Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Is Ted Thompson Going After Vick?

The Green Bay Packers started training camp over the weekend. Presumably, practice kicked off Saturday with the three quarterbacks head coach Mike McCarthy will take into the season opener against the Chicago Bears Sept. 13.

Aaron Rodgers, Brian Brohm, and Matt Flynn were McCarthy's choices a year ago, and there are no indications that anything will change at the position. The Packers didn't sign any free agents, didn't draft any quarterbacks, and don't appear to be on the verge of any trades.

Of course, this didn't stop the media from asking Packers general manager Ted Thompson about a quarterback Tuesday.

(Is there any way you guys will sign Michael Vick?)

(sigh) Uh, what is the answer that we give to questions like this? We're always looking to improve our team and we look at all options at all times. I wouldn't care to speculate in terms of the odds or anything like that.

(So you have looked at it to some degree)

We look at everything. Well, not everything. We don't look at stuff from across the ocean or something.

(Have you had any discussions about whether it would be worth pursuing him?)

We have had discussions about a large number of things and we're always talking personnel, different scenarios and things like that.

(This is an unusual guy, not a normal situation)

Yeah but the routine we go through is the same. It doesn't mean anymore that we're more likely or less likely to do it. It's a routine that we go through. It's automatic.

There's nothing wrong with checking up on stories and being watchful of news. It's perfectly legitimate for the media to be asking Thompson about Vick. He's a free agent at a position where it appears the Packers lack quality depth. However, Packers ace reporter Greg Bedard may have fallen a bit too hard for the sensationalistic value of Thompson's non-answer on his Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blog.
Expect the chatter about this to only intensify solely because of Thompson's response. If you have no interest in signing a convicted felon that spent 18 months in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring, then just say so.

Bedard is a great reporter, and Packers fans are lucky to have him around. His opinion is valued because of the time he's put in as an NFL writer. He understands the game, and he certainly gets how the fans would receive such a move.

However, the thought of the Packers signing Vick is totally hypothetical and partially unrealistic.

First off, Vick would be accepting a job on a team where he has exactly a zero percent chance of earning the starting quarterback job by virtue of his own play. To get the nod over Aaron Rodgers, Vick would need the incumbent to fall flat on his face, or get seriously injured. While injuries happen in this sport, Vick is not likely to accept just being someone's backup and praying for an injury.

It's highly doubtful that Thompson would give Vick a significant contract. For starters, Rodgers just got an extension last year, and is very well paid. Also, Vick's past dictates that he accept a low or non-existent signing bonus, but that doesn't mean he will have to do that. Naturally, Thompson understands this, and isn't going to play stupid games with the shareholders' money.

Lastly, the Packers would be taking a huge public relations risk, right at a time where the team is just starting to show signs of full recovery from the Brett Favre fiasco. While it's arguable that this risk is worth taking, the Packers have to be very careful with a guy like Vick, who is as polarizing as any figure in the NFL right now.

For Vick to have any value to the Packers, they would have to design a special package of plays to use him in. Rodgers isn't going to sit, barring injury or completely unforeseen ineffectiveness, so Vick will have to be used in other ways. While McCarthy could certainly see some success with a Wildcat-type formation (Rodgers is a good-enough athlete to put on the field with Vick to cross up defenses), there has been no indication the Packers are interested in moving that way.

In the end, this appears to be much ado about nothing. The media was totally right to ask about Vick, but anyone who has been around Thompson for, say, five minutes should have known what his answer would be. Thompson believes personnel matters are to be kept under wraps until decisions are made, and he will never just randomly let the media in on his thinking.

Overreacting to his lack of insight on the matter is just silly.


Zilla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zilla said...

Precisely right Bruce. Thompson's response would have been very similar (although far less publicized) if he was asked if they were going to sign Chad Pink.