Guest Author - Kori Ellis
Michael Vickís season is looking more and more in doubt with each passing day. The latest indications are that Vick is expected to make a plea in his legal case regarding the dog fighting charges. Even with a plea, there is some speculation that Vick could face more than a year in prison, which would obviously end his 2007 NFL season.
Even if the plea doesnít force him to spend any time in jail, there is growing sentiment that new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is going to suspend Vick for the season regardless. Goodell has made a name for himself early in his tenure as commissioner for being exceeding tough on NFL players linked to any type of criminal activity.
For example, Pacman Jones was suspended for the 2007 season without being convicted of a crime. Jones however did have numerous run-ins with the law and that was enough to get him a year long suspension. With that in mind, if Vick admits any guilt in a court of law, heís going to feel Goodellís wrath.
The Atlanta Falcons, the team that Vick has quarterbacked since 2001, seem in no rush to run to the aid of their fallen superstar. The team itself could ultimately be the one to suspend Vick for the season, even if Goodell didnít get there first. Itís also uncertain whether the Falcons will welcome Vick back to their organization whenever it is that heís allowed to return to the NFL.
Atlanta, with new head coach Bobby Petrino, will try to move on as best they can. Joey Harrington will take over the job as quarterback. Harrington has played well early in preseason and itís conceivable that heíll be able to pick up some of the slack left by Vickís departure. Although Vick is a talented player, Harrington is a more accomplished pocket passer, which could end up elevating the passing game.
In addition to their quarterbacking dilemma, the Falcons are also unsettled in their backfield. Warrick Dunn has a back injury, leaving the starting running back job, for now at least, to Jerious Norwood. While Norwood had an impressive rookie season, heís largely an unproven back.
The wide receiving corps isnít overly strong and hasnít been strong in recent years. Although Joe Horn was brought in to provide a passing threat and a veteran leader, his career looks to be coming to a close. Alge Crumpler, the Falconsí pass catching tight end, remains the teamís best receiving threat.
With this many uncertainties on the offensive side of the ball, Petrino is going to have his hands full figuring out a way to find the end zone. Meanwhile, Vick will try to avoid finding himself in prison, with the hopes of his 2007 NFL all but dashed.