Let me make one thing clear before I am labeled a Vick hater: I do not blame Michael Vick for all of the Eagles' failures this season. Andy Reid is the man calling the plays. Because of that, Reid has to take the blame for not getting the ball to LeSean McCoy more, for the play-calling in the red zone and the overall dysfunction of the Philadelphia Eagles.
But this article isn't about that. This is about a larger issue that looms for Michael Vick. Is he capable of being a starter in today's NFL?
First, let's look at the one thing that catches up to all athletes at some point—age. Vick is now 32 years old. While that may not seem that old by today's standards for NFL quarterbacks (there are six starting quarterbacks in the league older than Vick), it is old for an NFL player who's biggest assets are his legs.
Every day, the younger players in the league are getting bigger, stronger and faster. As Vick's ability to outrun these younger players diminishes, so too does his ability to make the spectacular plays that we've grown accustomed to seeing.
That, however, is not Michael Vick's biggest issue. It is this: Michael Vick refuses to adapt to today's NFL. Vick seems unwilling to check out of plays when he reads a blitz. For example, Monday night the Saints showed a double A gap blitz against an Eagles offense that had all the receivers running deeper routes. Instead of checking out of the play, Vick stuck with it and tried to scramble out of it, getting buried by the blitzing backs.
To be a successful starting quarterback in today's NFL, you have to be willing to take what the defense gives you and wait for your opportunity to strike. This is the now the league of the check-down. If your initial reads aren't open, you dump it off and live to see another play.
That is not how Vick plays. In fact, he plays quite the opposite. Vick has always been about fighting for that extra yard, trying to fit that pass in the tight gap and extending plays for just a second longer.
The results? Vick has fumbled the ball 10 times already this season, losing half of them. He has been intercepted nine times in eight games, and his offense is only scoring touchdowns 37 percent of the time in the red zone. Vick is responsible for 14 of 19 turnovers by the Eagles this year.
Now, Michael Vick is not the first quarterback to have to adapt to the NFL. In fact, he isn't even the first Eagles quarterback under Andy Reid to have to adapt to the NFL. Donovan McNabb spent the first few years of his career running for his life before Reid got him to realize that if he used his arm and his brain rather than his legs, he could extend his career and win some games along the way.
Unfortunately for Reid, he has been unable to get Vick to come to the same realization. His backyard style of trying to be a playmaker—while exciting—is not capable of producing wins on a consistent basis.
With all that being said, some of you are still probably thinking, "Well, surely Vick can still start in the league somewhere." While it's true that there is the possibility that someone might be willing to take a chance on Vick somewhere else, I have to ask this question: Why?
Why would a team bring in an aging turnover machine who refuses to adapt his game in order to be a consistent winner?
What team could be so desperate that they wouldn't rather develop a younger quarterback or find a more coachable veteran?
Wait... Where's Brad Childress?