Not now. No, right now Michael Vick is busy being a fine soldier, and an image of all that is good with the world of backup quarterbacking.
He’s embraced and accepted that role in Philadelphia following Nick Foles’ sudden rise to hero status. Foles has now famously thrown 16 touchdown passes and zero interceptions over his eight game appearances and five starts, and during his last three games he’s averaged at least 11.0 yards per pass attempt. He’s damn good, and proving that maybe a quarterback doesn’t need warp speed to succeed in Chip Kelly’s system. Maybe, just maybe, a booming and accurate arm will suffice.
Vick has been all class all the time, saying in a radio appearance last week that he wouldn’t bench Foles, and then gracefully accepting a backup role when the formality of Foles remaining the starter was announced yesterday. But where, exactly, does that leave an aging and brittle quarterback who’s on an expiring contract? Still starting somewhere, he thinks.
He has to think that, because the moment any quarterback stops thinking that is also the moment they stop being a quarterback. But after remembering what we saw from Vick earlier this season — the usual speed and mobility, yes, but turnovers, an inconsistent arm and a completion percentage of 54.6, and eventually the standard combustion — and try not to chuckle a little while reading this quote (from Jeff McLane): “I feel like I can still start, yeah, in this league”.
Vick can still start in this league, but he shouldn’t. Quarterbacks of Vick’s vintage (he’ll turn 34 next June) hover around nearly every offseason, and if they’re signed it’s often in a situation where a young quarterback either isn’t quite ready or needs competition. Then if the veteran wins said competition, he acts as a bridge, holding a place while the kid learns. Think back to Matt Hasselbeck’s role in Tennessee a few years ago while Jake Locker sat and watched.
Problem is, Vick’s aging body and playing style don’t allow him to be an effective starter in that capacity. He’s missed 16 full games over the past four seasons, and he’s left early in six others. The end result this year with Vick starting the first five games and Foles then coming in eventually was similar, but the crucial difference is that Foles has already been groomed and developed. A different scenario where the ascending rookie behind Vick doesn’t have that same experience is something far less than ideal.
So he’ll sit, and he’ll watch this Eagles season unfold as they trade punches with dem Cowboys atop the NFC East, clawing for a playoff berth. And although he’ll likely get a chance to compete for a job next summer, right now he’s watching in a role which will become familiar throughout whatever remaining NFL time Vick has left: backup.
More notes, stray thoughts, and other such randomness
Mike Glennon is legit
Hey, remember last spring when Geno Smith falling out of the first round blew our damn minds? Now that’s looking like an appropriate outcome, and Mike Glennon is leading a weak rookie quarterback class. And it’s not close.
— NFLN_Playbook (@NFLN_Playbook) November 26, 2013
I will allow it…
Got this from a friend in Boston. Funny – but ouch!!!!! pic.twitter.com/usfWr8bHmr
— Darren McKee (@dmac1043) November 26, 2013
More on the problem with RG3, and the problem with our expectations
The more I read, watch, and then read some more, the more I think that what we’re seeing right now with Robert Griffin III — his minimal pocket presence, his lack of burst, and by extension a read-option that’s devoid of a running threat at quarterback — is what we should have expected all along.
That quite clearly doesn’t make it good or right or welcome. It just sort of is right now, and although hopeful moments have been scattered, expecting him to repeat last year after major reconstructive knee surgery was always foolish. I’m not unique in that observation, as others are seeing a slower and far more hesitant RG3. Here’s one NFC scout from yesterday who talked to NFL Network’s Albert Breer:
“The way I see it, I don’t think RG3 is healthy. I don’t think he has the same burst, the same acceleration, so you’re not seeing as much running, because he’s not healthy. That plays mentally as well, when he has to stand in the pocket and make throws. He’s wanting to be a playmaker, and he’s pressing, and trying to do too much.”
His head coach Mike Shanahan echoed those words, saying that a certain acceleration is absent.
“We had a dual threat. Now that threat is not quite there, as strong as it was a year ago. But now we go to a different direction, with our play action, we still run some of the zone reads, so that will come. That maturity will come. But it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a growing period. If you take a look at so many of these quarterbacks, all the Hall of Fame quarterbacks, they’ve had much tougher periods than we’ve gone through so far. It doesn’t happen overnight, but he’s got all the ability in the world to make that big jump, and you just have to be patient.”
The problem is that a quarterback like, say, Steve Young gradually decreased his running and eased into a new role as a quarterback while his career progressed. What we’re seeing with Griffin is far more abrupt, and it’s a fundamental change of his nature and instincts in only Year two.
Truth talk from Drew Bledsoe
Dan Steinberg from the DC Sports Bog randomly quoted something from the mouth of Drew Bledsoe yesterday regarding our boy RG3, and he did it because a man who knows a thing or two about playing quarterback said what we’re all thinking…
“You watch some of these ‘new’ quarterbacks running the ball and running the read option, guys that are mobile and run around. But RGIII, for whatever reason, he takes harder hits somehow. Compare him to Russell Wilson, who runs around as much or more, but you don’t see him get hit hard. There’s kind of a sixth sense, if you will, that allows some guys to run the ball but not take the big shot. Kaepernick is more cut out to take a big hit, because he’s a bigger guy, so he’ll deliver some blows. But RGIII, to me, that was one thing that I saw last year. As great as he played last year, man, when he gets hit, a lot of times it looks like things are gonna just come flying apart.”
Punters are cheating people too
Giants punter Steve Weatherford is not a normal punter, mostly because he’s jacked and has about two six-packs. But he’s still a punter, and punters just kick and sit, and then kick some more. Yet still after two particularly booming efforts Sunday, he was summoned for the most random test ever.
This is how I’m greeted when I get 2 work today. Two 65+ punts and now U wanna test me? Random? Hmm… pic.twitter.com/EmN1yANEZB
— Steve Weatherford (@Weatherford5) November 25, 2013
Tim Wright is set for an increased role
Say, did you make that Tim Wright waiver claim last night? Welp, if he’s still available in your league, I’d change that now. As Pat Yasinskas notes, with Luke Stocker, Nate Byhum, and now Tom Crabtree on injured reserve, Wright’s role is about to increase, and possibly beyond even the nine targets he received in Week 12.