I can only imagine what led to this:
Arthur Blank: Bobby, that cruel media is starting to get to my beloved Michael. I need you to defend him in the least convincing way possible.
Bobby Petrino: Hey, I can do that!
Everything Pet Rhino's saying here has the ring of a guy half-heartedly defending his d-bag friend. "Well Greg, Mike told me everything was cool with him and those dogs, so I'm just gonna go ahead and believe him." Or, "Well, Mike says he's totally focused on football, and since he's our starting QB no matter what, I'm just gonna go with that." He even trotted Warrick Dunn out there for some listless moral support, for God's sake. But when he says:
Wow. You can almost feel the love. I'm not incredibly familiar with his style, but it seems to me as though there's a pretty huge difference between "need to believe" and "believe". Petrino's hitting the company line with a baseball bat, but there's enough there to believe he's keeping Vick at arm's length in case this whole thing goes sour. And who could blame him? If Vick doesn't develop as a quarterback or a human being, Petrino shouldn't be the one to take the fall for that. If he does...well, there's plenty of room for him to take credit.
The important thing to take away from this is that the team is determined not to let off the field issues become distractions. That's good news for Falcons' fans, because this team needs all the focus on the field that they can get.
Update [2007-5-9 20:1:51 by Dave the Falconer]: In a similar ESPN story, Milloy gets in on the fun with the vague, vaguely defensible statements. I'd like to think Vick really does have the team's support, but it's oddly hard to tell from what they're saying. Maybe I'm reading them wrong, eh?