After talking to three NFL sources this week, here's a look at the likely landing spots for Vick this offseason.
1. Buffalo Bills – Though the team publicly denied being interested in Vick in 2009, a source close to the quarterback insists the Bills were a suitor. Additionally, current Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is a nice player, but hardly a franchise guy. The Bills are built to win as soon as possible. Adding Vick to a team that has a solid offensive line would be an immediate boost. Also, coach Chan Gailey has experience working with mobile quarterbacks from his days in Pittsburgh with Kordell Stewart. Vick is far more talented than Stewart ever was, so Gailey could easily make this work.
2. Cleveland Browns – The key to this possible match is that former Eagles president Joe Banner is now running the show for the Browns. Banner is a Vick fan. Moreover, Banner is, at best, lukewarm on the prospects of 29-year-old rookie starter Brandon Weeden developing into a star quarterback. In the bigger picture, the Browns have a great offensive line, a budding star running back in Trent Richardson and a pair of interesting young wide receivers (Josh Gordon and Greg Little). That's a strong nucleus in which to bring Vick, although it's also a layup drill for sarcastic media members who will point out that Vick will have joined the Dawg Pound.
3. New York Jets – The Jets are nothing if not daring and desperate, particularly after watching Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow spend the season flopping around like fish on the deck of a boat. Vick would serve a couple of purposes. First, he would be a serious upgrade in terms of talent. Second, and perhaps more importantly, he would boost ticket sales which have been stagnant for the past two years and are likely to decline after this season's fiasco.
4. Arizona Cardinals – They are always looking for a veteran fix at quarterback (see Kurt Warner and Kevin Kolb) and could acquire their second former Philadelphia passer in the span of three seasons. Moreover, that move might appease wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is growing increasingly impatient with the direction the Cardinals are going.
5. Philadelphia – The final school of thought is that Vick ultimately won't go anywhere. More likely, it will be Reid who gets let go first and then the decision on Vick will be left to Reid's successor. If the successor is Oregon coach Chip Kelly or former Tampa Bay and Oakland coach Jon Gruden, Vick's chances of staying increase exponentially. Vick would fit Kelly's high-tempo offense (assuming Kelly wants to run that attack in the NFL). As for Gruden, the last thing he has ever done as a coach is develop a young quarterback. Vick, who is 32, fits into Gruden's model of an older guy who knows the playbook already.
And at game's end, he slashed the Packers' defense for 210 rushing yards, including an outstanding 82-yard touchdown run, on 21 carries. Add a 10-yard reception and the man affectionately known as "Purple Jesus" piled up 220 all-purpose yards in a 23-14 loss.
Sunday's performance in Green Bay was the first time Peterson had surpassed 200 rushing yards since he set the NFL single-game rushing record with 296 yards against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 4, 2007. The 82-yard score late in the second quarter was a career long, and it was a beauty as he shed multiple tacklers, danced along the sideline, then turned on the jets to separate himself from the remaining pursuers.
While the final score didn't work in Minnesota's favor, Peterson's monster day on the road against a stout run defense was one to remember.
– Eric Ivie
1. Houston Texans (11-1) – Technically, they could afford to lose Monday. Mentally, however, that's a dangerous idea.
2. Atlanta Falcons (11-1) – Will be interesting to see how clinching postseason berth before playing in December affects momentum.
3. Green Bay Packers (8-4) – Beat Houston and Chicago, but lost to Giants, San Francisco and Indy. A very hard team to figure.
4. San Francisco 49ers (8-3-1) – There are going to be bad times for Colin Kaepernick, but if you don't see his talent …
5. New England Patriots (9-3) – Huge back-to-back games (Houston, then S.F.) while chasing AFC's No. 2 seed.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) – More competitive past three weeks, but still a long way from good. Overhaul just starting.
29. Philadelphia Eagles (3-9) – Andy Reid still thinks he has a chance to keep his job. Talk about suspending reality.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (2-10)– We should all be blessed with the strength and leadership skill of coach Romeo Crennel.
31. Arizona Cardinals (4-8) – Ken Whisenhunt emerges from his three-week spell and asks: "Did I really play Ryan Lindley?"
32. Oakland Raiders (3-10) – Sympathies to Dennis Allen over losing his father. Sadly, the NFL doesn't have much compassion.
THIS AND THAT:
• Agent Ian Greengross was quick to point out after the Denver-Oakland game Thursday night that Broncos return man Trindon Holliday may be the only player who's 13-0 in the league this season. Holliday was with Houston for the first five games of the season and has played the past eight for Denver. Should the Broncos get by the Ravens in Week 15, 16-0 is a strong possibility for Holliday.
• Denver safety and Wisconsin grad Jim Leonhard has been known as an exceptionally bright player with extensive X's and O's knowledge. With that in mind, Leonhard said he hopes to have a future in coaching some day and his alma mater would be a dream destination. "I'm trying to get them to hire me right now," Leonhard said with a smile. Don't be surprised if that happens one day.
• Despite the draft selection of first-round quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who looks like a potential franchise guy for the next decade, Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland continues to take heat from some of the local media. While Ireland's first four years on the job weren't great, logic would dictate that he should be allowed to see out the plan for surrounding Tannehill with talent. To fire Ireland at this point could actually hurt the long-term plan with Tannehill. That said, Ireland faces a critical offseason. Although he's armed with approximately $50 million in cap room, Ireland has tough decisions to make on players such as Jake Long, Sean Smith and Randy Starks.
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