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CheeseheadTV Matchup: Week One Defense

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CheeseheadTV Matchup: Week One Defense

  • 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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Ryeguy812's picture

What!? No video???

packeraaron's picture

Lol - can't cut up video here at work... I cut up the Colledge video earlier.

dgtalmn's picture

Sorry but Raji has really not impressed me. For someone to be taken so high in the draft I have not seen the impact. AS Aaron stated, one or two plays per game won't cut it.

WoodyG's picture

When has Raji had that opportunity to impress anyone? ....... He's a starter for the 1st time at NT in only his second year ...... I hope fans don't start setting expectations for Raji based on his draft status ala AJ & Harrell ....... Not all 1st round picks are created equal.

Oppy's picture

D-line players rarely make an inpact in their rookie year- it does happen, but it is few and far between.

Raji missed most of TC his rookie year, due to his contract situation. Yes, this was he and his agent's doing, but none the less, that will certainly have an effect on his rookie showing.

He missed significant time due to a serious ankle sprain the first half of the season, and continued to play on a not-fully-recovered ankle the rest of the season.. Which for a 340+ lbs. guy can have an effect on your performance, especially when agility and quickness is a part of your game.

Had to learn a completely new system and position. In college Raji was a DT who was used to penetrate and wreck havoc in the backfield regularly, as opposed to a DE who is expected to tie up blockers and hold steadfast.

In short, judging Raji on his rookie campaign is probably not a good gauge of his talent or potential. He had numerous things working against him. Give the kid some time, he has all the tools, and he's smart. He will be a player.

MarkinMadison's picture

But also try to recognize the role that Raji is now being asked to play as an NT in a 3-4 defense. Pickett didn't have any clips on Sports Center last year and the Pack still handed him a big fat contract - because he did what they needed him to do. Raji needs to force the Eagles to put two blockers on him consistently. Sacks or other sensational plays are great, but only if they come within the context of the system.

Jeremy's picture

Aaron, you make a great point that with Raji in base and Jenkins with hopefully Neal in nickel getting a bigger push up the middle it's even more important for Matthews and Jones to keep contain. They should be able to clean up the mess when the qb or rb is chased outside.

NickGBP's picture

From Original Post: "I could not agree more with LeRoy Butler (A shocker, I know) who had this for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today (sorry, sub required)"

Sub required? Only if you're technologically inept ;).

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