Thursday, September 10, 2009

Strategy and Matchups - CAR

***

Defense

We need Bunk and Patt to control the middle of the field. They can't let OL block them on a consistent basis. The big boys need to keep Omar clean as much as possible so he can get to the ball and tackle the RB.

Our DEs and OLBs will need to handle outside runs very well. We must set the edge and funnel runs back to the inside. Gocong will have to be very disciplined. Stay wide, Gonzo. I think the smart thing at LDE is to start VA. He's a better run defender than Juqua.

Quintin Mikell will have a lot of pressure on him. We'll ask Q to come up quickly vs the run, but to also make sure he's sound in coverage. And he'll be starting along side a rookie FS, Macho Harris. Q has to make sure Macho is lined up correctly and knows what is going on. Macho might be young and inexperienced, but he's got pretty good FBI (football intelligence). The coaches have loved him since Day 1.

The CBs in this game will have to tackle well. Steve Smith is a dynamic weapon when the ball is in his hands. I trust Sheldon Brown as a tackler. Asante is more inconsistent. He better be good this week or we'll pay with a long pass play. I was encouraged by Asante's play in the preseason. He looked comfortable in the scheme and got his hands on a few passes. I'm hoping for a big year from Sammie.

Our run defense was outstanding last year, but was vulnerable in those games when we feared a passing game as well as the run. Jim Johnson always focused on stopping the passing game first. It will be interesting to see if Sean McDermott is the same way or if he focuses on the run first.

We also have to get pressure on Delhomme. He threw 12 picks last year and 6 more in the playoff debacle. He will do some dumb things if you frustrate him. The best way to do that is with lots of hits and regular pressure. Trent Cole looked really good in his only preseason game. I'd love to see him have a monster season. One matchup that could favor us is RG Keydrick Vincent against VA in the Nickel/Dime D. Victor is a good interior rusher. Vincent isn't a gifted pass blocker. Designated rushers like Darren Howard, Chris Clemons, and Jason Babin need to play fast and get pressure.


Offense

I'm really curious to see what Big Red has us do on offense. Last year we blew out St Louis and did whatever we wanted. We scored 4 TDs from the 6-yard line and in. That should tell you how bad the Rams were that day.

We have a bunch of new linemen. The smart thing to do would be run a lot and let the OL develop some chemistry. Since this is Big Red we're talking about, that's about as likely as me turning down a donut. If we do come out throwing we have to block Julius Peppers. He had 14.5 sacks last year. The rest of the team had 22.5. Double JP and Donnie will have a chance to sit back and find his targets.

We threw at least 10 passes to DeSean Jackson to try and work him into the offense. He finished with 6-106. I can see us feeding the ball to D-Jax once again. This time it won't be to test his ability, but rather take advantage of it. He is our most dynamic offensive weapon right now.

Obviously all eyes will be on Brian Westbrook. Seeing Westy walk on the field will be like the scene in Lawrence of Arabia when Lawrence walks into Cairo to tell his commanders that he and Faisal's forces had taken Aqaba. If Westy scores a TD I'll personally pour him a glass of fresh lemonade. It's gonna be interesting to see if Westy has "it" back. Last year he got tackled in space when he was 1-on-1 with a defender. That didn't happen in the past. Last year he lacked the burst to get upfield quickly. We need to find out if the offseason surgeries got us back the old Westy.

I'm not sure what to expect from LeSean McCoy. We haven't given the backup RB a lot of work in the past few years. I hope AR changes that up so we can see what Shady does. We all expect that he'll have to start a game at some point this season. Working him in aggressively is the smart thing to do. I will be disappointed if his first touch is a pass. Run the kid, AR. Running back = "running" back, not receiving back.

Jeremy Maclin, the other big name rookie, isn't even a lock to be active. He isn't set to be a RS. He's only a backup WR. We'll only have 5 wideouts active. The Eagles have to decide between him and Reggie Brown. You can make a case for each guy being active. Since we're only talking about the #5 WR I'll just wait and see what happens.

Going back to the pass/run angle. Carolina is missing NT Ma'ake Kemoeatu. He was their main run stuffer in the middle. I hope AR is smart and we run inside a few times to test out the DTs. MLB Jon Beason has been banged up this preseason and running at him might be smart as well. You need to see what their guys can do.

I think most of us expect the offense to move the ball. The critical issue is what we do in the Red Zone. AR and Marty must call good plays. Donnie has to be smart and execute well. The guys up front must block well, especially getting some push when we run. The skill players have to execute when their number is called. One person won't solve this troublesome area. It will take a group effort. The revamped TE position and addition of Leonard Weaver could offer a lot of help. FB and TE can be very important positions near the goal line, whether as blockers or receivers.

MORE ON THE GAME

My PE.com column looks at some other players and angles of interest. I didn't want to just re-hash all the same stuff in this post.

* It's About Time *

I'll also be doing some writing tomorrow and on Saturday.


MISC STUFF

* Former Eagle DE Bryan Smith signed with the Rams to be part of their Practice Squad. I wish him well, but he's got an uphill battle to succeed in the NFL if he doesn't start showing something.

* No updates on moving a WR. I think the Eagles are hoping that someone gets desperate and gives up a pick for Reggie. If not, they'll hold him for 2 weeks and then cut him loose so they can activate Vick.

4 comments:

Stephen said...

I hope Andy has the Weaver Fever as bad as I do, I want us to get that guy 5-10 touches a game if possible. He's going to be a holy terror catching the ball out of the backfield because not only can he run by you with speed, he can run over you with power. I anticipate a lot of 8-12 yard gains after some little dumpoffs over the middle to him. All in all I want to see him in the game at least 20-30% of the snaps either lead blocking, pass protecting or going out for a pass.

My best guess is that they will activate Maclin and try to work in some stuff to him. I'd bet my ham sandwich that I'm eating right now that they throw at least 1 quick hitch to him this game if he's active.

One good thing about this game is the Panthers are a little banged up too, we're going to be down Herremans and Bradley, with guys like Andrews and Andrews coming back from injury, the Panthers are down Kemoatu and guys like Beason and Stewart aren't locks to play, Steve Smith had a hand injury recently too but I can't imagine that will slow him down.

Enkephalin said...

Really? Desean Jackson is more dynamic than Brian Westbrook? Granted, he's our most dynamic wide receiver/PR, but I think that Westbrook will have more touches, more big plays, and more touchdowns at the end of the season. In my book, that makes him more dynamic.

Tommy Lawlor said...

Westy never really looked dynamic last year. He played really well vs ATL and ARZ, but still lacked his usual magic. I hope he gets it back, but age + wear and tear could slow him down just a notch.

DeSean is an electric presence every time he touches the ball. Because of that I'd call him the more dynamic player.

Westy is still more productive and more important.

This sure beats the heck out of an argument about Duce Staley and Charles Johnson, huh?

Cliff said...

Agreed on DeSean. Westbrook is more *important* and more *instrumental* to the offense, but DeSean is the more *dynamic* player, i.e. he has the greater possibility of making big plays.

Andy will get DeSean the ball on screens, punt returns, deep balls, reverses, etc. Westbrook is battling age, injury and probably less touches this season as McCoy gains confidence.

And hey, maybe DeSean will be our Wildcat guy. If Madden '10 is at all realistic, he'd get 10 yards a carry MINIMUM. LOL!