Dogfighting Aside, Michael Vick's Career Is a Failure

Zander FreundSenior Writer IMay 30, 2007

IconBleacher Report's Alexander Freund responds to the conversation generated by Beezer McBeeze's " Where There's Smoke There's Michael Vick" article by breaking down the reasons for Michael Vick's failures ON the field.
For now, I'm going stay out of the pitbull/dogfighting discussion and focus more on Vick as a player.
In the words of {Bleacher Report contributor} Anon: "I never got why people had such faith in Vick as a QB. His pass rating is terrible, it looks like he can't read the defense and his only improvise move is to run with the ball. Being the fastest guy on the field doesn't make him a good QB and having a strong arm doesn't make him a good QB if he can't hit the receivers."
Most people (myself included) cited Michael Vick's ability to regularly make plays that defied the laws of physics as evidence that he would kill at will in the NFL. Perhaps he would have a longer learning curve than most, but the idea was that he would mature, slowly but surely, making his strengths more pronounced and his weaknesses less significant.

Vick, I thought, would revolutionize the quarterback position—I envisioned him rushing for 1500 yards on the ground while throwing for 3000-4000 yards in the air. And yes, he'd only complete 50-55 percent of those passes...but that wouldn't really matter if he could put up over 5000 total yards every season.

Unfortunately, the odds of Vick becoming a revolutionary QB, let alone a Hall of Famer, are slim to none at this point. And I don't think it has much to do with dogfighting. The real reasons, as I see it, are as follows:
1) Atlanta didn't use Vick right.
Trying to transform Michael Vick into a west-coast quarterback was a bad idea. He's never been an accurate passer, and his decision-making skills are poor. He would have been a lot better in a four- or even five-receiver set where he runs 50 percent of the time—and the running back only comes in on third down. 
I think Atlanta was tentative about doing anything so risky, and instead opted to plug Vick into a proven system. What they should have been doing was molding a highly original and innovative new offense around Vick, as he was indeed a talent the likes of which the football world had never seen.
2) Michael Vick didn't mature like we thought he would.
Sure, he had some attitude issues early on, but who could have predicted this kind of downfall? Clearly this guy's attitude sucks, and his brain is lacking in certain key departments. His consistency hasn't improved and I don't think he has the drive that it takes to be a top-caliber NFL quarterback like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.
3) For the majority of his career, Michael Vick hasn't had quality receivers, and in general hasn't had the supporting cast to win with regularity in the NFL.
I still remember watching the Falcons drop pass after pass in the NFC Championship Game and practically hand the Eagles a ticket to the Super Bowl.
With the right game plan, Atlanta could have won the game, but Vick was expected to do everything—including convincing defensive lineman to "leave him alone" when they busted right through the middle with ease, and using the Force to ensure that his receivers caught the damn ball.
If the Falcons management had given him some decent receivers / O-lineman that season, we very well might have witnessed a Brady v. Vick Super Bowl showdown.
Unfortunately, Michael Vick's story is ending in tragic fashion. This man is quite troubled, and will never live up to his potential on the field. He appears to engage in an activity that celebrates the mutilation of living creatures. Not only is that truly disturbing on a human level, but the event will also have drastic implications on the team atmosphere in the Atlanta locker room next season...should Vick manage to avoid serving time.