Vick won't ever get there. Not in the same way Barry did. Barry was always the triple threat player even when he first came into the league. Of course, he's improved over the years, particularly in terms of the long ball, but he's always been able to field, hit, and steal bases. Vick has not, he's just been a one-dimensional guy for most of his early career. Now he's trying to develop those other dimensions. Barry, simply got better as his career progressed in one or two of his dimensions, but could always do the others.
Vick won't ever be a complete player in the sense that Barry is/was. There will NEVER EVER be a point where Vick throws the ball like Tom Brady or Brett Favre do.
The 5th year is critical in most NFL QBs careers:
Peyton Manning completed 65% of his passes in his 5th year. He has done so again in each of the 2 since. He had a passer rating of 99 in Year 6, and finally eclipsed the 100-mark in Year 7. Steve McNair led the Titans to the Super Bowl in his 5th NFL season (it was his 3rd as the starter). In his fifth year as the starter (Year 7 of his career), he had his first 90+ QB rating. Daunte Culpepper had his first 100-rating year in his fifth NFL season. Trent Green earned his first start in the NFL in Year 6. Jake PLummer in Year 5, threw more TDs than INTs for the first time and to date had his highest passer rating (79.6). Since then, in Year 7 and 8, he's eclipsed that mark. In Year 5 in the league, Brett Favre passer for over 35 TDs for the first time, and also came the closest he ever would to a passer rating of 100 (he had 99.5 that year). Also in his first year as the starter (Year 6 of his career), the Packers won the Super Bowl. In Year 5, Matt Hasselbeck had a career high rating of 88.8 and threw for more than 25 TDs for the first time. In Year 5, Tom Brady had a career high passer rating fof 92.6, eclipsing the 90-mark for the first time. In Year 6, McNabb had his first 90+ rating and 60+ completion %. In Year 6, Randall Cunningham had his first year in which he completed more than 55% of his passes, threw 30 or more TDs, and had a passer rating of 90 or more.
This is Vick's 5th year in the league, and 4th as a starter. There is a common saying that it takes 5-7 years to truly develop a QB. And I think this evidence tends to support that statement. Vick is just on the cusp of that zone where QBs start to take off.
Basically, I'm expecting Vick to have a career year this year or next. If not, then basically I don't think we can expect more from our star QB. What types of benchmarks am I looking for over the next two years?
A completion % of 60 or higher
20 or more TD passes
a passer rating of 85 or higher
If he can at least 1 of those things by the end of 2006, then I'd say he's developing. But really what we're asking him to do is not a whole lot. 19 QBs last year had a 60+ completion %, 15 had 20+ TDs, and 14 had a passer rating of 85 or higher. Basically, all 3 of those marks are considered "average" on a league-wide basis since about half of the league's starters routinely hit those marks. So that means Vick is below average as a passer when it comes to those three areas.
And the fact that we're discussing Vick taking it to the next level, which is just the AVERAGE level indicates that he never will be a Barry Bonds-type that is GOOD or GREAT in multiple areas. Because from the figures I posted above, basically where you are in Year 6 or 7 of your career is basically where you're going to be for the rest of your career. In fact, from Year 7 on is probably the downside or your career.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.