The Giants’ defense showed a lot of things to Michael Vick the last time they faced him. One thing they didn’t show him that a lot of other teams have, though, is fear.
While conventional wisdom is to keep Vick in the pocket, the Giants instead applied heavy pressure with secondary blitzes against him all night. Sometimes they reached him – sacking him three times and hitting him at least as many without sacks – and sometimes they didn’t. But they kept bringing players. Safety Antrel Rolle, who nearly had Vick on blitzes on several occasions, said he had never been as exhausted from blitzing as he was after that game.
Safety Deon Grant said he liked that the Giants weren’t intimidated by Vick’s athleticism, and he’s making sure that they aren’t on Sunday either.
“If that even drips in our meeting room, I’m going off to the media, to the coaches, to everybody else,” Grant said. “That’s one thing I don’t play. A defense never plays scared. I’ve been on defenses like that and we got embarrassed. I said something about it then and I’ll say something about it to this day. We won’t even let that word come in our meeting room.”
Last time there was plenty to be fearful of. Vick had just destroyed the Redskins in a Monday night game the week before facing the Giants and he had yet to throw an interception heading into that game. Tom Coughlin had noted that watching Vick in that game against the Redskins gave him indigestion.
Grant said he made sure that the players weren’t as intimidated.
“Everybody was so amped that we were playing them that I just didn’t see any fear coming in the room,” he said. “I tried to tackle that before it even came. I made sure there wasn’t any fear coming in anybody’s eyes, anybody’s hearts.”
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy said the thing that impressed him most about the way the Giants attacked his team last time was the blitzes they sent.
"Mike is throwing the ball really wel," McCoy said. "Sometimes he gets a chance to get out of the pocket a little bit, a run here and there. He gets kind of a spark, a little extra energy. You know, those plays where there can't be any yards made, and he makes those plays. They did a good job of shutting that down, the extra yards, the extra plays. I give them credit for that. That made a big difference in our game."
The Giants held Vick without a touchdown pass and he ran for just 34 yards against them, but he did have a 4-yard scoring run.
Since they’ve seen him last Vick’s numbers haven’t been as garish as they were against the Redskins, but he’s still thrown an impressive 17 touchdowns to only four interceptions and has run for 483 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
And he’s been impressive enough that last week, after beating the Cowboys, running back Tashard Choice asked Vick for an autograph after the game. On the field. With cameras rolling. Perhaps the most awkward and outward sign of respect that any opponent has shown Vick this season.
“What is that?” Grant asked aloud. “I’m not asking for no autograph from anybody I’m playing against … That’s the last thing on my mind.”