- Be ready for bootlegs off of playaction, especially to Brent Celek
The Eagles' new quarterback Kevin Kolb, while started two games for the team last year, but this Sunday will be his first career start as the undisputed starter and for a playoff team no less. While the Eagles boast some excellent young talent in their receiving corps and they no doubt are licking their chops at the prospect of isolating Sam Sheilds on DeSean Jackson, you can bet Andy Reid will protect his young quarterback early on by utilizing some rollouts and bootlegs and having him complete throws to tight end Brent Celek and second year back LeSean McCoy out of the backfield.
Both Brad Jones and Clay Matthews played very sparingly during training camp and throughout preseason. They will need to fight the urge to do too much and stay disciplined when a play is seemingly going away from them. Both second year players were guilty of blowing contain on more than one occasion during their rookie campaigns.
Look for Reid and Eagles' offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to use a lot of three and five step drops with the occasional rollout for Kolb to try and hit some easy completions. At the same time, Dom Capers and the defense need to be aware of the deep ball out of what look like running sets. One of Reid's favorite things to do is throw deep out of power running formations. This tendency actually could end up helping the Packers, as it would mean Shields would not be on the field when the Eagles are trying to get one over the top to Jackson. Also, look for late releasing tight ends or backs on those deep throws to give Kolb an outlet if the deep pattern is covered. It's an old trick, but Reid has used it for year to great effect.
- Raji needs to make life miserable for Jamaal Jackson
I could not agree more with LeRoy Butler (A shocker, I know) who had this for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today (sorry, sub required):
The Eagles’ center, Jamal Jackson, had ACL surgery in the off-season and now is Raji’s chance to show why he was the ninth pick in the draft and prove to everyone he can be a dominant nose guard. Raji has a quick first step and seeing Jackson is coming back from knee surgery, he might be a little slow reacting. Raji has to use that first step to get by him and maybe cause some bad snaps by getting him thinking about it too much. I’m expecting big things from him.
Raji isn't here to rush the passer. He's hear to wreak havoc and to take up blockers. And he'll be facing a player in Jackson who had ACL surgery on January 5th and who did not return to action until...last...week. I've been a bit critical of Raji and I know all the circumstances around his sluggish start last year. By the end of the 2009 season, he was making one or two explosive plays a game. He needs to pick up right where he left off by making life miserable for Jackson and, by extension, Kolb right from the first snap on Sunday.
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