I caught Brian Dawkins on ESPN Radio yesterday talking about a variety of subjects. I was impressed. He wasn’t Warren Sapp just spewing crappy generalizations. He wasn’t Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, or Cris Carter trying to put a ton of attitude and flair into every comment, as if that was far more important than the actual content.
Dawk said good things. He was asked about Mark Sanchez and said that he’s done in NY, but is a talented QB and could bounce back with a new team. I totally agree. As Dawk noted, you can just see in his body language that he’s a total wreck. This isn’t a question of talent. The situation has just gotten to him.
Dawk talked about Sanchez making bad decisions and poor throws. Dawk said that as a DB, he loved it when a QB put a lot of air under his deep balls. That gave Dawk an extra bit of time to read plays before breaking on the ball. Naturally I thought of Nick Foles. I hope Dawk mentions to him that lofting deep passes isn’t the ideal way to get them there.
As the interview started to wind down the host asked about Andy Reid. ”If you were in charge, what would happen to him?”
Dawk didn’t hesitate. He said Andy would stay on as coach. Dawk then said he knew a lot of people would think he’s crazy, but that he believes Andy is such a good coach that he is the guy he would trust to turn things around. Dawk admitted he was being loyal to his old coach, but also said he still legitimately believed in him as a coach.
Dawk quickly added a provision…the offense would need to be more balanced. Throwing the ball 50 times a game would have to go out the door.
And therein lies the twist…we’d all be a lot more open to Andy staying if we thought he would run a more balanced offense. I just don’t think that is possible for a whole season. Andy has shown that he wants to do things his way and that means throwing the football.
Don’t worry Eagles fans…Reid is done in Philly. This was just Dawk being asked a question. I am glad he still feels so strongly about Big Red. Andy’s ability to connect with his players on a personal level is one of the things that made him so good here for so long.
* * * * *
Dawk was also asked about Michael Vick. Dawk said that if the offense was going to be built around the pass, let Vick go. If you change the offense and run a more balanced attack, keep him.
Could Vick stay?
Never say never, but I think he’s gone.
Let’s state the situation like this: Michael Vick’s days as a franchise QB are over, here or elsewhere. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a starter. I think Vick can absolutely be a starter for a couple of more years.
The difference is that no organization is going to look at him as The Answer. He’ll be the short term guy. His contract would be such that the team could cut him and walk away from the deal. If he plays well, he stays. If he doesn’t, hit the bricks. And be nervous every time your team is linked to a QB prospect for the upcoming draft.
Part of this is purely age. Vick will turn 33 in June. His body is amazingly tough, but he’s taken a pounding over the years. I don’t see him out there at age 40 like a Vinny Testaverde.
The other part of this is that while we assume Vick could thrive in a more balanced attack, that is still just a guess. We might find that instead of making 10 mistakes with 50 throws he makes 5 mistakes on 25 throws. The hope is that you get him to play at a higher level and the mistakes go away, but that’s not a certainty. I do think getting him into a better comfort zone would help.
How you judge Vick is a big part of all this. His most ardent supporters still see this guy with amazing ability and a major star. His detractors see an injury-prone turnover machine. As always, the truth is in the middle.
Vick still is very physically gifted. He has one of the strongest arms in the league. He can throw lasers with the best of ‘em. He remains one of the fastest QBs. He is still incredibly elusive. You don’t find players with his raw ability very often.
The problem is that he’s started 101 games in the NFL, but that experience doesn’t always show up. He does things that just make you scratch your head. He’s not dumb. He’s not lazy. And he is coachable. The errors come from years of bad habits when he wasn’t so coachable or hard working. His old instincts kick in and trouble shows up. At Virginia Tech and with the Falcons the attitude was something along the lines of “just make a play”. In Philly it is “run this complex offense in an efficient, yet explosive way”.
Andy has broken his own rule in this case…put players in a position to succeed. I don’t blame Reid for trying this. Vick is so gifted that the experiment was worth it. But at some point it became painfully clear to the world that it wasn’t working. Reid should have adjusted. He didn’t.
Whoever coaches Vick in 2013 needs to look at him the way that coaching staffs have done with young QBs. This may sound a bit nuts because of Vick’s background, but that is exactly what should be done. The Seahawks keep things simple and Russell Wilson has thrived. The Shannys built a whole playbook around RG3 and he’s been amazing. The Niners offense is built around the run and they tweak it for the QB. With Colin Kaepernick, they’re mixing in more QB running and vertical passing.
A coach must embrace Vick’s talent and his limitations. Vick isn’t a plug ‘n play QB that can thrive in any offense. He needs the right scheme. He needs the right supporting cast. He needs help. Truly put Vick in a situation where he can succeed and I think he will. That doesn’t mean he’ll play at an elite level or win a Super Bowl, but he can be a good starter. Ask the fans of the Jets or Jags how nice that would be.
Vick hurt himself with his play this year, but I think he has helped himself with how he’s handled the situation. Vick hasn’t gone to the media to complain. He’s been loyal to Reid and Nick Foles. If I’m an outside coach looking in, I like that. I see a guy who “gets it”. He can be coached. He can be dealt with. Donovan McNabb is out of a job because he wasn’t coachable. He wouldn’t listen to the coaches in D.C. or Minneapolis. Vick wants to stay in the league for several more years. He wants to play. He will listen. He will do things your way.
I think some coach will see the poor choices in the draft and decide Vick can be a good short term solution. The coach will tailor the passing game to fit Vick and focus on running the ball. It is possible this could happen in Philly, but I tend to doubt it. Vick would have to agree to a major pay cut and Jeff Lurie would have to let the new coach know that sticking with Vick was okay. Lurie might feel like 3 years of him as a starter is enough and going with the young guy (Foles or early draft pick) is the way to go.
I will follow Vick with interest in 2013. I’d like to see him succeed. The NFL needs good QBs. Watching MNF was painful. I don’t mind a defensive battle, but you do need competent offense. It would be fun to see Vick go somewhere and play well, assuming it isn’t a rival team. Send him to KC or JAX or somewhere and I’ll definitely root for him.
* * * * *
There is a new Eagles site on the market called Eagles Rewind. He’s got a few interesting posts up. Give the site a look and see what you think.
I have to admit I was pretty disappointed. I thought the site was dedicated to cassette tapes of The Eagles…you know Glen Frey, Don Henley, and Joe Walsh. And Timothy B. Schmidt. Can’t forget Timmy B. I’m a big fan of Joe Walsh’s solo on the live version of Hotel California. Was hoping for posts on stuff like that.
Instead…just Eagles football. It is a good looking site and the content looks like it could be quality material.
I do sometimes miss my cassette tapes. You could do just about anything to them and they could take it (like Vick). I did wear out a few over the years (Led Zeppelin II, Appetite For Destruction, And Justice For All). I will admit that I don’t miss rewinding them to find songs.
Funny to think that at a certain point there might not be vinyl, tape, or CDs…just digital. Not sure I can handle that much change. Me and Donovan will demand things stay the way they did back in 2004.