top-10 defense. That's why the Colts can't win despite Peyton Manning's records (and because Manning can't win big games), the Chiefs can't win despite Priest Holmes' records, and so on.

One more thing about Michael Vick: is he still worth what the Falcons paid for him? It's an interesting topic that I'm surprised doesn't come up more often. Remember back to the 2001 draft? The Falcons got the first overall pick from the Chargers in exchange for, among a few other things, the draft picks they used to select LaDanian Tomlinson and Drew Brees. Up until last year, the trade seemed to be a wash as Tomlinson was as brilliant at running back as Vick was at quarterback, but Brees' disappointing play kept it even. Now that Brees has likely blossomed into one of the better QBs in the league, it's safe to say that the Chargers actually got the better of the deal by far. It's impossible to guess whether the Falcons would have taken both Tomlinson and Brees, but if they had they'd be a lot better off with Tomlinson at RB than with Warrick Dunn and TJ Duckett, and while Brees is no Michael Vick at scrambling, he is certainly far ahead of him with passing. I will go as far as to say yes, the Falcons would be better off having never traded for Vick.

My impression is that Michael Vick won't learn to trust his arm until his legs fail him. Until he meets a team following the Bucs' defensive scheme that destroys the Falcons in a playoff game. Until he is too old to take the hits. Until his lightning-quick speed is gone. For now, Vick is taking his place alongside Fran Tarkenton, Warren Moon, and Randall Cunningham as talented scramblers unable to bring home a championship.

2 Comments:

  • At 7:56 AM, Blogger Zennie Abraham said…

    Greetings,
    The whole idea that Vick has to fit some mold to win is -- with respect -- silly. He's a playmaker. Period. The reason why the Falcons win when Vick starts is that he makes plays. Only those who are culturally insecure constantly pick on Vick. I agree he needs to improve in certain areas, but you know what? Every QB needs to get better at something. Plus, what's Vick's record -- including playoffs -- vs. Drew Brees'?

     
  • At 7:56 AM, Blogger Zennie Abraham said…

    Greetings,
    The whole idea that Vick has to fit some mold to win is -- with respect -- silly. He's a playmaker. Period. The reason why the Falcons win when Vick starts is that he makes plays. Only those who are culturally insecure constantly pick on Vick. I agree he needs to improve in certain areas, but you know what? Every QB needs to get better at something. Plus, what's Vick's record -- including playoffs -- vs. Drew Brees'?

     

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