As I mentioned back in February, the Philadelphia Eagles made the atrocious offseason move of bringing Michael Vick back for another season. It remains to be seen whether or not he is still the starting quarterback, and I guess it is not a certainty that he will even make the team, but I was certainly distressed to see him return. I suffered through several seasons of having him on my favorite team, the last two of which did not even have the benefit of him playing well. I was certain that he would be gone after last season, especially when head coach Andy Reid was sent packing, as he had been Vick’s biggest advocate. Chip Kelly was brought in, and he apparently thought it made sense to give the guy another opportunity, despite that fact that he appears to me to be very poorly suited for Kelly’s offense due to his penchant for throwing interceptions, his constant fumbling, and his clear weakness at reading defenses. Vick was asked about the latter this week on a local radio show, and he lashed out at his critics, saying they “know nothing about football” and are “ignorant.”
Apparently I have just been called ignorant by Michael Vick. Michael Vick. Yeah, that one. That’s awesome. I guess I don’t blame the guy for trying to defend himself, but this is a bit much to take. If you look over Vick’s career, reading defenses has never been his strong suit. His play just does not back up that claim. If he is good at reading defenses, then he is really bad at executing plays, as the sheer volume of mistakes he has made on a regular basis would certainly suggest some sort of problem. If he made the right reads, then he is just a very bad quarterback. He has also been sacked repeatedly, and while that does suggest some weaknesses in the offensive lines that have played in front of him, his penchant for holding the ball for far too long is an indicator that making quick decisions was not one of his strengths.
Vick protested that “you don’t last 12 years in the NFL not being able to read the defense.” You do if you have the sheer athleticism that he has and that made him the first overall pick in the 2001 NFL Draft. By the way, Mike, you haven’t lasted 12 years in the NFL if you don’t count the 2 years that you were in prison for running a dogfighting ring and the year after you came back when you really didn’t play, but that’s beside the point. I am not suggesting that he has no defense-reading ability at all, of course. I am saying that he has never shown a predilection for rapid decision-making. That skill, by all accounts including the coach’s, is the main prerequisite for running his offense. Yes, Kelly’s quarterbacks have often had the ability to run with the ball, which is why so many people latched on to the idea of Vick sticking around when Kelly was hired, but Kelly’s own words detail a variety of skills needed, and running the ball is not near the top. That and his strong arm are all Vick really brings to the table here.
It’s true that there is no obvious alternative to Vick at the moment. Nick Foles, while he showed some promise last year when Vick was hurt, also held the ball for far too long, although he did show a skill for reading what the defense was doing. The Birds drafted Matt Barkley out of USC in the fourth round, and although his stock plummeted from where it was after his junior year, quick decisions and throwing well on the run were clearly his strong suits. His arm strength is in question, and he is not the biggest guy, but his leadership is spoken of highly and I would not be at all surprised to see him leading this team. It may not happen at the beginning of the coming season, but I don’t think it will take too long. In the meantime, I guess I may need to suck it up and deal with a little more Michael Vick, even if he did call me ignorant.
Bad sports, continued:
2) Speaking of the Eagles, running back LeSean McCoy is being sued by a woman who was allegedly assaulted on a party bus by McCoy and his guests back in December.
3) Former NASCAR driver (and owner of one of the greatest names of all time) Dick Trickle shot himself to death on Thursday at the age of 71.
4) Flamboyant wide receiver Chad Johnson, who is currently unsigned, had a warrant issued for his arrest on Thursday for failing to report to his probation officer.
5) Mike Goodson, a fifth year running back for the New York Jets, was arrested on Friday on drug possession and weapon charges. He was found in a car that was stopped in the center lane on Interstate 80 in New Jersey at 3:00 AM on Friday morning along with a friend of his who was behind the wheel. Both were in pretty bad shape at the time.
6) Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams is suing his former fiancee to recover the diamond engagement ring he gave her. The ring reportedly cost nearly $800,000, which seems just a bit excessive.
7) Kenwyne Jones, a striker for Stoke City of the English Premier League, found a severed pig’s head in his locker on Friday.
1) Jimmie Johnson won his fourth All-Star Race on Saturday night, setting the record for the most career wins in the annual event, a record he formerly shared with Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.
Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday
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