I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again. You can’t beat good veteran quarterbacks by blitzing them in the playoffs. I’ve think we’ve seen that during Jim Johnson’s tenure as the defensive coordinator.
Although the Birds had tremendous success in the regular season during the Johnson years with their blitz, they were only able to force a total of one fumble and one interception in four NFC Championship game losses and one Super Bowl loss. That’s two turnovers in five games. That’s losing defensive football.
In the playoffs, you normally play against veteran quarterbacks, who are playing at the top of their games. They recognize the blitz and get rid of the football.
If one of the Eagles defensive backs misses a tackle, then you’ve got a big play. The Packers receivers may be the best group of receivers in the league and they’re outstanding when it comes to running with the ball after the catch.
Now let’s get to the biggest question of the week. How should Sean McDermott and the Eagles try to stop Aaron Rodgers and the Packers passing offense?
The Birds have allowed 31 touchdown passes this season which is an average of almost two per game. I know you’ve heard how bad the Eagles defense is in the red zone. Well, it should convert you to know that according to Philly.com, Rodgers has a 107.4 quarterback rating in the red zone.
Should they blitz Rodgers and try to get hits on him, knowing that he isn’t that far away from a concussion? Can they get enough pressure on him with the front four or will they be forced to blitz?
McDermott should be able to pick up some tips from the Bears vs. Packers tape since Chicago was able to hold them to 10 points.
Every time you blitz them, you leave your defensive backs in one-on-one situations. Every time you go after him, you leave Dimitri Patterson or Joselio Hanson by themselves in man-to-man situations.
You know that the Eagles right cornerback position is suspect and will be a target of Rodgers and the Packers. The Birds have to be ready for it.
They can use a safety to help deep on the coverage then have the corners move up and jam the receiver. Patterson or Hanson must change where they lining up. Sometimes they could be up and sometimes they could play back.
Do you play a bend but don’t break style of defense? They could play a loose zone and give Rodgers and his receivers all the short routes. I don’t think it would be a good idea to give anything to Rodgers.
Despite some ups nd downs during the season, he had the highest quarterback rating in the NFC at 101.2.
You could play a lot of double-zone coverages and take away the deep throws to their wide receivers. That would leave middle linebacker Jamar Chaney alone with one of the Packers tight ends down the middle of the defense. Their tight ends are anything special, so this might be a good option.
Their wide receivers are talented and each of them can beat you if they’re not covered. Greg Jennings can make all the plays and he’s got big time speed. He beat Ellis Hobbs for a touchdown during the first game of the season.
Donald Driver is a bit older but he still has the deep speed and he catches everything that Rodgers throws. Driver and Jennings are Rodgers two favorite targets, but he does have confidence in the others.
James Jones is another playmaker for Rodgers to get the ball to. He makes the great catch, but will occasionally drop an easy pass.
Wide receiver Jordy Nelson has tremendous size, but he’s also capable of getting deep if you don’t keep an eye on him.
None of the tight ends have the talent of Jermichael Finley but they are capable of making plays on occasion. I would try to take away the wide receivers and force the tight ends to beat me.
I think the only real answer for the Birds defense is defensive end Trent Cole and his buddies up front. They must put pressure on Rodgers without relying on the blitz.
I saw the Giants try to blitz Rodgers and he picked them apart. The Bears didn’t do very much blitzing but they were able to get pressure on him with the four man pass rush. They nearly scored 50 points on the Giants but the Bears held them to 10 points.
Somebody get Trent Cole on the phone, we’ve got to get him motivated for a great performance on Sunday.