"If you're going to spy Michael Vick, you better have that kind of athlete," said Ravens safety Sean Considine, a former Eagles starter who had seven tackles and a sack while playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars against Vick two years ago. "He's as good an athlete as you're going to see in the NFL regardless of position. Obviously, if you're spying a quarterback, you're taking something away from somewhere else. If you worry about Michael Vick scrambling, you're going to have a hole somewhere else. There's a give and take."
Vick has seen every gimmick defense during his 11 years in the NFL.
At this stage of his career, the four-time Pro Bowl selection welcomes the unconventional.
"They might put a spy in the middle, rob the coverage every now and then," Vick said. "For the most part, teams just line up and play. That's the way I like it. That's the way I want it. If they do put a robber in there, it takes somebody out of pass coverage, so we have to exploit that."
The complex dichotomy of Vick was on full display during the Eagles' 17-16 escape over the Browns. Vick admittedly got flustered during a close game and attempted to force the action.
He made throws into heavy coverage, finishing with a 51.0 passer rating and 51.7 percent accuracy.
"Being self-critical, I was just trying to force too many throws," Vick said. "I tried to make something happen when I felt as if we should have already had more points on the board. I just got impatient, tried to rush things and just tried to do too much. I started letting balls go that I should never have thrown.
"What quarterback doesn't have rough games every now and then? People criticize me a little bit more because I'm different, because I play the game different, which is unfair, but I don't really care. The only thing that matters to me is winning and losing."
If not for drops by the Browns' secondary, though, Vick could have easily had more than four interceptions.
For his career, Vick has 76 interceptions and has completed only 55.9 percent of his throws.
Cosell sees the former Virginia Tech star as a fundamentally flawed quarterback.
"While talented athletically, he's never truly mastered the subtle nuances necessary to play the position consistently," Cosell said. "Most people view improvisation as a positive, but it's random and it can be negative. They've tried to make him a dialed-in, disciplined passer and he can throw a beautiful ball, but he's still not particularly quick on progressions. To be a high-level quarterback, you need to understand the defense before the snap.
"I think he has some blind spots as far as not picking up underneath coverage. He's not an anticipation thrower, not really a pocket thrower. Sometimes it looks like the receivers are covered, but he doesn't throw the ball when other quarterbacks would. He's not precise with the ball, and he can make his offensive line look poor at times."
It has been four years since Vick was reinstated to the NFL and joined the Eagles after serving time in federal prison stemming from his role in a dogfighting ring.
Although Vick, 32, has remained out of trouble off the field and by all accounts reformed his life, there still remains room for growth on the field.
"I think Michael is in a maturation stage," Theismann said. "Every quarterback tries to do too much and you really have to fight it when you have the athletic ability Michael has. It's a constant battle.
"He can't get frustrated. He was lucky he didn't have eight interceptions last week. I think he's in desperate need of a good game."
The Ravens have prepared all week for Vick by having backup Tyrod Taylor, a former Virginia Tech player, emulate his mentor on the scout team offense.
And the defense is convinced that Vick will provide a supreme challenge.
"People are always doubting him, and the guy has always bounced back," Pollard said. "Our thing is we have to contain him. He gets paid to play football and to beat us, and we're going to have to do a good job against him."
Michael Vick file
Size: 6 feet, 215 pounds
Hometown: Newport News, Va.
College: Virginia Tech
Personal: Vick and his wife, Kijafa, live in Philadelphia. He has two daughters, Jada and London, and one son, Mitez. Partners with the Humane Society to help educate and steer children away from animal cruelty after his incarceration in a federal prison for involvement in a dogfighting ring.
Career: Former top overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons is a four-time Pro Bowl selection who signed with the Eagles in 2009 after an NFL suspension. Has 18,229 career yards, 113 touchdowns and 76 interceptions. All-time NFL leader for rushing yards among quarterbacks with 5,251 yards.
Recent history: Last season, Vick set career records for attempts (423), completions (253) and yards (3,303) as he threw 18 touchdown passes with 14 interceptions. In 2010, Vick passed for 3,018 yards and a career-high 21 touchdowns with a career-best 62.6 percent accuracy and only six interceptions.