Michael Vick’s star hasn’t merely fallen – it’s plummeted. Just a few years removed from being voted the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year, Vick took a pay cut over the winter and now is embroiled in a quarterback competition.
Perception around the league has changed along with Vick’s status. ESPN analyst and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski apparently wouldn’t take the 2010 Pro Bowler over three-quarters of the NFL’s passers if his “QB Countdown” is to be believed.
Via Dan Graziano of ESPN’s NFC East Blog, Jaws placed Vick number 25 on the countdown, down from 12th only a season ago. The key reason for the huge drop can probably be found in this transcribed graph:
Vick can get to the edge and outflank the defense, he can beat you from the pocket with an explosive vertical arm that can lift the top off the coverage, and he presents multiple options in the red zone with his movement. The concern of course, is turnovers. Vick had far too many in 2012. Fifteen of them in 10 games; four of those 15 came in the red zone.
Graziano notes that because Jaworski says Vick is still the best QB on Philly’s roster, neither Nick Foles or Matt Barkley is ahead of him. The full rankings aren’t out yet (it’s a countdown), but just count off from a list of NFL teams and you’ll get a sense for what kind of signal callers 25th gets someone lumped in with.
It probably isn’t entirely unreasonable. At this point Vick is what he is, which is an immensely gifted athlete whose flaws – turnovers, timing, health, efficiency – have always outweighed his amazing abilities.
I'd take 20 or so quarterbacks over him without question. That includes a guy whose name rhymes with Click Moles as long as upside is part of the equation.
>> Vick drops to 25 on Jaws’ QB countdown [ESPN]
The Phillies are putting the finishing touches on a deal with outfielder Michael Saunders, according to a source.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the deal was close early Monday afternoon.
When the medical reviews and other loose ends are complete, Saunders will end up with a one-year contract for 2017. It is believed that there will be an option for 2018.
Saunders, 30, will give the Phils the left-handed bat they’ve been looking for in the outfield. Saunders is likely to play right field and his addition will likely push Roman Quinn back to Triple A, where he will get more seasoning.
Saunders is a veteran of eight seasons in the majors. He played in a career-high 140 games with Toronto in 2016 and made the American League All-Star team on the strength of a first half in which he hit .298 with 16 homers, 42 RBIs and a .923 OPS. He fell off in the second half and hit just .178 with eight homers, 15 RBIs and a .638 OPS. Saunders finished the season at .253/24/57/.815.
With less than a month to go before spring training, the Phillies are likely done with their significant offseason moves. The offseason began with trades for reliever Pat Neshek and outfielder Howie Kendrick. Later in the winter, the club traded for starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and signed reliever Joaquin Benoit. Now Saunders is on his way.
It didn't take long for Villanova to get back to the top of the AP poll.
A week, to be exact.
The 'Cats jumped from No. 3 to No. 1 in this week's AP poll, edging out No. 2 Kansas by just 16 total voting points. Villanova had 1,580 total points compared to the 1,562 total points the No. 2 Jayhawks received from voters.
In a twist, the 16-1 Jayhawks actually had more first-place votes than the 17-1 Wildcats. Kansas received 32 first-place votes compared to Villanova's 28 first-place votes. But total votes are the deciding factor, so, advatange: Wildcats.
UCLA hopped up to No. 3, Gonzaga jumped up to No. 4 and Kentucky checked in at No. 5 to round out this week's top five.
Baylor, the No. 1 team in the land last week, fell to No. 6 after it was blown out by No. 7 West Virginia.
Beginning on Dec. 5, Villanova was No. 1 for five straight weeks before falling at No. 13 Butler on Jan. 5 and seeing a 20-game win streak come to an end.
Jay Wright's Wildcats blew past No. 22 Xavier and St. John's last week, but will face another Big East test when 12-5 Seton Hall visits The Pavilion on Monday night. The last time Villanova and Seton Hall met, the Pirates upset the Wildcats at MSG in the final of last season's Big East Tournament.
The Wildcats' schedule this week is closed out with a visit from Providence on Saturday afternoon.