• January 20, 2022

The Eagles Need A Big Game This Week From Their Defensive Line

Sean McDermott and the Eagles defense will have their work cut out for them on Sunday when they face quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Mike Turner, tight end Tony Gonzalez, wide receiver Roddy White and the rest of the Atlanta Falcons offense.

They present some major problems because they are a balanced offense.   As you can see by the names and positions I’ve mentioned the Falcons can do damage to your defense by either running on throwing the football.

The Falcons have one major chink in their armor and it’s a big chink, their offensive line.  The Eagles defensive line must dominate Atlanta’s “O” line when they try to run, then beat them and get to Ryan when the Falcons try to pass.  It’s that simple.

If the Eagles don’t win the battle upfront versus the Falcons, I don’t think they’re going to win the football game.

The first line of business for the Eagles defense will be to stop Turner on the ground, but they might have to do it without an eighth man in the box.  It’s going to be very difficult to bring a safety up with White and Gonzalez running routes against your secondary.

The Eagles not only have to stop Turner but they must also deal with his fellow running back Jason Snelling.  Turner is the bigger of the two but Snelling runs just as hard.  They’re both averaging at least 4.5 yards a carry.

Their offense used to be built around Turner and their running game, but it isn’t any longer.  Now Ryan has the ability to carry this football team with his arm.

The young franchise quarterback is a good athlete with a strong and accurate arm.  He can make all the throws, plus he’s experienced enough to read the blitz looks.

“He’s a very intelligent guy and a very good player”, Andy Reid said yesterday when describing Ryan. “That’s normally a good combination there. He has exceptional athletic ability, strong arm, great timing, gets the ball out of his hands and doesn’t hold on to the football. He’s got good accuracy. He’s a Pro Bowl quarterback and that’s what he is. He’s a caliber player.”

The Eagles defense is  going to be forced to take their chances at times. I repeat the defensive line has got to win their battle with the Falcons offensive line.

I don’t like the thought of White and the other starting wide receiver Michael Jenkins getting the chance to run deep routes against Asante Samuel, Ellis Hobbs, Joselio Hanson, Dimitri Patterson and Trevard Lindley.  White is a big wide receiver with blazing speed.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, the Eagles cornerbacks aren’t blazers.  You can beat them deep.  We’ve seen Hanson torched deep a couple of times in the preseason and Hobbs has been on the burners by the Packers.

I saw a hightlight of White torching former Eagle and current Cleveland cornerback Sheldon Brown for a touchdown last week.

He’s a complete receiver, who will work the short inside stuff, but also take you deep.

Jenkins will return this week from injury, but he’s not quite as good as White but he’s also big and fast.  We’ll have to wait and see how quickly Ryan develops the confidence in him again.

As for Gonzalez who happens to be the greatest pass receiving tight end in the history of the NFL, all we can do is hold our breaths.  You and I know how much trouble the Eagles have with tight ends.  Some how, they’re going to have to take Gonzalez away from Ryan without double-teaming him.

Did I already say that the defensive line has got to win the battle upfront?  The big boys upfront must play well, which means stopping the running game to get the Falcons in third and longs.  Ryan has been sacked 10 times already, so you can get to him.

It’s a good thing the Birds are playing at home.  The crowd has to be a factor on 3rd down by making it too loud for Ryan to check out of plays.


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  • I agree if we don’t ring matt ryan’s bell early we’re toast

  • Which team in the NFC has a good offensive line? Seriously? The mentioned problem every team that is considered to be a decent or good team is the o-line. So exactly who has a good one. Either we are vastly overblowing how bad some olines actually are or if the play really has been comparable so their should be no excuses or blaming the oline if every single good team has problems there. Just my thoughts.

  • Somehow we’re favored by 3.

  • Mr. Cobb. You believe Gonzales is better than the first Kellen Winslow, and Antonio Gates in his prime?

  • and what about Dave Casper?

  • We Need a Big Game From #10 too…If we can’t get him the ball to make some big plays…we don’t win this game

  • Ryan is a classic pocket passer who likes to step up and make his throws..
    There must be a good push up the middle and make him move laterally, Ryan is not very athletic to run away from anyone so the key to this game is not allowing him to step up and set his feet..
    Also the D/L must get their arms/hands up for he has a tendency to throw “low” balls which can be batted/tipped/defelcted at the line of scrimmage..

  • Watch for the Falcons 3rd/4th WR’s to do some damage also with H Douglas and B Finneran..
    The Falcons have one of the deepest WR corps in the NFL..
    The also have a a versatile/tough RB in J Snelling who is 5-11- 230lbs and can catch the ball out of the backfield and spell Turner once in a while… Snelling is the type RB who gives the Eagles Fits,
    shifty,compact,built low to the ground and tough to bring down..I worry about him more than Turner who is more of a straight North & South Runner who runs straight up and the key is getting him to cut and change directions before hitting the line of scrimmage and get him running East & West
    (Turner’s style is similar to Brandon Jacobs of the Giants which the Eagles usually handle pretty well)

  • Thought Matt Ryan was a great QB in college and he stepped right in in Atlanta
    I am willing to bet they don’t miss Vick ( as a QB not the felon part) at all

  • Atlanta FAlcons is a good team who is built for the long-run
    things happened the last 2-3 years to get this Organization back on track
    #1) Hired Assistant-GM T Dimitrov from the Patriots to become GM of the Falcons
    #2) Hired former D/Coordinatro M Smith to become Head Coach
    #3) Drafted QB M Ryan as the new face,leader of the Franchise

    This team has become more physical,more discplined with better character players than years past.
    GM Dimitrov comes from the Patriots system and is used to building a roster thru the Draft and not overpaying,againg over the hill players..He knows how to draft,go after selected free-agenst and manage the Salary-Cap. Coach M Smith is a no-nonsense,straight forward coach whose players love to play for. He doesn’t sugar-coat things or get too high or too low, He has a perfect temperment for a young rebuilding Franchise.. I think the Falcons are #1 team right now in the NFC but still have a lot to prove.. They are probably a year or 2 away from being a consistently good Playoff team but are defintely on the right path.. Eagle Fans who think of the Falcons from years past or even last years game in which Ryan & Turner didn’t play are in for a rude awakening, this team is a legitimate playoff team and a serious contender for representing the NFC in the Super Bowl in 2010 and will be good for the near future…
    I think many fans will be surprised of how “Physical” the Falcons play now..This should be a
    a great game and the strongest all-around opponent the Eagles have played so far and could have playoff ramifications for the Eagles for down the road being annother NFC Conference game…

  • Of course they don’t miss Vick. He wasn’t a very good QB in regards of being an actual QB and they drafted a good player. If they didn’t get a good player, they’d still want him. You generally don’t miss players when you’ve replaced them with good or better players. I think that’s pretty obvious.

  • Paulman, I agree. Right now, they look like the best team in the conference and the team with the least holes. But that’s not surprising to me. The year before last they were a playoff team and had a better record than we did and last year, injuries kept them out the playoffs. They are a very good and solid football team and anyone thinking this is going to be like playing them the last 2 years is going to be in for a big shock. The thing we have going for us is that we are home. If this was a road game, I think they’d beat us by double digits. We would keep it close for a half or so but they’d pull away. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how it was this week. Interestingly enough we are 0-2 at home. I do wonder if Kolb feels more pressure playing at home because he wants to put on a good performance for the fans but making a mistakes brings the boo birds out. On the road, that pressure if gone because if you make mistakes, no one is booing you.


    Running from the pass

    Everyone says this is a pass-happy era, the golden age of quarterbacks, right? Teams are using the short pass to offset lack of a run game and everyone is slinging the ball around the place. All that stuff.

    But, my friends, everything in moderation. Even with the rule changes to open up the game and the way QBs are protected, throwing too much tends to hurt you in the turnover battle and ultimately on the scoreboard. Consider this:

    Teams are 7-19 this season when their quarterback throws for at least 300 yards. Only two teams have winning records when their QB goes for 300 yards or more; Chicago and Houston are both 1-0 in those circumstances (on the flip side, the Cowboys, Colts and Chargers are a combined 2-6). Jay Cutler threw for 372 yards in Week 1 vs. the Lions, and won (with help from the Calvin Johnson ruling in the end zone). Matt Schaub went for 497 at Washington and still barely won, in overtime, with considerable help from the Redskins.

    Meantime, teams with a 100-yard rusher are 21-10 this season. I’m just sayin’.

  • Falcons average 160 yds per game Rushing and the Eagles 130 yrds per game Rushing
    The Biggest difference is that the Falcons commit to the run and get their yards from RB Tuner/Snelling
    whicl the Eagle tend to abandon the run and still get a lot of rushing yards from their QB (Vick/Kolb)
    on broke down,scramble plays

  • I remember Howard Eskin always stating the fact that when QBs throw 300 or more the teams lose more than they win

  • G:
    I’m hanging on here. This team has to establish leaders on the field in weeks like this. Some young football player has to come of age on this team, now. I don’t just mean Kolb. The implications of the injury to Leonard Weaver get bigger and bigger every week on offense and the defense has holes. They have to got to rise to this occasion, because the Falcons are a good team getting better. I like Allen at safety. Maybe he’ll make a play or two. He’s been playing some good ball.
    So how are the Eagles doing? Eh, the rushing defense….

  • Paulman, exactly. Sometimes you can have a good rushing day but that doesn’t mean you committed to the run. You just had some nice long runs that make it look good. But sometimes you have to be committed when you are only getting 3 yards here and there. That’s what Washington did to us and other teams that can will do the same. It’s a mentality and it’s about when you run the ball. Don’t be up by 14 points in the 4th quarter and run the ball for the majority of the quarter and tell me you have a balanced offense. It’s about being balanced throughout the entire game.

  • drummer, I’m with you man. Running never goes out of style. I don’t care what anyone says. Teams that don’t run the ball, can’t. It’s not like they don’t want to run the ball. They just aren’t good at it. But when a team can enforce their will on you and push you all over the field, they will. They will not pass the ball if they don’t have to. Many people wanted to point out last year of how both teams were passing teams but they also had good rushing attacks. They weren’t the best but they were good enough to keep their teams balanced throughout the year. And that’s what you want. I don’t care about passing the majority of the time. I care about when you run the ball. Be balanced throughout the entire game. Teams that can run the ball and play very good defense are often the top teams in the league. There are always some exceptions but those team are usually the ones that give other teams fits. And when your team is getting gashed by the run constantly, it takes the air out of the building like no passing play can.

  • The thing about the run argument Drummer, is that despite your hope for a swinging of the pendulum towards running the ball, the league has currently on pace to break the record for net passing yards. With more running backs catching the ball out of the backfield, more use of pass catching tight ends, and that stat I just mentioned, the facts just don’t support your wish….

  • With more 3-4 WR Sets and the TE’s of today are just as athletic as WR but bigger and stronger..
    See lots of TE’s who are 6’5″/6’6″/6’7″ who are great athletes
    A position that is kind of missing these days is the true FB, may Colleges at the Div I level now employ
    the “Spread offense” and don’t use a true FB so when it comes to draft time, there are less and less of them around ..

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