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Michael Vick or Tim Tebow: Who Would You Want At QB?

Posted on November 13, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Which quarterback would you rather have?

Of the two left-handed, running quarterbacks in the NFL, which would you rather have: Michael Vick or Tim Tebow?

At first that question probably seems a bit silly. After all, Vick has a decade of NFL experience while Tebow has started just seven games as a pro and the number of NFL “experts” who believe he will never be a quality pro quarterback could fill a stadium.

However, given that Tebow suddenly has the Denver Broncos in contention in the AFC West while Vick and the Eagles are the biggest disappointment in the NFC the question has at least some validity.

What is ironic about Vick is that for most of his career he had the reputation as the unconventional quarterback who didn’t put up great numbers, but did what was needed to win games.

During his six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick was 38-28-1 as a starting quarterback while leading the team to a pair of trips to the playoff and one appearance in the NFC Championship Game. He did that while never posting a season quarterback rating higher than 81.6 (75.7 for the six seasons) and completing only 53.8% of his passes.

Since becoming the starter for the Philadelphia Eagles, Vick’s numbers have suddenly become comparable to the elite quarterbacks in the league. He has completed 62% of his passes over the last two years with a quarterback rating of 94. However, after winning eight of 11 starts in 2010, Vick is now just 3-6 as a starter so far in 2011 despite having a team that everyone thought had the talent capable of contending for a Super Bowl berth.

Who Would You Rather Have Quarterbacking Your Team?

  • Michael Vick (54%, 14 Votes)
  • Tim Tebow (46%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 26

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It certainly is very early in the Tim Tebow era, but so far the former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida is proving that while he may not be the prototype pro quarterback, he knows what it takes to win football games.

After winning one of three starts late in the season as a rookie, he is now 3-1 as a starter in 2011 for a Denver team that most expected would struggle mightily in 2011.

Vick was a high flyer during his time with the Falcons.

Much like Vick a decade ago, Tebow is having as much impact on the game with his legs as he is with his arm.

During his tenure in Atlanta, Vick rushed for 3,859 yards and averaged 7.3 yards every time he ran the football. In 2006, he became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass the 1,000-yard rushing mark with 1,039 yards on 123 carries (8.4 yards per rush).

Tebow is not quite as explosive a runner as Vick, but still is using his running ability to help create opportunities for the Broncos and compensate for his deficiencies as a passer.

After rushing for 227 yards (5.3 yards per rush) and six touchdowns as a rookie, Tebow has already gained 277 yards on the ground (7.1 yards per carry) in 2011. He posted his first career 100-yard rushing game with 118 yards on the ground in a victory over the Raiders.

His prowess on the ground has been vital to the success of the Broncos as he has not been particularly good throwing the football. After completing just two passes (albeit one of them being a 56 yard touchdown) in today’s victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Tebow is completing 46.4% of his passes for 536 yards with six touchdowns and only one interception.

Perhaps the only positive for Tebow from a passing game standpoint is that he is not making significant mistakes. With only one interception, Tebow isn’t forcing passes into coverage and therefore is giving his team a chance to win games.

Tebow won a Heisman Trophy and two national championships at Florida.

With the passing game now such a vital part of NFL success, few believe that Denver and Tebow can have long-term success with a quarterback that typically throws for fewer than 200 yards per game. However, given that the team was 1-4 with a quarterback (Kyle Orton) who averaged 195 yards passing per game, but also had seven interceptions, moving to an offense that makes fewer mistakes and relies more on the run is obviously giving the team a better chance to win in the short term.

Indeed, one of the things that has hurt Vick and the Eagles so far in 2011 is an increase in mistakes by the quarterback. After throwing only six interceptions (with 21 touchdowns) a year ago, Vick has already thrown 11 interceptions in just nine games. During his time in Atlanta, Vick never threw more than 13 picks in a season and had 71 touchdown passes with just 52 interceptions in six years.

While it is hard to pick Tebow over Vick from a skill and ability standpoint, the one area where Tebow could arguably be stronger is in character and leadership.

We all know the past issues that Vick has overcome and in general he has been a model citizen since returning to the NFL. It is great that he has made the most of his second chance, but questions still remain if he can be a long-term leader for a team.

Though there are many questions about whether Tebow has the physical tools to be a quality NFL starter, the same cannot be said regarding his character and ability as a team leader. Dating back to his days at Florida, Tebow has shown to be a quality teammate and visible leader. You can expect if he continues to lead Denver to victories on the field, Tebow’s role as a leader in the locker room will also increase.

Despite not living up to expectations in 2011, Michael Vick remains a special talent and now that the Eagles have rewarded him with a large contract you can expect that he will have many more years to make fans forget 2011.

As for Tebow, this season is likely an audition for whether the Broncos will commit to him long-term or look elsewhere for next season. It will be interesting how much stock is put into his statistics or if he will be ultimately judged by wins and losses.

Both Vick and Tebow are talented athletes, but only time will tell if either can prove to be an NFL champion.

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