Friday, July 31, 2009

Thoughts on Vick, Part II

In an earlier post, I commented that the hypothetical signing of Michael Vick would ultimately be a bad idea for the Patriots.

Now, after a press conference given by Bill Belichick on Friday, I maintain my stance. Because it might not matter.

In typical Belichick fashion, when asked several questions about Vick, Bill didn't give a yes, no, maybe, or anything of the sort. What he did do, however, was give a revealing amount of nothing:

Q: Have you and the organization ruled out signing Michael Vick?

BB: Have we ruled it out? I don’t know that it’s ruled in or ruled out.

Q: Some teams have said, ‘We are not going to sign him.’

BB: Well I’m just answering your question and I’m saying I don’t think it’s ever been put that way, so I can’t really answer it.

Q: Are you interested in signing Michael Vick?

BB: We are coaching the players that we have on the field right now, so that’s who’s here. So anybody who isn’t here, is there a potential that they could be here? Yea, there probably is, but right now they’re not. We’re coaching the 80 players that are here, so until we get somebody else we are coaching them. If we get somebody else in here, which I am sure at some point we will, then we’ll coach them [with] the players that are here. Who that’s all going to be, right now it’s the 80 players that are here. That’s all I can tell you.

Q: It sounds like you’re not ruling that out?

BB: Karen [Guregian], I am coaching the players that are here, that are on this team. I am not coaching anybody else. I’m sure at some point somebody else will be here, I don’t know who that’s going to be. If I knew they would already be here.

Q: Is that something you need a couple weeks to assess?

BB: I don’t think there is any time frame or any set criteria, no. We signed players a couple days ago. We signed players last week. Last year we signed a player or two at the beginning of camp. I don’t know. If we need somebody and we feel like that player can help our team and puts us in a better situation than what we had, then we’ll do it. If we don’t than we won’t.

Belichick is not one to affirm or deny anything. Had either of those reporters asked if Tom Brady was going to start at quarterback, he'd answer "Every position is up for grabs." Had they asked if he was hoping for a Super Bowl victory, he'd answer "We're not thinking that far ahead."

So with something like a potential Vick signing, whatever he says has to be read between the lines. And that seems to show a coach intrigued with the possibility of adding a fallen NFL superstar to an already potent mix.

If Belichick were absolutely not thinking of signing Vick, he would have used the opportunity to protect another aspect of his strategy: dispelling rumors. But considering that he was told that other coaches have flat rejected the idea of signing the former Falcon, and he still remained vague, implies that he's not denying anything because, simply, there's nothing to deny.

There's nothing to affirm, nothing to deny. Welcome to Bill's world.

The only reason that this looks like more evidence towards a Vick signing is that this is the routine Belichick and the media go through with every Patriot target. Whether it be something like the Randy Moss trade (which the Boston Herald reported was a possibility months before it was done) or the Rosevelt Colvin-Junior Seau signings in the second half of last season, the shtick is the same.

Belichick doesn't tip his hand, and when the deal is done, it's always a surprise.

It's too early, way too early, to say that Vick is busy getting on the next flight to Logan Airport. But there's a lot in Bill's seemingly nothing response that implies the New England brain trust is thinking of him. Sometimes, a compelling indication can be nothing at all.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thoughts on Vick

As the storm of speculation over where Michael Vick is headed has been growing by the minute, seemingly every organized football team has been included as a landing spot.

With Brett Favre now retired (again), the Vikings have been mentioned consistently, as have teams like the Jaguars, the Dolphins, the 49ers, every team in the fledgling UFL...

And the New England Patriots.

Don't believe me? Check it out. And don't worry, I didn't believe it at first either. Because, simply put, it doesn't make sense.

Don't get me wrong, the thought of getting Vick is an exciting one, and even two years removed from the game, there are few in the NFL that can match his pure, blinding speed and athletic gifts.

The thought of Vick running a Wildcat scheme with Sammy Morris and Tom Brady is tantalizing, and the idea of No. 7 simply standing on the same field, in the same uniform, as Randy Moss is frightening for defensive coordinators.

Despite all of these highs, there is one reason for Patriots fans to be very, very low on Vick. And it has nothing to do with dogs.

It has to do with our cleft-chinned, knee brace-wearing Wonderboy.

Any team that signs Michael Vick will be signing a quarterback. Pure and simple. They won't be signing a running back, or a wide receiver, or some freak combination in the Kordell Stewart mold from the mid-90s.

Vick can't play those positions. He has the talent, but not the body. Fans in Atlanta would hold their breath every time he took off past the line of scrimmage, in fear he would suffer an injury like 2003's fractured ankle.

You think that sounds like a guy who should be catching 40 passes a season?

Instead, Vick still has the rocket arm. He still has the leadership qualities. He still has the sense in the pocket from playing quarterback all his life. He IS a quarterback.

If the Patriots signed Vick, his most significant role on the team would be as the backup quarterback, and over time, questions would rise as to the point of having a marquee QB like Vick on the depth chart if the starter is entrenched in his spot.

Nobody in the NFL has more job security than Tom Brady. The idea of signing Vick is doomed to failure.

So Patriots fans can still dream of a Brady-Vick tandem tearing up the league the way the Dolphins did last year. They can still hope to see Vick sprinting down the field, catching an arcing pass from Brady, and burning everyone else into the end zone.

But that won't happen for long. Vick will realize his roots. You can't teach an old quarterback new tricks.