Bringing Some Much Needed Perspective to the Vick Discussion

Bringing Some Much Needed Perspective to the Vick Discussion

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.

Best of NBA: Harden's 38-points fuels Rockets past Bucks

Best of NBA: Harden's 38-points fuels Rockets past Bucks

HOUSTON -- James Harden had 38 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and the Houston Rockets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-92 on Wednesday night.

Harden drilled a straightaway 3-pointer with six minutes left to give Houston a 13-point lead and shimmied his shoulders down the court in a celebratory dance as the Bucks called timeout.

After losing three of four, the Rockets regained their form while improving to 17-4 at home this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks for Milwaukee (see full recap).

Rose powers slumping Knicks past Celtics 117-106
BOSTON -- Derrick Rose matched his season high with 30 points, and the slumping New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics 117-106 on Wednesday night.

New York played without injured starters Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah, but Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez each scored 17 points to help make up for their absence. It was just the third win in 14 games for the Knicks.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 39 points, his 13th time this season with 30 or more points. Jae Crowder added 21 for the Celtics, who lost for only the fourth time in 17 games.

Al Horford, Boston's big free-agent acquisition during the summer, had five points on 2-of-14 shooting. He was 1 for 8 on 3-point attempts.

Boston closed to 97-96 on Jaylen Brown's two free throws with just under eight minutes to play, but Justin Holiday and Courtney Lee nailed 3-pointers 29 seconds apart, pushing New York's lead back to seven. Rose then capped an 8-0 spree by putting in his own miss after Thomas missed a jumper -- his seventh straight shot that was off (see full recap).

Home cooking: Wiz top Grizz 104-101, 13th win in row in DC
WASHINGTON -- A vastly different team at home, the Wizards won their 13th consecutive game in Washington by edging the Memphis Grizzlies 104-101 Wednesday night behind two late layups from John Wall, who finished with 25 points and 13 assists.

James Ennis III missed a potential tying 3-pointer at the buzzer for Memphis.

The Wizards are just 4-13 on the road but now 18-6 at home, where they've compiled their longest winning streak since a 15-game run in the 1988-89 season.

Washington never trailed and led by as many as 19 points in the first half, then held on after a 10-0 run by Memphis made it a two-point game with 2 1/2 minutes left. That's when Wall took over, scoring on consecutive drives (see full recap).

Walker, Hibbert lead Hornets past Blazers 107-85
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kemba Walker scored 23 points, Roy Hibbert provided a huge boost off the bench, and the Charlotte Hornets stopped a five-game slide with a 107-85 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

Nicolas Batum added 17 points for the Hornets, who limited the Trail Blazers to 35 percent shooting and snapped an eight-game streak of allowing at least 100 points. But it was the 7-foot-2 Hibbert who stole the show.

Hibbert, who came in averaging 5.2 points per game, had a season-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

Damian Lillard scored 21 points and C.J. McCollum had 18 for Portland, which has lost three straight and 16 of 22 since Dec. 5 (see full recap).

Penn State falls to Indiana, 78-75, on buzzer 3-pointer

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Penn State falls to Indiana, 78-75, on buzzer 3-pointer

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Shep Garner gathered his teammates along Penn State's bench to remind them they needed one more stop to head to overtime.

Indiana's James Blackmon was ready to head home, however.

Blackmon took an in-bounds pass with less than five seconds to go, sprinted down the court and drained a 3-pointer to lift the Hoosiers to a 78-75 win over Penn State on Wednesday night.

Blackmon, Thomas Bryant and Robert Johnson all scored 17 points for the Hoosiers (13-6, 3-3 Big Ten) who survived a late Penn State rally.

"They definitely grew up," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "It wasn't easy, but they definitely earned the victory. It would've been a shame if they hadn't gotten this win because they earned it."

Tony Carr scored a career-best 24 points and Garner added 15 for the Nittany Lions (11-8, 3-3) who trailed by 14 with 9:19 left. Garner brought Penn State within striking distance with a 3-pointer that cut it to 75-73 with 39 seconds to play.

It was the second straight win for the Hoosiers (13-6, 3-3 Big Ten) who took control by halftime and led the entire second half until a pair of Lamar Stevens free throws tied the game with less than five seconds left.

"I'm really proud of the kids, the way they fought back," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "I felt like Penn State really hurt Penn State tonight, missed layups, little things. If we shoot better from the free-throw line, maybe the outcome's different."

Memories of Watford
There's a good reason Blackmon's shot was strikingly similar to the one Christian Watford sank at the buzzer to beat then-No. 1 Kentucky in 2011.

"It was the same play-call," Crean said. "But we got open differently. Usually we run off a screen but in this case we knew they'd switch it so James did a great job of setting it up."

Penn State coaches and players knew they'd have to defend a similar play, Chambers made note of it in his scouting report, but Blackmon was able to slip past Josh Reaves at midcourt and pull up over Julian Moore to hit the winning basket.

Rim un-protected
Indiana didn't have as big of a challenge on the glass with Penn State's designated rim-protector Mike Watkins in early foul trouble. Penn State's leading rebounder played just 13 minutes and finished with no rebounds.

The Hoosiers won the battle on the glass 37-33 and Penn State made just 21 of 31 free throws.

Hurt Hoosier
Indiana lost OG Anunoby on the final play of the first half to a right knee injury. The sophomore forward came down after battling for an offensive rebound and crumpled to the floor where he clutched at his right knee before trainers helped him slowly to the locker room. He did not return.

Anunoby started eight games and was tied for sixth in the Big Ten with 1.4 steals per game.

Crean said Anunoby would be evaluated when the team returned to Bloomington.

The big picture
Indiana: The Hoosiers entered Wednesday's game having lost five of their last eight. They'll have a chance to gain momentum with four of their next five against middle-of-the-pack Big Ten foes before a trip to Madison to take on No. 17 Wisconsin on Feb. 5.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions' inability to put a full game together has to be grating on coach Patrick Chambers. Even in their last win against No. 24 Minnesota, the Nittany Lions were out of sorts early before a late rally paid off. They were competitive early and late in this one but sluggish and mistake-prone midway through when Indiana took over.

Up next
Indiana hosts Michigan State on Saturday.

Penn State plays at No. 22 Purdue on Saturday