The next step for Vick, and it’s the decisive one if he is to become a high level NFL quarterback, is to master the pre snap phase of the position. That’s what often separates good from great in today’s NFL, and why this off-season is so important. Many overlook that Vick has not had an off-season as an unquestioned starter since the 2006 season, his last in Atlanta. There’s a critical distinction in the development of NFL quarterbacks. It’s the difference between understanding defenses, and manipulating defenses, the divide between the concrete and the conceptual. Understanding defenses is the first step in the process. It allows you to register and process what you see. Manipulating defenses before the snap of the ball is the Ph.D of NFL quarterbacking. The great ones, like Brady, Brees, and now Rodgers and Manning, know where the defense will move after the snap. Their decisions are almost always made in the pre snap phase. Nothing that occurs after the snap surprises them. They play proactively, not reactively. As a Patriots offensive coach once told me, the magic with Brady occurs before the ball is snapped. Vick must get to that point in his development. That comes from off-season work, something he has not had as a starter in 6 years. Vick needs to play the position as a disciplined craft, not as a spontaneous playmaker. That road will always lead to disappointment and frustration.