http://blogs.ajc.com/atlanta-falcons-bl ... n-on-vick/
VICKSVILLE - Let’s go there today. But let’s keep up the good manners we’ve been working on this offseason.
Fussing is fine. Cussing is not.
Two of my favorite folks in the NFL - Gil Brandt and Jamie Dukes - shared their very different views on
Michael Vick’s possible return to the National Football League.
Former Falcon DeAngelo Hall was fined for supporting Michael Vick.
Let’s look at some of the issues:
SHAKING OFF THE RUST: Vick has not played since Dec. 31, 2006 against the Philadelphia Eagles, when he left the game with an ankle injury giving way to Matt Schaub.
He was working out in Bobby Petrino’s offense over the 2007 offseason when the federal dogfighting case broke.
“It will be a challenge, but I’m not nearly as concerned about that,” said Dukes, an analyst with the NFL Network and former player.
Brandt, the former Dallas personnel man, shared a story about a linebacker the Cowboys drafted out of Missouri, who went into the service for two years.
“When he came back he was just not the same,” Brandt said. “I think it’s like somebody that drops out of school for two years and then they try to recover their study habits, it’s very, very hard. . . .
NFL Network's Jamie Dukes.
“I just think it’s really hard for a guy that is away and misses two years to get back up to speed and realize that you have to work to be successful because you lose that edge.”
THE WILDCAT OFFENSE: Most have contended that Vick could come back as a Wildcat offense quarterback.
“The spread helps him get a job,” Brandt said. “If and when he’s cleared. He can do that pretty well because of the fact that he can run so well.”
Dukes thinks that with teams - like the Falcons - emphasizing the running game, that Vick is a fit for any run-heavy attack.
“Look at the Falcons and their success,” Dukes said. “Most teams think if we can play good defense and run the football, we are going to be successful. So what Michael brings to the game. . . is you’re going to have one of the top three rushing offenses in the league. That’s just fact. Every year he’s played that number speaks for itself.”
VICK LACK OF PASSING PROWESS: Vick has a lively arm, but he was still developing as a passer. Former
The infamous trick water bottle from Miami International Airport. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)
coach Bobby Petrino would have helped him along if things had worked out.
“Some might say he’s not a career 60 percent passer; are we going to ignore the yardage that he gets running the football?,” Dukes said. “Are we going to ignore all of the other things that he does?
“He’s not the prototypical NFL quarterback, but that does not mean that he’s not a good quarterback. He still will be a good quarterback.”
Brandt never liked Vick as a passer.
“At Virginia Tech, he hit 56 point something of his passes,” Brandt said. “Which is not very good. His brother (Marcus) who wasn’t even considered a good passer and hit 59, almost 60 percent of his passes. In the Wildcat formation, that is probably where he has to be if he’s going to be on offense.”
CAN VICK STILL PACK THE STANDS: It’s no league secret that for years before Vick arrived, selling out Falcons game was a difficult task. TV blackouts have a place in local Falcon lore.
“Vick is recession proof,” Dukes said. “That is the one thing that I can say about him that people forget. If he’s going to play, he’s going to pack out whatever stadium he’s going in.
“How many members of PETA are actually season ticket holders? You where here with the Falcons fans when this thing went down. You saw that the season ticket holders wanted Michael Vick back.
“They understood that he did something terrible and they understood that he needed to pay some form of a price for what he did. But they wanted him. This wasn’t a racial issue, black, white or purple. Falcon fans, season ticket holders, wanted their quarterback.
“So whatever team he goes to, those fans are going to want their quarterback to play. Especially, if their quarterback position is poor. Are you telling me that Michael Vick won’t go into St. Louis, where they are worried about selling tickets and sell that place out? You are telling me that if he went to Kansas City that he wouldn’t pack that place out? I know they just got Matt Cassel, but before that. If he went to Detroit he would pack that joint.”
Cleveland and San Francisco are two other quarterback-needy teams Dukes mentioned. (Hey, Cleveland does have the Dawg Pound, too! I know, bad joke.)
Vick could smile back during OTAs in July of 07 before the dogfighting case broke. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC)
POSITION CHANGE: Agent Joel Segal and Vick’s camp are not considering a position change to wide receiver, running back or defensive back.
Brandt thinks that might not be wise.
“I don’t know if you can teach a guy to back pedal, but he’s an athlete,” Brandt said. “He might be a corner because of his speed and athletic ability. Because of his running ability, he might be a running back. There will be opportunities for him, but I think it will be extremely hard for him to come back as a quarterback.”
Vick is a quarterback in Dukes’ book.
“He’s not Peyton Manning, but you know what, he’s got some things that Peyton Manning doesn’t have,” Dukes said. “Peyton has some things in the passing game that Mike doesn’t have. Nevertheless, he’s a very effective quarterback. . .
“That guy can play quarterback. He’s not Steve Young in the West Coast offense, but guess what, who is? He is a good enough quarterback.
“His numbers are pretty darn good, when you compare it to some of the bums who have played the quarterback position. This guy wins games.”
THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES: For us folks that have covered the Vick case from the beginning, we know about the substantial role The Humane Society of the United States played in helping to convict Vick.
PETA does all of the protesting, but the well-financed Humane Society does the heavy-lifting.
It’s ironic now that they now may play a role in helping Vick cleanse his reputation.