Michael Vick has finally made his return to the NFL. Signed last night by the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick hopes to contribute mightily to a team that has seen it's individual playmakers disappear this offseason.
Today, the Eagles held a press conference announcing his return in grand fashion.
Beside him sat Tony Dungy, his biggest advocate, and personal advisor, through this entire process.
The one thing that stood out about Vick during the Q&A session is how much more polished he is now than he was two-years ago.
We can, no doubt, thank the tutelage of Tony Dungy and his agent for that.
He said all the right things and gave the impression that he was contrite and ready to be a better man and role model for the league.
Truth be told, what else could he have said? No one expected to see the arrogant, swag-having, do-rag wearing, football player we saw three-years ago.
His demeanor and speech was precisely what it should have been and, like it or not, he won a lot of people over with his presentation.
However, the real question is: Can he still play?
The Eagles are in a position of desperation at this point. McNabb isn't getting any younger, Westbrook is losing steam, and the NFC East is getting better, not worse.
The Eagles are no longer the chosen ones to represent the NFC in a Super Bowl. As a matter of fact, or opinion depending on your viewpoint, many believe the Falcons, Redskins, and Giants are closer to winning a Super Bowl than the Eagles right now.
Is that why they pulled the trigger on such a controversial figure?
After all, the last time they gambled on a player who was a PR nightmare, McNabb led the team to the Super Bowl.
Can Vick be that spark for this team?
Say what you will about his likeability as a person, the fact is, when he put on that no. 7 jersey for the Atlanta Falcons, you were tuning in to see what he would do.
It's not a stretch to say that he put that franchise on the national map. Before he showed up in Atlanta, no one gave two cents about the Falcons. They were a perennial loser with zero star power.
He won't need to do that for the well-established Philadelphia Eagles club but his presence could shake the tree of a lot of the NFC East defensive coordinators who will now need to rethink their schemes a little bit now that Vick will be a possibility.
Vick brings that extra element of surprise that makes most defenses nervous; no one ever wanted to see Vick improvise, that often led to embarrassment—just ask Minnesota (Vick rolled on them for 46-yards to win the game in sudden death in 2002).
However,Despite the excitement he generated with his jawdropping running ability, he isn't much more than an average quarterback—it's doubtful that his time in Leavenworth made him any more adept at reading defenses.
He has a big arm but, back then at least, had no idea how to use it to make the big play.
His short to intermediate passes were mediocre at best; blame it on the personnel at the time, but, truthfully, Philly isn't blowing the doors off with their wide receiving corps either.
Is he better than Kevin Kolb? Maybe. However, if his legs aren't what they used to be, then his value drops significantly. It would be game over.
Luckily, the Eagles still have McNabb at quarterback; Vick will simply provide more options for the offense.
He's a nice weapon to have on your side if you know how to use him in the right manner.
Again, that will depend on how much Vick is left in Vick.
In all, the Eagles have taken a gamble on a guy based on his potential value as a player.
Will he be the Eagles starting quarterback in two-years, not likely, but for this year he offers the hope of good things to come.
No matter what your opinion on Vick, you have to be curious as to what he can do and, if you are an NFC fan, you are likely praying that he isn't the nail in your teams coffin this season.