How he beats you: The Philadelphia Eagles may own a disappointing 1-4 start, but Vick remains one of the most electrifying players in the NFL, boasting amazing mobility and speed as well as a strong arm. Obviously hard to contain, Vick is a threat to burn defenses with a long run. He averages 8.4 yards per carry. Vick has completed 62.1 percent of his passes (second best in his career), and his scrambling ability helps in this department as well.
“Corners in the back of their mind have to know they have to cover a little bit longer because he can throw it a lot longer than most guys in the league, and two, he buys time, running around, and you have to stay and when he launches it, you have to know, it’s not going to be 50 or 55 yards or 60 yards, it’s going to be 70 or 75 yards because he can throw it that far,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett says.
How you stop him: It’s much easier said than done, but containing Vick to the pocket is a key to diminishing his effectiveness. Vick this season has struggled to hold onto the ball, fumbling it seven times in five games, and has thrown seven interceptions, although Haslett points out that not all of those picks were Vick’s fault. The Redskins hope to bring pressure and get licks on Vick, who already has taken some big shots this season, in the hope that they can get him to cough up the ball or make errant throws.
But that’s easier said than done, inside linebacker London Fletcher points out. “You just trying to maintain your rush lanes, but he still has that elusiveness,” Fletcher says. “You’ll see guys that look like they have him bottled in and he still can get away. Against San Francisco, he had two guys on top of him and he still was able to duck under them and throw for the touchdown.”
Bottom line: Redskins players say it’s nearly impossible to stop Vick, so their aim is to limit him as much as possible. They must be aggressive, yet disciplined. Vick has been banged up at times this season, so the Redskins likely will try to exploit any physical limitations they observe, force him into turnovers. There’s no way to truly simulate Vick’s performances in practice, Haslett says, so an attention to detail, focusing on hitting assignments and taking away Vick’s weapons will help slow Philadelphia’s offensive attack.