Raiders Can't Let Vick Scramble To Oakland

Ray YockeContributor IJune 16, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 31:  Michael Vick #7 of the Atlanta Falcons looks to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles in NFL action December 31, 2006 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles won 24-17.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Now that Michael Vick has been released by both the federal prison system and the Atlanta Falcons, he has reclaimed his customary spot atop the NFL rumor mill. And because Vick is now an ex-con, the Oakland Raiders are sure to be mentioned as an inevitable landing spot for him.

But is Michael Vick a realistic possibility for Oakland? Aside from his ongoing league suspension and the PETA circus sure to follow him wherever he goes, Vick is hounded by several issues as he re-enters the NFL:

- He isn’t what you would call an ‘accurate’ quarterback.

The Raiders already have one squirrely quarterback in JaMarcus Russell, and they don’t need another. Russell is young enough that he may someday shake his accuracy issues, but right now both players complete about half of their passes. Since the Raiders don’t play in the Big-10, that presents a bit of a problem.

- He needs a team with a moral gray area.

You’ve heard all the jokes about the Raiders: they’ll be playing the prison guards in their home opener, their team photo is a collage of mug shots, and the only people who’ve served more time than Oakland’s players are their fans.

The Raiders are so synonymous with outlaw culture that you expect them to not only sign Michael Vick, but to follow it up by bringing in Marcus Vick, O.J. Simpson, Suge Knight, and The Joker.

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But while the Raiders still carry a renegade reputation, the reality is that NFL players who’ve run afoul of the law are best-served looking for work in Dallas (if they’re talented) or Cincinnati (if they aren’t).

- He also needs an organization with some stability.

If this issue were listed first, it would make for a pretty short column. On a list of stable NFL organizations, the Raiders rank dead last. If there were something lower than dead last, that would be the Raiders.

Not only has owner Al Davis sworn a blood feud with no fewer than three of his ex-coaches (Shanahan, Gruden, Kiffin), he apparently doesn't even know who his current coach is.

If Vick did land in Oakland, it’d take less than a week until he started to miss the structure he had back in prison.

- He wants a chance to win a starting job.

The Raiders are JaMarcus Russell’s team now, and he can’t be made to look replaceable by his own organization. Speculation surrounding Vick has seemed to hound Russell ever since he became the starting quarterback. Just last season, several Raiders who played with Vick in Atlanta publicly welcomed bringing him to Oakland.

The Raiders spend enough time worrying about who their coach will be from week to week; the last thing they need is a quarterback controversy.

Even taking into account all the negativity that surrounds him, the most important reason not to sign Michael Vick is that he won’t improve the Raiders on the field. He doesn’t represent a significant upgrade at quarterback, and thanks to Darren McFadden, Vick wouldn’t even be the most dangerous Wildcat threat on the team.

For now, Raider Nation will just have to live with the fact that they’re one play away from their nightmares becoming reality: Jeff Garcia, Silver & Black quarterback.

The Oakland Sports Examiner, new columns every Tuesday & Thursday: http://www.examiner.com/x-12984-Oakland-Sports-Examiner

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