Raiders aware of Vick's vast talent

The prevailing question in the Oakland Raiders locker room on Wednesday was, "Have you ever seen anyone like Michael Vick?"

That question pertaining to the Atlanta Falcons quarterback was highly prevalent because the Oakland Raiders visit Atlanta on Sunday, where their defensive challenges get no easier after being torched for 501 total yards in a 34-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.

"I've played against (Philadelphia Eagles quarterback) Donovan McNabb but they are two different types of people," Raiders defensive end Bobby Hamilton said. "Mike can do a lot of things."

The 6-foot, 215 pound Vick is a highlight reel waiting to happen on most any week. Vick has tremendous arm strength and speed to get away from defenders. He can also make throws on the run without losing any velocity.

"You have to be excited to be a defender against the most exciting player in the NFL," Raiders linebacker Danny Clark said. "That guy is phenomenal as far as what he can do as far as creating plays. We might not stop him completely but we're going to keep his numbers down."

That has been a challenging task for opponents throughout the season as the Falcons have fashioned a 9-3 record and can clinch the NFC South Division title with a win.

Vick's passing is still a work in progress as he is learning the West Coast Offense under first-year offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, whom first year head coach Jim Mora brought from San Francisco.

Vick has completed 56.8 percent of his passes for 1,979 yards, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Vick remains extremely dangerous as a runner. Vick is the fourth leading rusher in the NFC with 790 yards.

There's no doubt that Vick is a tremendous difference-maker. Vick missed 12 games last season with a broken bone in his leg. The Falcons were 2-10 without him and 3-1 with him.

Atlanta's offense, however, is not limited to Vick. Running back Warrick Dunn, who has rushed for 685 yards, has helped the Falcons produce the highest per-game rushing average in the NFL. Tight end Alge Crumpler has 44 receptions for 714 yards and six touchdowns.

Like Kansas City, the Falcons have many offensive weapons. However, unlike Kansas City, Atlanta's quarterback has the ability to run.

"You look at that football team," Clark said. "They're not passing the ball extremely well but at the same time when you've got a guy like that, he's going to run the football. I think the running game is what we need to concentrate on."

Added safety Stuart Schweigert: "He's a guy who can do a lot of things, running, passing. He's a one-man circus out there. He can do a ton of things."

Curry on IR

To the surprise of no one, the Raiders placed wide receiver Ronald Curry on injured reserve. Curry suffered a torn left Achilles tendon Sunday against Kansas City and will undergo surgery late this week.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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