I’m a pretty big Michael Vick guy. So I want to remember 2010 when he played at an MVP level and had that excellent 100.2 passer rating and stellar 8.1 yards per pass attempt. I want to focus on what he’s done so far this season and point out that his team is 2-1 and tied atop the division standings. You know, accentuate his two fourth-quarter comebacks. I want to stress that he’s on pace to throw for over 4,800 yards, and that, generally speaking, people need to get off of his back. Yeah, Andy Reid helped create a controversy earlier this week with his poor use of semantics, so I can’t entirely fault ESPN or fans for hopping all over this Vick-on-the-hot-seat story that will serve as the dramatic backdrop for a critically important game with the Giants tonight at Lincoln Financial Field.
Truthfully, I want to write this story that vehemently defends Vick. But I can’t. Each time I want to focus on the positive, there’s some glaring negative to counteract it. He’s on pace to throw for 32 interceptions and only 16 touchdowns. He’s on pace to lose 16 fumbles. He has a 66.2 passer rating and that once stellar yards per attempt? It’s now down nearly a full yard to 7.2 per attempt. He’s 32-years-old, leaves the pocket too soon, and sorry, it’s not overstated—he’s not reading defenses. Those nine sacks and countless hits he’s taken aren’t all the fault of his leaky offensive line.
It’s not to say that Vick is finished, can’t rebound, or won’t rebound, but it is to say that he desperately needs to reverse course and right the ship. And he needs to do it now. Like tonight.
Rarely is a season defined in Week 4, but this is an exception. If the Eagles are going to have major success in 2012, Vick will have to be the quarterback that leads them to it. And if Vick is going to have major success in 2012, then the fumbles, the bad reads, the interceptions each have to come to a stop this week. This is the New York Giants we’re talking about here—a supposedly less talented team that hasn’t had nearly the same regular season success as the Eagles since the turn of century. Yet, they enter Sunday night’s game with two championship rings. It doesn’t matter how improbable they were. Or that I think it’s crap that some no-name wide receiver caught a football with his face mask to win one of them and that they never would have gotten to second if anyone on the 49ers could catch a punt. That all happened. They still count. As for the Eagles? They remain a team with a whole lot of empty promise, deflated by ill-advised game plans and sloppy execution.
This is the week that Vick needs to take what’s there and successfully make something happen when it’s not. This is the game where his coach has to give the quarterback a chance with a real game-plan, not play action fakes, 12-yard drops, and go routes play after play. It’s probably true that if Vick plays poorly, he’ll still be the starter next week. And it’s probably true that if the Eagles lose, they’ll still have plenty of time to rebound and make the playoffs. But that’s loser talk—it’s time for Vick to put up and make a statement that this team is a legit contender. And if not? Then things are going to get weird.