Jets prepare for getting the run-around from Vick
The New York Jets know they’re going to have their hands full
with Michael Vick.
That is, if they can get a hand on the elusive Philadelphia
Eagles quarterback Sunday.
”You can’t stop him alone,” nose tackle Sione Pouha said.
”There’s no one person that can just match up with him.”
Vick returned last week from broken ribs, but wasn’t 100 percent
in the Eagles’ 26-10 win at Miami. Still, the Jets expect Vick,
still dealing with sore ribs, to provide a tough test. Mobile
quarterbacks have given the Jets fits this season by slipping out
of pressure, and now they’re facing perhaps the NFL’s best ever at
creating plays out of nothing with his legs.
”You just have to make sure that everyone assumes the
responsibility of getting him down,” linebacker Bart Scott said.
”He’s a playmaker who can keep plays alive and he has the uncanny
ability, with his strong arm, to throw the ball across his body and
across the field with just a flick of the wrist.”
Coach Rex Ryan even had a few speedy defensive backs simulate
Vick’s running skills to get the defensive linemen prepared for
what they’ll see at Philadelphia. Isaiah Trufant and newly signed
Gerald Alexander were out there on the practice field, zipping
around in the backfield and trying to make guys miss.
”They had to chase me around a little bit, so I was giving them
a little bit of the run-around,” Trufant said with a big laugh.
”It gave them an early look of what to expect and what we will get
from Michael Vick. When he’s moving around back there in the
pocket, he’s hard to contain.”
And, judging from his teammates’ comments, Trufant was doing a
pretty good job being Vick.
”Slow down,” Trufant said they told him. ”Stop!”
If it were only as simple as that against Vick, though. The
Eagles (5-8) are holding on to slim playoff hopes, so Vick will
surely be motivated to do whatever he can to keep them going.
Despite missing three games because of the rib injury, Vick has
rushed for 544 yards – second to only Carolina’s Cam Newton among
”There are times you understand he’s going to get out,”
defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. ”That’s where the
challenge really starts, and you have to prepare for it. You have
to practice it. So, coverage-wise, the guys in the back end know
that they have to plaster, latch on to their receivers and cover
for a lot longer than normal.”
Linebacker David Harris says there is some danger in focusing
too much on Vick because he has so many options with running back
LeSean McCoy and speedy receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin,
and sure-handed tight end Brent Celek.
”If you worry (about) him running, you might lose track of one
of those fast wide receivers getting downfield,” Harris said.
”DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin have been thriving off of that,
so you just have to play all-around good defense. They’re one of
the top rushing teams in the league and everybody knows what type
of athletes they have on that side of the ball, so we have to go
out there and do our thing.”
As long as they don’t repeat some of their previous performances
against some of the league’s other elusive quarterbacks. Denver’s
Tim Tebow might be the best example, running for 68 yards against
them – including a 20-yard dash for the winning score last month –
and being sacked just once.
”Tebow has more called quarterback runs, but they’ve done some
with Vick,” Pettine said. ”I don’t know how many we’ll get now
that he’s a little banged up. I would say Tebow’s a little more
like (Ben) Roethlisberger in the style of running where it’s hard
to bring them down. It’s hard to bring Vick down, but he makes guys
miss a lot more. He’s like a wideout in open space where
Roethlisberger and Tebow are more like fullbacks.”
Blitzing Vick is almost a no-no because of the way he can
side-step a rushing linebacker or defensive back, and then take
”It takes all 11 guys,” Pouha said. ”And, I promise you,
he’ll make three or four of you miss. That’s why you’ve got to make
sure that you’ve got the other seven or eight guys right behind
you. It’s all about pursuit and being around the ball. I think
that’s how you do it, just swarm the ball.”
Ryan has previously coached against Vick twice in the regular
season, both when he was an assistant in Baltimore and the
quarterback was still with the Atlanta Falcons. Vick was 11 of 21
for 127 yards and a touchdown, while running six times for 54 yards
in a 24-10 loss in 2006. He was 12 of 24 for 136 yards and an
interception, and was held to minus-5 yards rushing on seven
carries in a 20-17 win in 2002.
”We’ve done OK against him in the past,” Ryan said. ”But,
again, you’re never going to be comfortable until the bus is
heading home and the game’s over. He’s a scary athlete.”