Let me start off by saying this. No, Michael Vick is not a starting quarterback in the league.
Let's be realistic here.
His passing numbers weren't exactly prolific in his days with the Falcons, and a two-year hiatus isn't going to help matters.
But this is one of those rare circumstances where an athlete could have a huge impact in a non-starting role. In my opinion Vick will not be effective as a starting QB.
In his days with Atlanta he was a far better runner than passer. Granted a lot had to do with having a rather weak receiving corps. Whether that was the receivers fault or Vick's is up for debate.
My point is this: If Vick is plugged into a wildcat offense he will drive defenses bananas.
I'm going to throw out some hypothetical situations here. Let's say he gets reinstated and the Patriots decide to pick him up.
The potential is endless. First of all you have an all-world quarterback that already demands a ton of game planning, in Tom Brady.
You have an underneath type receiver in Wes Welker that will snag eight to 10 passes a game and keep defenses tight. Than you have a prolific deep threat in Randy Moss.
Mix in a solid running game, and this offense is already looking deadly.
Now add in Michael Vick. This goes from a three dimensional offense to a flat out terrifying offense.
The possibilities are endless. I'll paint a scenario.
For the first quarter, maybe quarter and a half of any given game the Patriots have been running their traditional '07 offense. In all likelihood its working, but in reality most teams are probably going to be game planning and studying the tape of Super Bowl XLII.
We all know that with a healthy Brady coming back this team will be odds on favorites to win it all in '09. Now I'm not saying that every team will have the ability to stop them, but at least we now know that this offense does indeed have a weakness.
So, if I was the Patriots front office I'd want to bring in a bit of a wild card. In my opinion Micheal Vick fits the bill.
Now as I was saying for the first quarter or quarter and a half they have been running their traditional '07 offense, but now its time to mix things up.
Suddenly, Michael Vick steps on the field in some capacity.
Before the ball has even been snapped the opposing defense will have no clue what the Patriots will do. Here is a potential list of options in the Wildcat, or some variation of that.
Vick in Running Back position
- They direct snap the ball to Vick who then takes off running.
- They direct snap the ball to Vick who then bootlegs and throws it to one of their prolific receivers.
- They direct snap the ball to Vick who then flea-flickers back to Brady.
- Have Vick go into the flat for a short pass. He will demand immediate coverage.
Split Vick out at receiver
- Run a reverse.
- Have him run a route.
- Run the old gadget play, where the ball is handed off to the running back, Vick does a reverse gets the ball, and throws down field to the open receiver.
Put Vick in at Quarterback and split Brady out at receiver
- Run the gadget play but with different personnel.
- Direct snap to running back who throws the ball.
- Have Vick run.
- Have Vick pass.
And my personal favorite, but should be used sparingly...
Put Vick in at Quarterback and take Brady off the field
- It's pretty much the same set of circumstances as the above, but it is so deadly.
So let's go back to before the ball was snapped. Again Vick is walking onto the field. Your the defensive coordinator. I have just told you every possible way they could kill you with the wildcat.
Just the Wildcat, mind you!
So, what's your game plan? Heck Vick could just be a decoy. He may not even be in the next series. And this is exactly why this gameplan is so effective. It will knock even the best defenses completely out of their rhythm.
Like it or not Vick is one of those players that requires a ton of work and gameplaning throughout the week to handle.
Then his team could turn around and not even use him, or use him in a completely different way than you had planned. That is why Vick would be so effective.
Now I said the Patriots, which is a hypothetical of course. But there is some merit to this claim.
First of all the Patriots of '09 will be playing in a much better division than the Patriots of '07.
The Dolphins run the wildcat.
Add in the fact that Belichick is an absolute wizard with every player he gets his hands on. Imagine what he could do with Vick and the Wildcat.
After all he took a quarterback that had not started since high school and made him look good!
Honestly it doesn't even have to be the Patriots. I think a lot of teams could use Vick with deadly results. I'll throw out a few...
Imagine Vick coming in from time to time with the best running duo in the league behind him, and Steve Smith to throw to. Yeah, I'd be scared too.
They are already fond of the gadget with past players like Randle El, and Kordell Stewart. So Vick would make perfect sense.
Vick is in many ways a more seasoned, and athletic version of Pat White.
Same scenario as with New England. Except now the threat is with Adrian Peterson. An up and coming receiving corps with guys like Berrian, and now Harvin. And then Brett Favre! Wow. That has scary written all over it.
With young inexperienced receivers the Bears will need to mix things up in a big way.
To be honest with the potential that Michael Vick offers I personally think every team could benefit from his presence.
He doesn't even have to take the field and defenses will be worried. He is a threat, when utilizing his athletic prowess.
Now do I actually believe that all the teams in the league will be calling for him?
Not in a million years.
In fact maybe only five or six teams will have the guts to put up with a potential PR nightmare.
But with the right coaching and the right system Vick could again set the league on fire, and the strange thing is: He may not be a starter.