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Tracking Vick

Posted Sep 20, 2012

Notebook: Cards face another mobile QB; Skelton returns; Eagles game sells out

Linebacker Paris Lenon (51) chases down Eagles quarterback Michael Vick last season in Philadelphia.

Last season, the Cardinals learned how to slow down Michael Vick by playing Michael Vick.

This year, they prepped for Vick by playing Russell Wilson.

The Cardinals defended Seattle’s mobile quarterback with a similar package to the one used against Vick. With just a handful of quarterbacks in the NFL who are a threat with both their arms and legs, the opportunity to dust off those plays ahead of Vick coming to University of Phoenix Stadium could help the Cardinals become one of a few undefeated teams after Week 3.

“Our biggest thing this week is treating him how we played Russell Wilson,” linebacker O’Brien Schofield said. “Try to contain him and bring the pressure, get his mind off his reads and really have him focus on the pass rush and trying to escape.”

It’s not like the Cardinals need a lot of help preparing for Vick.

Last season they all but disarmed one of the most explosive quarterbacks in the NFL, limiting him to 128 yards passing and 79 on the ground. That 21-17 win on Nov. 13, kick-started a 9-2 run that leads into Sunday with both the Cardinals and Eagles 2-0.

Linebacker Paris Lenon knows what Vick can do. Everyone knows what Vick can do.

He can fling the ball 60 yards. He can outrun coverages. He can break tackles in the pocket. And he’s most dangerous when he does them all at once. But as Vick has proven, despite orchestrating the league’s top-ranked offense, he’s not handling pass rushes with poise. Through two games he’s thrown six interceptions.

“We just had to be smart about how we rushed him and we’ve just got to be technically sound and good in what we do in covering their receivers because they’ve got a lot of weapons,” Lenon said.

Vick’s considered the prototype of elusive quarterbacks, Schofield said. The Cardinals can use a spy package on mobile signal callers, he added, but even that can be dangerous at times.

Similar to Wilson, Vick is smaller in stature than most NFL quarterbacks, which, coupled with his elusiveness, can make it even tougher to track where he moves.

“It’s hard to tackle a smaller quarterback,” Schofield said. “They can duck you. Sometimes you can lose vision when they get behind lineman. Our biggest thing is to make him one-dimensional. Force him to beat us with his arm.”

SKELTON BACK ON TRACK

Quarterback John Skelton went through a limited practice for the first time since spraining his right ankle against Seattle on Sept. 9. But coach Ken Whisenhunt said it’s too early to tell if Skelton will play or not Sunday against the Eagles.

“We got to see if he’s able to handle a practice before we can make any kind of decision like that,” Whisenhunt said. “This is the first step in it. We’ll see how it progresses (Friday).

“It was good to see him working.”

HEAP RETURNS

After not practicing Wednesday because an injured knee, tight end Todd Heap was limited Thursday. Also limited was S Rashad Johnson (hamstring), S James Sanders (calf), LB O’Brien Schofield (knee), G Adam Snyder (elbow), RB Ryan Williams (knee), SS Adrian Wilson (ankle).

G Daryn Colledge, CB Jamell Fleming, TE Jeff King, S Kerry Rhodes and RB Beanie Wells were all listed on the injury report but participated in a full practice.

For the Eagles, T King Dunlap (hamstring) didn’t practice. WR Jeremy Maclin (hip), who returned to practice Thursday and WR Riley Cooper were limited while WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) fully participated.

SELLOUT STREAK CONTINUES

The Cardinals announced that Sunday’s game against the Eagles was sold out and will be televised locally on KSAZ-Fox 10. It’s the 67th consecutive sellout at University of Phoenix Stadium.


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