Michael Vick: The $100 Million Enigma

Now that “Replacement Refocalypse” is in the rearview mirror and the regular refs are back(*), let’s turn our attention to a more important matter: Michael Vick and his horrific season.

(*)And until the real refs make an inevitable ghastly mistake that reminds all NFL fans that we weren’t really satisfied with the league’s level of officiating as it was.

Earlier this week, The Walrus flat-out lied told the football world that Vick is his Quarterback, a day after claiming Vick’s status will be evaluated. Hmmmmm… This feels kind of déjà vu-y, doesn’t it?! Andy make very similar proclamations regarding both Dramavon McNabb and Kevin Kolb. So let’s take anything the whiskered wonder says with the tiniest grain of salt. But a Quarterback controversy this is not. Michael Vick will be the Eagles QB. Until he’s not.

The larger question is SHOULD Michael Vick be starter moving forward, and, more importantly, is he capable of leading this team?

Short answer: yes and no. But, it’s complicated.

While we’ve stated it many times before, and believe it wholeheartedly, we’ll say it again… Vick is not a championship-caliber QB. With his style of play and decision-makinge, he just isn’t a Super Bowl Quarterback. Does he have heart? Tons. Does he have athletic ability? More than anyone. But those two things don’t equal a QB that can take a team to the promise land. He simply doesn’t have the tangible skills needed to lead a team over the course of an entire season and playoffs.

Would we like to eat our words? Of course! There’s nothing we want more than a Lombardi Trophy in the NovaCare Complex. We just don’t see it happening. Although, with that being said, he’s still the superior QB on the roster, and the team will have to ride out this season with him – assuming he can stay upright. Nick Foles may be a nice player, but his bandwagon is already standing room only and it just doesn’t make sense to throw a rookie QB in with this team. The 2012 Eagles will live and die with Mike Vick.

Now, the question of his ability is the big one. Grantland.com’s resident football expert, Bill Barnwell(**), takes a detailed statistical look at Michael Vick, over the course of Vick’s 26 starts as the Eagles fulltime QB. The splits are very interesting when broken down between his first 13 games and the last 13.

(**)We realize we continue to drop Barnwell’s name, but it’s because he really has a phenomenal statistical mind and is one of the premiere football writers of this decade. You should be reading him daily!

If you recall, Vick started his Eagles tenure on a tear, throwing 24 TDs to 8 INTs with a nearly 62% completion percentage. In the last 13 games, that percentage dropped to under 59% and his TD:INT ratio fell to 17:18. That’s bad. Very bad.

Barnwell continues to detail Vick’s errors, by delving deeper into his last 18 interceptions. According to his research, Vick’s INTs fall into two categories: tipped balls – which account for 8 INTs and are caused by Vick’s flawed sidearm mechanics and forced passes that are deflected – and poor decisions based off of poor reads.

It’s no secret that Vick makes poor choices, struggles to read Defenses, throws across his body and forces balls into double and triple-coverages… But can these things be fixed? Not likely.

At this point in his career, and with the amount of money the Eagles are paying him, Vick is who he is. And who he is, is an inaccurate, insufficient, gun-slinging, pass-forcing, sidearm-throwing, mediocre Quarterback. He’s still gonna take big hits refuse to slide, and will play his ass off and leave everything on the field. Much like Allen Iverson(***), we love Vick’s grit and fight and never-say-die-atude, but we’re not winning with him.

(***)Who we hold a special place in our hearts for.

We can only pray that they win despite him, and that he is gone next year, rather than collecting $16.5 million to continue regressing.

And hopefully he’ll be taking The Walrus with him.

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