Justin Boylan

Is Vick worth the risk? Justin Boylan 8-18-09

The Philadelphia Eagles have made a splash. What kind of splash? The kind of splash where Andy Reid cannonballs into the pool and soaks every person in a 20-foot radius. Signing Michael Vick was a shocker to say the least. Now as the clock ticks towards the regular season the questions remain why the Eagles did this and what does it mean for the season. Does this really mean something or did the Birds just want to steal some headlines from the Phillies? Is it a bad thing? Can he help? Time to dig deep.

Michael Vick was apart of a horrific dog fighting operation; everyone knows the story and Vick's every move since then thanks to the non-stop coverage. I have two dogs that are sleeping in the other room right now, pit bulls; I can't imagine the torture and heartless acts that took place at Vick's home. That being said, he served his time in prison, missed two NFL seasons, and says he wants to be part of the solution. Should we believe him? That's for you to decide. Does he deserve a second chance? Of course he does, and the Eagles are going to give it to him.

The Eagles fan base is parting like the Red Sea thanks to this signing. Arguments on why or why not go past the football field, people don't want to get over what he did, you don't have to like or support Vick the person, but Vick the football player is wearing Eagle green. The turmoil is definitely there among fans. Once the season starts and the tailgating begins it's only a matter of time before a couple drunk guys who bleed Eagle green bump into the PETA protesters and all hell breaks loose. Another reason why maybe it's not worth it for the sake of the team and the city.

Let's think about this in a football sense. Michael Vick is a freak athlete. He's the fastest guy on the field and he can throw the ball a mile, but how does that help the Eagles? For the past decade the quarterback in Philly has been Donovan McNabb, and last time I checked (which was just now) McNabb still is. Vick is wearing #7, which means he has to be listed as a quarterback. According to Coach Reid, Kevin Kolb is the backup quarterback for this team, so that makes Vick the third-string quarterback. Under NFL rules the third quarterback can't enter the game unless the first two get injured or until the fourth quarter. There are other ways to use Vick besides third-string quarterback, but the Birds haven't given any hints that they will do that.

After the news broke about Vick signing with the Eagles Sportscenter did a Top 10 of Vick's greatest moments on the football field. It was a compilation of speed, scoring, and downright amazing athletic acts. However, more than half of the plays came from 2004, does he still have the ability to do those kinds of things five years later? His last season was in 2006, the year he rushed for over a thousand yards. Vick averages over 7 yards a rush for his career. There's only one way to find out if that talent is still there.

If he doesn't begin the season as a third-stringer, what kind of things can he do? Remember last season when the Eagles ran the Wildcat offense with DeSean Jackson behind center, switch him with a quicker player who can even throw the ball down field. The Eagles could line Vick up in the slot with McNabb playing QB and just move him around. Regardless what you think about him, if Michael Vick is on the field he is going to draw some attention. A guy that fast demands coverage and spies that can only benefit the Eagles offense. Using Vick as a decoy could be a good thing for the team.

We can evaluate the signing, but we can't yet evaluate what it means for the team. Until the regular season roster is set, it is mostly speculation. There has to be a valid football reason behind the signing of Michael Vick, because it wasn't something the Eagles needed and I remember this organization as being one of the smarter ones in the league.

A few final things to ponder, Michael Vick has been “the man” for most of his life. A star in high school, big man on Virginia Tech's campus, and Pro Bowl NFL quarterback with a cult following in Atlanta (not to mention a Madden cover spot, which reminds me, my buddy Joe brought up that the 2009 Eagles are the first team ever to have two Madden covers on the same team. That has to be a good sign right?). So after all that has happened to Vick over that past two years don't you think he wants to make it right. Vick has been given his second chance and I wouldn't bet against a guy with a cannon for an arm and who can set the field on fire with his feet.

Think about this way if you're a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, imagine if the news broke that the Dallas Cowboys signed Michael Vick. As an Eagles fan I would be mad and worried at the same time. Maybe fans don't want him on their team, but you definitely don't want him on the team you have to play on Sunday (the old – I don't want him but I'm not going to let anybody else have him).

So football is fast approaching, and I'll be watching. Maybe with one eye closed, but I'll be watching.



Justin Boylan



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