Dec 1, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterbackMichael Vick
(7) warms up before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Good morning New York. If anyone was away from the news, or out-of-town, and haven’t heard yet, Michael Vick is a member of the New York Jets. Mark Sanchez was unceremoniously released yesterday, and Vick is here, on a one year, $5 million contract.
Much of the fan base is jacked up over this signing. Why not? He was the top quarterback on the free agent market, and now he’s here. That’s exciting, right?
Unfortunately, despite the good reasons to bring Michael Vick in here, this is the wrong match for THIS team. This setup is tailor-made for a classic Jets implosion. I hope beyond hope that I am wrong. I will be up front cheering for him as hard as anyone. I hope that my opinion is wrong.
I don’t believe that it is.
Granted, there are good reasons to bring Vick in here. His experience with Marty Mornhinweg is an asset. He is familiar with the offensive system, and will just have to learn the adaptations made for the New York Jets. That puts him in a good situation to succeed on the football field, clearly.
He has seen a lot in this league. 11 years, and 128 games as an NFL quarterback is quite a depth of experience. He has won 58 games as a starter, which is a lot of football games. He is a threat with the arm and his legs, as is Geno Smith. With 128 touchdowns versus 85 interceptions, Michael Vick has spent a good part of his career taking care of the football. Geno could learn a lot from him.
But, the reasons against the move outweigh the positives. Let’s take a look at how this could turn out.
First, Geno Smith could outplay Michael Vick in the preseason, and keep the starting job. That would be fine if Michael Vick is ready to be a mentor. He’s not. If you don’t believe me, read Michael, in his own words, in his conference call with the media yesterday:
You know, I mean I wouldn’t say I would necessarily be okay with sitting on the bench all year. But I know what I signed up for. I know what I came to New York to do. First and foremost I came to compete and be a helping hand for Geno, and he has a long way to go. We both talked. We both agreed we’re going to push one another and make each other better. So whatever happens, happens. And I know what I signed up for. At the end of the day I’ll be content with it.
And this is on whether Geno could benefit by sitting behind him:
Absolutely. Geno is a young quarterback and I think experience is the best teacher. And it won’t just be experiences on the playing field. We have to develop good study habits. We have to develop good training habits and be the best that we can be in regards to our relationship to Marty and understanding what he wants. So I think being out there and having the experience is the best teacher, but I’ve also been a guy who had to sit around and wait, in college and when I first came into the NFL, it was very beneficial. But we don’t know if that’s going to be the case. We just want to win football games.
Let me translate this for you. “I know I might be the backup, but it’s not what I want. The other guy would benefit by watching me play, and I won’t be thrilled about being the backup all season. I’ll do it, but I won’t like it.”
The spirit of competition is great. But, that is not a guy ready to be a mentor.
Dec 15, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Eagles 48-30. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s talk about now, if Michael Vick wins the starting job. Take a look at his career stats a minute:
I have heard a lot of talk about how accurate Michael Vick is. Look at his stats, is that really the case? In a league where a high premium is put on quarterback play, he only posted a completion percentage over 60% or better in one out of 11 seasons, and never in Atlanta. Is that an “accurate” passer?
Secondly, about how he wins football games. Again, look at his record. In Atlanta, his record was quite a bit better than it was in Philadelphia. He was ten games over .500 with the Falcons, and right at .500 with the Eagles. What makes everyone think he is going to lead us to so many wins, as a mid-thirties QB that doesn’t win much now? His record since 2011 is 12-17.
Think about it. At this age players get worse, not better.
Vick is also injured, all the time. If we were talking about a mid-thirties drop back quarterback, that would be one thing. A running quarterback is a guy that will get hurt, and Vick has. He has been hurt often as a member of the Eagles. Yes, he is healthy now. I’m sorry, but I don’t care if the training staff told him that he is the healthiest player in the world or whatever they told him. At quarterback of his age that runs around is a hit away from it all being over. He is close to the league lead in being hit as he throws each of his years in Philly. That is not about to change.
Finally, there is the media distraction. Whether or not the player invites the distraction, the distraction will be there. Michael Vick, based on his history, draws attention to himself. The media will be on him every day, like white on rice. This, by simple human nature, will undermine Geno Smith. There is no possible way that it won’t. It will be detrimental to him.
How do I know? We have seen this before, two years ago. The result won’t be any different.
The idea of veteran competition for Geno Smith is a good one. But this wasn’t the way to go about it. This is a setup for a classic Jets’ implosion.
I hope as much as anyone in the world that I am wrong. I sure will be cheering for the guy. I, unfortunately, don’t think I am wrong.