I'm going to throw my 2 cents in on this one. I usually don't agree with Comp, but I see where he's coming from. Vick would be a completely different QB if probably 3 things happened:
1) He became more consistent in terms of his touch and accuracy.
2) He did a much better job in film study.
3) He worked much harder at getting on the same page with his WRs.
That is where guys like Brady and Manning stand out. Manning is untouchable in terms of how much work and study he puts in each week. I mean the man managed not only to do all of his work, but also was able to break down Eli's game films during his rookie year, and I wouldn't be surprised if he still did so.
Brady stands out because of his accuracy.
And the biggest thing to me is that he needs to work harder with his receivers. What makes Manning stand out is that he and his WRs are telepathic. It's why, Manning who is not a very accurate passer, is able to complete so many passes. On any other team, he nor his WRs would be even nearly as good. It's a built rapport that Manning makes sure he does with all his wideouts. Although you can call Manning a choke artist all you want, he is still the most prepared passer in the NFL, and usuaully manages to have only 1 bad game a year (it just happens to be the last one each time).
You see it in Cincinnati. Palmer is taking a page from Manning, in doing his best to get a rapport with Chad Johnson that Manning has with Harrison. Almost every other top QB is doing it. Going through the extra steps to get him and his receivrs on the same page, so that they have an almost telepathic link.
What is Vick doing? Nobody knows. I think one of the reasons the Falcons hired Musgrave was to light a fire under Vick's butt. Reportedly, he tried to do so in Jacksonville with Leftwich. Leftwich didn't quite take, and Musgrave was bounced. I pray Vick does take to Musgrave, because if he does I believe we will see in 2006 and 2007, Vick make that next step up.
Part of it I think boils down to Vick's desire. I'm not saying he's not very competitive, but he just doesn't quite seem as competitive and/or motivated and/or driven to do all the little things necessary to push himself to the next level.
I disagree with anybody that says Vick has regressed over the past 5 years. I see all the time how much progress Vick has made.
1) Vick's comfort in throwing from the pocket. Now, he will stand in there and deliver a throw from the pocket when it is collapsing. In 2001, he would tuck the ball and run anytime a defender was within 7 yards of him. Now he can wait until they are 0.5 yards away.
2) VIck's accuracy. Although still a bit erratic, the man can throw a 10-yard in route without firing the ball 109 mph 5 feet above Brian Finneran or Shawn Jefferson's head.
3) Vick's decision making. He's not forcing the ball as much, he has a better grasp of when to run and when to throw. He goes through his progressions and reads quicker.
Basically, the only that really hasn't changed is his ability to slide. It's pretty pathetic when you think about it, how his inability to slide actually increases his chances of getting hurt. There were times last year that he dove headfirst, and you knew he had hurt himself doing it. It's only moments like that when I want to shout out at him calling him a "DUMBASS!"
I have a much brighter hope for Vick's potential than I did at the beginning of the season. At the start of '05, I basically believed that VIck would have to make huge jumps in his play over the course of his career, if he ever wanted to lead this team to a championship. But I saw some of that progress occur in the month of November, in which he managed a 100 passer rating the entire month. Sure, we only managed 2 wins in that month, but I don't think it had much to do with Vick's play, but the fact that in both losses we got down to a two-score lead in the openning minutes of the 1st quarter, something that's difficult for any QB to come back from.
I'm very critical of Vick. He's my favorite Falcon and 2nd favorite player to watch play (Chad Johnson is #1). I've seen many instances where his play alone cost us a game, usually by his inability to hang onto the football. I've seen many more instances where his play alone won us a game, usually by using the same improvisational skills that he uses when he would fumble the ball, except this time it worked out.
It's hard to compare Vick with Elway and Favre. Yes, both are gunslingers, but what allows them to excel is their accuracy is much greater and more consistent than Vick's is. If he was accurate as both of those guys, then he would not catch as much flak. It's true, that Elway's numbers in the first 9 years of his career were rather average. And the team did take Tommy Maddox at some point, but a big part of that was the growing rift between Elway and Reeves, not just Elway's performance level. That rift came to a head when Reeves fired Shanahan in '91 and drafted Maddox in the first round in '92. Reeve was gone the next year.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.