Michael Vick: Dallas Cowboys Need Spy Coverage to Keep Rushing Threat at Bay

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIOctober 28, 2011

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 16: Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles scrambles against the Washington Redskins during first half action at FedEx Field on October 16, 2011 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys know that Philadephia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick likes to move around.  Two methods will be key in containing Vick: blitzing and spy coverage.  If allowed, Vick can kill opponents by passing and running.  DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer can contain Vick's arm with their blitzing capabilities.  Sean Lee and Bradie James will need to provide good spy coverage on pass plays to ward off Vick on the run.

Vick is a tremendous threat on the run.  This year, Vick has been as much of a threat as he has in previous years despite being 31 years old.  Through six games, Vick has rushed for 372 yards, averaging 8.3 yards per run.  Vick has rushed for 75 or more yards three times this season.

While the Eagles are 1-2 in those games, Vick has breathed new life into the Eagles in losses where he has racked up yards on the ground.  The Cowboys need to ensure that that doesn't happen.

The Cowboys have had much success containing Vick on the ground.  In four games against the Cowboys, Vick has rushed for 78 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per attempt.  Among teams that have faced Vick at least twice, only the Baltimore Ravens have held Vick to fewer yards per rush (3.8).  In the last game Vick played against the Cowboys, the Cowboys held Vick to 16 yards on two rushes.

Hopefully, the Cowboys can match that performance and come away with a victory—unlike the last match with Vick.

In order to do that, spy coverage will be essential.  Lee and James will have to maintain spy coverage while Spencer and Ware blitz Vick.  Lee and James will need to stay honest patrolling their zones.

If the pocket breaks down, Vick may very well escape.  Vick is averaging 7.5 rushes per game.  Lee and James both need to be prepared if Vick attacks with his legs.  If Vick breaks to the left, Lee needs to jump.  On a Vick run to the right, James needs to do likewise.

Lee has the speed to stop Vick.  Lee is amazing on his feet.  This is a guy who ran for 1,240 yards in high school.  Lee's instincts will help him pick up Vick on the run so that he can run up and snag Vick.  Surely, Lee will match Vick's speed and snuff him on the run.

Certainly, Lee will be ready.  Lee has been noted to be an eager beaver studying film.  Jason Garrett said that he has seen Lee in the film room many times late at night.  Those late nights studying film will help him spot moments when Vick is ready to run.

Any lead can be protected by keeping Vick from using his feet.  Lee and James will need to do well in spy coverage to help ensure a Cowboys victory.