Monday, February 3, 2014
Are Jets, Bucs good fits for Vick?
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA – That old truism applies to quarterback Michael Vick. It is only going to take one team to believe he is the best solution for its quarterback problem.
But it will help if that one team has the right conditions to deal with any potential fallout from signing the still-controversial Vick. As I wrote recently, Philadelphia Eagles fans have gotten used to having Vick around after five years. Fans in other cities still may have an adverse reaction to having Vick join their favorite team.
But ESPN's Adam Schefter's report fits the bill. Schefter tweeted today that the New York Jets and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are two franchises likely to have interest once Vick hits free agency next month.
The Jets' offensive coordinator is Marty Mornhinweg, who served that role for Vick's first four seasons with the Eagles. Mornhinweg knows Vick very well on two important levels. He doesn't have to wonder what it would be like to bring Vick into a locker room, and he has as good a feel as anyone for building an offense around Vick's skill set.
The Jets' head coach, Rex Ryan, might be more open than most to taking a shot with Vick. Ryan has spent the past couple years dealing with quarterback issues: Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Geno Smith. If Ryan is going to last much longer with the Jets, an experienced and talented quarterback couldn't hurt.
Vick will turn 34 in June. He is not going to be any team's long-term solution as a franchise quarterback. But Ryan and the Jets are a perfect example of a situation where a short-term fix might make perfect sense.
As for Tampa Bay, Mike Glennon showed some genuine promise after replacing Josh Freeman as the starter. But Glennon wasn't exactly a Nick Foles-level revelation.
New head coach Lovie Smith went to a Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as his starter. Like Ryan, he's a defense-first guy. He's also an experienced, no-nonsense coach with the self-assurance to withstand any backlash that might come with signing Vick.
There are other possibilities, of course. The Oakland Raiders remain a franchise that is difficult to read from the outside. They have always had a reputation for welcoming players with tarnished reputations.
The Cleveland Browns seem less likely to be a fit for Vick now that Kyle Shanahan appears poised to become their offensive coordinator. During his time in Washington, Kyle and his father Mike Shanahan had difficult relationships with Donovan McNabb and Robert Griffin III. It's hard to imagine Vick choosing to go there if he has other options. Browns president Joe Banner was with the Eagles when they signed Vick in 2009, but players don't spend much time with club presidents.
The free agency period comes between the scouting combine, when teams can get a real feel for the crop of incoming quarterbacks, and the draft. Teams that need a quarterback and can't be certain of drafting one might find Vick their best option.
It only takes one.