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NFL Playoffs | NFC NOTES

Eagles Are Preparing for Vick's Quickness

January 07, 2003|From Associated Press

Michael Vick isn't going to surprise the Philadelphia Eagles.

After leading the Atlanta Falcons to a stunning 27-7 road upset of the Green Bay Packers on Saturday, the 22-year-old Vick will bring his elusive moves to Veterans Stadium this Saturday night for an NFC divisional playoff game against the Eagles.

Philadelphia hasn't faced a quarterback with Vick's scrambling ability, but the Eagle defense should be prepared for him because they are used to playing against Donovan McNabb in practice. Vick and McNabb are the top improvisational quarterbacks in the NFL.

"He's a unique guy," Eagle defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said of Vick. "No question about it, it's going to be a different challenge. It'll be a little different game plan against him."

*

On the ride home, Gayle Mariucci turned to her husband and asked the question on everybody's mind after the San Francisco 49ers' unbelievable playoff rally.

"Why didn't you just do that the whole game?" she asked.

"Are we home yet?" Coach Steve Mariucci replied.

For one of the few times all season, the 49ers played without a huddle. With help from the coaches' speaker in his helmet, Jeff Garcia called many of the plays himself as San Francisco scored on its final four possessions, including Garcia's game-winning 13-yard touchdown pass to Tai Streets with one minute left.

The 49ers had 266 total yards in the second half, playing with all the potency that their star-studded offense suggests. So Gayle Mariucci's question seems logical enough: Why can't San Francisco achieve such potency more regularly, either through a no-huddle offense or other means?

"Sometimes that kind of thing works, and other times it doesn't," Steve Mariucci said Monday as the 49ers began preparations for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay with the memories of their comeback still in their heads.

"You've got to pick and choose your spots with the no-huddle, or with other things. In the situation we were in, there was no room for error. We could not punt. Every possession had to be a score."

The 49ers did it, scoring on every possession to earn their first trip to Tampa since Aug. 31, 1997 -- the first regular-season game of Mariucci's career. A day after surviving the Giants, the 49ers were still soaking in their achievement.

"I didn't get any sleep at all last night," Mariucci said. "The mind wouldn't shut off."

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