Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vick Rises Again, Now Will He Stay There?

Now that Mike Vick has his fresh round of "financing" will he return to his old off-the-field lifestyle. You know, the spend-it-like-it'll-never-end mentality that can make athletes and their $110 million in career earnings vanish down the stupid hole?

Well, we shall see, won't we?

As for why Vick never reached his full potential in Atlanta? Simple. He was lazy.

Here's a key excerpt from ESPN The Magazine's story on how Vick's 548 days in the slammer went.
The weeks pass until it's Super Bowl Sunday. The Cardinals and Steelers are set to kick off in a few hours when Vick receives word of an unexpected visitor: Kynan Forney, his former right guard in Atlanta. Both were drafted in 2001: Vick first overall, Forney 219th. Forney was eager to buddy up to Vick, like vintage guard-quarterback relationships go. But Vick always put him off, just like he put off every other lineman, just like he put off most teammates. 
Forney hadn't talked to Vick since his arrest. Worried that nobody else would make the trip, Forney decided to see his former quarterback. 
Vick enters the visitors lounge. Wow, he's cut, Forney thinks. Shoulders bigger, stomach leaner. "Man, you look good!" he says. Vick tells him he's been doing a lot of push-ups and sit-ups recently. Forney rises for the vending machines, and Vick follows until he hits the red line. With a hopeful look he says, "I can't cross." 
"Yo, why you saying things sideways?" Forney asks. "If you want something, just tell me!"
Vick tiptoes the line as if trying to stay inbounds. He selects chili cheese Fritos and an iced tea, and as he waits, someone asks him for an autograph. He signs it agreeably, then sits down at one of the tables with Forney, munching on his chips. After a few minutes of small talk, Vick blurts out, "I should have been watching tape." 
"What do you mean?" 
"I was doing just enough, going off instincts. We could have been much more dangerous. I'm one of the best quarterbacks in the game with this skill set, and I'm in prison." 
Forney is shocked but doesn't show it. Vick's just figuring this out? Maybe he should have told Vick to study more, but no, it was understood in the Falcons' locker room that Vick's 90 percent was better than most quarterbacks' 100 percent. Next time, Vick says with an intensity that Forney never saw in Atlanta, he'll be a better teammate. 
Hey, at least the guy admitted it. "I was just doing enough."

When Vick this past year elevated his completion percentage from a former career best 55% to 62% is hyperspaced him into elite status. It is why I believe that passing accuracy remains the gold standard of great QB's in today's game.

Once upon a time, you could get away with being 55%-ish and be a Super Bowl winning, Hall of Famer. (See Elway, John).

But now that the passing game has been so liberalized, and so heavily leaned upon by teams, anything less than 60% means you are either not very accurate, or you aren't making proper reads to find the one guy on almost any play who is laughably wide open.

In fact, I would guess (and it's just a guess, I haven't watched tape or done research) that most of the best QB's misses, are on long ball probes that are notoriously high risk/reward, throwaways, or downright drops.

If Vick can be judicious about running the ball - in this league, you run, you die, it's that simple - and keep his completion # above 60, he's going to be the best investment any team has ever made.

If he slips back into just doing enough, and resuming a "lifestyle" that is more comfortable, and not as committed, then he might turn back into the frustrating enigma he was in Atlanta.


  1. We'll see if Vick has changed. I was not a fan at all when he was in Atlanta. I thought he was mailing it in, and it looks like I was right. I was pissed when my Eagles signed him, more for the dog-killing than the fact that I thought that he was overrated. Still not sure if he is totally sincere, but I was encouraged with his turnaround last year (both on and off the field). Time will tell if it was all an act. Even if he has changed, I don't think he will be around for a long time. Reid will get him killed by continuing to pass 60% of the time, even though the o-line sucks.

  2. Someone on the radio said it, but it's worth saying again. That $40M guaranteed isn't much after Vick's creditors get through with it.

    So Vick needs to stay on point if he wants to see the other $60M or so.