Chances are you’ve heard the rumors about Michael Vick being in town and all those rumors that he’s going to sign with the Buffalo Bills today. They’ve been floating around for a few days now, but supposedly he’s really here now and he’s probably not in Buffalo to visit the Falls while on vacation from his construction job.
The NFL Network’s (and, by Monday, ESPN’s) Adam Schefter has been tweeting updates on Vick today. He doesn’t make it sound like there’s anything imminent happening on the Vick front:
No Vick signing expected today. Friday through Monday now on radar.
More guessing: fact that there’s no Vick signing today could mean he will be joining one of eight teams playing tonight.
No joke: in past 30 minutes, people have told me Vick spotted in Tampa, Carolina and Buffalo. Didn’t realize one man could be in 3 places.
And the AP’s John Wawrow has this to tweet:
can’t confirm that vick in B-lo. CAN confirm that Bills ain’t interested.
So there you go. If you believe both reports and Russ Brandon, Vick might be in Buffalo, but he isn’t going to sign with a team until this weekend and don’t expect that team to be the Bills. Take it all with a grain of salt (as rumors are rumors for a reason), but despite the whispers and text messages, it seems unlikely the Bills are going to land Vick.
If all the skills are still there, Vick would be a great addition to any team on paper, simply because he’s such a gifted athlete. The off-the-field issues are certainly cause for concern but if a team is able to properly use him (utilizing his speed and vision), then they’re most likely more competitive for it.
However, Vick isn’t a player that’s going to win you three or four games single-handedly anymore. He won’t be playing every down and he’s most likely a nice complementary player, especially this season after being out of the league for a few years. He’s going to need to shake off some of the rust and figure out his role on a team. Vick is a luxury signing.
If you’re a team that was a few games away from winning it all last year with a strong enough core to handle the adversity his outside troubles bring, then Vick might be the right player to help you over the hump and make you a serious contender.
The Buffalo Bills are not that team.
Yes, as a backup quarterback, he’s a better option than Ryan Fitzpatrick or Gibran Hamdan. But if you sign Vick, you need to be able to utilize him in more creative ways than simply holding the clipboard and waiting for either a blowout or for Trent Edwards to get hurt. The Bills would have to be able to incorporate more Wildcat formations, or use him like the Florida Gators used Tim Tebow when they won the national championship his freshman year.
There’s no guarantee that head coach Dick Jauron and Turk Schonert, the offensive coordinator, will be able to fully utilize him in this way. They’ve had a hard enough time scoring traditional touchdowns and manufacturing typical scoring drives, let alone drafting up crazy new schemes to trick opposing defenses. Sure Vick’s a threat, but what good is he if that’s all he is?
Also, as it is, there’s enough ego and media whoring going on with Terrell Owens. I don’t care how much the players are said to respect Jauron, but if you throw Vick into that locker room, you’re almost asking the inmates to run the asylum.
Less attention will be placed on the games and more on how the players are reacting to the team’s two biggest media magnets. Edwards and Jauron don’t seem like the type of guys who can control (or at least direct) those personalities. They’re calm, level-headed guys. Vick and Owens thrive on emotion (remember, when it started to get rough for Vick in Atlanta, he flipped fans a bird other than a Falcon).
Once controversy hits (it’s inevitable), will the Bills still be calm and cool when the levees break? I could be wrong (Owens did supposedly get along great with Wade Phillips in Dallas), but the Bills definitely don’t have the strongest locker room in the league right now and that’s what it may take to keep everything in check. There aren’t proven guys like Jim Kelly or Thurman Thomas or Darryl Talley in charge of this team.
Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of signing a player as dynamic as Vick was when he last strapped on a pair of shoulder pads. However, it’s much more than a simple “Why not? What do they have to lose?” signing. The team has a lot of problems and will need every roster spot available to try and fill those holes.
Keith Ellison is still starting at linebacker. Who knows how the offensive line is going to perform? Aaron Maybin still isn’t signed so no one can be sure what the pass rush is going to look like. Hell, we’re still not even totally sure Edwards is the guy. There are many more concerns with just the players. Then throw the Mike Vick drama into the mix.
Even if all of the front office’s moves work out, the team is still probably a few years away from seriously contending for a championship. Signing T.O. to a one-year contract put the Bills closer to “likely” when talking about making the playoffs. Maybe signing Vick would put them into the playoffs and keep the Bills “competitive” in the Wild Card game. And this is only if everything goes right and Jauron doesn’t throw any games away with his play-calling decisions.
And then next year, they’re both gone (like Vick would sign anything longer than a one-year contract with any team). And we just hope the players still on the roster have learned how to win and can do it on their own. It’s all hypothetical, but I think the risk and potential harm outweighs the potential benefit.
Does any Bills fan really want another scrambling quarterback who wears No. 7, anyways?
It doesn’t mean I won’t get excited if the Bills do go out and sign him. I mean, he is Mike Vick after all. I just don’t think he’s the right fit for this team in this town at this time.
So, for me anyway, I’ll do something Vick isn’t accustomed to — pass.