HIGH RISK; HIGH REWARD

By Eric D.Graham
Updated: September 29, 2011

NORTH CAROLINA, (BASN)—It was considered “high risk but high reward” when the Philadelphia Eagles decided to give Michael Vick a $100 million contract, with $40 million guaranteed.

But with the Eagles’ front office investing so much money in the talents of Vick, many Philly fans wondered whether a “shaky offensive line” could provide adequate protection for the lethal left-handed QB during a cruel 16 game NFL season without getting him hurt?

This has already been a reoccurring question after Vick was hit 22 times against the St.Louis Rams in week one.

To make matters worse, in week two, Vick received a “freak” concussion after accidentally colliding into one of his offensive linemen against the Atlanta Falcons.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, Vick continued to get battered and bruised in week 3 against the New York Giants, where he injured his non-throwing hand.

“Every time, I threw the ball. I am on the ground” said a frustrated Michael Vick during the post game press conference after losing to the Giants, Sunday (29-16).

Even though Vick’s comments came from a place of frustration, he must stop trying to prove he is a pocket-passer and utilize his elusiveness and quickness to avoid so many possible career-ending injuries.

Vick’s crabby criticism of league officials however drew some harsh words from Mike Fereira, the former NFL Vice President of Officiating.

“I thought it was ridiculous. It actually took me back, it took me back to my job in New York when I worked for the league, and it was a constant complaints by the Eagles.” said Fereira, who now is a Rule Analyst for Fox Sports.

“Whether it was (Donovan) McNabb at quarterback or whether it was Vick. They clearly complained more than any other team.”

Clearly, Fereira hadn’t seen the tape of the Giants’ game, where Vick was injuried before making these comments. As a result, his remarks seemed to have some racial overtones.

Race may have played a factor in his statements, but in this case involving Vick I don’t think so.

Considering the fact that, Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler gets crushed weekly by defenders as well as Tony Romo, who is currently playing with broken ribs and a mysterious healed punctured lung; one really can’t say Vick takes more punishment than any other quarterback in the league.

Let’s not forget, Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who also has been beaten up on a weekly basis while prancing in the pocket unprotected.

With that said, I suggest Vick sit down and read the introduction of author Toure’s controversial piece in ESPN the magazine entitled “What if Michael Vick was White?”

Toure’ brilliantly captured the essence of why we love Michael Vick and what makes him so great.

“WHEN MICHAEL VICK PLAYS, I see street ball. I don’t just mean that sort of football where you have to count to four-Mississippi before you can rush the quarterback, nearly everything breaks down and it’s all great fun. I also mean street basketball. Vick’s style reminds me of Allen Iverson — the speed, the court sense, the sharp cuts, the dekes, the swag. In those breathtaking moments when the Eagles QB abandons the pocket and takes off, it feels as if he’s thumbing his nose at the whole regimented, militaristic ethos of the game.

All of that is why, to me, Vick seems to have a deeply African-American approach to the game. I’m not saying that a Black QB who stands in the pocket ain’t playing black. I’m saying Vick’s style is so badass, so artistic, so fluid, so flamboyant, so relentless — so representative of Black athletic style — that if there were a stat for swagger points, Vick would be the No. 1 quarterback in the league by far.”

Yes, this is true depiction of Michael Vick.

And I am sorry to say it, but he is not a true pocket passer.

He is not Tom Brady.

He is not Peyton Manning.

And he is not Drew Brees.

Therefore, he is not going to get the late hit penalty flags that they may receive, even though he should.

He is not going to be “protected by the powers that be” in the pocket like the “Golden Boy” Tom Brady. Neither is Ben Roethlisberger, who has won two Super Bowl rings, for that matter.

It’s sad to say, but the league officials see Vick as a “running back and not a quarterback.”

Truth is truth.

Therefore, my suggestion to Vick is, to stop complaining to the press and to the refs, and play the game like no one else can.

Therefore, he must use his God-given talents by reading the blitz quicker, avoid defenders while scrambling like “Randall” and getting out of bounds before being hit.

Why? Because according to former NFL quarterback Kordell Stewart on ESPN’s 1st and 10, since last year, Vick has been hit 206 times, which is an average of 14 times a game.

And that’s definitely too many times for a quarterback like Vick to be hit.

This is a risky business, Mike Vick.

Play smart and be rewarded.