QB pressure cooker: Vick vs. Romo
May, 23, 2012
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
Let's have a little debate, shall we? With nearly four months still to go before the games start, a good, old-fashioned quarterback debate may be just the thing to wake everybody up and get the blood going.
Now, for the purposes of this particular debate, I don't much care which quarterback you think is "better" than the other. Fact is we can't trust you guys to have an unbiased argument about that anyway. Which is fine. You're fans. You're not supposed to be unbiased. I just feel like we can turn this debate a couple of degrees and ask a different kind of question, namely:
Michael Vick or Tony Romo?
Yeah, the poll has all four listed, because that only seemed fair. But Eli Manning's a two-time Super Bowl MVP and Robert Griffin III is a rookie in charge of a rebuilding project, so I don't think either of those guys faces the same kind of pressure as Vick faces in title-starved Philadelphia or Romo faces in perpetually unsatisfied Dallas. Go ahead and vote for one of those guys if you really think he's the right answer, but in the context of 2012 only, with Manning coming off a Super Bowl win and Griffin learning the league, I think the answer to this question is between Vick and Romo.
And if you've been reading regularly, you know my pick is Vick. I don't think any quarterback in the NFL this year will be under more pressure than Vick will be. The Eagles are in a must-win situation after their high 2011 hopes flopped, and they can't afford to flop again. Not that the Cowboys can afford to flop, mind you, but I just think Vick is in a higher-pressure situation.
Vick was far more responsible for his team's 2011 flop than Romo was for his team's. Vick has not demonstrated the same kind of year-in, year-out production that Romo has, so he has less of a track record on which to stand. And fair or not, Vick is always going to be judged against his own brilliant 2010 season. A lot of the Eagles' plans last year were based on the idea that Vick could do many things no other quarterback could do, and that that gave them an edge against the other good teams in the league. He may not have to be as incredible as he was in 2010, but he's going to have to show some of that ability in order to make teams fear him and the Eagles.
Vick is in a fascinating situation. He obviously has to mature as a quarterback and a decision-maker in order for the Eagles to succeed. But he has to do so without sacrificing too much of what sets him apart, athletically, from the others who play his position. It may well be an impossible balance to strike. But Vick is being asked to do it anyway, and I think that puts him under a different kind of pressure than Romo or anyone else faces in 2012.
What do you guys think? Play nice!