Michael Vick: a scouting report from Eagles Have Landed

Last week’s post and poll about concussions, dogfighting, and the possibility of Michael Vick as the next Rams quarterback yielded some surprising results: Rams fans appear to be very supportive of Vick. By more than a 2:1 margin. A much larger sample voted in Bernie Miklasz’s Five Minutes blog, with much the same results.

Naturally, I wondered how Vick was being perceived by those who have watched him closest over the past year. Joe Burt from the excellent FanBall blog Eagles Have Landed agreed to answer a few of my questions.

RamsHerd: Did you like the Vick signing in the first place? And did he surprise/disappoint you?

Eagles Have Landed: After getting over the initial shock of it all, I did in fact like the move to sign the controversial Vick. From the very beginning, I knew the Eagles brought him in for a combination of two reasons. One is that he is an ideal player to run the gadget, “wildcat” offense employed by so many teams nowadays. Vick might be the best running quarterback of all time, so to sign a guy like that for under $2 million was a smart move. The second reason to sign him was the chance to trade him off for a high draft pick from a team in need of a QB. After letting the Eagles take the public relations blunt of a Vick signing, other NFL teams could look at Vick as a potential starting option.

Vick did not necessarily surprise or disappoint me this season. When he got going later in the year, you saw flashes of the dynamic player we saw turn around the Atlanta Falcons franchise. But in a backup capacity, it is tough to shine enough to turn heads.

RamsHerd: Does he seem to have a grasp on the Eagles’ west coast-style offense, or was he given custom plays?

Eagles Have Landed: That’s hard to say, Will. He never saw extended time to prove any type of handling of the Eagles’ WCO. In practice, he worked in with the first team offense in “wildcat” situations during the season but had a training camp and preseason to grasp the whole offense. With Vick’s past knowledge of a west-coast scheme down in Atlanta, it is safe to say he knows this version fairly well.

RamsHerd: Some fans and media seem to be ready to run McNabb out of town, are they calling for Kolb or Vick to replace him? Or some third party?

Eagles Have Landed If you read all the Philadelphia-area writers, many are calling for the axe on the best quarterback in Eagles history. Now, these are writers, and are paid to stir up drama. Just as many Eagles fans are willing to give No. 5 at least one more shot at leading this talented but young Eagles offense to a Super Bowl. I mean, no one really expects Vick to be the guy, and how excited can you really get about Kolb? Both guys could be successful NFL quarterbacks right now, but it doesn’t mean they would outperform McNabb. The whole situation will be under the microscope until Andy Reid decides what to do, which could be all the way at the end of the 2010 season.

RamsHerd: Does Vick appear to still be an “explosive” player, offensively?

Eagles Have Landed: Although it is hard to make a judgment with such little game film on Vick, a few things stand out. His arm is still strong, we saw that with the rope of a ball to Jeremy Maclin for a big touchdown last weekend. When he finally settled into his “wildcat” role later in the season, he showed a quick burst and a knack for picking up a tough couple yards. He is no longer the extreme speed threat he was in Atlanta, but would instantly become the best running quarterback in the league should he get a starting job next year.

RamsHerd: Do you want him back in an Eagles uniform next season?

Eagles Have Landed: No, I want a first-round pick for him. Or two second-round picks. But if McNabb is traded (however unlikely), I would like to see him stay to backup Kolb.

In a way, Andy Reid and the Eagles have played the Vick scenario perfectly — they’ve showed just enough of him to put themselves in an ideal seller’s position. The question that Joe put to me in return, I will now put to you: