Friday, August 14, 2009

Freaky Friday

***

Mike Vick is an Eagle. Weird. I just didn't see this coming.

I'm not going to get too much into the moral side of things. I certainly don't condone what he did, but I also don't think that he is the worst person since Hitler. Vick was convicted of crimes and served his sentence. He spent time in a real Federal prison. There was no slap on the wrist in this case. Some may argue that he wasn't punished enough, but that's more about how strongly people feel about animal rights and that kind of thing.

I don't think Vick is completely remorseful and a totally changed man. I'm just going off the vibes I get from him and his comments. Most people, including me, feel bad that they got caught and not that they actually did whatever it was that got them in trouble.

I do think that he got a serious wake-up call in regard to his life. I've never been in prison (I did see very epsiode of Oz), but I don't think you can spend a year and a half inside without changing somewhat. And it isn't like Vick was a career criminal. He was a punk and spoiled athlete, but prison was a major culture shock.

Vick got a couple of gigantic pieces of humble pie, at the very least. I think he now realizes that his actions do have serious consequences. That simply wasn't the case in the past. That may be good enough for him to be a functional memeber of the Eagles in the 2009 season. I hope he has changed more than that, but I certainly don't think he's going to be mistaken for St. Francis of Assisi anytime soon.

THE FOOTBALL SIDE OF THINGS

Let's talk about Vick the player. This is the area that most interests me.

The key reason I didn't think he would be an Eagle is fit. Where the heck does he fit in? We are 3-deep at QB. We have guys in place that can run the Wildcat. How does Vick get used?

Most of the talk centers around him being used in a Wildcat package. Vick could be a dynamic weapon if used in that way. I'm curious about how many snaps we're talking about. Is it worth it to have Vick active on gameday for 3 or 4 plays? Maybe. Is he willing to be used like a RB with Donovan at QB? Imagine running Flip 90 with a running threat like Weaver at FB and Vick at RB. If Mike got a pitch on the edge he could be very tough on defenses.

Is Mike willing to line up in the slot for an End Around? Back in 2002 we had James Thrash come in motion on a good percentage of run plays. Thrash had 20 carries on the year, but the rest of the time was a decoy to freeze the backside of the defense. It worked really well. We did some of that with DeSean last year. Vick could really be effective in that role, both as a runner and decoy.

We could throw short passes to Vick and use him as part of the passing game. We have plenty of receiving weapons, but Vick is special when he's got the ball in his hands. If he makes one defender miss in space, we're looking at a big play.

I think Mike originally hoped a team would aggressively come after him to be a QB for them this year, whether as the outright starter or to be part of a QB competition. That clearly didn't happen. He's now embraced the notion of being a backup player and getting re-adjusted to the league. My question is whether he's willing to be used as a hybrid player in the ways described above. That is where Mike has real value in 2009.

Vick won't be ready to be the true backup QB until about midseason. He's got to learn the playbook. He's got to practice and get back in football shape. He's got to get used to the receivers. For the first 4 to 6 weeks he isn't likely to be a good backup. Vick can still be a good weapon in the Wildcat, though.

We don't know what kind of shape he's in. Football isn't a game that just anyone with athletic ability can play. Timing and technique are critical factors. Vick had those before. Are they still there? He will need lots of practice to get back in the flow of things and to get his football feet back under him. I do think Vick will work hard and is committed to resurrecting his football career. That is a good thing. He relied mostly on athletic ability in the past. Maybe now he'll work on specific skills.

Vick does have experience running the WCO. However, the terminology will be different. And honestly, I'm not sure he had the playbook mastered when he was in Atlanta. They ran a really simplistic attack. At least things will be somewhat familiar to him.

RISK

This move is wise in the sense of low risk, high reward. The Eagles are paying him $1.6M. They can cut him if things don't work out as hoped. Vick was a dynamic playmaker in the past. If there is a QB injury he does make a heck of an insurance policy.

I mentioned the other day concerns about how Vick's presence might affect Donovan. Apparently McNabb was on board with the signing. That's good. I do think the Eagles are the right kind of team for Vick. He needed to go where there was structure and a clear chain of command. Lurie, Banner, Heckert, and Big Red all are on board with signing Vick. He's not a coach's pet project. There is no GM/coach feud or anything like that. Vick is a welcomed addition by the organization. That's important. He will have enough problems with the public and media. Vick needs his team to want him.

THEY PLAYED A GAME???

I'm finishing up my Game Review from last night. Overall, I was pretty happy. The young guys looked pretty good. Most of our problems will be fixed by guys like Cole, Abiamiri, Herremans, and the Andrews brothers rejoining the team.

Except for TE. Let's hope Celek's shoulder is okay and the team is getting closer to making a deal for a legit backup.
___________

6 comments:

Prem Prakash said...

When your son marries, the bride brings a whole bunch of new folks into your family, wether you like them as people or not. So, on that note, Welcome to the Eagles family, Mike.

Tommy listed most of the positive ways that Vick can be used. A friend of mine who is a big Giants fan says he is terrified of the thought of Vick and McNabb in the backfield at the same time. Two guys who can both throw and run, alongside Westbrook, Shady, and Weaver. It's a good point and has me thinking more positively about the move (just like I think positively about my in-laws).

orangecrush007 said...

Sheldon for Bo Scaife? What do you think Tommy?

izzylangfan said...

Remember 2005 - the year TO imploded. Every morning when I surfed over to Pro Sports Daily to get the Eagles news all the articles were about TO. There was no news on football. This morning when I went to the Eagles website to get some good dope on last nights game there was nothing. Everything was about Vick. The first four items were on Vick. The fifth item was a video about the game - thankfully my computer crashed when I tried to play it. The sixth item was again about Vick but nothing written about the game. Spadero's feature article was also about Vick - how the Eagles did their homework before signing him. Thank goodness that Spadero is willing to help out the Eagles in managing the public relations fallout.

Then I go to Eagles Blitz only to find that the one clear voice has led off with an article about Vick before the game analysis is published.

I don't hate Vick. I believe he deserves another chance. I'm glad the Eagles signed him. He is not TO. He does not destroy team chemistry. Herm Edwards put it well when he said the Eagles increased the talent level by hiring a special football player.

But otherwise I am left hungering for some real football analysis - even just some decent reporting on the game. I'll even settle for a baseless rumor that the Eagles signed Vick so they can trade Kolb for Bo Scaife.

About the game. I know the offensive line sucked. But I can handle that. With some practice and some healing the new guys and the subs will do just fine. But the defensive line was a problem for me. Without Cole the Eagles go no pressure on the quarterback. So it looks like another year of live by the blitz die by the blitz. I wonder what Michael Vick thinks.

geoff said...

Tommy,
do you see this as the prelim before some kind of trade for a TE?
I can see how Vick could fit, but I don't see who we give up for him. That's what makes this so unbelievable for me. Do we go one less WR, RB what?

Brad said...

Tommy, good analysis of the situation. Personally, I think they used him like you laid out, as a weapon. If that is the plan, I am on board. If that is not the plan and he is strictly here to hold a clipboard until McNabb gets hurt (which he won't, of course), then I think this is real dumb.

He has a chance to add a real dynamic to the offense. I would also entertain the thought of using him on punt and kickoff returns. Anything to get the ball in his hands in the open field is fine by me.

Also, looking forward to your game recap, as I did not get to watch much of it.

Stephen said...

Vick may or may not raise the level of talent on our team. I don't know what he's going to be like after being off the field for so long.

You drag along with him the distraction of the "vick situation". I was really enjoying having the Eagles mostly out of the national spotlight with no real controversy. Now all of a sudden we have someone who's even more of a lightning rod than T.O. was. Whether or not this will distract the team, I'm not sure, but personally I will get tired of how Vick has "paid his debt to society" (which I could care less about, I'm more interested in understanding what kind of a sociopath can torture dogs to death in the first place, I can't imagine that someone who can do what he did is suddenly a warm and fuzzy guy).

I guess the bottom line for me is regardless of what he means for the team, Vick is not a person I can cheer for. I've always thought he was a punk and he was my least favorite player in the league even before the dogfighting thing went down (that helped verify my feelings that he was a punk though). Normally suiting up in Eagles green is enough for me to get over whatever personal feelings I have about a player, but I just can't see me enjoying Vick being successful as an Eagle.

I can't stand PETA either though, so now I have to put up with 2 things I don't like that are going to be linked to this team this season.