When you get right down to it, neither Donovan McNabb nor Michael Vick are in a bad place right now.
McNabb certainly isn’t in the prime of his career, but at 33 he doesn’t have one foot in the proverbial NFL grave either. He’s working under a man in Mike Shanahan that has won three Super Bowls (two as a head coach, one as an offensive coordinator) and multiple conference championships, and is ready to face his old team this Sunday at his old stomping grounds.
He’s also out of Philadelphia, where he couldn’t wake up in the morning without being booed for the way he poured his cereal. He’s now playing for a fan base that appreciates what he brings to the table because they realize what it’s like not to have a leader at the quarterback position. (No offense to Jason Campbell, who is an extremely hard worker and a likable guy, but considering Bruce Gradkowski is now starting over him in Oakland it’s apparent that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a quality starting quarterback in this league.)
Vick has it good, too. After dazzling Andy Reid in the first two weeks of the season, he was named the full-time starter and he did well not to muck up the first opportunity he had to thank his head coach by lighting up the Jaguars last Sunday. Vick has been as good as any quarterback in the league this year, throwing for 750 yards and six touchdowns while compiling a QB rating of 110.2. He’s also rushed for 170 yards on 23 carries and best of all, he hasn’t turned the ball over despite fumbling twice.
The Eagles are now Vick’s team and while he has yet to face a quality defense, the tape doesn’t lie: he’s been phenomenal so far. Whether or not his great play continues is uncertain, but as of right now there’s nothing negative anyone can say about Vick’s game.
But if the topic at hand is which quarterback is currently in the best situation, the answer is Vick, hands down. He has more talent around him, has better receivers, the better running game and the better offensive line. He’s also playing with house money because nobody expected him to be in this situation after Philly nearly traded him to parts unknown earlier this offseason.
Vick has been given the gift of a second chance and thus far, he hasn’t blown it. He seems more humble, more driven and more focused than he has been during any point in his career. That’s key considering he has never been lacking in athletic ability and if he can keep his head on straight, then he’ll continue to do great things this year.
That said, I’m a pessimist when it comes to the topic of Michael Vick. I still remember how very little effort he put forth in Atlanta and how he relied on his God-given skills rather than hard work. He has never been immune to taking games off and I wonder what happens if he starts to get a big head about him again. Forget the dog fighting scandal – the guy floated by in Atlanta and now that he’s becoming “the man” again, I wonder what happens next.
If all were considered equal, I’d still rather have McNabb. Give me the guy that has led a team to the Super Bowl. Give me the guy that has won with less and whose character was constantly tested in a tough environment. I realize he’s come up short in some big games, but he also knows what it takes to get there.
I know what I would be getting in Donovan McNabb. I can’t say the same thing about Michael Vick, even though he has the hot hand right now.