Sunday, January 18, 2009

Gameday Thoughts

The key to this game is our defense. They have to control the Cardinals offense and limit points. Our guys did this in the first meeting. They've also played great defense since that game.

The stats are crazy. We haven't allowed a passing TD since the Giants game in early December (and that was a throw to the TE with :15 left in the game). We've only allowed 7 TDs in the last 7 games. Our defense has scored 4 TDs and returned a ball to the 2-yard line in that stretch.

I watched the NFL Network's Playbook show on the Eagles/Cards matchup. They showed some real interesting highlights. Jim Johnson had his guys really prepared in that game, despite playing on the short week.

They did a great job of creatively pressuring Kurt Warner and covering the Cardinals WRs. The Eagles knew what routes were coming on multiple plays and either jumped the routes or closed on receivers in a hurry to limit the play.

The Cardinals will certainly make adjustments because of that. The problem is that many of those plays were base plays. You can't completely go away from the base plays of your offense. What the Cardinals will do is run some variations to try and burn the Eagles. They did this last week vs CAR. The Cards run the WR screen on a regular basis. Against the Panthers they faked a WR screen and had Larry Fitzgerald take off downfield. He was uncovered and delivered a big gain. That was a great play call by the coaches.

One of the things I noticed in re-watching the Thanksgiving game is that Stewart Bradley had a hard time getting outside to cover RBs. It didn't hurt the Eagles because Warner didn't get the ball out there very much. I'm sure the Cardinals saw this and will try to work in some throws to Hightower or JJ Arrington on the outside. Bradley has improved since that game. He now understands the importance of getting outside in a hurry when he's got the RB. He takes good angles and gets out there under control. The Giants tried to burn him with a pass to the RB inside the 10, but Stew made the tackle just inside the 5 and forced a FG attempt.

Brian Baldinger had some great stats about the Red Zone pass defense. Since the Cardinals game the Eagles have faced 15 passes in the RZ. Teams are 4 of 13 for 18 yards. They have no TDs. They have 2 sacks and 2 fumbles.

This will be a huge test for our guys. They face a veteran QB, a veteran RB, and a great pair of WRs. That is a daunting task, but I believe in Jim Johnson and our defense.


Kevin Curtis --- The Cards will likely put DRC on DeSean when they go man. I'm sure he'll also draw some Safety help. Kevin will face solo coverage plenty of times. I think Donovan will get him the ball. Kevin will also get open when they play zone. Look for a big gain from him.

Quintin Mikell --- He will come down against the run more than Dawk. He played great vs ARZ in the first game. He was terrific last week. I think Q comes up big again. He'll be solid in run support and make some plays in coverage.

Chris Clemons --- He can rush the passer from LDE. He can blitz up the middle as the Joker. He can drop on zone blitzes and has the speed to be good in space. He doesn't need sacks to make a difference.

We may not come up with many sacks, but the DL needs to keep Warner off balance. They can knock down passes and just get in passing lanes. Hitting and sacking Kurt would be nice as well.

I didn't mention Westy as a key player, but I sure hope he's able to deliver a big game. We can win even with him being held under control, but a big game from him would really be nice. It really helps the offense to click, plus it would be great to see him rewarded after the last two weeks.

Touches for Buck and Westy. Pressure on Warner. Good defense. Eagles win.

No comments: