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16 Feb 2007

Four Downs: NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

The Decisive Mr. Vick

You probably know by now that Michael Vick will be allowed to call audibles next year, a privilege he was never given by former offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. But you may not know exactly what audibles Vick will be allowed to call. A source close to Bobby Petrino gave Football Outsiders a preliminary list of plays that Vick will be permitted to call at the line next season. For convenience, our source (who will remain nameless and fictitious) provided instructions so you can use these audibles in your favorite video game once the 2008 edition is released:

Coach Killer Left: A bootleg run around left end (A Button)
Coach Killer Right: Same play, different side (B Button)
Durty Bird Fan Flip: A deep pass about 10 yards over the head of Roddy White (X-button)
Random Scramble: A play where Vick drops to pass, strikes his "action figure" pose the moment a defender comes within four yards of him, then runs around in circles until tackled (left trigger, right trigger, select button).
Particulate Fake Toss Security Guard Dodge: Pretty much what it sounds like (Y-button)

Snicker if you want, but it's nearly impossible for a quarterback to execute a modern NFL offense without the ability to call audibles. Knapp claimed that he never allowed his quarterbacks to change plays, not even Jeff Garcia in San Francisco, so you have to wonder if his entire scheme was a little backward. Knapp is now in Oakland, where backward is the new forward, so no one will notice if his system is a little antedated.

Of course, there's a chance that Knapp fibbed a little when he said that his quarterbacks were never allowed to audible. Maybe Vick was the only quarterback denied to right to change plays, but Knapp didn't want to single Vick out. But Vick did have some success last season when he undermined Knapp and drew up some playground plays with receiver Michael Jenkins against the Redskins. Vick and Jenkins connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass that sprung not from the playbook but their fertile imaginations. "Sometimes, you have to overcome coaching," Vick joked after the game. The truest things really are said in jest.

There's no way to run an offense like Petrino's, which is loaded with shotgun handoffs and rollout passes, without the occasional audible. And Vick could benefit from the ability to change a play at the line that he doesn't feel will work. Falcons players complained last season that they knew some plays were doomed as soon as they broke the huddle and saw the defensive alignment. No doubt some of those doomed plays turned into the headless-chicken scrambles and throws-to-nowhere that we criticize Vick for. Vick can be very creative after the snap. Petrino may be able to harness some of that creativity and use it before the snap, when it can do more good. It could yield exciting results. Or maybe just amusing ones.

Who Could Leave?

Despite all of the blog fervor, Vick isn't going anywhere. After the water bottle incident, Petrino wants to keep Matt Schaub around as well. Schaub's name turned up in conjunction with every team that needed a starting quarterback during the regular season – the Rochester Democrat seemed ready to pay his plane fare to Buffalo until J.P. Losman showed improvement – but only the Packers appear to have even a tepid interest right now. Schaub is a restricted free agent, so a team would have to be really motivated to nab him.

Patrick Kerney indicated that he wants to stay in Atlanta, and both Arthur Blank and GM Rich McKay want him back. The Jets have shown interest in Kerney, but they run a 3-4 defense, and Kerney flopped as an outside linebacker a few years ago. Early reports indicate that that the Falcons will also try to hold onto RFA linebacker Demorrio Williams, a speedster who would have more opportunities to blitz under new coordinator Mike Zimmer. Defensive tackle Rod Coleman could fetch a hefty salary on the open market and may be too expensive to keep.

Receiver Ashley Lelie voided the second year of his contract in late January and wants out of Atlanta. The Falcons have no interest in retaining him. Brian Finneran is expected back, and the new coaches want to take a long look at tough, speedy special teamer Adam Jennings as a potential deep threat from the slot.

Linebacker Ed Hartwell, who is in the middle of a huge six-year contract but is never healthy, is on the hot seat. If Hartwell doesn't play well in minicamps, he could be a cap casualty. Veteran corners Jason Webster and Allen Rossum could also face the axe as Zimmer rebuilds the defense.

Whom Should They Sign? (Projected Cap Space: $11.5-million)

The Falcons need a cornerback but lack the cap space to pursue top targets Nate Clements or Asante Samuel (the cap space estimate above is from askthecommish.com; other sources give the team only $3-4 million in cap room). Many of the lower-cost alternatives on the market, like Nick Harper of the Colts, are Cover-2 corners who don't fit Zimmer's man coverage-oriented scheme. Safety is another area of need, but the Falcons are expected to improve that position through the draft. After covering their bases with Schaub and Kerney and signing their rookies, the Falcons probably won't be major movers on the free agent market.

Carolina Panthers

Hardy Davidson

New Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson brings outstanding credentials with him to his new job:

  • He helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls in his roles as tight ends coach, assistant offensive line coach, and cappuccino machine refiller.
  • He received a glowing recommendation from ex-boss Charlie Weis. "Davidson? Which one was he? The kid with the beard? Yeah, he can coach. Now excuse me while I roll this wheelbarrow full of hundred dollar bills to the South Bend Savings and Loan."
  • As interim play caller for the Browns in the final weeks of last season, he made Derek Anderson a household name in Northern Ohio for about forty-five minutes at the end of the upset win over the Chiefs.
  • Most importantly: he's not Dan Henning.

Henning had to go after he turned the Panthers into the worst third down team in the NFL last season (according to DVOA and any other stat you can find). Henning's critics pegged him as an arch-conservative who ran the ball at all costs, but that isn't really true. Henning struggled to build an adequate running game in Carolina, and the Panthers never finished in the top half of the league in rushing DVOA on Henning's watch. When Henning lost confidence in his ground attack, he started throwing the ball on third-and-short. Opponents caught on, and the Panthers offense unraveled.

Fans hoping for a more wide-open attack from Davidson may be disappointed: he appears to be a run-oriented coach. He can make the Panthers offense more dynamic, though, if he can bring more consistency to the ground game. New offensive line coach Dave Magazu will help. Magazu coached the Boston College offensive line and knows how to instill exceptional fundamentals in young blockers. He should be able to mold youngsters like Evan Mathis and Jordan Gross into better players. The Panthers have most of the pieces in place for a productive offense. It's just up to Davidson and Magazu to assemble them properly.

Who Could Leave?

The Panthers are cap-strapped, so lots of players could walk over the next few months. Keary Colbert, who seemed destined for stardom two years ago, is as good as gone at wide receiver. Linebacker Na'il Diggs, another unrestricted free agent, won't be back. Veterans like quarterback Chris Weinke and cornerback Ken Lucas will be gone by June.

Several big name defenders could be on the chopping block. Linebacker Dan Morgan, safety Mike Minter, and defensive end Mike Rucker are all due a lot of money in 2007. Rucker is an elite player when healthy but is 32 and coming off an ACL tear. Morgan is always hurt. Minter is 33. Together, they account for over $10 million in cap space.

Keyshawn Johnson claimed that he would retire if Henning was fired, but he backed off those comments in mid-January. All is quiet on the Keyshawn front; the receiver was last seen in Westwood, California, picking out the baseboards for one of his condos. Toe-kickers cost money, so Keyshawn will be back.

Whom Should They Sign? (Projected Cap Space: $3.1 million over the cap)

The Panthers are one of the few teams in the NFL that are currently over the cap, so they cannot afford to do much shopping. The Panthers have major needs at tight end and left tackle, but they will probably have to plug those holes through the draft or promotion from within. Davidson would love to bring New England's Daniel Graham to Carolina as an all-purpose tight end, but Graham is probably too expensive.

New Orleans Saints

Bacchus Dislocated

Drew Brees is OK. He will need six-to-eight weeks of rest to heal the left elbow he disclocated in the Pro Bowl. But he won't need surgery. He won't miss minicamp. Most importantly, he won't miss Mardi Gras: Brees will be Grand Marshall for the Krewe of Bacchus, one of the largest and most legendary parade companies in New Orleans. Betcha John Fourcade never got to be a Grand Marshall.

(A quick Mardi Gras note: technically, the Grand Marshall is not Bacchus himself; that honor falls to James Gandolfini this year. Other Saints stars will also ride down Rue Bourbon in the days to come. Sean Payton will reign as a king of the Krewe of Orpheus. And much-maligned cornerback Fred Thomas may be honored by the Krewe of Croutonus, a parade company that celebrates the Greek god of toast.)

The hit Brees suffered in the Pro Bowl could have been much worse. Imagine if he hurt his right throwing elbow instead of his left one. Imagine that he needed a few months of rehab. The only other quarterbacks on the Saints roster are Jamie Martin and Jason Fife. Neither is starter material. The Saints would have to climb on the Jeff Garcia-Matt Schaub merry-go-round or else risk losing all the momentum they gained this season. Imagine if Brees returned in September with a bad case of Pennington Arm. The Saints would quickly go from feel-good story to one-year wonder.

But there's nothing to worry about. Brees is fine. Heck, he's tight with the god of wine. Now is not the time for sober analysis of the Saints. Check back on February 21st and see if the good times are still rolling.

Who Could Leave?

Charles Grant is the most important free agent on the Saints roster, and he will command a huge contract on the open market. The Saints used the franchise tag on defensive end Darren Howard for two straight years, so they aren't above slapping the tag on Grant. But Howard, like most players, wasn't happy with the tag, and Grant will likely chafe if he is franchised. Still, the team cannot afford to let him test the open market, so Grant will either be locked up quickly or tagged.

Veteran receiver Joe Horn missed the playoffs with injuries and has a contract worth about $4.5 million. He's a likely cap casualty. Of the Saints' other free agents, only tackle Jon Stinchcomb is a high-priority player. The team took care of some business early in the month by re-signing Scott Shanle, the linebacker who went from the Cowboys bench to the Saints starting lineup in late August and wound up recording 97 tackles and four sacks.

Whom Should They Sign? (Projected Cap Space: $26 million)

The Saints need to improve their secondary and linebacker corps, and they have the money to make a splash. Even if they sign or franchise Grant, they should be able to make a run at a top cornerback like Asante Samuel or Nate Clements. The Saints linebackers played well all season long but need an infusion of speed and talent. If they can't land a top cornerback, the Saints could make a run at Adalius Thomas, whose blitzing capability would give coordinator Gary Gibbs more options. The Saints could go in a different direction by pursuing Cato June, whose speed in coverage would be an asset.

The free agent market is filled with offensive linemen, and the Saints need depth along the line, particularly if they lose Stinchcomb or Montrae Holland. If the price is right, they could pursue a veteran tackle like Roman Oben to provide some insurance.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

February Fodder

Not-so-fresh from under the rumor heat lamp: it seems that the Buccaneers are interested in trading down in the draft. The Bucs reportedly believe that there's a major drop-off after the top seven prospects in the draft, but with multiple needs, they'd entertain offers to slide down a few spots to obtain an extra player or pick.

This rumor started as an article by Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune; it was quickly picked up by The Sporting News and soon made the rounds of message boards and blogs across the Internet. With all due respect to Cummings and his sources, the story sounds like February Fodder designed to generate a few column inches of copy. All the ingredients are there. The "seven player draft" hypothesis has been advanced by many sources: the prospects in question are usually defensive end Jamaal Anderson, defensive tackle Alan Branch, receiver Calvin Johnson, running back Adrian Peterson, quarterbacks Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell, and tackle Joe Thomas. The Bucs certainly have many needs. And of course they might be willing to slide down to the #7 slot. Heck, if Peyton Manning were on the table, they would probably slide down to the #32 slot.

The Bucs no doubt discussed the possibility of trading down during a Senior Bowl debriefing, just as they probably discussed trading up or staying put while doing a hundred different things in free agency. Keep in mind that the Bucs don't even know if they are picking third or fourth yet; they are awaiting the results of a coin flip with the Browns. If they select third, they may have their choice of any non-quarterback on the draft board, which would be too good to pass up. If they pick fourth, the teams below them may not be hot to trade. The Vikings (the #7 team and the Bucs' biggest trade suitor according to one flavor of the rumor) are probably shopping for a quarterback or receiver. Quinn, Russell, and Johnson could well be off the board by #4.

So we'll take the Buccaneers rumor under advisement. Maybe after the coin flip and the Combine, we'll revisit it. By then, the seven-player draft may have grown into a 10-player draft (defenders Gaines Adams and Amobi Okoye are already climbing the charts), and the Buccaneers may have found that they just can't live without Anderson or Johnson.

Who Could Leave?

Defensive end Dewayne White is the team's highest-profile free agent. White is a solid run defender with a little bit of pass rush ability, and he fits the system well. He'll get some offers but should be re-signable. Wide receiver David Boston will disappear, only to bubble up elsewhere as a fourth wideout or reality show star. Mike Alstott hammered the nail into the wall, but apparently he didn't hang up his cleats just yet. Alstott will be back in 2007 if he and the team can work out a deal. ESPN's John Clayton reported earlier in the month that the Bucs want to restructure the contracts of defensive linemen Greg Spires and Ellis Wyms, and either player could be a cap casualty in the off-season.

Whom Should They Sign? (Projected Cap Space: $24 million)

The Bucs need a veteran quarterback to back up Chris Simms; USA Today floated Jeff Garcia and Jake Plummer (who should be available via trade) as possibilities. But the Bucs won't pay through the nose for a clipboard jockey. Instead, they'll focus on their defense, which is getting old and needs an influx of talent. The Bucs have the cap space to make a run at Adalius Thomas or Lance Briggs, big-play linebackers who could make up for Derrick Brooks' declining skills. For less money, they could upgrade their defensive line by obtaining a huge run plugger like Ian Scott or Terdell Sands.

Don't look for the Bucs to pursue an offensive lineman in free agency; the team expects youngsters like Jeremy Trueblood and Davin Joseph to take a big step forward in 2007, and of course they could be in line to take Thomas in the draft.

Next week: NFC North by Ned Macey

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 16 Feb 2007

92 comments, Last at 16 Nov 2010, 10:21pm by hero


by BigManChili (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 2:35pm

Can I offer a few Falcons corrections?
-- Kerney flopped as a OLB and a DE in the 3-4, and now the Broncos are showing great interest in him. They even signed his old D-line coach, Bill Johnson.
-- Coleman is signed through the season, unless his contract had something similar to Kerney's where the final year or two were voided. The AJC hasn't reported that, as far as I know.

by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 2:35pm

Maybe Adalius Thomas can play auto-linebacker for one game a week and play for all 32 teams in 2007.

by BigManChili (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 2:41pm

Oh, and for the Bucs section, Terdell Sands has already been resigned by the Raiders.

Re#2: How would Adalius play for all 32 teams if there is only 17 weeks? Or is he playing for a half for each team?

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 2:44pm

Part of the problem with looking at the free agent class is that almost everyone would like to sign Clements, Samuel or Adalius Thomas, so hearing those names over and over again gets a little meretricious.

by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 2:45pm

re: "linebacker Demorrio Williams, a speedster who would have more opportunities to blitz under new coordinator Mike Zimmer"

Is this statement based on Zimmer's years in Dallas or something else?

by tim (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 2:46pm

how many starting quarterbacks are allowed to audible the play in its entirety?

by Stephen (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 2:52pm

What's taking so long for this coin flip? Does it need to be carefully planned out?

by Mike (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 3:01pm

"Veterans like quarterback Chris Weinke and cornerback Ken Lucas will be gone by June"

Huh? I wouldn't mind seeing Weinke go, but Lucas isn't going anywhere. And why should he? He's one of the best corners in the NFL when healthy yet everyone is speculating he might be a cap casualty. I don't understand it myself. If we should be getting rid of any corner it should be Chris Gamble, not Lucas.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 3:13pm

Knapp and Mora can be legitimately criticized for being way too conservative with Vick. When a guy is consuming that much cap space, that far into his career, you pretty much have to take the training wheels off, no matter how little confidence one might have in the player. Now, Vick is well into his career, and the Falcons still have zero idea regarding Vick's ability to fufill some of the fundamentals of the most important position, while, year after year, he takes up a lot of cap space. Sounds like Petrino had some frank conversations with Blank and McKay, and they intend to find out in short order whether Vick can handle the reponsibilities of the position. They should have done so a long time ago.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 3:18pm

If it really is the case that qbs can't audible in Knapp's system, then the Falcons and Mora were nuts to bring him to Atlanta, and it would make sense that he is now employed by the Raiders.

by underthebus (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 3:20pm

Now, everyone give me twenty laps and then hit the showers. Oh, Rod. You don't have to go. You're cut.

Scully, you're cut. Brooks, Groening, Simon, you're all cut. Castellaneta, gone. Kavner, cut, Cartwright, cut. Smith, sorry, cut. Azaria, Shearer, you're cut. Firestone, you're cut. So is Judge. Namath, you stay. All of those people are cut. Johnson, Wolfe and Silverman are all cut. Goldfire, O'Brien gone. Cut, Elliot, I don't know what you're doing here because you're all cut. Pietila, Kuwahaha. There's so many cuts here, look, I'll just post them up and you see where your name is. Look how many cuts there are there. Woah boy! You're cut. All of you! You're cut. I cut you! [ Gracie Films logo, "shhhhh"] You're cut too, shusshy!

by underthebus (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 3:27pm

Random I know, but reading the "Who Could Leave?" reminds me of that Simpsons episode.

Homer: Good practice, kids. Now its time for the easiest part of any coach's job.
The cuts. Although I wasn't able to cut everyone I wanted to, I have cut a
lot of you. Wendell is cut. Rudy is cut. Janey, you're gone. Steven, I
like your hussle [Steven smiles]. Thats why it was so hard to cut you
[Steven's smile drops]. Congratulations, the rest of you made the team!
[random sighs of relief] Except you, you and you.

by langsty (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 3:28pm

great writeup. I find it hard to expect much of anything from this division in 07-08, esp. as a falcons fan who had inexplicably high hopes coming into this last season. the bucs in particular have some lean years ahead of them (i hope to christ they don't get Calvin Johnson). i'm starting to drink the petrino kool-aid a little but I'm still not gonna get my hopes up.

by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 3:37pm

Maybe Adalius Thomas can play auto-linebacker for one game a week and play for all 32 teams in 2007.

It was said in jest, but I wonder if something like that has ever crossed a GM's mind. Maybe you have the cap space to afford half a star, and so does another team (presumably not a division rival), so I wonder if two GM's have every tried to sign a player to two half-year contracts... Is that even allowed under the CBA? Partial year contracts?

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 3:56pm

Jon Gruden was complaining about the coin flip, saying with all the technology and numbers and statistics in the NFL, for anything to come down to a coin flip sounds pretty prehistoric. Can't say I blame that sentiment.

and yeah, I noticed that too. Too many teams have too much cap room and they could all use Adalius Thomas, Briggs, Samuel, or Clements. It does make some of these articles repetitive but the FA class is just so top heavy this year and with that many teams with as much cap money as they have, and the Redskins not being major players this offseason more then likely, it's hard to think of them looking at any of the tier 2 cuts.

by johnt (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 4:10pm

10: I don't know if I'd really believe that. There's no way Knapp could ever say "No, Vick is the only one too dumb to trust with audibles after 5 years of starting". Saying it's part of the system is really his only option.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 4:25pm

Its also a bit silly to speculate whether teams will sign Thomas when there is a good chance the Ravens will use the franchise tag on him.

by weaponx (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 4:30pm

Dan Morgan agreed to a restructured contract and is now playing for vet minimum. Link to an article in my name.

by langsty (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 4:38pm

btw crushinator, what do you think of the davidson move?

by mb (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 4:40pm

I know it's tangential, but I really like the line about backward being the new forward in Oakland. If only terrible could be the new excellent. Also, it kind of makes it sounds like the Raiders can travel backward in time (and get Kenny Stabler back).

by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 4:52pm

All the teams that use the Corryell system don't use audibles
Its not like they have not won a bunch of super bowls

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 4:52pm

re 5: Zimmer blitzed like a loon in Dallas the year they were very good in a 4-3.

by Soulless Merchant of Fear (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 5:01pm

A minor correction: the Rochester newspaper that was ready to buy Matt Schaub's plane ticket is called the "Rochester Democrat and Chronicle," not the "Rochester Democrat."

The sports department of the D&C was indeed so hot for Schaub that one expected their offers to include not only airfare but a place to stay, a new car, and a backrub.

by NF (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 5:27pm

"Forward, intooo the past!"
"I hope he gets back before all this dry ice melts."


21: Mora ran the West Coast Offense. Which leaves me to wonder what the heck is happening to the Oakland offense when they are bringing in a coordinator of a West Coast Offense and not some guy who ran a vertical passing game.

by BB (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 5:31pm

The Fred Thomas/toast jokes never get old.

9: I think that alone made it a good move to fire Mora and hire Petrino. Petrino may not in the end be successful, but it's better to know what you have and go from there (and at least give yourself a chance to improve) than to just dither around in .500ville year after year.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 6:00pm

As to Gibbs' offense not having audibles, from a 1990 Washington Post game story.....

"Nevertheless, the Falcons gave the Redskins everything they wanted. The game was scoreless until Rypien picked up a blitz and audibled to a draw play that resulted in a 17-yard touchdown by Ervins with 12:36 left in the second quarter.

The play was a thing of beauty because Ervins broke two tackles and was dazzling in cutting outside. It was also impressive because the Redskins didn't even have it in their game plan this week. Rypien called it anyway and everyone in the offensive unit picked it up.

Afterward, Pro Bowl tackle Jim Lachey asked Rypien, "Uh, you did say what I thought you said?""

....certainly indicates that qbs did audible in the Gibbs offense.

I think I remember Aikman doing it as well with Turner s oc, but I can't find an account of it. I know Martz doesn't do much, however.

by David (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 6:09pm

24: "No, no, no! You don't understand how radio works. Now, this is my flashback, all I have to do to return us to the present is fade my voice out like this and cue the organist!"

"And you see..."
"...here we are."

"...oh, my goodness."

Obscure? I'm sure I don't know what you mean.

by rashreflection (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 6:37pm

Well, as I understand it, the Ravens can't keep Ed Reed, Ray-Ray, AND Thomas, can they? Whoever gets left out of that group would be a hot commodity on the free-agent market.

by cabbage (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 6:43pm

Ian Scott did not look good this season. I know he was touted as a poor man's Ted Washington last season, but he really looked ineffective trying to fill in for Harris. To my eyes, it looked like they ran right by him.

by Eric (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 6:47pm

If we should be getting rid of any corner it should be Chris Gamble, not Lucas.

I agree with Mike... Gamble has been a waste of a pick. Everybody thought he was a surefire pick from the end of his sophomore year, but he has been a bust. Lucas is definitely in the top 10 cornerbacks of the league.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 6:57pm

How come when the media outlets let out one piece of information " Vick can't audible" people go nuts. Most people have no idea how much OTHER Quarterbacks audible so they can't put that single piece of information into perspective.

Despite the neutral tone this articule took, Mike Vick is everything that is wrong with sports. He is a ME ME ME receiver playing Quarterback. He is LEON from the Budweiser commercials. The guy is so dumb, so lazy, and so cocky that he doesn't even care enough to throw his weederbottle in the trash before getting on a plane in Miami! It's not like Miami has never seen drugs before.

The guy can't audible, because he doesn't watch game film and he would rather run plays HIS way, then the way they were designed.

The guy wasn't allowed to call audibles for a reason... because his coaches knew that he couldn't handle it. They knew that they had a better chance to win when he runs the plays THEY called. It's not that difficult of a concept to understand.

When stuff fails, there is always blame passed on others. He blames his line, his receivers and now his coaches. The guy throws everybody under the bus to make himself look better.

He can't throw an accurate pass, he holds onto the ball WAY to long ( that has nothing to do with his line), and he often LOOKS at the pass rushers rather than FEELING them. This makes his bad throwing accuracy even worse.

He's short ( maybe the shortest QB in the league) and he has the smallest hands out of any quarterback in the league.

I know most fans think that drawing plays in the dirt is COOL and a good idea, but plays were designed for a REASON. Teams practice for a REASON Mr. Iverson. A little league coach will tell you that every offensive play is designed to score a touchdown if run correctly. Now I wouldn't go THAT far, but you practice your plays so that you can execute them in games. Plays are DESIGNED to work.

The Vick brothers are not only stupid on the field, but they do really dumb things off the field as well.

Mike Pick6 showed what a true thug he was when he flicked off the HOME FANS after a game when he thought all the cameras were turned off.

Speaking of Pick6, did anybody catch that Arizona game this year? Ron Mexico and the Atlanta offense is in the Cards redzone about to score when he throws a really dumb pass forced into coverage that is intercepted and returned for a touchdown. The interesting thing was that old Ron Mexico who claims to be one of the fastest players in the league ran toward Adriam Wilson a little bit and then QUIT. You think he would CARE enough to prevent the other team from scoring? He doesn't care, he just wants to get PAID.

That is the same Ron Mexico that also quit and took himself out of another game later in the year. The guy is dellusional, he said that he was as good of a pocket passer as Peyton Manning and Ton Brady. I guess he didn't watch their game film either.

People used to defend him because of his " winning" percentage, but they no longer have that argument to fall back on. I wonder what they will say in his defense now?

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 7:06pm

and most people would kill to have the athletic ability of Ron Mexico and to play a GAME for a living. He doesn't seem to care too much, he just wants to smoke weed and spread his disease. His brother is the same way, only he has been caught by the police more.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 7:13pm

My question is: which button do you use to go into Ron Mexico mode?

by mb (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 7:17pm

Chris: Geeze, dude. Calm down. This is Football Outsiders. I think most people here are aware of Vick's basic postives and negatives and you don't have to write hysterical novellas with excessive,gratuitous use of capitalization to drive home your points. Also, from what Mike wrote it sounds like other Falcons players had problems with the playcalling; it seems as if the article's lighthearted tone flew right past you as well.

FO guys, I have a suggestion; please create an irrational Michael Vick thread a la Brady/Manning.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 7:34pm

Not to quibble, but not every play is designed to score a TD. You have a lot of different plays for different situations, many of them are designed to gain short- or mid-yardage.

#24: I think expect Moss and Porter to be elsewhere, or at least to continue phoning it in.

by Vince (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 7:36pm

I just want to say that #31 was one of the funniest things I've ever read. And I'm a Mike Vick fan.

by Podge (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 7:59pm

"Jon Gruden was complaining about the coin flip, saying with all the technology and numbers and statistics in the NFL, for anything to come down to a coin flip sounds pretty prehistoric. Can’t say I blame that sentiment."

Like penalty shoot outs, there's only one fair way to settle things like this. Actually, there's loads - make them pick players to play games like Twister, building something out of straws and paper etc. Arts & Crafts 4tw!

Well, it'd amuse me to see Ted Washington playing twister.

by ABW (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 8:08pm

Re: 37

Bring back the XFL scramble!

by Kyle W (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 8:16pm

I know Matrz does not have any audibles in his offence, partly because he is so sure of his own genius and partly so he has a good excuse to burn timeouts early.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 8:33pm

According to Adam Schefter, Asante Samuel has been franchised - click my name to see article.

This'll effect free agency. I still don't think he'll come back to New England, but I think by Franchising him, that opens him up to being traded so the Pats can get at least some compensation for him.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 8:36pm

Lance Briggs too.

by Mike J (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 8:53pm

Im becoming a cleric of Croutonus, my holy symbol is a gigantic jar of peanut butter and our holy water is cinnamon-sugar.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 9:06pm

Tell us how you really feel, Chris.

by langsty (not verified) :: Fri, 02/16/2007 - 11:56pm

I was really looking forward to this article because I knew Chris would go apeshit over Vick. I like MV even more after that crazy tirade.

by Sara (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 3:29am

#34 - I would totally be all about an irrational Vick-hater thread. Can we please make this happen?

by Bionicman (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 4:18am

Forgive me for asking, but what's so "crazy" about Chris' post on Vick? While I wouldn't go as far as to assume for a fact that Vick doesn't care at all about his job, everything said about Vick's abilities was true from what I've seen and heard. He's admitted to not watching film, he locks on to targets as much as ever, he has little touch--in other words, he hasn't improved much at all--and his off-field behavior is enough to make me suspicious (and when a 'who cares what they do off the field' person like me takes notice of what a player does outside the gridiron, there's a problem). Worst of all, his backloaded contract will makes everyone in the NFL not named Manning seem poverty-stricken. Seriously, is there any reason to keep him?

by SOW (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 7:07am

I think the "lazy" is a little extreme and the "Vick is dumb" is laying it on real thick. I also feel like a playground play once in a blue moon shouldn't be punished. However, I still feel Chris's general attitude, which is that Mike Vick is the problem in Atlanta. (Having said that, Mora deservedly lost his job after the U Dub incident.) Here's a guy who actually said THIS SEASON that he never watched much film before. Wasn't that in week 2 or 3? Let's not forget what Ron Jaworski said about there being nothing wrong with the playcalling in Atlanta. Let's also not forget this guy threw 47% incompletions this year. Let's also not forget in this guy's "best" year he threw a shade under 57% (that's from memory, didn't look it up). And, if all those offenses don't allow audibles, maybe it's not the worst thing that a noted poor decision maker doesn't have that option. Also, I don't keep close track on who said what when, but this piece seems a departure from past FO attitudes about Vick. Actually, it even seems to contradict itself some, mentioning coach killer in one breath and then suggesting that Vick was onto something when he said "sometimes, you have to overcome coaching" in the next. I love this subject. Here are two questions. If the Falcons somehow win the Super Bowl next year, does Vick get into the Hall? I think he does. If they never win one, what does it take to get him in?

by langsty (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 9:53am

46: it's crazy because he went on a frothing-at-the-mouth diatribe that comes off as more of a vendetta than a rational analysis of Vick's flaws.

47: if jaworski really said that, then he's full of it. I love the guy, but I dunno how else to put it. i guess I'm a vick apologist, but I can't pretend he was great this year - he has a long way to go. but he wasn't put in good situations by knapp, who demonstrated little understanding of complementary route design and spacing. i'm talking about vick looking to throw and there's crumpler, standing and there's roddy white, 5 yards away from him, and there's jenkins, all stationary and within a 10 yard box. one defender could conceivably make a play on all three. factor in that crump is usually doubled, and that knapp didn't send them to a depth where they would be far away from the spying LB and there is very little chance of that play succeeding. they almost never employed quick slants (a supposed staple of the WCO) even when there were 8 or 9 in the box to stop the run and the slant zone was empty. i could go on and on.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 3:35pm


Does it have to be Vick specific?

Some of us hate other players too/more.

Like that overrated piece of crap Bo Scaife.

by MC2 (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 5:53pm

Considering Arthur Blank's love of "splash-making" moves, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Falcons try to trade up and get Calvin Johnson.

by Eric (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 6:18pm

#47: Do you really think Vick will ever get into the Hall? Seriously, he would have to put up Manningish numbers on the field for the next seven straight years, and magically become the worlds best citizen off the field to even get consideration for the Hall. Even if he won the Super Bowl next year, which I can't see happening, I don't think it automatically puts him in. If just winning one Super Bowl with many years of bad statistics were enough to get you in the Hall, then Trent Dilfer would be in because of his SB vicotry with the Ravens. Think about it.

by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 6:49pm

You Vick fans crack me up. It used to be " oh, but Ron Mexico just wins". That argument dissapeared when his team is 15-17 in the past 2 years missing the playoffs.

The guy has been in the league 6 years and has shown NO IMPROVEMENT. There have been 1 million excuses for the guy; he has no line, no speed at receiver, no receivers, no coach, he needs an offense that more suits his needs, he's hasn't gotten better but he's still young ( after 4 years people were still saying that), he sucks but his team just wins, he needs a better offensive coordinator, he needs a new offensive coordinator, he needs to keep the same offensive coordinator, his receivers shouldn't ever drop balls, he needs audibles, he needs more fan support.

Vicks fans will never stop making excuses, they already made up their mind that the guy is " the ultimate weapon" and they are spoon fed his 2 or 3 hightlights a game on ESPN, but they don't get to see all of the mistakes that come along with that. When they see the final output of Vick, they instantly assign blame to everybody else. All they remember is those cool 20 yard runs, but they seem to forget those ground balls he throws to his receivers.

Do you realize that 41 year old Vinny T, Aj Feeley, Chalie Batch, Anthony Wright, Kyle Bollier, Sage Rosenfels, Damon Huard, Jeff Garcia, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Jaime Martin, Jay Cutler, Tim Rattay, Mark Brunell, Quinn Gray, JP Losman, David Garrard, Byron Leftwich, Cleo Lemon, Daunte Fumblepeper, and Senecca Wallace all had higher quarterback ratings? Now I understand that QB rating isn't a perfect stat but that isn't exactly a list of ringers.

Vick had the 60th completion percentage out of all 70 quarterbacks who played this year while throwing out of a "West Coast offense". He had the 2nd worst completion percentage out of any starter NOT named Vince Young ( even Andrew Walter completed a higher percentage of passes). How the hell does somebody complete 52.6 percente of his passes in a " west coast offense".

I can't believe more people don't understand this, BUT THE FALCONS DID NOT RUN A WEST COAST OFFENSE! Show me some other west coast offenses that run option keepers out of the shotgun as a base play? How about the stretch run play they ran that everything was based off of? They run these rinky dink little dump offs to their tight end that don't require a lot of thinking. Seattle, Tampa, Green Bay, Philly run WEST COAST offenses. New England runs a lot of the same concepts as well, but they also employ a change of pace power run game.

Then we have to hear how dumb Greg Knapp is. Langsty # 48 let me remind you that when Knapp was the offensive coordinator in San Franscio, Jeff Garcia was a Pro Bowler who competed 62 percent of his passes, threw for over 3500 yards with 21 TDs and 10 picks. When Knapp was the QB Coach Garcia threw for over 4200 yards, 31 TD-10 INT and completed 63.3 percent of his passes.

There is no doubt in my mind that if Vick was who you thought he was, that Knapp would run a " smarter" offense with more reads. The reason why they ran a college/highschool offense based on misdirection was because Vick didn't have the work ethic or intelligence to be able to run it. Did you ever notice one of the centerpieces of almost every Falcons run play was the threat of a bootleg? They ran a MISDIRECTION offense. Their whole offense was based on " will Vick hand off to Dunn in the stretch run play to the right" or will he bootleg and run left, or will he bootleg left and dump it off to Crumpler who is running a drag route with him. The option keepers were also based on 1 on 1 matchups and where the linebackers lined up. In highschool and smaller college programs a lot of teams run a Wing T offense that is based on misdirection. The Atlanta falcons offense was based off the threat of bootleg because there wasn't much thinking involved and everybody got to see what they wanted, Vick running around in open space.

Did you ever notice for Vicks career that when a series is done, that he would just sit on the bench by himself ( and not look at screen shots like say Peyton Manning". Well this year you would see Knapp sit next to Vick with a dry erase board and show him what happened on the field. Knapp would NOT be in the booth, but he would be on the bench with Vick showing him what the hell happened. It almost reminded me of a mom sitting at the kitchen table with her 4th grader doing the homework with the kid.

Now you might say that I am digging a little bit too deep here, but when you combine that with a guy who admits he doesn't watch film, and says that his offense is " too confusing", and when guys that left the team questioned him the pieces begin to fall into place.

I've been saying that Ron Mexico is overrated since day 1 and people were calling me crazy. Each and every year more people cross over onto my side and say that he's overrated. I don't know what the final hold outs are thinking, what does Vick have to do for you to see that he's just a glorafied slash player and NOT a real quarterback? Does he have to complete LESS than 50% of his passes? Does he have to have the worst completion percentage out of starters instead of the 2nd worst?

by Reinhard (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 7:16pm

Do you think that Vick deserves credit for the Falcons ability to run the ball? Usually a bad quarterback implies that the defense can stack the box and shut down the run, but this doesn't seem to be the case in Atlanta.

by SOW (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 7:25pm

51: I thought about it. The best rushing QB of all time plus a ring? No doubt in my mind. Do I think he deserves it? No, but I think he'll get in.

by Erithtotl (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 7:50pm

Wow, this is the first mention of Cato June I've seen in a long time on this site that wasn't derogatory. He's got his issues stuffing the run, but he's one of the better coverage LBs in the league.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 8:25pm

If Cunningham doesn't get a lot of support, Ron Mexico has no chance whatsoever unless he starts passing like Trent Green.

Chris, lighten up. On a related note, so many people say Mr. Mexico is overrated, I don't think he is anymore.

by mb (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 8:57pm

Chris, 51: FO guys, I rest my case on the need for an irrational Vick hatred/support thread. I'm not a Michael Vick fan and I think defending him is a slippery slope; on the other hand I don't have some kind of personal vendetta against him. Most people who comment on FO are well aware that he has innumerable shortcomings as a QB and a host of off-field problems. I'm not sure who you think you're arguing with but whoever it is your points would be better represented if you didn't make ridiculously long, crazy sounding posts complete with gratuitous abuse of unnecessary CAPITALIZATION and Allen Iverson references. We get it, dude.

Best excerpt embedded in Chris' maniacal rant: "if Vick was who you thought he was". Thanks, man. I'm always up for some Denny Green homage. Seriously though, who I think Vick is? He's an overrated (by the mainstream media, not FO) QB with great physical talents, poor mechanics, a seemingly awful work ethic and a penchant for making dumb off the field decisions . Is anyone disputing this? No.

I need to stop before I unwittingly get sucked into this stupid, unresolveable debate. Please, FO, designate a Vick thread; in fact, why not just make it an irrational player opinion thread like the crushinator suggested? I know I for one would relish the chance to vociferously espouse my unfounded hatred for, I don't know, say Kurt Warner?

by MC2 (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 9:07pm

The crucial difference is that Cunningham never won a SB (or even played in one). If Vick won a ring, that would greatly elevate his chances with the voters, who seem to be enamored with jewelry.

Having said that, I'd be very surprised if the Falcons get anywhere near a SB in the foreseeable future, with or without Vick.

by are-tee (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 9:22pm

"Imagine if Brees returned in September with a bad case of Pennington Arm. "

I'm beginning to feel that all FO writers are guilty of anti-Pennitism.

by morganja (not verified) :: Sat, 02/17/2007 - 9:33pm

I have to go with the anti-Vick tirades here. If you are a fan of a team in the NFC South you have been subjected to non-stop Vick fellatio by the announcers. Even when Atlanta's defense is on the field and you're trying to watch your team drive down the field, you are still bombarded by Vick-lust from the announcers. There needs to be a lot more tirades like those above before the cosmic balance is restored.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sun, 02/18/2007 - 2:44am


As long as he continues to play like crap and stays the starting QB for Atlanta, as an NFC South fan, I don't especially care what announcers say about him.

by langsty (not verified) :: Sun, 02/18/2007 - 3:23am

"Do you think that Vick deserves credit for the Falcons ability to run the ball?"

yes. the DEs and DTs can't crash down as hard as they ordinarily would because of vick, opening cutback lanes for the backs. this also takes away the ability to run screens and reverses though.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 02/18/2007 - 12:50pm

Is Warrick Dunn going to be a Falcon? I heard he might be a cap casualty as well.

I think the Falcons are going to grab a RB early-if Peterson falls to them or Michael Bush in the 2nd round if he is still there. Petrino loves his RBs to be big: Eric Shelton-6'1 and 246, Lionel Gates 6'0 and 233, Michael Bush 6-2 and 247, even Kolby Smith was 5-11 and 218...

by langsty (not verified) :: Sun, 02/18/2007 - 2:39pm

Yeah, petrino's been promising a "power running" game. a lot of fans are receptive to the idea if it means bigger linemen, because of how badly the o-line was pushed around in pass pro and the run game this year. i'm not 100% sold on the idea that we need bigger linemen, just better ones. alex gibbs and the zone-blocking scheme are gone though. i'd like dunn to stay if the price is right, i think he still has something in the tank. maybe.

by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Sun, 02/18/2007 - 4:12pm

Just to give a quick defense of Vick, since no one else did (and I know this will result in another ridiculous rant from Chris and potentially suck me into a stupid argument.... somehow I can't help myself):

It's obvious that Vick has struggled with accuracy, and his completion percentage has been consistently poor throughout his career. But his other conventional stats haven't been bad this season, including a top 5 TD%, and an average INT% and y/att. He also rushed for a thousand yards, which is nothing to sneeze at.

FO stats say he's a poor passer, actually registering negative DPAR (kind of an impressive feat). But FO stats also say that he was an extremely effective rusher, getting 32.4 DPAR, which added to his passing gets him 26.1. That's good enough for 19th, ahead of Jake Delhomme. If you count the negative DPAR that Eli got, he actually rises to 18th. His ranking would be pretty similar last year.

That basically confirms what I think about him... he's a poor passer, but is such an effective runner that he actually averages out to be an average QB. I also think that it's not too hard to imagine that a system that plays to his strengths (running and throwing it very hard) could make him at least semi-decent as a passer, which added to his rushing could make him an effective QB. He's had a lot of time to improve though, and if his coaches really have tried everything, maybe he's a hopeless case.

To resort to an old standby: he's better than Dilfer 2000.

by BigManChili (not verified) :: Sun, 02/18/2007 - 4:20pm

To add on to #65, the hiring of Bill Musgrave has helped Vick's mechanics a lot. He still struggles, but at least he's now learned what touch is and that you are allowed to use it from time to time.

by Erasmus (not verified) :: Sun, 02/18/2007 - 11:53pm

So Vick is an average QB..and he is better then Dilger 2000. But is he worth a 23 million dollar cap hit? Or worth what the Falcons are giving him now-being merely average is not going to get the job done when your salary escalates to 6 million and continue to go up every year after that.

I am not a Vick hater-I think he can become a better then average QB with some more help (for himself and his stonehand WRs)

by manweez (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 5:59am

Vick threw 20 TD passes and 13 interceptions while rushing for 1000 YDS behind an Ol that gave up the 6th highest sack total in the NFL, in a offensive system that many agree does not suit him. These are facts.Everything else is just what you feel.

by Jordan (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 12:42pm

Isn't 26.1 DPAR for the entire season a below average starting QB. I thought that average DPAR was about 2-3 per game, which would make Vick an overall below average QB. As a comment to number 60, quarterbacks are also responsible for their sack rate as well. If they take too long to throw the ball on a consistent basis, they'll take more sacks. For a QB that doesn't watch film, this is likely possibility, since poor defense recognition may also be slow defense recognition. I'm not saying this is the case, but something to consider when sack rate is used to determine the quality of the O-line.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 3:34pm


If I would have had liquid in my mouth while reading that, it would have been a spit take. Well done, sir (or madam, as the case may be).

by Truman (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:40pm

re: 69

- Am I correct in stating that DPAR and DVOA assume that all QBs play with the same caliber of receivers and offensive line?
It's clear to anyone who's watched the Falcons that there is a lack of talent at these positions, and the zone-blocking scheme actually sacrifices pass protection for run blocking.

- Vick's passing DPAR is also not helped by the fact that he operated the most run-heavy offense in the league, giving him less opportunities to build this stat.

-Vick watches film and has done for years. Stop acting like he's never seen an opposing defense on film before he's faced them in a game.

- When was the last time someone broke two historic NFL records and received less praise for it?

by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 8:06pm

69: Err... no, not really. If you rank 18th, you had the 18th most DPAR, that's basically average to me. Last year it would have been 21st, 19th the year before, and 19th the year before that.

71: They can't separate them yet... really it's more of a "unit" rating than a single player, but it's the best we can do.

"Building" DPAR implies that he would have a positive number, that is lower than it might be with more attempts. With a negative number, we should really think that more passing attempts would drive his number even lower.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 9:27pm

Saying that Vicks line stunk because it gave up a lot of sacks isn't a very good reason.

That is like saying Tavaris Jacksons receivers sucked because they didn't catch a lot of passes, do you see the relationship here?

Mike Pick6, Drew Bledsoe, Kurt Warner Byron Leftwhich and David Carr get sacked a lot because the hold onto the ball too long. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning do NOT hold onto the ball too long, and they have good pre-snap reads that allow them to find hot receivers even if they are blitzed.

STD Man doesn't watch film and can't do that. If he were able to read defenses, he would be allowed to audible but his coaches obviously felt that he wasn't smart enough. This site must be getting too mainstream when people say things like " Vick's line stunk because it gave up a lot of sacks".

I watched every play of every Falcons game this year and Vicks line is no worse than the Colts, Pats, Giants, or Bronocs offensive line.

The excuses come from the Vick fans and the people that don't understand football.

by RecoveringPackerFan (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:23pm

Does anyone detect a theme to Chris's posts about Vick and Dungy?

by Truman (not verified) :: Mon, 02/19/2007 - 11:39pm

Blind hatred?
Apparently the Falcons line is as effective in pass protection (or possibly better) as the Colts.

by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:45am

Don't forget belittling imaginary opposition.

by mb (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 7:14am

chris: thank you for explaining football to us and for making sure that FO keeps it real and doesn't get "too mainstream". Oh, and also for informing us that Kurt Warner and Bledsoe hold on to the ball too long; why, just the other day we were watching Sean Salisbury blather on and on about Bledsoe's incredibly mobility and blazing fast release. Clearly you, sir, are one step ahead of the dastardly mainstream.

It's reassuring to know a truly knowledge football guru who can expertly dissect and contrast offensive line is in our cyber-midst. Especially one who refrains from stopping at criticizing Vick's numerous football comings to continously remind us of his STDs and stupidity. If you and Michael Vick were both running for President we're sure your campaign would blow his right out of the (bong)water.

FO, disregard everything that was said about creating an irrational Vick thread. Having a one-sided argument with a loopy abuser of gratuitous capitalization about a QB whose dead horse story has been beaten to a bloody pulp is much more fun than it has any right to be.

by mb (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 7:16am

ahem, Vick's football SHORTcomings

by bengt (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:22pm

Of course the draft-order-coin-toss-problem must be solved in true FO style by 'Splitting the pizza' (see link). "We offer you the third pick in the first, fifth and seventh round. What do you choose?"

by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:02pm

So MB, do you disagree that Vick holds onto the ball too long and "looks" at his pass rush rather than feeling it?

It is obvious that guys like Warner and Bledsoe hold onto the ball because the fact that they can't move compounds the issue. When guys like David Carr or Mike Vick ( mobile) hold onto the ball too long people just say that they have "no line" or " no receivers". There is a difference between holding onto the ball too long and mobility.

There is no opposition? Because a lot of you guys are in a "group think" state of mind where you all pat each others on the back and nod in agreement with everything you guys say. Langsty tried to provide some Vick defense but he didn't do a very good job. The others said that I went off on a tirade but couldn't object to any of the presented facts.

by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:05pm

#74 Packer fan...

I never said that I hate Dungy. I'm indifferent to the guy as I am to most coaches. I just feel that Dungy and Ron Mexico are overrated by the fans and media. So, NO I don't hate Tony Dungy. Hate is such a strong word... on that note, I won't deny that I hate Mike Mexico.

by langsty (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 1:09pm

i wasn't defending vick, i was complaining about knapp. crucial difference. and you didn't really refute anything i said re: the x's and o's, you just posted some crazy racist bullshit and spoke in generalities. i read all your posts as elaborate variations on "i hate black people". in conclusion, you're a loony.

by Ryan (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 3:20pm

Don't scrambling quarterbacks usually take more sacks because a scramble for a loss of one yard is ruled a sack? I always thought that this was the reason that Culpepper and Vick took more sacks than anyone not named David Carr.

by BadRick (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 3:27pm

Hmm...both Bledsoe and Warner have Super Bowl Rings. OK, Bledsoe's was won on the bench, but he did lead the Pats to the Super Bowl himself.

When Bledsoe was young, he didn't get sacked as much as he does now. The downside was that he threw a lot of stupid picks. Also, he used to have at least a little mobility.

I think the consensus on Bledsoe these days is that he's completely immobile, not that he holds the ball too long. Why does Vick get sacked so much? The reason is quite different - where many QBs simply will throw the ball out of bounds (including Brady and Manning), Vick is more likely to try to create something by scrambling. When that fails behind the line, it's a sack.

FWIW, Chris, I don't know anybody who thinks Vick is a particularly good QB, aside from his running skills. But he's in the NFC! Aside from Brees and Hasselback, that's a conference without a lot of talent at the QB position. Rex Grossman just led a team to the NFC championship! Would you rather have Grossman or Vick on your team?

by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 3:52pm

80: The "no opposition" comment is that no one here has claimed that Vick is a good quarterback. I am apparently his biggest fan on this board, becaues I said he was average, and had the potential to be above-average.

Here's how the discussion went, because it doesn't seem like you read it:

Posts 1-30: Random praise of article, minor commentary unrelated to Vick, Will Allen saying that the Falcons haven't been shown much of anything from Vick.

Post 31: Vitriol about Vick's awfulness, including "facts" like he's lazy, dumb, cocky, "everything that is wrong with sports," a thug, delusional, and blames everyone else for his problems.

Posts 32-51: Random comments, a bunch of people saying "Chris, you're really kind of nuts," two people defending your post by declaring Vick's awfulness, and then Langsty saying that the playcalling was bad, and that might affect Vick's performance (while also saying that he has a long way to go).

Post 52: You attack "you Vick fans," none of whom seem to have actually posted on this board. You also include a bizarre sequence where you lambast Vick for having a low completion percentage in a WCO, then say, in all-caps, that it isn't a WCO. Then you called him a 4th grader and asked what the "final hold outs" are waiting for to condemn Vick.

Posts 53-72: Mostly support for "Vick sucks," my post that he's average, a suggestion that there were a lot of sacks in the Falcons offense, meaning the pass protection may not be good.

Post 73: People who don't attack Vick are "mainstream" and "don't understand football." Naturally, people who give up a lot of sacks are always guilty of holding onto the ball too long, not of playing behind bad offensive lines.

Posts 74-79: Chris may be crazy.

Post 80: People who don't attack Vick are in a "groupthink state of mind" and ignore the "facts" presented earlier.

Post 81: Admission that you "hate" Vick, thereby destroying your credibility entirely.

Thanks for playing, Chris. You're a nutcase.

by langsty (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 4:01pm

Peter, you are awesome.

by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 7:54pm

Kudos to innovative meta-commenting at 85.

Definitely need one irrational Vick thread (rather than the 48 that currently exist). If that happens, I strongly suggest that FO get Peter Libero to summarize those comments periodically.

by mb (not verified) :: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 8:47pm

peter librero, your good work has completely annihilated this thread. I would fully support an irrational Vick thread if you break down the craziness of the comments.

chris: thanks for relaxing on the gratuitous capitalization, dude. it gives your comments a slight tinge of lucidity.

by morganja (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 1:08am

How about a Brady Vs. Manning Vs. Vick thread?

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 1:20am

Peter, you win the thread.

58-good point, but I think that'll be mitigated by his off the field actions.

by Matt (not verified) :: Mon, 03/05/2007 - 12:35pm

I know that Vick's Oline sucks because I see them routinely get beat within 2 seconds of the snap. I know they suck because I watch the games. Just like I know the Wr's suck. Is there a stat for falling down in your route at least 20 percent of the time? They are at nearly the top of the leauge in drops per attempt, and from watching the games, they easily lead the leauge in catchable balls not caught.

Vick has his issues, but it can be supposed that if he had even a decent pass protecting line and competent, surehanded recievers, he would have had around 3000 yds passing, 1000 yds rushing, and over 30 total touchdowns.

That's pretty darn good.

Is Vick the best qb in the leauge? Of course not. Is he a good qb, and the only guy keeping ATL at all afloat? You betcha.

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