Vick Will Not Be a Panther
The NFL is buzzing with news of Mike Vick's reinstatement.
Once arguably the most hyped quarterback of all time, the disgraced former Falcon is free to sign with any team that will have him. According to the league's Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson, Vick could play "from week one forward," if "all goes well."
The natural reaction for a fan is to wonder how a player like Vick could help their team. The appropriate reaction for a Panther fan is to roll their eyes.
The most obvious and glaring reason Vick isn't a fit in Carolina is the quarterback they already have. The Panthers organization smartly saw past Jake Delhomme's January meltdown and rewarded him for the NFC South crown, playoff birth, and four fourth-quarter comebacks with a new five-year, $42.5 million contract extension.
If it wasn't obvious that Delhomme was the team's quarterback before, it should be now.
A quick glance at statistics will show that, even though last year was Jake's worst year statistically, it was still better than Vick's best. Vick has never been known for his accuracy, and in 2006 he completed a mere 52.6 percent of his passes.
Roddy White's 2007 explosion catching passes from Joey Harrington and Chris Redmon quieted any apologists who would point to Mike's supporting cast, and I haven't heard a convincing reason Vick's accuracy and decision-making would have improved in Leavenworth.
Many point to his ability as a runner and gush about the extra dimension his abilities would add to the offense. I would counter that the Panthers already have a devastating running dimension, and one of them has only fumbled once his entire career (Vick fumbled nine times in 2006.)
Every time Vick tucked the ball and ran, or was brought in for a speciality package, that's one fewer carry for DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart, and one fewer opportunity for Steve Smith to make a play.
The most important reason the Panthers won't pursue Vick is he doesn't fit into the image the team and management want to present. The Panthers pride themselves on being a family-friendly team and providing the same kind of environment (PSAs before home games urge patrons not to use profanity). A convicted felon doesn't fit into what owner Jerry Richardson wants.
Furthermore, the signing of Vick would be followed by open revolt. Panther fans spent years watching Vick dash their dreams and break their thoughts. No one has forgotten the 2004 Week 15 game, for example. Fans were trained to loathe the man.
Jerry Richardson knows this.
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