The Water Cooler: Michael Vick, From Prison to Destroyer of Worlds
I’ve been a pretty big skeptic of the whole Vick situation in Philadelphia for the entire season. I didn’t like how the Eagles were handling Kevin Kolb situation and I also thought Vick would eventually fall on his face.
It’s pretty evident now that Michael Vick is a better quarterback than he ever was in Atlanta.
I don’t know what happened to this guy in prison, but maybe Ryan Leaf should have tried it out. I can see Vick throwing a slab of concrete through a tire hoop while he was in prison. Who knows? Perhaps Vick doesn’t feel anymore pressure. He’s playing like a little kid, enjoying the game without a care in the world.
At this point in the season, Vick and Kolb have the exact same number of pass attempts (153) and only one completion separates them (Vick has 96, Kolb with 97). The most significant difference is in the touchdowns and interceptions category. Vick is perfect on the season. He’s thrown 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions. Kolb, on the other hand, has thrown six touchdowns and four interceptions. Kolb has been ho-hum while Vick has been outstanding. He has also proven that one of his biggest weapons, his legs, are still as healthy as they used to be.
Vick is currently the NFL’s highest rated quarterback with a 115.1 rating. His career high in a full season is 81.6 (one of his best seasons to date in 2002). His accuracy? Six points higher than his career best of 56.4.
The nightmare for defensive coordinators has returned. He torched the Redskins defense Monday night for six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) in the Eagles 59-28 rout of the Redskins. He also threw for 333 yards on 20/28 passing and ran 8 times for 80 yards. The Eagles might have one of the most difficult offenses to gameplan for with Vick at quarterback.
So now the question is: do you forgive a guy for his previous crimes just because he is finally living up to the enormous potential we all hoped for? I know the fans in Philadelphia have probably erased this from their minds. For me, it’s a wait and see approach. He’s just now having success on the football field again and I want to see how he handles that success. This is a contract year for Vick and he will get a huge contract next season from someone. He served his time and he’s clearly put it behind him.
Around the NFL
Donovan McNabb signed a 5 year, $78 million dollar contract extension earlier this week, but it turns out that he may not even see $10 million of that contract. Here’s the breakdown of his extension. It was a nice way to spin the deal (even though the Redskins are simply protecting themselves) after all the turmoil surrounding McNabb and Shanahan. McNabb threw two touchdowns and three interceptions in the Redskins 5th loss of the season Monday night. Unfortunately, the defense forgot to show up.
- Jason Garrett had a strong debut as interim coach of the Cowboys in their 33-20 defeat of the New York Giants in East Rutherford. It’s been an up and down year for New York. They have some nice wins, but they also have three really ugly losses. The Giants made a ton of mistakes on Sunday (8 penalties, 3 turnovers). You can’t win games like that in the NFL. Even if you’re playing the Cowboys.
- The Texans lost their third straight game to the Jaguars and fell to 4-5 on the season. The Texans are known for sluggish starts and strong finishes, but “they are young” isn’t a valid excuse anymore. It doesn’t help that Demeco Ryans was lost for the season earlier this year, but the Texans need to turn things around quickly if they are going to salvage this season. I’m not sure I see them recovering. They have a brutal stretch upcoming: @NYJ, vs TEN, @PHI, vs BAL, @TEN. Ouch.
- Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings continued their abysmal season with a 27-13 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday. Favre threw three interceptions and completed 58% of his passes. Favre was coming off a career game in terms of passing yardage (446) against the hapless Arizona Cardinals defense. His most successful games recently have come against some of the worst pass defenses in the league (Dallas, New England, Arizona) and he has struggled mightily against strong pass defenses (NY Jets, Green Bay).
- Does anyone want to step forward as the clear cut favorite in the NFL? It’s almost a carbon copy of the college football season. I thought Pittsburgh was looking very strong until their defense was shredded by New England on Sunday. The Patriots put up 39 points, rushed for 103 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and amassed 453 total yards. I won’t judge the Steelers from one game. They had been showing signs of weakness in the past few weeks. Their pass defense was never dominant, as evidenced by Drew Brees and Tom Brady ripping their secondary apart. Of course, they rip a lot of secondary’s apart. The surprising part was the 103 yards on the ground New England gained. The Steelers came into the game allowing 51.8 yards per game on the ground and they are still the best run defense in the NFL by far. You can’t expect the intensity to maintain itself for 16 games, though.
- The Rams lost 23-20 to the San Francisco 49ers and dropped to 0-4 on the road. The Rams are 4-5 overall and second in the NFC South behind the Seattle Seahawks, whom the Rams beat 20-3 back in October. If you can’t win on the road, you aren’t a playoff team. No one is running away with the NFC South, so there’s no reason to panic just yet.
- The AFC West is another division that no one is taking control of. The Broncos smashed the Chiefs 49-26 on Sunday while the Raiders had the week off. Oakland remains in first place with a 5-4 record. The Chiefs host the Raiders on January 2nd, setting up a potential showdown between old rivals in Week 17.
- Randy Moss’ Titans debut was nothing short of a dud. He was targeted just four times and made one catch for 26 yards. Oh, and the Titans lost 29-17 to the Dolphins. The loss gave the Colts sole control of first place in the AFC South. Chris Johnson averaged 6.9 yards per touch but only touched the ball 18 times. The Titans have lost two games in a row, but still control their destiny in the division. Five of their final seven games are within the division and four of those games will come against the Texans and Colts. I imagine they will split the series with the Colts (winning at home and losing in Indy) and sweep the Texans. Pardon the baseball terminology.
- Speaking of the Colts, the beleaguered offense scraped by the Bengals 23-17 at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. Peyton Manning has now posted a QB rating under 70 three times this season. It’s not his worst by any means, but it shows the struggles of this offense. The struggles are rooted in the running game. The Colts are averaging just 90 yards per game (27th in the league) on the ground, but to be fair they are without Joseph Addai and Mike Hart. It’s not a good sign for this team if they can’t find a way to move the ball on the ground.
No more bye weeks! The home stretch is here.
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