Thursday, November 18, 2010
Updated: November 19, 9:03 AM ET
Joe Namath praises Michael Vick
By Matt Ehalt
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- Joe Namath knows a thing or two about a quarterback propelling a team to greatness. So when he analyzes the Philadelphia Eagles with Michael Vick as their quarterback, he sees a team quickly soaring to the top of the NFL.
"All of a sudden, I've got the Philadelphia Eagles in the top 10 [teams] of the game. With Michael playing well, they're a major threat," Namath said on 1050 ESPN Radio's The Michael Kay Show on Thursday afternoon. "The Giants better buckle up, they didn't have a good one last week, that's going to be a hot one coming up."
Namath touched on several Vick-centric topics just three days before the Giants travel to Philadelphia to meet the Eagles. The winner will take sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
Watching Vick's performance Monday night in the Eagles' 59-28 win against the Redskins, in which the quarterback threw four touchdowns and rushed for another two, Namath said he was amazed at Vick's quickness and speed. He said the most impressive aspect of Vick's season has been his pocket presence and his accuracy, once sore points for Vick. The Eagles quarterback has completed a career-high 62.7 percent of his passes this season.
"[Eagles coach] Andy Reid has got to get a lot of the credit for utilizing Michael with real good plays," Namath said. "In other words, his depth varies when he goes back to pass. He's allowed to take a deeper drop. They want him back there so he can get out of trouble with his footwork, and he's got some big-play people to work with, too."
A self-proclaimed dog lover, Namath said he was taken aback when he first found out about Vick's involvement in dogfighting rings in 2007. Three years later, though, Namath sees a quarterback who has learned from his errors.
"Being a guy that sinned myself, the man paid his dues, he's fresh, and let's go, " Namath said. "Let's hope that he understands. The repentance is there, he felt good, he's a new man. I'm a better man myself for having fouled up along the way and changed. Michael has changed. Change is a constant. It can either be better or worse but nobody stays still. Michael's changed for the better."
Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.