When everyone was drinking the Michael Vick Kool-Aid earlier this season, I told anyone that would listen to hold off on naming the Philadelphia quarterback Comeback Player of the Year. The reason being was that I was waiting for him to revert back to the quarterback he was in Atlanta (i.e. a player who would frustrate you with his poor decision making just as quickly as he would dazzle you with his highlight reel skills).
But after observing him in the Eagles’ 26-24 win over the Colts on Sunday, the only thing I’ll say now is pass the Kool-Aid because I would love to take a sip.
Vick is a different player now than what he was in Atlanta. Not only is he making better in-game decisions, but he seems more prepared, calmer in the pocket and is allowing the game to come to him. He used to try to get by on his God-given talent but he appears to be reading defenses better now than at any point during his tenure with the Falcons.
Against Indy, he completed 17-of-29 passes for 218 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 74 yards and a score on 10 carries. But stats don’t tell the whole story. When he had time to throw, he went through all of his progressions before finding open receivers. When Dwight Freeney (who played an undisciplined game, might I add) would race up the field trying to crash the pocket, Vick would make one move before picking up first downs with his legs. Sounds simple enough, but these are things he would only do part of the time in Atlanta.
The old Michael Vick may have found a way to lose on Sunday. He would have run too much, tired himself out and then fumbled with the game on the line when he could barely catch his breath. Or he would have forced a pass over the middle thinking the rocket launcher he has for an arm could throw the ball through any window.
But not this year’s Vick. This year’s Vick is patient, smart, and he’s careful with the football. He’s a team player now and a different quarterback – a mature one.
Maybe Vick will eventually revert back to the way he was in Atlanta and this fairytale will have a horrible ending. There’s still a lot of season left and Vick will have plenty of chances to either will his team to victory or succumb to failure. But if he continues to play like he has this season, the Eagles will be dangerous come January.