Commentary | Michael Vick under center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Stranger things have happened

adell@bradenton.comJanuary 8, 2014 

Saints Eagles Football

Vick

MATT ROURKE — AP

TAMPA

Michael Vick wearing pewter, taking snaps from center?

Can you see it?

Don't rule it out.

It's just speculation. But new Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith didn't leave us with anything else during his first official day on the job Monday.

The local nest of scribes were in a feeding frenzy, trying to get a feel for what Lovie thinks of Mike Glennon, the only quarterback of note on the Bucs' roster.

Lovie gave everybody something they wanted to hear.

The coach said he likes athletes at quarterback and mentioned Michael Vick as a mobile guy.

Depending on one's view, Vick is the best option among the likely free-agent quarterbacks, especially if Josh McCown re-signs with Chicago.

After his release from prison on his conviction for dog fighting, Vick's personal mentor was Tony Dungy, one of Smith's closest friends.

In trying to make a case that people with various skill sets can play quarterback, Lovie noted that the less-athletic Nick Foles wound up winning the starting quarterback job in Philadelphia over Vick.

There are many ways to read the Lovie tea leaves.

First, Foles may not be as mobile as Vick, but he is a lot more athletic than many NFL quarterbacks. And regardless of how well Foles played, if Vick didn't get injured, he would've likely started all season.

So why not Vick for the Bucs?

Philadelphia doesn't seem to want him.

He would come cheap, and his style of play is in total contrast to Glennon, which is a scenario every coach wants.

Vick can still be a difference maker if he is healthy and would be a nice bridge between the past and the future if Smith wants to go that way.

Other pending free-agent quarterbacks who could join the Bucs include McCown, the NFL's best backup in 2013 who played two years under Smith. He threw 13 touchdowns with only one interception and might be enticed to come to Tampa Bay if he can fight for the starting job.

Chad Henne from Jacksonville and St. Louis' Kellen Clemens are backups who would give Glennon a run for his money and capable of beating him out.

Maybe the most intriguing quarterback out there is Washington's Rex Grossman. He quarter

backed the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2008 under Smith.

At 33, his best days are behind him, but Grossman could prove to be a valuable tutor and stop gap replacement in an emergency situation.

The ultimate decision on the quarterback could rest with Bucs new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford.

The best quarterback Tedford coached during his 11 years at California was Aaron Rodgers, who is nimble of foot with a strong, accurate arm.

The most important marriage for any football coach is the one he makes with his quarterback.

Would Charlie Strong have been offered that $5 million deal with Texas if not for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater?

The team with the better quarterback won the BCS title game.

Would Florida head coach Will Muschamp enjoyed the season if he had a quarterback.

The four teams left in the NFC playoff have arguably the league's top dual threat quarterbacks in Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, and gunslinger Drew Brees is a nice option.

The ACF has certain Hall of Fame members Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, who are not run threats but know how to move around in the pocket to buy time.

But all of the above is just gibberish if Johnny Football (aka Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel) comes to town.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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