The forward pass was legalized in 1906, transforming predominantly running offenses into passing oriented offenses. In 1905 the typical quarterback only had to run the ball and hand off to his runningback. Michael Vick came into the NFL about a hundred years too late.
The modern quarterback has far different responsibilities than his predecessors. Instead of running the ball first, he must pass the ball accurately to his receivers. He has to complete at least 60 percent of his passes.
Vick has never completed more than 56.4 percent of his passes. Last night, against the Jets he went 11 for 26 with 116 yards passing and three interceptions. Instead, Vick relied on his feet to score points, going for 18 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns.
Year . . . Completion Percentage
2001 . . . 44.2
2002 . . . 54.9
2003 . . . 50.0
2004 . . . 56.4
2005 . . . 52.4
Anybody who has watched Vick play or who knows his win-loss record must think I'm an idiot. Vick is a human high light reel, and the Falcons need him in the lineup to win games. As long as Dunn is in the backfield opposing defenses have to assume both players could get the ball, which means fewer defenders will be shadowing each individual player.
The Falcons will never win the Super Bowl until Vick learns to stay in the pocket and pass the ball. The Falcons have been able to advance fairly far into the playoffs by taking advantage of weak defenses but have struggled against strong defensive teams.
Last season the Falcons beat the Rams (who had the 25th ranked defense) but got bounced by the Eagles (# 3 defense). Two years earlier the Falcons beat a poor Green Bay run defense (ranked 12th) but got beat by Eagles (2nd ranked defense).
Don't get me wrong. I don't look forward to the games the Bucs play against the Falcons. Vick is capable of things no quarterback before him could ever do. But Vick has a huge Achilles Heel. Any team with horses to chase down Vick (Bucs, Panthers, Eagles, etc.) can shut down the Falcons offense.
Vick would be a great quarterback if he played for Nebraska about 10 years ago. In the modern NFL Super Bowl teams either have a great quarterback who can pass the ball (Pats and Brady, one of the Mannings this year) or great defenses (Bucs and Ravens). The Falcon have neither.