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Bringing Some Much Needed Perspective to the Vick Discussion

Sep 16, 2010, 2:15 PM EDT

The chatter for Michael Vick is so loud, so resounding, you might start to believe the Eagles actually came back to defeat the Packers this past Sunday. In fact, Rod Woodson thinks they did. What happens if Vick wins again, the Hall of Famer asked hypothetically last night on NFL Total Access. He probably just misspoke, but it's hard to tell when virtually every analyst in the world is anointing Vick the Eagles' savior.

The hype machine is out of control, and with Vick the likely starter this Sunday, it's only going to get worse. It's as if logic has been thrown entirely out the window. Forget about Kevin Kolb's first half, if you can. What makes Vick the right quarterback for the Eagles, regardless of who we're choosing between? We already know what we're getting with number seven, and I promise you it's not all that it's cracked up to be.

Has everybody completely forgotten? Michael Vick wasn't even a very good quarterback when he was a superstar in Atlanta. Sure, he was an extremely exciting and popular player bordering on celebrity status. The problem is some of the same experts calling for him to start in Philadelphia were probably ripping him back in 2006.

Vick never developed as a passer. In six years with the Falcons, his completion percentage was 53.8. He only threw for over 2,500 yards once, all the way back in 2002. Over his final four seasons, his touchdown to interception ratio was 53 to 41. Career quarterback rating: 76.2. Most important, Atlanta only won more than nine games once. If any other player in the league had those numbers, they would have been glued to the bench before long.

Vick's saving grace has always been he is dangerous on the run. Nobody can deny he's won his share of games carrying the offense on his back. That only gets a team so far though. When better defenses took that option away, Vick's limitations as a passer were exposed, ultimately leading to losses more often than not. Look no further than the 2004 NFC Championship game. Vick was helpless against the Eagles' defense, rushing only four times for 26 yards while going 11 for 24 passing with 136 yards, four sacks, and an interception.

The question has been framed, "Which quarterback gives the Eagles the best chance to win," and the responses are overwhelmingly Vick. Simply put, the next running quarterback to take his team to a Super Bowl will be the first. If that's the eventual goal, history suggests the correct answer is not Vick.

He's also one step away… from prison, that is. I'm not one of those people that believes Vick should still be punished for mistakes of the past. His crimes were particularly heinous, but he served his time and deserves the opportunity to reclaim his life. And again, I also don't believe Vick did anything inherently wrong when he held a public birthday party during the off-season. (Stupid, yes.) However, the incident that occurred illustrates the next point perfectly.

Michael Vick only has to mess up once, even in a very minor way, and everything comes crashing down. If it doesn't get him thrown back in the slammer, it might be enough for St. Roger Goodell to deliver a lengthy suspension anyway. Vick is doing and saying all the right things now, but as his profile increases from becoming a full time starter again, so does the likelihood that trouble will find him. The Eagles aren't about to hand the keys to their organization over to somebody whose situation is so fragile.

But what if he beats the Lions? Let me pose this question another way: does anybody actually expect the Eagles to lose to the Lions?

If Vick can't squeeze out a victory in Detroit, he doesn't deserve to start anywhere, much less here. No disrespect to the Lions, but they are clearly outmatched on paper. Even with a week's worth of preparation for a mobile quarterback, they shouldn't be able to stop Vick or the Eagles' offense strictly speaking from a personnel standpoint.

So what does it mean if Vick beats the Lions? Is that really the measuring stick for a starting quarterback in the NFL? I have a hard time accepting the notion that Kevin Kolb deserves to lose his job because the backup picked up a W against one of the worst franchises in football.

Frankly, Vick is not a long term solution for the Eagles. Is he good enough to start in the NFL? Absolutely. Would it be wise to pin Super Bowl aspirations on him? Not at all. Kolb could wind up being a bust, but there's only one way to find out. Vick, on the other hand, will always be Vick. That's never been good enough before, and there's no reason to believe it suddenly is now.