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Jets Prepare to Tackle Eagles, Michael Vick


A few Jets defensive players and their coach said they wouldn't mind if they don't see that much of Michael Vick when the Eagles come to the Meadowlands on Thursday night.

"I don't want to see him, personally," said safety Kerry Rhodes. "He's a headache for opposing defenses, trying to see what he's going to do."

"I was hoping they wouldn't play him, to be honest with you," Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "I can't stand going against that guy."

Ryan added that he doesn't think Vick, Philadelphia's new quarterback and offensive weapon, enjoys going up against Ryan's defenses, either.

While he was a Ravens defensive coach, Ryan went up against Vick twice in the regular season, once in 2002 and again in '06.

In the first matchup the Ravens got the best of the then-Falcons quarterback, who went 12-for-24 passing for 136 yards and an interception, was sacked three times for 21 yards and had seven rushes for minus-5 yards. The Falcons still won that game, 20-17, on a 40-yard field goal by current Jets kicker Jay Feely.

"I'm excited to see how good he is," said Feely, "if he still has the explosion that he had when I played with him in Atlanta, because there wasn't anybody who was more fun to watch on the football field than Michael Vick with the football in his hand."

In '06 during Vick's last year in Atlanta, Ryan's defense would sack No. 7 five times for 45 yards and hold him to 11-for-21 passing for 127 yards and a touchdown. Vick did rush for 54 yards on six carries but the Ravens won, 24-10.

Ryan's Ravens also went up against Vick in three preseason games, with the 2003 meeting proving painful for No. 7 as he suffered a leg fracture and had to sit out the Falcons' first 11 regular-season games.

"That was a bad deal," Ryan remembered. "The wind went right out of the sails of the Falcons. That was awful."

Two Jets who may be chasing the new Eagles acquisition around at least for a few series are outside linebackers Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace.

"He's a very athletic guy," said Thomas. "I'm not sure how they are going to play him. I've seen him on TV playing as a wide receiver, quarterback, running back, whatever. He's just a guy that you have to prepare for because he's fast and he can make plays with his feet."

"He's a guy that you have to be aware of," said Pace. "You just have to prevent him from getting out of the pocket. I think right now he's probably most comfortable getting around scrambling." 

Vick, who spent 19 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to felony charges for running a dogfighting ring, saw his first action since 2007 as the Eagles' QB last week, going 4-for-4 passing for 19 yards and rushing once for 1 yard in six plays against Jacksonville.

Feely didn't need to be near a TV to know how talented Vick was.

"So many times I went off the field laughing because of something he just did," said the kicker. "It was kind of 'I can't believe he just did that.' He's just a phenomenal athlete and a great competitor."

Vick may have it easier than the other quarterbacks the Jets have faced in the preseason as Ryan said today he doesn't plan on doing much blitzing on Thursday night.

"We're not going to come after him like we would be in the regular season," said Ryan. "That's understandable. We're not going to do that. I hope he sits back there, plays QB and doesn't run it all over us. He is an unbelievable talent. He scares you."

Ryan said Eagles coach Andy Reid told him Vick is going to play "a lot." It's hard to say how Vick will be utilized, but Thomas said there are more important considerations for the Jets defense.

"We have to play our defense first," said BT, "and let everything else works itself out."

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