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Defense Eyes Slick Vick


The Redskins knocked Michael Vick out of the first Eagles game before he could do much damage but they will see him again on Monday night and he has only continued to improve.

Vick leads the NFL in passer rating and has not thrown an interception this season. Still mobile but much improved in his approach to the passing game, he presents a defense with a number of problems.

"We've just got to basically be pass-rush sound and keep him in the pocket," linebacker Brian Orakpo said Wednesday. "I know every team preaches it and he still breaks for those huge runs but at the same time we have to be smart and we don't want to take away from our aggressiveness as well. We want to get after it but we have to make sure we account for Michael Vick at all times."

Vick has attempted 154 passes without an interception, the longest such streak of his career. He has passed for seven touchdowns. And he averages 52.2 rushing yards a game. That has enabled the Eagles to produce 137.5 rushing yards per game, second-highest during Andy Reid's tenure as coach.

The No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001, Vick no longer relies simply on athleticism. He studies the game and looks more to throw when he breaks the pocket, though he still tucks and runs with brilliance. He was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Month in September when he passed for 750 yards and six touchdowns in three games.

"He's playing better than his days in Atlanta, smarter at what he does, able to read defenses and take advantage of it," said Orakpo, who leads the Redskins with seven sacks. "We've got to play aggressive, like we did in the first game."

Vick only made it through the first quarter of the Redskins' 17-12 win against the Eagles on Oct. 3. He suffered rib and chest injuries on a 23-yard scramble that was negated by a holding call.

Vick was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after passing for 281 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 74 yards and another touchdown in the Eagles' 26-24 victory against the Colts.

The Eagles began the season with Kevin Kolb as the heir to the position occupied by Donovan McNabb for 11 years but Kolb was injured early in the opening-day loss to the Green Bay Packers. Vick played well enough to wrest the job from Kolb but missed three games due to the injuries suffered against the Redskins.

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