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 Post subject: draft on vick
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:08 pm 
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PAT YASINSKAS

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On practice days for the Atlanta Falcons, there is an invisible halo somewhere above quarterback Michael Vick's helmet.

It might sound a little like the story about the emperor who has no clothes, but the halo has been in place since the day Vick came to Atlanta in 2001.

"His was a 4-yard halo: `Do not touch No. 7,' " said Carolina Panthers linebacker Chris Draft, who spent the past five seasons with Atlanta. "They'd make sure at the beginning of camp to throw a nice little circle around him and say, `Stay away from him.' "

Not once did Draft slip up and hit Vick?

"No, no, no," Draft said. "That might have got me out of Atlanta a lot sooner.''

Cynics could say Draft, who could get his second straight start if the injured Dan Morgan (ankle) is unable to play Sunday against the Falcons, came to the right place. The Panthers certainly haven't had much luck hitting Vick, even though the halo rule doesn't apply.

The Panthers are 0-5 in games when they've played the Falcons with Vick as the starting quarterback. Against Carolina, Vick has rushed 74 times for 439 yards and completed 74 of 127 passes for 954 yards and four touchdowns.

Vick's running has given the Panthers fits, and Draft isn't giving away any secrets when he talks about strategy for Sunday's game at Bank of America Stadium.

"We've got to make sure he's pinned in and make him throw the ball," Draft said. "He's got a cannon, but we've got to make him throw the ball."

The concept sounds nice, but the Panthers have had problems executing it against Vick. To complicate matters, the quarterback who made his name with his feet suddenly has developed into a more effective pocket passer. In the past three games, Vick has completed 52 of 90 passes for 661 yards and six touchdowns.

That's by design. The Falcons have used first-round picks on receivers in each of the last two drafts and have worked to make a more consistent pocket passer.

"He's progressed much like any young quarterback," Panthers coach John Fox said. "It's a comfort level. The more you do it, the better you get."

The Panthers are aware Vick is probably more of a threat as a passer than he's ever been. But he's also teamed with running back Warrick Dunn to give the Falcons the league's top-ranked rushing offense.

Maybe Vick has more polished tools than in the past, but Draft said he hasn't noticed a dramatic change in the quarterback, and Carolina's game plan needs to be simple.

"He looks real similar," Draft said. "They run the same offense. They're running Warrick and they're sticking with him a little bit more.

"They've got away from the running-back controversy they had for a while. We've just got to stop the run and really try to pin Mike in and make him throw the ball."


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 12:51 am 
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I just hope our receivers show up to play, because I would really like to keep Gamble away from Vick's knees.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:32 am 
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Mark Fields has usually been the guy to spy Vick in past games. Fields did a decent job, not great, but he didn't make a ton of mistakes.

I'm not sure who will do it now. With Dan Morgan likely out (and Draft in his place), one would assume it would be Draft or Will Witherspoon. Spoon has the speed, but Draft probably has the smarts to handle the spot. Ideally the Panthers could use Thomas Davis, but I think he's too young to handle the responsibility just yet.

If Davis is used, it could be a great disadvantage not only for the reason above but by the fact that it would likely mean the Panthers putting 8 guys in the box almost every play, which would allow Jenkins & White more opportunities. And could also hurt the Panthers if we go 3-wide.

But I'm sure Fox is going to play it safe and use Draft if he can. But spying Vick won't matter too much if Peppers has a huge game. He's the only player in the league that I think surpasses Vick in terms of athleticism. 3rd would probably be Antonio Gates, but that's another discussion...

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 2:53 am 
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yeah, nothing like watching Vick turn the corner & go upfield right past these "more athletic" DE's like Rice & Peppers....lol


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 1:59 pm 
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It is possible that we see Peppers play joker on some defensive downs were Vick might run. If he's the joker he can spy him while playing off the line. Draft can spy Vick but I don't think he has either the speed or the agility to keep up with and shutdown Vick. Even though he's young Thomas Davis could be their best bet.

It could be an interesting game... I'm with Incomp as far as gamble is concerned. I don't care what is happening if Gamble blitz's someone needs to choke slam him before he gets close to Vick I don't care about any associated penalities.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:25 pm 
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I keep seeing what Thomas Davis did to that GB wide reciever flash over and over in my head....we better keep him far away from Vick...I actually read somewhere that Davis has been taking reps at olb in practice the last few weeks so they may put him out there to spy Vick...I think that might actually help us in other areas though because I don't know that Davis will be able to stack up against the run well from that position...


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 3:01 am 
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Steve-O wrote:
I keep seeing what Thomas Davis did to that GB wide reciever flash over and over in my head....we better keep him far away from Vick...I actually read somewhere that Davis has been taking reps at olb in practice the last few weeks so they may put him out there to spy Vick...I think that might actually help us in other areas though because I don't know that Davis will be able to stack up against the run well from that position...


Davis will probably get knocked on his ass from oncoming blocker's...that would be a stupid decision by the Panthers D Coordinator

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2005 12:39 pm 
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Unfortunately for us, Peppers has a broken hand, and can't (or hasn't been able to) use both hands, but he can still put pressure on the QB. He'll need some help getting a sack, though. In my opinion, the hardest hitter on our defense is Marlon McCree, with Mike Minter at a close second.

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