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Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Vick a familiar sight for Broncos' Fox

By Jeff Legwold

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A somewhat salty John Fox made more than one reference Tuesday to the fact the Philadelphia Eagles haven’t played since a Thursday night loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week and the Denver Broncos' win over the Oakland Raiders Monday was only hours into the rear-view mirror.

And while Chip Kelly’s offense will present a game-planning challenge in that compressed time frame, Fox has more than a little experience against Eagles quarterback Michael Vick through the years. Vick was the starter in Atlanta during much of Fox’s nine-year tenure as Carolina Panthers coach. Vick started nine games against the Panthers in that time, going 6-3 with six touchdown passes and eight interceptions. Vick also rushed for three touchdowns in those games.

Fox sees Kelly’s up-tempo read-option attack as a quality fit for the 33-year-old Vick.

John Fox and Michael Vick
Michael Vick was 6-3 when he quarterbacked the Falcons against John Fox's Panthers.
“In Atlanta he was kind of a run, play-action quarterback as well," Fox said. “The advent of the read-option in college football, and now coming into our league, it fits him perfect. ... He’s explosive, he’s got to have as many explosive runs as any quarterback in the league ... he’s operating that offense well."

Well enough that, despite being 1-2, the Eagles haven’t exactly been pushed off the field quickly by opposing defenses very often this season.

In 38 possessions over the first three games, the Eagles have had just one three-and-out before a punt (in the second quarter of their loss to the Chargers).

Sunday’s game will also mark the second consecutive week the Broncos will face the league’s rushing leader. Oakland led the league in rushing after two games; the Raiders finished with 49 yards on 17 carries Monday night against the Broncos' defense (2.9 yards per carry). The Eagles lead the league in rushing after three games at 209 yards per game. The Eagles are also fifth in the league in rushing attempts at 31.7 per game.

One of the most significant issues for the Broncos will come when the Eagles open up the formation and the Broncos have to defend the run game with smaller personnel from their nickel and dime packages.

“[The Eagles] are fast-break and they’ve got explosive players doing it,’’ Fox said.