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- The Michael Vick’s: Contenders or Pretenders?

Sports Critic October 8, 2004
Sports Critic

Tell your opinion.

By Alex Fitzsimmons, email alexcolumn@aol.com

How can an NFL team that gives up more passing yards then they pickup be 4-0 to start the season? When you have Michael Vick behind center, you don’t need passing yards. Last season, the Atlanta Falcons proved to the entire football world that they had no running game, no impact receivers, and a dismal defense. This season, the Falcons proved that none of that really matters when you have such an elusive player like Vick. Thus far Atlanta’s defense has held up well, and that would be an understatement. Despite a great start, are the Falcons really legitimate Super Bowl contenders?

In 2003, throwing only 100 passes, Vick was sidelined for most of the season. 26 year old backup Doug Johnson held the reigns for most of the season but must have forgotten to pack the presents (what a bad Santa Clause he would’ve been). Playing in his fifth season, Johnson threw 243 passes, threw eight touchdown passes, and was intercepted twelve times. He earned a whopping quarterback rating of 67.5, and hey, he even rushed for one touchdown. But despite Johnson’s “courageous” efforts, Atlanta could only muster a 5-11 season. Good luck keeping your starting job with that kind of production.

So what’s different about the Falcons this year that makes them a better team? Hello!?! Did you ever hear of Michael Vick, and now that he’s back from an injury-tainted season, his team doesn’t have to be good to find success.

Now I’ll admit, I picked this team to go 9-7 this year, and the way the season is going thus far, I’ll probably be wrong. But I’m not completely sold on this team yet. Their defense could be a mirage; I don’t believe it’s as good as advertised. And offensively, after Vick, this team is lackluster. With the exception of a Week 4 win at Carolina, the Falcons have had a painless schedule. At San Francisco, vs. St. Louis, vs. Arizona, and at Carolina; not the most prominent association of teams. We’ll see Week 17 on the road against the Seahawks (the team I picked to win the SB) if this team is legitimate or not.

Though I may be stating the obvious saying that Vick is the heart and soul of this team, but it’s true. The experts and analysts try too hard to look astute; they try and tell us that Atlanta’s defense is what’s winning them their games, that Vick isn’t having as big an impact as everyone thought. To me that’s an erroneously misconceived opinion with no help of saving (otherwise know as a moron). Don’t listen when anyone tries to tell you Vick’s impact isn’t as great as it has been, because those people are barefaced morons, and there’s no other way to describe them. We all saw what happened last year when this team lost Vick; they plummeted downhill so fast it was pathetic. Once Vick is gone, this team’s true colors will start to shine and we see how bad they really are.

The bottom line is that any team with a dynamic playmaker of the caliber of Vick, at such an impact position, will be a tough team to beat. Vick’s ability to throw deep and run wild drives defensive coordinators insane (even if he can’t hit a short route). However, I don’t believe that a team can find long-term success over a grueling 16 game schedule when they only have one player that can break open a game. Luckily for Head Coach Jim Mora, he doesn’t have to be good at coaching to win games. Mora must have the easiest job on the face of the earth. All he does is sit back, act like he actually serves a purpose, and watch Vick as he torches opposing defenses. If only my life were that easy…

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