Steigerwald: Mike Vick says he learned his lesson and not the lesson everyone is thinking about

MONDAY-COLUMN

Mike Vick says he learned his lesson.

No, not that one.

We’re pretty sure he’s learned his lesson about electrocuting and drowning defenseless dogs. Twenty-one months of hard time probably took care of that. Steelers fans everywhere have had several days to deal with the Steelers’ decision to bring Vick in to back up Ben Roethlisberger and how they will treat him.

I wouldn’t bet a lot of money on the people who said they would never root for the Steelers again fulfilling that promise , but there will be thousands of people holding their noses and rooting for Vick to succeed if Roethlisberger goes down.

That’s when the Steelers will be hoping that he learned his football lesson.

The Jets brought Vick in to back up Geno Smith last season and, from the minute he signed, Vick was considered a good bet to be the starting quarterback before Halloween.

On October 14th, against the Chargers, Vick replaced Smith at halftime.

Now, keep in mind that Smith was doing his best to lose the job before the game started by missing a team meeting the previous Friday.

The Jets went into the game 0-4.

You would think that a guy who had been around as long as Vick would be thinking it was only a matter of time before he was the starter.

And you would think that a guy in that position would be, you know, PREPARED to play.

Vick started the second half and completed one of his first 11 passes.

He finished 8-19 with 47 yards and the Jets lost 31-0.

After the game, Vick said, “Maybe I didn’t prepare or I wasn’t prepared, but let me tell you it won’t happen again.” He went on to say that he probably took his scout-team reps “for granted.”

Not a good sign for a guy whose only job is to be prepared to play on short notice.

And it’s not like he was backing up Brett Favre, who hadn’t missed a game in 12 years and was headed to the Hall of Fame. He was backing up a guy whose job was hanging by a thread and probably should have been benched the day before the game.

So, Vick says he learned that football lesson.

Saturday in Buffalo, he did better than anyone could have expected after only five days of practice, but that was an exhibition game.

Vick is not only a better backup than either Bruce Gradkowski or Landry Jones, he’s probably still a better starting quarterback than at least a third of the current starters in the league.

But, Ben Roethlisberger is not going to be benched for poor play and he’s started every game for two seasons and that’s why the Steelers are hoping Vick learned his lesson well.

Vick may have to keep his interest up for several weeks before he gets his chance. He may not take a meaningful snap until December or even January.

He better be prepared because the first snap he takes is going to be a lot more meaningful than any snap he could have taken all of last season.

As a matter of fact, the next snap Vick takes could be the most important snap of his career.


– The fact the NFL only tests for marijuana once a year and every player in the league knows that testing day is April 20th, should tell you how much the league cares if the players smoke weed.

If the league really wants to stop the smoking, it would do random tests during the season. Testing once a year smokes out the really stupid players, though.

Hello Martavis Bryant.

The league should either begin serious testing or just stop the charade.


– I heard a really refreshing answer from Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford. He was asked in a radio interview if the Penguins now have enough grit on the blue line. He said no and that he didn’t care because he wanted to get more skill.


– How would you like to be a Washington Redskins fan? They are turning to Kirk Cousins to be their starting quarterback. He’s 2-7 in nine starts, with 18 touchdowns, 19 interceptions and a 77 passer rating. Most people want to blame RGIII for his inability to match his spectacular rookie season. Sorry, but, based on the recent history of that organization, I blame the team.


Mike Vick has never played in an offense with as much talent as the unsuspended Steelers offense. I think the Steelers could win 10 games with him as their starter.


– The Steelers new kicker Josh Scobee has made 80% of his field goal attempts. Only 76.9% last season. Not good. Third worst percentage in the NFL last season. Shaun Suisham made 90% of his kicks.

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About The Author

John Steigerwald

TIOPS Columnist

John Steigerwald, a life long Pittsburgher, has been covering PITTSBURGH sports since 1977 as a TV anchor/reporter, columnist radio reporter/commentator and talk show host. He is also the author of one of the best selling local books in Pittburgh history, "Just Watch The Game."

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