Why the Denver Broncos Should Take a Chance on Michael Vick
I know what you're thinking. You don't even have to tell me.
The same Michael Vick who was just released from prison following his horrific involvement in dog fighting circles?
The same Michael Vick who has been out of football for over two years?
Why oh why, Jesse, would you ever want your beloved Broncos to sign a player like that?
It's simple my friends. Vick is the most talented quarterback available on the free agent market in a long time.
He has more pure football ability than any quarterback on the Broncos' roster and he would give the team a huge opportunity with the chance of little risk and big reward.
After the offseason that he's been through, Josh McDaniels probably wouldn't even consider this move. He's likely very happy with the quarterbacks that he already has on his roster and at the moment is focused solely on training camp.
On top of that, Denver already has millions of dollars guaranteed to Kyle Orton and Chris Simms. It's highly improbable that they would willingly eat either of those contracts to make room for Michael Vick.
Nonetheless, here's my two cents on how this situation could work out well for the Broncos and for Vick.
When he was the star player of the Atlanta Falcons, Vick had the reputation of a great player who never quite developed into a great quarterback. While he was a dangerous weapon, he struggled at times as a passer.
Despite his shortcomings, Michael Vick twice led the Falcons to the playoffs and made an appearance in the 2004 NFC Championship Game. He is third all-time in rushing yards by a quarterback and is a three-time Pro Bowl selection.
Vick was just conditionally reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Should Michael sign with a team, he can participate in all training camp activities and the final two preseason games. However, he is not allowed to play in any regular season games until week six.
For argument's sake, let's say that the Broncos pick him up within the next couple of weeks. That would give Vick more than half of training camp to become re-acclimated to life in the NFL and to begin learning Denver's complex playbook.
Were he the No. 1 quarterback going into the season, Vick's late start would be a cause for concern. Fortunately, he wouldn't have to be any more than the Broncos' No. 3 or 4 quarterback. That's right, a fourth quarterback. More on that in a bit.
After the preseason, Vick could spend the next six weeks continuing his comeback process. With the credentials of both McDaniels and quarterbacks coach Mike McCoy at grooming quarterbacks, this process would go much more smoothly than normal.
Kyle Orton would still be the starter and Chris Simms the backup, leaving Vick and rookie Tom Brandstater to work closely with each other and their coaches throughout the season.
When he is finally allowed to play again, McDaniels could utilize Vick's unique skill set as a runner into his offense. Whether that means using him in Wildcat formations or other types of plays to throw opposing defenses off balance, it would be Vick's legs that would help the team the most this season, not his arm.
No matter how the Broncos finish, next year would be a lot different. Vick would receive a full offseason to continue training and trying to prove that he has the chops to be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL. If he makes enough progress, he could then compete in training camp to be Denver's top quarterback for the 2010 season.
So what are the issues with my proposed plan? Well the biggest one of course is if it would be wise to bring on such a controversial player to a team that has already dealt with more than enough controversy, especially with quarterbacks, in the past few months.
However, other than the initial fan and media backlash, I don't believe that Michael would at all disrupt the team's chemistry. With Tony Dungy acting as his mentor and the blessings of Roger Goodell, I think Vick knows that he is receiving a rare opportunity and he would make the most of it. He would be on his best behavior.
Next, of course, would be whether or not Vick even deserves a chance to be reinstated. There is no doubt that what Vick did was reprehensible and that his time in jail was a justifiable consequence for his actions.
Personally, I am adamant in the belief that people who own up to their mistakes should be forgiven. Michael paid his dues while he was in jail, and for that I think he should get a chance to redeem himself and play the game he loves once more.
But what about his physical condition? If he is reinstated, could Vick survive the day-to-day grind of being an NFL player once more after being out of the league for so long?
In my mind, this is where his small role with the Broncos this year would come into play again. Without having to carry the burden of being the team's starting or backup quarterback, Vick would be able to focus more on shaking off the rust than preparing for games, thus speeding up his training process.
Earlier, I mentioned that Vick could be the fourth quarterback on Denver's roster, and I realize that carrying four quarterbacks is a little unorthodox. However, this is a special case. Cutting Chris Simms in favor of Vick would be a mistake because he wouldn't be ready to start should something happen to Orton. Neither would Tom Brandstater.
If he were to return to form though, I don't think there's any doubt that Michael Vick is a more talented quarterback than both Orton and Simms.
With all due respect to both of those players, especially Orton, Vick proved that he has the ability to put an average team on his shoulders and make them competitive. It took the Falcons two seasons to recover after they lost him.
For those of you who worry, here's the safety net to this proposition. The Broncos would likely be able to get Vick for a reasonably affordable price at a one or two-year deal. If it doesn't work out and he makes another mistake or gets buried on the depth chart, Denver can simply cut their losses and move on with Orton and Co.
But if Vick could recapture his stardom from just three years ago and grow under the tutelage of the coach who brought along Tom Brady and Matt Cassel, then this would be a monumental victory for the Broncos.
It's never easy to make a move like this. Most teams in the league wouldn't. Denver probably won't either. Pat Bowlen has likely heard enough bad press concerning his quarterbacks and doesn't want to bring on any more.
A lot of you won't share my opinion. You'll either think it's not a good fit for the team or you would die before you see Vick jog onto the field wearing orange and blue. Maybe you're right and maybe I'm wrong.
I for one cannot resist the temptation of this proposal, no matter how risky the thought may be. If there's one thing that I love, it's a sports comeback that goes absolutely right for the Broncos.
There's only one problem; what number would Vick wear other than No. 7?
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