Giants Have Hands Full With Vick (UPDATED)

Tom Coughlin knows exactly what the Giants have to do to hold back the Michael Vick onslaught Sunday night. The problem is, there are so many facets to it that Vick could succeed, regardless of how the defense attacks him.

As Tom Coughlin watched Michael Vick throw four touchdown passes, run for two others, and rush for 80 yards in their 59-28 stomping of the Redskins Monday night, he got this uncomfortable feeling.

"I got indigestion and a stomach ache," Coughlin said.

Facetious? Yes, certainly. Inaccurate? Probably not.

The fact is, the Michael Vick of Monday night was just the kind of weapon the Giants didn't need to see as they try to regroup from last week's miserable loss to the Cowboys. A nice, statue-like, pocket passer would have suited the Giants' defense just fine here. Instead, they face a quarterback in Vick who, now at full strength, can break down a defense no matter what it throws at him.

Pinch him in the pocket, and he can buy time and find explosive receiver DeSean Jackson or Jeremy Maclin, or Jason Avant downfield. Pressure him up the middle and he heads outside for big scramble yardage.

Besides all that, the Eagles have made a habit of keeping blockers back for him in maximum protection.

"They're definitely smart with their protections," defensive tackle Barry Cofield said. "That's why we have to be under control. You don't want to be out of control and let Vick take off, but if you just sit there he'll sit in the pocket and kill you. That's not necessarily something he was known for doing, but it's something he's doing now.

"You gotta find a happy medium, be aggressive and force him off his spot somehow. It can be frustrating at times, but it's our goal to fight through the early max protections and hope we get to him."

It's not that Vick is doing anything new. He's always had the big arm and great speed. But never has the self-proclaimed, reformed animal abuser been as consistently dangerous as this season. And catching him the week after he became the only NFL quarterback in history to pass for over 300 yards, run for over 50, throw for four touchdowns and run for two in the same game only adds another level of difficulty to the Giants' task Sunday.

You'd almost expect a coach to get a little agita watching that.

Now, Coughlin and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell have to figure out how to drag Vick back to earth.

"You obviously have to try to contain and keep him inside; not let him get outside," Coughlin said. "There's all kinds of strategic things you say you can do and you must do, but you have to have the right circumstances and the right play.

"They're an excellent screen team. They're an excellent personnel team. They rush the ball. They rush the ball with him. They run the nakeds (bootlegs), they break perimeter. They do a lot of things. When you think you have a handle to have some containment on him, he finds a way to break you down."

Vick has been effective for most of the season, before and after he missed three games with a rib injury suffered Oct. 3 against the Redskins. But it has been a gradual ascent.

He took over for Kevin Kolb in the second half of the opener against Green Bay and produced three scores in his first five possessions. Two touchdowns against Detroit. Three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown against the Jaguars. A rushing and a passing touchdown against the Colts, and of course Monday's game.

And he has yet to throw an interception against those 11 touchdown passes, though Vick has had several near-misses.

"That's a little misleading," Coughlin said. "There have been a lot of times when the ball has been in people's hands. They haven't caught the ball."

The safeties will have to think twice about full-out blitzing Vick, despite the fact that Vick has been sacked 15 times. If he sees a safety coming, he could hit Jackson or Maclin over the top.

You've got to be sure exactly of what you're seeing," Coughlin said. "If you're not sure, you have to maintain your depth. You just can't come rolling up in there."

When they do get the chance, however, the Giants have to be physical with him.

"Washington hit him the first time," safety Deon Grant said of the Eagles' first meeting with the Redskins, when Vick was knocked out with his rib cartilage injury. "Ain't nobody Superman on the football field. He's a guy, just like me.

"This time, they didn't have the opportunity to hit him. That first game, when they hit him, they hurt him. You've got to make him run to the sidelines, keep him off-balance, and be physical with him at all times."

It's all quite complicated. But it has always been that way with Vick.

It's just that now, he's taken his game to historic levels.

Just what the 6-3 Giants need as they're trying to get back on the NFC East track.

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