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Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Why I don't see Vick in Jacksonville or AFC South


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

There seem to be two schools of thought on where Michael Vick is best suited to land.

  Vick

1) A team with a strong head coach and starting quarterback. Vick can rehabilitate his game in some sort of limited role in a very structured environment where he knows he won't have a shot to be a starter anytime soon.

2) A team with a coach on the hot seat and a less-than-certain starting quarterback. Vick would have the best possible chance to get into action as a team shoots for a winning formula and media attention that might help preserve the regime.

I don't have a strong feeling on which is the right way -- I'd like to actually see an interview with Vick to get a better sense of where he is right now.

But I can look at the possibilities, or lack thereof, for him in the AFC South.

The Colts and Titans qualify as teams in the first category, but I cannot see either team being interested in Vick.

Indy's been content with an insecure backup situation because of how sturdy Peyton Manning has been. And why would you take him off the field in any situation for some sort of gimmicky adaptation of the Wildcat? (Sidenote: If Vick's a quarterback, and someone uses him as a special piece for a Wildcat set, it's not really the Wildcat. The Wildcat features a non-quarterback in the shotgun, no?)

The Titans already have a complicated backup quarterback they are trying to figure out in Vince Young.

The Texans, to me, don't fit either category. They are hoping this is the year when Gary Kubiak takes Matt Schaub to new heights. They've got what they consider good options behind Schaub with Dan Orlovsky (in whom they have made a significant investment) and Rex Grossman.

The Jaguars, obviously, qualify in category No. 2, with Jack Del Rio trying to recover from 5-11, David Garrard trying to prove he's worth his contract and Todd Bouman in line as the backup. (Mike Lombardi puts Jacksonville as his No. 1 candidate in a "Makes Too Much Sense" category.)

I understand Lombardi's reasoning.

But the Jaguars have spent the offseason purging themselves of a lot of guys they considered having character issues or being less-than-solid locker room guys: Jerry Porter, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Gerald Sensabaugh and Khalif Barnes among them.

Yes, Vick has paid his penalty and perhaps he won't qualify as a character problem anymore. I'm not saying he should be grouped with Porter or anyone else. With such an emphasis on character, however, the Jaguars would really be going against the grain to bring in Vick.

That's why I don't see it happening. GM Gene Smith is a steady guy who has repeatedly talked about character and foundation in the first half-year of his tenure. Adding Vick would do too much to counter the themes Smith has entrenched into his team's thinking.