My article yesterday incited a firestorm of comments that devolved into a spat between the anti-Vick and pro-Vick crowds because, well, of course. I guess I'm not surprised, as nothing stokes the flames of debate quite like this topic. Perhaps I was a bit sensationalist and ended up pandering, as well. I know it might seem like I hate Michael Vick on some kind of all-encompassing level. I don't (hell, I don't hate anybody). In fact, I wholeheartedly admire his comeback story and how he has, by all accounts, genuinely transformed for the better as a person. That's more important than football could ever be. It's just that I don't think Vick's very good at the whole quarterbacking thing, especially for Chip Kelly's quick-decision offense, and that the upside to him starting is limited at this advanced stage of his career. I'd prefer to see what Nick Foles can do, and whether he's a potentially viable long-term solution at the most important position on the team. You know, these are my opinions. We all have them.
Some readers mistook my disappointment in Vick's words for disappointment in his honesty, and that I couldn't wait to jump down his throat. That couldn't be further from the truth, on both counts. I don't sit around waiting for Vick to put his foot in his mouth so I can then bang away on my keyboard about it. If he could not utter comments that make me doubt whether he comprehends what's going on, that'd be great. And I love honesty from players, but that doesn't mean I have to like or agree with what they say when they're honest. Rather, I'm disappointed in what the quotes revealed about Vick's train of thought, especially when compared with how Nick Foles answered the same line of questioning. If you don't think he sounded like someone who was expecting to have the starting QB job essentially handed to him or win it easily by this point, fine. I suppose our reading comprehension and parsing skills differ. To me, he came off as whiny and insecure -- as someone who wasn't embracing this real competition like he had once professed, or who thought Chip Kelly proclaiming open competition at every position had merely been lip service. Were Vick's answers a result of frustration with the incessant poking and prodding, with his current predicament, with his play during the minicamp, a combination of everything? Regardless, there's an adult, professional way to respond that won't instigate a feeding frenzy and paint you in a negative light. Vick, as a 33-year old veteran who's been through everything and then some, should be cognizant of that. The fact that his army of supporters immediately trump this up as the media seeking to demonize him and twisting his words to fit an agenda is laughable. Enough with the woe is Vick bullshit. He could have very easily spoken about understanding the process and its necessity, learning the offense, seeking to make the most of the reps he's receiving, working to improve his game, and approaching this competition as a way to challenge himself to reach new heights as a player. But, hey, maybe that kind of answer wouldn't have been honest.
From Geoff Mosher's CSN Philly article, which was the root of all this hubbub:
"Hopefully, Chip makes a decision before training camp and we won't have to answer that question," Vick told CSNPhilly.com, "so we can go out there as quarterbacks and just focus on this season and not answer questions about competition every day."
How, exactly, is Chip supposed to make an informed decision and select the starting QB before training camp? Based on what, last season's tape and a handful of performances against air and giant flyswatters? I'd say after training camp and the preseason is the only time such a pivotal decision can be made. Making rash decisions before analyzing all the possible information is not how smart, shrewd people operate.
"It's tough," [Vick] said. "I have to continue to be a professional and put my feelings and emotions to the side, and just continue to compete. But it's hard. I would be lying if I said it wasn't, but that's just what I have to deal with, and I'm going to keep dealing with it until I see otherwise."
What's "tough" for Vick? That this is an actual competition in which the other competitor is getting an equal chance to shine? What's "hard"? That he hasn't been anointed the starting QB yet after a paucity of offseason activities? That his job status is being threatened after two lackluster seasons in which he regressed?
Mosher also included in his piece that "[s]ources close to Vick have always felt that he resigned (sic) with the idea that he would eventually be named the starter." Did Vick explicitly say as much himself? No, but let's not delude ourselves here about what he was likely thinking when agreeing to restructure his contract.
Andy Reid's not here anymore, and no one is getting a free ride or the benefit of the doubt based on prior accomplishments. The bottom line is Michael Vick has not earned the right to be the Eagles' undisputed starting QB with his play. Period. His quotes made it appear he perhaps felt and expected differently. Or maybe he simply meant, "name Foles the starter already so I can ask to be released." I don't know, I'm sure there are Vick supporters out there who champion themselves better suited to interpret his remarks. And before I get ripped for being blindly biased in favor of Nick Foles: He also hasn't earned the right to be the Eagles' undisputed starting QB, but at least he appears to be approaching this competition with the appropriate frame of mind. I've never once said he should be handed the job, simply that I think he's going to win it outright. We'll have our answer in less than three months.
(Mike Editor Update: I have closed this post's comments for several reasons, but mainly due to lack a of community kindness. At BGN, you are all entitled to your opinion, but personal attacks and baiting will not be accepted in any thread. We appreciate our readers, but some members feel the need to make things a lot less fun for others.)