Hoping to Answer Question Number 7

The Cleveland Browns have a next-to-impossible task if they are to make the playoffs: <I>contain Michael Vick</I>. Mike talks to Browns defensive players about possible strategies and provides some other updates from beautiful snowy Berea.

BEREA - If the Browns are going to be preparing for a game next week, they'll need to find a way to control the big-play abilities of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

Few defenses have found the formula to control the fleet-footed Vick. Vick, the first pick in the 2001 draft, has rushed for 739 yards and thrown for 2,696.

"There are a few people in the NFL, the NBA, golf and boxing that God, when he created them, spent a little extra time," Browns cornerback Corey Fuller said. "It will be another 10 or 15 years before another Michael Vick comes out, or another Randy Moss, LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. They have special talent. The rest of us are just good."

Vick's play has helped lead the Falcons to the brink of a NFC playoff berth with a 9-5-1 record. He's in the process of redefining the way coaches look at the quarterback's role in an offense.

One possible theory in trying to contain Vick is to "spy" him - assign one defender to him constantly. Free safety Earl Little doesn't think that would be a good idea.

"If you try to spy a guy like that, that's when you really get burned," Little said. "You just have to go out there and play within your scheme and just be disciplined."

Defensive tackle Orpheus Roye slightly disagrees with Little. Roye thinks a spy might be helpful, but he admits that it could be a risky tactic.

"You need to (spy him), if you're wise," Roye said. "But some teams that even have fast guys to spy him, he's still able to outrun him. You just have to be disciplined and just get good angles and get after him."

Vick is often praised for his running abilities, but no defensive coordinator can overlook his strong left arm. The consensus opinion around the league is that once he becomes more adept in the passing game that he will become the most-feared quarterback in the game.

"When you think about it, (Tennessee's) Steve McNair was the first guy to come into the league that could run and throw," defensive lineman Kenard Lang said. "Now you've got this guy coming in who's three times faster than McNair, and his arm is stronger than (John) Elway's and Doug Williams' put together."

Lang thinks a key element in keeping Vick under control is to not abandon an aggressive style. At the same time, defenders can't lose sight of their assignments.

"Stay in our rush lanes, but the main thing is we can't play scared and tentative, because you then have a tendency to play soft," Lang said. "Still be aggressive, but be observant and concerned that there's the possibility he can beat you on every play."

JUST MAYBE: Receiver Dennis Northcutt remains questionable on the injury report with a sprained knee suffered Nov. 24 against New Orleans. With a possible playoff spot riding on the outcome of Sunday's game, Northcutt is anxious to return to the field.

"For me, I feel like this is our playoff," Northcutt said. "It's a must win, so I must be out there. I want to be out there, but I can't do anything stupid."

INJURY REPORT: Safety Devin Bush (hamstring) is the only other player listed on the Browns' injury report. He is probable.

Out for the Falcons are fullback Bob Christian (concussion) and guard Roberto Garza (knee). Cornerback Juran Bolden is doubtful with a calf injury. Listed as questionable are linebacker Chris Draft (back), running back T.J. Duckett (knee); receiver Shawn Jefferson (hamstring); safety Gerald McBurrows (neck); linebacker Sam Rogers (groin and wrist), and offensive tackle Bob Whitfield (gout). Listed as probable are cornerback Ray Buchanon (abdomen); kicker Jay Feely (thigh); guard Kynan Forney (back), and linebacker Mark Simoneau (neck).

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