ALLEN PARK -- A few of the Detroit Lions were able to enjoy last weekend's bye.
Mostly, they were offensive players.
The defenders were too busy trying to figure out how they are going to stop the new Michael Vick on Sunday -- the one that has suddenly added a deft passing touch to his overwhelming physical gifts.
"Before, he was almost just another running back," said cornerback Dre' Bly. "Now he's thrown seven or eight touchdown passes in two weeks -- which makes him the complete package. He's found the confidence to be a better passer. That's all he needed."
What scares the usually cocky Bly is that Vick can elude a pass rush for extended periods of time, leaving defensive backs in an impossible situation.
"Believe me, no cornerback wants to cover a guy for 10 seconds, but that's what he makes you do," Bly said. "He's running around, and you want to watch him to make sure that he hasn't taken off, but if you do that, and lose your guy for just a second, Vick will get him the ball."
In the last two games, both high-scoring victories, Vick has thrown for seven touchdowns, nearly half as many as the 15 he threw in all of 2005. He has also rushed for 95 yards on just 14 carries.
"It's a whole different ballgame against Michael, because there's no one else in the league that can do the things he does," linebacker Boss Bailey said.
"He's got a great arm and 4.3 speed. You want to play well against every quarterback, but it is a special challenge against him. Every linebacker wants to get to him."
"That's the guy I've wanted to measure myself against," he said. "Me against him. My speed against his. I respect him -- he's great -- but I'm not intimidated by anyone."
Lions coach Rod Marinelli, an expert on Vick from his lengthy stint as a defensive assistant in Tampa Bay, didn't have anything comforting for his defenders.
"He's like no one else in the game," Marinelli said. "You have to have a
player account for him on every play, because he's so dangerous. And people say
he isn't a thrower? He's a great thrower. That man has a cannon."