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 NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

Best of NHL: Canadiens score 10 goals in rout of Avalanche

MONTREAL -- Max Pacioretty had four goals, Brian Flynn scored twice during a six-goal first period and the Montreal Canadiens routed the Colorado Avalanche 10-1 on Saturday night.

Flynn, Pacioretty and Artturi Lehkonen each scored against Calvin Pickard in the opening 7:12, and then Pacioretty, Paul Byron and Flynn each had a goal among the first four shots on Semyon Varlamov.

Pacioretty completed his hat trick in the second period and added another in the third to give the captain seven goals in his last four games.

Alexander Radulov and Jeff Petry also scored for Montreal, which has shown no drop-off without injured scoring leader and first-line center Alex Galchenyuk. Montreal outshot the Avs 36-16 (see full recap).

Malkin, Crosby lead Penguins past Lightning 4-3
TAMPA, Fla. -- Sidney Crosby had another eventful night.

The Penguins star returned after passing concussion protocol following a first-period hit to get his 20th goal, and that stoked Pittsburgh's rally for its latest victory.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored their second goals on third-period power plays, helping the Penguins come back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday.

Crosby was shaken up by Luke Witkowski's check with eight minutes to go in the first but returned for the start of the second period (see full recap).

Late barrage helps Blue Jackets beat Islanders 6-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 6-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

Josh Anderson, Brandon Saad and Lukas Sedlak also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.

Josh Bailey and John Tavares scored for New York, which had earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves until he was pulled after the Blue Jackets scored four consecutive goals in the third period.

Anderson put Columbus ahead 3-2 at 2:19 when he picked off a defensive pass and banged it in from the slot seconds after coming onto the ice for his shift (see full recap).

Matthews, Hyman score in 2nd, Maple Leafs beat Bruins 4-1
BOSTON -- The Toronto Maple Leafs found a way to overcome a poor opening period.

Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman scored in the second period, Frederik Andersen made 32 saves and the Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday night.

"The last three games the first period kind of did us in," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't start on time. We were able to hold on. It still wasn't the first period we wanted, but we didn't give up the goals and we were able to execute a little bit."

After managing only two shots on goal in the first, Toronto was happy to get to the dressing room with the game scoreless (see full recap).

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

Best of NBA: Grizzlies dominate throughout, crush Warriors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol and Tony Allen scored 19 points each and the Memphis Grizzlies rolled over the Golden State Warriors 110-89 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

The Grizzlies led by as many as 30 points in the second half - the biggest advantage by any Warriors opponent this season. Seven Memphis players finished in double figures.

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 21 points, while Stephen Curry added 17 points and Ian Clark finished with 10 points. Curry and backcourt starter Klay Thompson (eight points) were a combined 8 of 28 from the field, including 3 of 14 outside the arc.

Memphis built a double-digit lead early, led 61-38 at halftime and kept building in the third quarter (see full recap).

Butler, Wade lead Bulls to 105-100 win over Heat
CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade added 28 against his former team and the Chicago Bulls held off the struggling Miami Heat 105-100 on Saturday night.

Butler scored Chicago's final 10 points to help the Bulls come out on top after Miami pulled within one.

Wade keyed a big third-quarter run in his second game against the Heat, and the Bulls hung on after handing San Antonio its first road loss two nights earlier.

Goran Dragic led Miami with 21 points and 11 assists. An energetic Hassan Whiteside added 20 points after being benched for part of Friday's blowout loss in Cleveland. Tyler Johnson scored 15, but the Heat dropped their fifth straight (see full recap).

LeBron scores 44, reaches assist mark as Cavs down Hornets
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 17 of his season-high 44 points in the fourth quarter and reached another career milestone as the Cleveland Cavaliers won their fourth straight, 116-105 over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.

James did it all, adding 10 assists and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. He took over in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 straight during one stretch to help the Cavs hold on.

As the final seconds ticked off, James stood at midcourt and spun the ball on his index finger as the crowd roared.

James, who moved into ninth place on the career scoring list Friday, recorded his 7,000th assist in the first half, becoming the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach the plateau. James is the only player with 27,000 points and 7,000 assists (see full recap).

George has 37 points to lead Pacers over Blazers 118-111
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George scored a season-high 37 points to lead the Indiana Pacers over the Portland Trail Blazers 118-111 on Saturday night.

George made five 3-pointers, and Thaddeus Young hit six 3s while getting 24 points and nine rebounds. Myles Turner added 14 points for the Pacers, who had lost five straight regular season games to Portland.

C.J. McCollum made a career-high seven 3-pointers and had a season-best 34 points for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard had 33 points behind five 3s.

George scored 13 straight points in the fourth quarter for Indiana. He was fouled on the go-ahead basket with 4:36 remaining and completed the three-point play to give the Pacers a 108-105 lead (see full recap).