- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 3, 2002

OWINGS MILLS, Md. Catch him if you can and it's easier said than done.
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is the most electrifying player to enter the NFL in some time. He has a strong arm, runs a 4.2 40-yard dash and is the only starting quarterback in the league without an interception.
The first overall pick in last year's NFL Draft is living up to his reputation. The former Virginia Tech star sports a 93.4 quarterback rating second only to Green Bay's Brett Favre in the NFC. He's the Falcons' leading rusher with 367 yards on 41 carries, a 9.0 average, and has made the Falcons (4-3) one of the NFL's hottest teams, with three straight victories.
Without five-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Ray Lewis today, the Baltimore Ravens (3-4) may have a long afternoon trying to contain Vick at Georgia Dome.
"I have two weapons my legs, my arm and my brain," Vick said.
That's three, but who's counting?
It appears only the league office can slow the multi-dimensional 22-year-old. Vick was fined $5,000 because his white socks were not pulled up high enough last Sunday in New Orleans and were showing too much of his red under socks.
So how does a defense stop this unique threat?
"It's going to take a lot of people to chase him down," said Ravens outside linebacker Peter Boulware. "I think we have the speed, but it's going to be a team effort. I don't think one man in the open field can really take him down. When he gets out of the pocket, we have to stay on our coverages and having our guys run at the ball and get him down."
There is no quarterback in the league like Vick. The closest comparison is probably Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb. McNabb is a highly mobile quarterback, but he doesn't have the quickness or elusiveness that Vick possesses, and Vick may have a stronger arm.
Nonetheless, Ravens coach Brian Billick is reserving judgment on Vick until the second-year star wins something. Billick also is not so sure that Vick is the wave of the future for NFL quarterbacks.
"He can possibly change the complexion of the game," Billick said. "I always get a kick out of saying, 'This is the new quarterback; this is where we're heading.' There ain't a lot of cats like that out there. I've never seen a guy like him. He may be the one, but until that type of play wins a Super Bowl, I think everybody is going to hold back judgment a little bit.
"To date, there's been a lot of guys come through this league and they're going to do this, they're going to do that, and this is going to revolutionize [football] but until one of them wins a championship in that style, I think everybody will reserve judgement just a bit."
Vick has completed 84 of 135 passes for 959 yards and four touchdowns this season. He also has rushed for four touchdowns. In last Sunday's dramatic win at New Orleans, Vick got the ball at his 11 with 2:12 left, no timeouts and the Falcons trailing 35-34. He completed four of six passes for 48 yards and ran twice for 14 yards to set up Jay Feely's 47-yard game-winning field goal.
With defensive end Michael McCrary also out for this game with a bad knee, the Ravens' young defense undoubtedly will be tested by Vick. The Ravens are most fearful of Vick's running ability. Vick has two rushing touchdowns of 30 yards or more this season. If the Ravens' outside rushers can stay in their lanes, the southpaw may stay in the pocket.
But that might not be such a good scenario, because he has not thrown an interception in his last 163 attempts (25 consecutive quarters) dating to Week 17 last year at St. Louis.
If there was ever a game when the Ravens needed Lewis, this is it. The star linebacker, who has missed the past three games with a partially dislocated left shoulder, is a terrific sideline-to-sideline tackler.
"Minus Ray Lewis, they still have a good defense overall," Vick said.

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