Vick Isn’t An NFL QB And He Never Was Or Will Be As Long As He Keeps Running

By Gregory Moore
Updated: November 27, 2006

SAN ANTONIO— The two-finger salute may have been the ugliest thing that Michael Vick has given Atlanta Falcons’ fans but his play as a six year veteran in the NFL has been the ugliest performance to date.

He is by far one of the most overrated signal callers ever to don on an NFL jersey and he definitely has shown that he is incapable of becoming a leader on a professional team that needs a bunch of professionals.

From calling out the media saying that they do not know anything about rating his performance, to calling out his head coach and offensive coordinator, Vick has officially become what Jim Mora named him two weeks ago; a coach killer.

This week, a myriad of individuals and teammates are going to come to his defense and while that is admirable it does nothing but enable Vick to continue to do what he has always done best; dodge being a professional quarterback performing on the biggest stage on Sunday.

Let’s forget about the Nike commercials that he has done. Let’s forget about the abomination of maybe four games over two seasons in which he looked like the Vick of 2002 when he threw for 2,936 yards.

Lets look at what he has always been even when at Virginia Tech; a player who would run at will despite being capable of throwing the long ball.

Take the 2002 season off the books and look at what you have as a Falcons’ fan. What you have is an athlete who could be a wide receiver, a tight end or a slot back in any other offense. But let’s go further and dwell on an issue that will already be on the table; being a Black quarterback.

Well if I even go to that table and present the evidence to you, Vick is actually a worse BLACK quarterback than he is as just being called an NFL signal caller. If I compare him to the Black quarterbacks who are starting in the NFL right now, he may be marginally better than his cousin, Aaron Brooks.

For example, looking at Donovan McNabb and what he has accomplished in his eight seasons as a pro, McNabb’s numbers show that he is a career 58% completion passer. Vick is at 52%. McNabb has thrown for over 22,000 yards in eight seasons. Vick? Try ten grand and some change. McNabb’s highest QB rating has been 104.1 in 2004, by far his best season as a pro? Vick’s? 81.6 in 2002.

And if I compare Vick’s numbers to Steve McNair’s, the abnormalities become gigantic in nature. In twelve seasons, McNair’s numbers average out better than Vick’s and McNair did a lot of running around as a Titans signal caller early in his career.

But at almost 30,000 yards passing, a career 59.6% passing completion rate and a career QB rating of 83.0, McNair has been able to adept to being a signal caller with great mobility and to lead his team to victory.

For good measure let me just throw in Vince Young into this debate. I was not a big Vince Young fan starting so early because I figured that he needed to learn more on the sidelines than in the huddle but I have to say I’m impressed. I’m impressed because every NFL expert has touted Young as the next hybrid of McNabb, McNair and Vick.

While Young’s numbers are spectacular so far, for a rookie he has done an admirable job and his knowledge of the game shows that he is willing to be more like McNair and McNabb in using his legs to create plays down the field rather than what Vick does and that is running for daylight because it’s the first and only option.

Many supporters of Vick are going to say that he doesn’t have the offensive weapons it takes to win games in Atlanta and I’ll agree with them to a large extent. When you have wide receivers like Roddy White and Michael Jenkins, even Bart Starr would look like a first year Mighty Mite playing against a high school team.

Yes, Arthur Blank and Jim Mora are as much of the problem for the Falcons as is their porous defense, their clueless receiving core sans Alge Crumpler and an offense that is so far south of a traditional West Coast scheme that even Sid Gillman and Don Coryell couldn’t recognize let alone Bill Walsh, Mike Shanahan or even Charlie Weis of Notre Dame.

But having a bad offensive coordinator, a wide receiving corps that gets no separation or even being on a team that seems to shoot itself in the foot still is no excuse for Vick trying to be a consummate professional and be a leader on this team even up under the most extreme of circumstances.

The mere fact that Vick is a six-year NFL signal caller who still acts as if he is in his rookie season is dumbfounding. He says that he can pass the ball but yet, even with good cause, he refuses to trust his quarterbacking instincts.

No matter how bad his receivers are, Vick needs to throw the ball and show upper management that with better weapons he can be a more capable NFL quarterback one day.

The problem with that whole premise is the fact that Vick’s career may be so far along that he may never become a quarterback like McNabb or McNair. In keeping with the Black quarterback theme, the afore mentioned signal callers have been to the promise land; Vick hasn’t. McNair and McNabb have learned to embrace their mobility and become better players with and without a great receiver corp; Vick hasn’t.

Even Randall Cunningham learned later the importance of using the run as a weapon and not as an attack mode helps you win games. Has Vick learned such a lesson? Doesn’t seem so.

The bottom line about Michael Vick is that he has all this unbelievable talent but yet he is probably one of the most over hyped players to come into the NFL in a long time. Is he a Ryan Leaf in Falcons’ garb?

He’s not that much of a head case but he is definitely going down the road of some of the worse NFL quarterbacks who were heavily touted while in college. Does anyone remember Akili Smith?

Vick possesses every talent necessary to be a great signal caller in the league but he has got to realize that he is not back in Blacksburg, Virginia. This isn’t college anymore. Even though Vick had only two seasons at the collegiate ranks doesn’t mean that he is a complete bust but he is definitely acting like it.

It’s time for Michael Vick to realize that he is as much of the problem as his teammates and he needs to own up to his own mistakes for this season gone amuck.

It is time that he step up as the leader of the Falcons and say, “I have made some mistakes this season and I need to help find solutions.” A leader does that and it is time for him to become a leader; not just another high draft pick who flames out in a decade.