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

NFL quarterbacks.

”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

off.

”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.”