- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas – The Dallas defense just got done facing a couple of quarterbacks who have own Super Bowl rings and have put up passing numbers that rank among the greatest in NFL history.
This might be the Cowboys’ most difficult defensive challenge yet this season.
Philadelphia’s Michael Vick has developed into an elite passer. But he’s better known for his ability to make plays with his receiver-like speed and elusiveness, a dimension the Cowboys didn’t have to deal with when they faced New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning.
“They’re certainly different style quarterbacks,” interim coach Jason Garrett said. “There’s no question about that, but you’re so impressed with how Michael Vick is throwing the ball when you watch him. We all know Michael Vick is the guy who makes plays with his feet and he’s doing that as well as he’s done it throughout his career, but as a quarterback, he’s really doing it both ways.”
The stats don’t lie. Vick has a 105.7 passer rating this season, ranking behind only New England’s Tom Brady in that category. His 8.37 yards per attempt is better than every quarterback except San Diego’s Phillip Rivers. Vick has the league’s highest touchdown-to-interception ratio (15/2). His 467 yards and six touchdowns rushing are almost an afterthought.
“All the really important statistics that you look at for a quarterback that’s throwing the football, he’s among the best in the National Football League and that’s not even talking about his ability to move around,” Garrett said. “He’s really dangerous dropping back and playing within the system, and then when things break down, he’s exceptional.”
The book on Vick back in his Atlanta days was to make him beat you with his arm and mind. He’s capable of doing that for Philly, now that he’s become fully committed to excelling at his craft.
“You have to account for everything,” Vick said. “I’m much better in the passing game. We’re a pass-heavy team. We’re going to throw the football, we’re going to mix in the run, you’ve got to prepare for the Wildcat, you’ve got to prepare for the pass, prepare for the scramble. It’s not just me, it’s the entire team and how the coach takes advantage of our talent.”
Vick has a wider variety of talent than any quarterback in the NFL.