Posted on: February 6, 2009 10:50 am

Is Talent Worth the Risk?

One of the biggest headlines this offseason will surely be whether Michael Vick will be allowed to return to the NFL, and if so, where will he go.  Now I'm well aware that this is not a novel revelation; I'm sure you've heard every sports writer in the world at least mention this, and I'm going to do the same.

For the sake of writing something interesting, I am going to assume that Roger Goodell allows Vick to play in the NFL.  If not, well, then you can stop reading here. 

So Vick comes back into the NFL, and I think it's safe to say the Falcons will let him go.  He caused that franchise so much agony, I'd be surprised if they even let him within 100 miles of the team.  Besides, Matt Ryan played well enough that there shouldn't be any questions about who is playing QB for them next season.  I would also imagine Vick will be released rather than traded, due to his large contract and the fact that the Falcons probably won't get anything worth while for him.

With Vick now a free agent, I'd imagine the prospects are pretty slim.  I had  always thought that if he were going to make a comeback, it would be with the Raiders, but if Al Davis thinks JaMarcus Russell is the man (but honestly, who knows what Davis thinks these days) he won't end up in Oakland.  I'm sure Vick's highlight-reel-appeal would make Jerry Jones' eyes glimmer, but he has Tony Romo, and I think he learned his lesson with the Adam "Pacman" Jones fiasco (I will call him Pacman until he proves that the name no longer applies).

Now that the two teams that seem to gravitate towards star-potential over character are eliminated, the pickings look slim.  Vick will be 29 at the start of the season, who knows how in-shape he will be, and frankly, a QB of his playing style will need to develop as a pocket passer once he starts to lose his speed (see Randall Cunningham).  And honestly, of the teams that would be in the market for a QB (a few are Kansas City, San Francisco, and Detroit), do you really see them taking (Con)Vick? The man whose negative publicity shamed the NFL for months?  I can't imagine most teams would be willing to sacrifice their PR for the gamble that starting Vick would be.  I mean, not to dwell on the past, but weren't we harshly ciritcizing his QB play before this whole incident?

This pretty much leaves Vick as a desparation sign, or a backup.  But can you really justify signing the former NFL's Richest Man as a backup?  Especially after the aforementioned issues?  I just don't see it happening.  To me, Vick is something Pacman should be--untouchable.  Even if this is the only blip on his resumeé (and it's a big one), no team should have to explain to their fans why Mr. I-Drown-Cute-Little-Puppies is the leader of their franchise.

Sorry Mike, but I think you're done...

Posted on: February 3, 2009 4:56 pm

Unsung Hero of Postseason, SBXLIII

So, two days after the big game, I'm sure if you think back on what transpired throughout this postseason, these names (from the SBXLIII participants) will come to mind pretty quickly, in no particular order:

Now if the Cardinals had won the Super Bowl, I'd be writing this about one Darnell Dockett, the anchor of the Cardinals' D-Line and truly an outstanding player.  However, they did not manage to grasp victory from the jaws of defeat, rather the opposite was achieved by that same defensive unit (and I ask you, where was Dockett on that last drive?).

So instead, my so-called 'unsung hero' is none other than Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley.  Even though he plays opposite DPOY James Harrison, Woodley still gets a fair amount of attention from the opposing offensive line.  Why?  He had 11.5 sacks, an INT, 2FF, and a DTD in only his first season as a starter (and, in my opinion, was a Pro Bowl snub).  But, as good as he was in the regular season, he was even better in the playoffs.  Woodly recorded an NFL-high 6.0 sacks and a FF in 3 games, tallying 2.0 in each game.  I'm not 100% sure about this, but I think this is the first time a player has recorded multiple sacks in 3 consecutive postseason games.  And even when he didn't make any sacks, he was usually applying at least as much pressure as the aforementioned Harrison.  Yet he's not mentioned among the postseason's top performers, and that's unfair.

So here you go LaMarr, I am giving you your well deserved praise: congratulations on a terrific postseason and enjoy that Lombardi trophy; you were an integral large part of that championship.

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