Eagles become Vick-tims of their own impulse move

I’m not one of those types that thinks Michael Vick should have been barred for life from playing football. But that said, I can’t envision his joining the Eagles actually working out.

To get this out of the way, I don’t condone forcing animals to fight, much less killing them. I honestly think Vick is despicable. But the guy was Vick: Formerly the most electrifying player in the gamesentenced for his crime, he served his time and he’s out. If someone is willing to take him on, I have little problem with him joining a team, and that’s despite the fact that I doubt Vick has any contrition. If he didn’t think fighting dogs was wrong before he got caught, I’d say the only thing he’s sorry about is that he got caught.

But what is the best case scenario here? What is Vick going to do in Philadelphia to make it worth taking on the scrutiny of actually having him?

I can understand why Vick would think this is the best situation. You know the drill: strong management team, solid coach in Andy Reid, established quarterback – all of which takes pressure off Vick. In addition, he has one of the most stable men in the history of the NFL in Tony Dungy as a mentor to keep him on the straight and narrow.

I know what Vick gets out of this. But what do the Eagles get?

First off, they get an angry quarterback. Sure, Donovan McNabb said the right things about encouraging the Eagles to sign Vick. What is he supposed to say? Privately, he hates it. McNabb has an enormous ego and a ton of pride. He wants to be The Man.

Remember when the Eagles drafted Kevin Kolb and McNabb called it “shocking” that they’d take a young quarterback to groom? Remember when McNabb was benched this past November and he acted as if Andy Reid had stolen his Chunky Soup? Meanwhile, it only saved their season.

No matter what he says, McNabb does not want Vick there. He dealt with one circus atmosphere with Terrell Owens that turned into a humongous personal embarrassment. Now he has someone even more notorious on his team that plays his position and threatens his alpha male status.

Football-wise, does this even make sense? Vick is going to play quarterback since it’s all he knows. If the Eagles have him on the field in some sort of Wildcat-like formation, that takes McNabb – arguably their best player – off the field. That strikes me as counterproductive. Donovan and Mike -- will they still be all smiles?

And who even knows what Vick has left? Sure, he was a dynamic and incredibly talented – albeit very flawed – player during his first go-around, but does that guarantee he’s going to be that good after two years on the shelf? Of course not. In fact, I’d be stunned if he was anything close to what he was before. A month off makes a quarterback rusty. How about two years? In prison? He might be a totally different athlete now, and not in a good way.

You know who else doesn’t know what kind of player Vick is? The Eagles. Oddly, Reid didn’t even work him out. So why go out on this limb without knowing for sure this guy can still play? It’s sort of stupefying.

Also, don’t forget that the West Coast offense requires precision that Vick simply didn’t have during his stay in Atlanta, or that the Eagles were among the favorites to win the NFC even before this disruption.

And then there are the fans, who have completely been overlooked by the Eagles. Remember: I was just in close contact with the Philly fan base; they’re passionate but very judicious, and they love their stars. As such, they will be very wary of embracing Vick. I’d say virtually all fans would be, to a degree, afraid of what people would think or sticking to their own personal beliefs.

Some may speculate this was a potential marketing move on the part of the Eagles. Honestly now… could you wear a Vick jersey in public right now? Or ever?

So we know what Vick gets out of this – the perfect environment to try to get his mojo back.

But what do the Eagles get? A whole lot of questions, that’s what.

And I don’t believe Mike Vick is the answer.


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