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Paul Domowitch: Mayock intrigued by Eagles' use of Vick and Wildcat

COUNT NFL NETWORK analyst Mike Mayock among the many people looking forward to watching Michael Vick run the Wildcat Sunday when the Eagles host the Kansas City Chiefs.


Mike Mayock

among the many people looking forward to watching Michael Vick run the Wildcat Sunday when the Eagles host the Kansas City Chiefs.

With Vick finishing out his two-game suspension, the Eagles ran 12 Wildcat/spread-option plays in last week's 48-22 loss to the Saints. Gained 46 yards on eight rushing attempts and completed two of four passes for another 22 yards. Earned six of their 23 first downs on those 12 plays.

"Just watching the tape of that game, I sat there and said, 'OK, wow. If you insert Michael Vick into what they tried to do last week, I'd hate to be Kansas City right now,' " the former Giants defensive back said.

"They had some chances to make some plays [in the Wildcat]. They still picked up almost 6 yards a play when they were in that offense. But they left a lot of yards on the field that they might not have if they had Vick in there running it."

Mayock is intrigued by the NFL potential of the Wildcat/spread-option with a guy like Vick at the controls who can both run and throw.

"I'm fascinated by the guys like Vick and [Dolphins rookie quarterback] Pat White, who can maybe get this to the next level," he said. "If you're a defensive coordinator, you have no idea what you're getting with Vick. Are you getting a package or a full offense or four, five plays? And within his package, what is it? Is it the full spread offense? The whole thing is fascinating. Anybody who tells you they know what's going to happen is lying."

Critics of the Wildcat say it disrupts the rhythm and flow of a team's regular offense. But unless you're the Colts with Peyton Manning or the Patriots with Tom Brady, Mayock feels the upside of using it far outweighs any potential downside.

"Outside of two or three quarterbacks in this league, if I've got a talented kid that I think can run and throw and put pressure on a defense and possibly create a big crease and a big play and I'm not as worried about whether he gets hurt, and I'm only using that offense eight to 12 plays a game, I think it's well worth the investment to run it and see what happens," he said. "Worst-case scenario, it forces an opposing defense to spend an inordinate amount of time in practice getting ready for it."

Last week, with the Eagles using running back Brian Westbrook and wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin in the Wildcat, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams made very few adjustments against the formation.

"They kind of played an umbrella or shell with the secondary and inverted their safeties kind of late into the run game," Mayock said. "But they didn't pay a whole lot of respect to it. It'll be interesting to see what Kansas City is willing to do this week with Vick in there.

"Anytime you insert a quarterback as the primary runner in your run game, you've got an extra blocker by definition and an opportunity to outgap a defense, forcing them to make an adjustment.

"What kind of an adjustment they want to make is the next step. If it's somebody like [Dolphins running back] Ronnie Brown back there, it's one kind of adjustment because you can take a chance on the edges with your corners because you're not going to have a very accurate thrower.

"But if you've got a Vick or a Pat White that can throw the football, you've got to be careful about just making run adjustments and saying we're not going to let you outgap us in the run game and we don't care if you throw the ball."

Around the League

* NFL coaches don't have a lot of original thoughts. They are the ultimate stole-it-from-somebody-else masters. That whacky second-quarter play the Eagles ran Sunday, where they split out both of their tackles and went with a three-man line in front of Wildcat quarterback DeSean Jackson? Andy Reid didn't draw that up on a Five Guys Burgers napkin. The formation is called the "Emory & Henry," after the Virginia college that first ran it back in 1950. It was the brainchild of their coach, Conley Snidow. Former New York Giants coach Jim Fassel occasionally used the formation when he was the coach at Utah in the mid-80s. Steve Spurrier later used it in the 1994 Southeastern Conference title game to help Florida beat Alabama.

* Despite owning three Super Bowl rings and being married to a supermodel, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady just wants to be one of the guys. Said he ran away from ESPN's Suzy Kolber as she tried to conduct a postgame interview with him 2 weeks ago because he didn't want to take the spotlight away from his teammates. Then, this week, he elected to do his weekly Wednesday interview session with the media in front of his locker rather than at a podium in a separate room like he usually does. "We had a miserable week, so I figure misery loves company," he said, referring to the Patriots' 16-9 loss to the Jets.

* Former Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent was hired by the Big Ten Network to serve as a studio analyst for its "Sites and Sounds" program that runs Wednesday evenings at 9. Vincent played his college ball at Wisconsin.

* Heading into training camp, the Giants appeared to have an embarrassment of riches on their defensive line after adding free agents Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard in the offseason and getting Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora back from a knee injury that sidelined him for the entire '08 season. But injuries always are the great equalizer. They lost backup tackle Jay Alford to a season-ending knee injury in the preseason. Canty is out with a calf injury and defensive end Justin Tuck is nursing a sore shoulder he injured when he was tripped by Cowboys offensive tackle Flozell Adams last week. Now, they may have to face the Bucs Sunday in the 90-degree heat of Tampa with just six healthy d-linemen.

* Matt Stafford has thrown one touchdown pass and five interceptions in his first two starts for the 0-2 Lions. But coach Jim Schwartz is nowhere close to sitting his rookie first-round pick and starting more-experienced Daunte Culpepper. "I have a lot of confidence in Matt's ability," Schwartz said. "He's going to be our quarterback. He is our quarterback. He needs experience. With experience, he'll become better and better. We need him to stay on track."

2-minute drill


* "I know that there were a lot of times when he was down there in Atlanta where I was holding my breath when he was holding the football. That's what I remember, the fear factor." - Chiefs coach Todd Haley, on the Eagles' Michael Vick

* "There are some throws you shouldn't attempt to make when you're playing certain teams. We've seen him try and do that from time to time. When you play a team like the Giants, you have to be smart about those throws. When the games are close, you have to be smart with the football and that has been a problem with Tony. I know the coaching staff is trying to eliminate those mistakes.'' - Fox Sports analyst and Hall of Fame QB Troy Aikman, on Cowboys QB Tony Romo


* Brett Favre has a league-best .771 completion percentage with just 11 incompletions in 48 attempts through the first two games. But he's 30th in yards per attempt (5.52). Just two of his 37 completions have gained more than 13 yards and 13 have gained 5 yards or less. Only 16 of his completions have produced first downs or touchdowns.

* The Eagles have had a winning record after four games just four times under Andy Reid: 2006 (3-1, 10-6 overall), 2005 (3-1, 6-10), 2004 (4-0, 13-3) and 2002 (3-1, 12-4).

* Tony Romo's 13 completions in the Cowboys' loss to the Giants on Sunday were the second fewest of his career.

* Since the start of the 2006 season, Saints quarterback Drew Brees leads the NFL in passing yards (14,579), touchdown passes (97) and 300-yard games (25).

* The Saints are just the fourth team in NFL history to put up 45-plus points in each of their first two games. The other three: the 1920 Rock Island Independents, the 1962 Detroit Lions and the 1968 Oakland Raiders.

* The Giants are 2-0 despite being 32nd in the league in red-zone offense and 30th in red-zone defense. Their offense is 0-for-8 inside the 20. Their defense has allowed six touchdowns in seven red-zone tests.

* Brady Quinn was the eighth different quarterback to start a season opener for the Browns in the last 11 years.

* Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who led the league with 20 sacks last year, doesn't have any in his last three games, dating back to last year's Week 17 loss to the Eagles. As a team, the Cowboys don't have a sack yet this season, though they have 20 quarterback pressures.

Thumb things to think about


To Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell, for his dreadful performance Sunday in his team's 13-10 win over the Chiefs. Russell, the first overall pick in the 2007 draft, completed just three of his first 18 passes and finished 7-for-24 with 109 passing yards and a 46.0 passer rating. He became only the second quarterback in the last 13 years to win a game despite completing fewer than 30 percent of his passes. Through two games, he has a 35.2 completion percentage and a 46.6 passer rating. It's not hard to understand why Jeff Garcia asked for his release after Russell was named the Raiders' season-opening starter. Playing behind this guy would have been hard to take.

To Browns coach Eric Mangini, who seems much more concerned with showing his players who's the boss than winning games. He recently fined one Browns player $1,700 for failing to pay a $3 charge on his hotel bill for a bottled water and fined another player for forgetting to pay for an in-room movie. "The rules are in place because we're a very diverse group of people," Mangini said. "The rules are set up to make sure we can operate as effectively as possible. They're clearly laid out, they're clearly explained, expectations are explained. I don't ask anybody to do anything that anybody else in society isn't asked to do."

Domo's rankings

1. Giants 2-0

2. Vikings 2-0

3. Ravens 2-0

4. Colts 2-0

5. Falcons 2-0

6. Saints 2-0

7. Jets 2-0

8. Steelers 1-1

9. Chargers 1-1

10. Titans 1-1

11. Eagles 1-1

12. Patriots 1-1

13. Packers 1-1

14. 49ers 2-0

15. Cardinals 1-1

16. Cowboys 1-1

17. Seahawks 1-1

18. Bills 1-1

19. Bears 1-1

20. Texans 1-1

21. Bengals 1-1

22. Dolphins 0-2

23. Broncos 2-0

24. Panthers 0-2

25. Redskins 1-1

26. Jaguars 0-2

27. Raiders 1-1

28. Chiefs 0-2

29. Browns 0-2

30. Bucs 0-2

31. Lions 0-2

32. Rams 0-2