et’s start this posting off right, with a hearty Fuck You to Rodger Goodell. See I was putting the finishing touches on a piece about Mike Vick yesterday when the news broke that Goodell had conditionally reinstated the quasi-QB. So that piece just gets scrapped, no reason to belabor that point anymore.
Instead, lets look at what Vick could do for the Raiders. I know, as a Raider fan I am tired of the team being linked to every malcontent and diva that hits the market, but while the press focuses on Washington, Miami and New England as potential destinations for Vick, why not examine the Pro’s and Con(Vicks) of Mike in Silver and Black.
The Raiders have been without a True Playmaker for Years
This has been a constant theme in my writing. The Raiders have lacked anyone who forces Defenses to alter their game plan since Moss gave up on the team. Sure Nnamdi takes away one WR, but the reads remain the same for the QB. No one on either side of the ball affects coverage or protections. McFadden has the potential to, but has yet to show it consistently.
If he can come back at anywhere near his previous form, Vick would force a LB to spy him at minimum. That takes one defender out of the equation, which is all you need. If the WR’s or McFadden can develop, this will create openings across the field.
Now, I recognize that there is a huge question mark when it comes to his current skill level, but the possible reward here is huge.
Russell has yet to Prove himself to be anything but Vick without the wheels
I’m in danger of being labeled a hater when it comes to Russell, but I take the hater label as a badge of honor, it means the other person can’t refute anything you have to say, so they use the hater crutch.
Face it; even with the progress Russell showed at the end of last season, he has yet to prove himself as anything other than a cannon armed, inaccurate, and slow to read defenses QB. Which is pretty much how you would sum up Vick prior to his suspension, with the added factor of Vick’s scrambling ability.
I’m not advocating giving up on Russell for Vick, but Vick would be an excellent compliment to Russell on the depth chart, as you could prepare virtually the same game plan for both. Where as with the current back-ups (Garcia and Gradkowski) you have to adjust to their weaker arms.
He will come cheap
Just look at the Franchise numbers to see what the current going rate is on game changing players. It is a steep price to pay; especially when there is no way of knowing if the guy will produce for your franchise.
Vick won’t get anywhere near franchise money, but he will get much more than the NFL minimum that most columnists seem to be projecting. Why, because the potential to be a game breaker is still there. Now potential gets coaches fired, but when have the Raiders been averse to firing coaches.
Damn, I hate writing that word. The media has blown the whole wildcat thing so far out of proportion. Oh yeah, the Dolphins were the 1st team to have a running option get a direct snap. Tell that to Kordell Stewart, or Randel-El, or Cunningham, hell Darren McFadden lined up at QB in the preseason last year reviving his WildHog roots. But no, the Dolphins unleashed this previously unknown formation on the NFL.
But it brings me to what I see as the best reason to bring in Vick; The versatility that it would afford the offense. With Vick on the field, he, McFadden and Bush would all be threats to run or throw on any play (remember Bush played QB in HS).
This is the kind of thing I want to see in an offense, the ability to put a defense on its heels. The Raiders have been trying to do this with guys who stretch the field for years, and I’m not advocating going away from that, but just adding another element, remember Vick can get the ball down the field, the vertical game won’t go anywhere, it will just have more going on underneath. The more options you have, the more the defense has to account for, and the more likely they are to fuck up.
He may well be done
One of my points in the aborted posting from yesterday was that quite simply, I think that Vick will be out of the NFL in three years. He has already missed two seasons in what should have been the prime of his career; the uncertainty regarding the length of his suspension will prevent teams from putting too much time into him this season. He will be nothing more than a limited package player this season. Meaning it will be three full seasons of Vick not being a NFL QB before he competes for a starting job next season.
Chances are, this means his career is as good as over. He was already limited when it comes to QB skills, now he has missed two years of training, Mike being anything more than a gimmick player is a long shot.
Oh they will protest, they will be at the training camp of whatever team signs him, and they will be at the games; Anything to get themselves on TV. The Raider’s previously relatively calm off season will suddenly revert to the circus tents of the last few years.
Personally, I could give a fuck about PETA, they serve no real purpose, and there are few groups I look on with more disgust. And I have donated to my local animal shelters, love my dog, and think what Vick did was inhuman. But kowtowing to these nut jobs in any way pisses me off. The fact that Goodell even met with these assholes to discuss Vick has made me lose some respect for him.
As far as the Raiders, they are used to distractions, I may not wish another one for them, but this could serve to take some of the heat off of Russell and the much-maligned draft picks of this year.
Where does he fit / Who do you cut
This is a tough one, who do you cut to make room for a part time player? The Raiders just don’t have the depth anywhere to take a chance on Vick. They need three RB’s due to the inability of any of them to stay healthy. The WR’s are young and need time to develop. The Defense needs all the help it can get.
You can say that you would make him the 3rd QB, but that would make him ineligible on game day. It may be the 3rd QB who gets the pink slip, but someone else would have to be inactive on Sunday.
IMO, it would be a WR getting the pink slip. For the simple reason that the team could get by with 4 on the active roster thanks to the versatility of McFadden and Miller. Both of them could split out as a WR when needed. But who do you cut? You can cross Bey, Schillens, Higgens and hopefully Murphy right off the list. Can you afford the cap hit to cut Walker?
Vick will miss the start of the Season
The Raiders start the season with three straight against divisional foes. Having a winning record in division has to be this teams primary goal, as they are still a year or two away from competing against the premier teams in the league.
Signing Vick, when he will miss these games, will do nothing towards achieving that goal. He could provide a nice mid-season boost, but if the Raiders once again fail to come out of the gates hot, it may well be too little too late.
When I add it all up in my mind, I am advocating something I never thought I would. I would like to see the Raiders be the team that gives Vick his 2nd chance. I have written before that I think he should be able to earn a 2nd chance (he deserves nothing) but just not with the Raiders. Well I am officially softening my stance.
IMO, the Pro’s to signing Vick slightly outweigh the Con’s. Due to the potential more than anything else. But there is one other factor that does weigh in this equation for me. The NFL players who have spoken up, have come out strongly supporting Vick’s right to play again. While the media would crucify Al for the move, it would be huge for winning the hearts and minds of the NFL’s players. And with the backlash the organization has experience from former players such as Worthless Sapp, the team could use the positive vibes among the players. I know it is a weak stance, but it may be just enough to sway some potential free agents.
So how would I go about this? Three year, incentive laden deal, if he can push JR to the bench, he would have earned a starters salary, and the contract should reflect this. It would have to be made clear that he is being signed as a limited package player in year 1, the #2 for year two, with the potential to fight for that starting spot.
He would have to be on board for learning the receiver tree, as the best fit for him at this time is being on the field with JR at the same time. Along with McFadden and Bush at other times. He has to be more than a decoy for the defense to respect him when he is on the field.
Can he do all of this, I have no idea, but if he can, I would like to see him do it in Silver and Black.