In this equation about what to do with Michael Vick, an important name that is only occasionally being mentioned in the conversation is Bobby Petrino.
So I pose the question: What Would Bobby Petrino Do?
Or better put, what does he want to do?
If I had to guess, Petrino wants the least amount of distraction so that he and the 52 other players under his command can go out and do their best to win football games. Now does that require the presence of Michael Vick. It would seem that the answer is no.
It was rumored that when the Falcons were wooing Mr. Petrino to be the next head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, they told him that they were not necessarily married to Michael Vick.
Well it seems that in the Bobby Petrino Era, the new couple did not even make it out of the church before the marriage fell apart.
I just wonder how much input Petrino will have on Blank’s decision. I’ve never believed despite the public comments that Bobby Petrino had total faith in Michael Vick. It was just a fact of the salary cap, that Michael Vick was going to be an Atlanta Falcon through the 2007 season. Nothing anybody said or did could really change that.
I believe even without this dogfighting stuff, Michael Vick was already on the bubble in Atlanta. He basically would have been given two years to excel in Petrino’s offense, and by the end of 2008 if he had not shown significant improvement as a passer, he would have been replaced.
Now it seems the bubble has burst. It’s not difficult to imagine that sometime within the past 72 hours, Petrino has told Arthur Blank that he wanted Vick gone. But I can also imagine Petrino saying relatively little as well. He’s been keeping pretty low key about all of this, and that might mean he’s doing his best to keep his hands clean. After all, as I said before, Arthur Blank is not in an enviable position. Petrino could take the approach that he’s only here to win football games, and whether that is with Michael Vick or without him is more up to his boss than he himself.
If you think about it, it’s really not a bad position to be in. If Blank allows Vick to play, and the Falcons still manage to win, then Petrino gets credit for keeping the ship right amidst all this turmoil. If the team struggles, then he has a handy excuse. If Vick doesn’t play, then he gets even more credit if the Falcons do well, and an even better excuse if they lose.
Now that’s not to say that Petrino is sitting pretty, but his legacy in Atlanta won’t be tarnished. In that regards, he’s in a better position than most first-year NFL coaches.