Safeties coach Dave Merritt, 08.14.09

Q. Do you think the Eagles will be using the Wildcat formation now that they have signed Michael Vick?

A. Definitely, definitely…that’s the one thing, you look at this one particular offense that’s coming into the NFL now and all of the defenses around the league are getting prepared for that, and how to stop it is no more than just—it’s like you’re preparing for the option in college. There are a lot of different forms and variations of it, how they can line up the formations and so on and so forth, but we’ve been working all off-season expecting the Wildcat and now, of course, with Philadelphia adding Michael Vick it’s going to be interesting to see what they do.

Q. Could he be the ideal Wildcat quarterback?

A. No doubt…no doubt. He is—when he was in Atlanta, they explored a little bit of the run and shoot, they (were) pulling up the running back. Now, he’s hungry… his ability to come back after being off, and wanting to show everybody what he can do in this division. He is the ultimate wildcat quarterback.

Q. Didn’t the Eagles run a version of that last year with DeSean Jackson?

A. Yes, they did, down in the red zone and they scored off that play, as a matter of fact. That was one of the reasons that allowed us to start buckling up and start preparing for that. Of course, since everyone knows that Miami is the team that’s running the most of it. We have a lot of friends down there that are giving us some tips as far as how to stop that. With Michael Vick coming into the league, it’s an opportunity for Philadelphia to explore that particular offense…we’re looking forward to the challenge.

Q. Have you guys found a defensive formation that you think will be able to effectively work against the Wildcat formation?

A. I believe so. Eventually, the defense is going to come up with a scheme, hopefully we have that one here, that everyone else will copy. There is a scheme that will eventually stop that offense, and hopefully move it out of the league, but with Tim Tebow and all the other guys out of college coming in with all this ability, that offense is really a great weapon if you can use it 8-10 times a game.

Q. How long do you think it will take the league’s defenses to catch up with this type of offense?

A. To be honest with you, I couldn’t tell—I couldn’t answer that. You go back to the evolution of football, how long did it take them to stop the "I-Power" play and so on and so forth. Really, with this offense coming in—it’s been here for the past year or two, but now with these more athletic quarterbacks that are coming into the league, it’s just giving them more weapons. As far as how long it’s going to take the defense to catch up with it, hopefully it’s this year.

Q. Do you think a signing like this will create a big distraction in the locker room, or do you think the effects will be minimal?

A. No, I think it is big. When you sign a star player such as a Michael Vick, a guy who has been one of the feature guys here in the NFL, for him to now sign in this particular conference, that is a real big deal. You’re dealing with a market that we have here on the east coast, with all of you great reporters here. Hopefully, a lot of you guys will go down there and distract him...please, go go go.

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