When Michael Vick was signed by the Eagles just before the 2009 season, he was headed to one of the few organizations that held the dynamic quarterback in check during his tenure in Atlanta.
In the four games Vick played against the Eagles, he completed just 53 percent of his passes while throwing one touchdown against four interceptions. His passer rating of 63.9 in those four games would rank Vick second-to-last among starting quarterbacks this season.
Most importantly, Vick only managed to beat the Eagles once in his career – a 2005 season-opening Monday night game in Atlanta. The Eagles defense knew how to beat Vick, as the late Jim Johnson kept him in the pocket and forced him to throw the ball.
Of course, upon his arrival in Philadelphia, the Eagles used that defensive game plan to help make Vick a better quarterback. And that process started with improving his ability as a passer, something that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said Vick was determined to accomplish.
"Yeah, there were several things (Vick had to work on)," Mornhinweg said Thursday. "That's one thing Mike wanted to do when he came here. He wanted to focus on playing the quarterback position at a high level.
"If you remember last year, he worked before every practice and he worked after every practice with very, very few exceptions. He worked some off days and really focused in on playing that quarterback position at a high level. He's got himself playing at a pretty high level right now … when he was going through the process it came very easily to him, almost natural for him."
After a performance Monday night for the record books, and after he defeated Peyton Manning and the Colts the week before, teams will be trying every trick in the book to slow down the suddenly MVP-worthy Vick.
The Colts tried to pressure Vick with their explosive front four, but Vick still threw for 218 yards and a touchdown while adding 74 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Redskins tried to spy Vick with safety LaRon Landry, arguably their best defensive player. Everyone knows how that turned out.
Mornhinweg said Thursday that they expect to see a plethora of defensive schemes until someone figures out how to contain the Eagles offense.
"The one challenge that our offensive football team has is that when you've got a quarterback, no matter what style, if he's playing at a high level, you will see different things from your next opponent and then the next one and then the next one," said Mornhinweg. "You will see that, so that will be a big part of this game and going forward as well."
With a quarterback as hot as Vick, sometimes it seems like no matter what the defense does, the quarterback prevails in the end. But if any team could test that theory, it's the New York Giants and their first-ranked defense.
With sole possession of first place in the NFC East on the line, it will be quite the show come Sunday night in Philadelphia.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 4:00 p.m., November 18