18 months ago Michael Vick was still in prison. Last week on Monday Night Football, the quarterback had the Eagles on the board 18 seconds into the game thanks to an 88-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson that traveled more than 60 yards in the air. Vick’s dramatic comeback after two years away from the game in prison and a season as a backup/Wildcat quarterback has him being talked about as an MVP candidate. This week, he also earned comparisons to another late-blooming, left-handed quarterback in Steve Young.
“They’re very similar,” said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who coached Young in San Francisco. “The makeup is there on the field as far as talent and ability. Mike has really worked hard to [get to] the level that Steve worked hard at. Steve ended up being one of the most accurate passers ever in the history of the game; first ballot Hall of Famer.”
Their careers certainly follow some parallels, as Young floundered with the Buccaneers before a trade to the 49ers where he became Joe Montana’s backup. Only after injuries did Young get a chance to prove himself at the age of 30. A mobile lefty, Young threw 25 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in 1992, guiding San Francisco to a 14-2 record and earning the starting job.
Vick is 4-0 in games he’s started and finished this year and leads the league with a 115.1 quarterback rating. The former Falcon has thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions, and now the talk is about continuing to play at this level consistently by keeping up his new work ethic.
“I had success in Atlanta and I was fairly young, but now, it’s like I’ve been there before,” Vick said. “Success doesn’t come over night. Once you achieve it, you’ve got to continue to work hard to attain it. You just have to understand what’s gotten you to this point and never lose sight of how hard you have to work. The minute you get complacent, that’s when things fall apart.”
Vick has admitted that he was lazy in Atlanta, often the last player to arrive in the morning and the first to leave. In Philadelphia, his habits have changed, allowing Vick to learn the quarterback position and the west coast offense and alter his style of play to become a pass-first and run-second quarterback.
“Michael, since he’s been here has been just a sponge with things and taking everything in, trying it, and then relaying that from practice to the game field,” said head coach Andy Reid. “And so, a lot of credit and most of the credit should go to him and his approach to the game right now.”
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