Vick article on ESPN

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Vick article on ESPN

Postby mamador » Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:12 pm

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Decked out in a headband, T-shirt and shorts, Michael Vick trotted around the practice field on a warm spring afternoon, flicking passes to his young receivers and moving around effortlessly on the right knee that gave him so much trouble last season.

And when he was done with Thursday's offseason workout, Vick delivered a message to the rest of the NFL: Get ready to face the real No. 7 this year.

"I want to be mobile," he said. "I want to be Michael Vick. I want to play my game."

Vick wore a brace on his knee for much of the season, which forced to cut back on his one-of-a-kind running ability. His passing numbers weren't all that great, either, and the Falcons collapsed in the second half of the season to miss the playoffs.

Eager to atone for the disappointing season, Vick has been an avid participant in the Falcons' offseason program for the past month. It's time well spent, giving him a chance to work with new quarterback coach Bill Musgrave and develop a rapport with receivers Michael Jenkins and Roddy White, who've been in the league a total of three seasons.

"We're all trying to get on the same page," Vick said. "I want to throw the ball right at them so they can catch it. I didn't do that all the time last year."

Indeed. Vick ranked 25th in the league in passing efficiency, completing just over 55 percent of his throws for 2,412 yards, with barely more touchdowns (15) than interceptions (13).

He put up similar numbers the previous season, but they weren't so harshly judged because he also carried the ball 120 times for 902 yards while leading the Falcons to the NFC championship game. In 2005, Vick fell off to 597 yards on the ground, which put more of a spotlight on Atlanta's mediocre passing game.

"My knee was bothering me all year," he said. "I never cried about it. I never complained about it. I just tried to do the best I can for the team. Now, I'm 100 percent healthy. I'm where I used to be."

In an effort to maximize Vick's speed and create more running room, the Falcons may take some snaps out of the shotgun this season.

"It doesn't matter whether I'm under center or in the shotgun, as long as I can be on the move," Vick said. "I want to get on the edge so I can show my elusiveness."

While Vick's legs draw most of the attention, he also has one of the strongest arms in the league. Unfortunately for the Falcons, he has yet to take full advantage of it, struggling to adapt to the West Coast offense and lacking confidence in one of the league's most nondescript group of receivers.

Tight end Alge Crumpler led the team with 65 receptions, while Brian Finneran was the only receiver to reach 50 catches. Jenkins - a late first-round pick in 2004 - managed 36 catches in his second season. White, a first-rounder last year, hurt his ankle in training camp and finished his rookie campaign with only 29 receptions.

Musgrave has been focusing on Vick's footwork and trying to get him to put more touch on his throws. Already, White is feeling more comfortable on the other end of Vick's passes.

"There's been a lot of progress between me and Mike," White said. "When I came in last year, he didn't know how fast I was and I didn't know how far he could throw it."

Also, White has bulked up noticeably during the offseason, putting on weight and adding muscle that he hopes will help him get away from cornerbacks who try to crowd him at the line of scrimmage.

The Falcons are eager to turn things around after losing six of their last eight games to finish at .500. Since entering the league in 1966, Atlanta has never had back-to-back winning seasons.

Coach Jim Mora said everyone has been participating in the offseason workouts. He's especially pleased to see Vick getting in some quality time with White and Jenkins.

"This is a low-pressure environment where we can build some camaraderie," he said. "We have two young receivers who need to work with the quarterbacks so they can get a feel for each other."

I'm all kinds of excited to see how he does this year...

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Postby PB21 » Fri Apr 21, 2006 8:07 am

That's what I was trying to point out in another thread,...last time this year Vick was throwing to Dez White, Peerless Price and Finn mainly. Now he's working out with the two young guys and it's definitely gonna be a plus. And did you guys see that the writer of this piece says White has bulked up?

Players must prove themselves in the NFL, should sometimes give them a chance before judgement.

I'm also very excited mamador! I predict offensive fireworks regardless who is tossing the passes.

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Postby ether3917 » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:25 am

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Postby Pudge » Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:41 am

It's good to see Vick's relationship with Musgrave and Roddy are developing quite nicely at this point. That should only mean positive things.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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Postby dirtybirdnw » Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:00 pm

Also with Roddy bulking up he should be a touch more T.O. like in playing style. He can get physical at the line and the turn ont he afterburners to get down field quickly.

I will say one thing... The Falcons need to keep Vick from talking to the media. The first two years with the Falcons it was a constant stream of 'I'm Mike Vick and I'm going to run and play my style.' The two seasons following that we got a lot of 'I'm going to prove to the NFL that I can be a passer and I don't need to rely on my legs.' Now we are getting 'Get ready NFL your going to see the real Mike Vick, the mobile Mike Vick.'

Vick has flip flopped more than John Kerry in regards to what he wants to prove to the NFL. He needs to stop talking to the press about it and more to the point he needs to get the pundits out of his head. He is Mike Vick and therefore he is a great play maker but a average passer everyone already knows this. Someone needs to take Vick aside and say the only thing you need to prove is that you can take this team to a title. Nothing else matters.
Fear the BEARD!

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Postby widetrak21 » Fri Apr 21, 2006 12:40 pm

I see your pt DB. To put a little more positive spin on it, think about it this way. All offseason, and really for his entire career he's been criticized to some degree. Since we sunk last yr he's gettin' even more now. Then throw on top of that his brother's situation. I get the feeling out of those comments that he's thinking...

- I was partially hurt last year and couldn't be myself, and all offseason all I've heard is what I can't do, well everybody get ready for what I can do. Now the asterik next to this would be that he still needs to upgrade the passing, but doing what he's doing now is the first step (musgrave, early work with wr's).

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