The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season ended a few weeks earlier that they had planned it to, but now that their 2015 campaign has drawn to a conclusion, it’s time to wrap things up and take stock of where they are and how they got there. Part of that process involves holding player exit meetings at the conclusion of each season.
Of course, we’re not privy to the specifics that go on in each of these meetings between head coach and player, and whomever else might be involved in any particular discussion, but if we were conducting them, it might go something like this.
Player: Mike Vick
Experience: 15 Years
If you predicted that Mike Vick would be on the Steelers’ roster in 2015…then you should probably be placing bets on things, because that didn’t seem to be anything all too likely to happen. While Mike Tomlin once expressed interest in his abilities when he was first released from prison, even that was six years removed from the player he is today.
And the player he is today may be one that never plays a down in the NFL again based on his 2015 performance, which is one that may never have even had the opportunity to happen in the first place if not for a wonky snap from a center not used to playing center during the preseason.
Following the Bruce Gradkowski season-ending injury that followed that snap, the Steelers went out looking for a backup quarterback because they were not yet confident in entering the season with Landry Jones in that role, but Vick’s signing may have been the best thing for Jones.
After two years in which the Steelers didn’t need to get any work out of their backup quarterback, they needed to do so quite often last year, including four full games, five starts in total, and stretches of a handful of other games—even in the postseason.
Vick got the first three starts, and likely would have continued to start if not for a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the following week. But Jones showed the team enough in a game and a half of playing to trust him over Vick to serve as the backup for the rest of the season, which included a comeback victory when he stepped in for Vick.
In Vick’s starts, he struggled to run the offense, performing abysmally in terms of converting third downs in particular. He was rarely on the same page with his targets, and when he was, his passes were frequently off-line. He was fortunate not to have a half-dozen of his targets intercepted over the course of his 60 or so pass attempts.
He took sacks because he held on to the ball too long. He failed to check out of bad plays given what the defense was showing. He routinely checked down into poor plays that resulted in ‘failed’ completions. He generally was not very good, and I would be surprised if any team not in a desperate situation no earlier than August is interested in him.