Earlier this season, we talked to JasonB from the Eagles’ blog Bleeding Green Nation. Well, that was in Week 1. Oh my oh my how have things changed since September. Michael Vick was still a backup to Kevin Kolb. The Packers were 100% and gearing up for a special season. It is only fitting that these two teams, completely different than what the looked like at the start of the season, to meet to start the second season of the 2010 NFL season.
We checked in with JasonB again to get a better look at the Eagles for the second time around.
1) What is Michael Vick’s health status? How much will it be a factor in his effectiveness on Sunday?
The Eagles says he’s completely good to go. He picked up a quad contusion against the Vikings, but most people assume he would have been able to play last week if the game meant anything. He was a full participant in practice today, so it seems like he and DeSean Jackson are all set to go. At this point, we would have no reason to believe he would be limited in any way on Sunday.
2) Two weeks ago the Vikings blitzed pretty effectively against the Eagles and now they face perhaps the best blitzing defense in the league, how do you think they will fare?
Well, every team in the second half of this season has basically employed the strategy of blitzing Vick constantly. It’s had varying degrees of success, but usually it works for a quarter or two and then comes back to bite a team (see, Giants). For the Vikings, it just worked. I don’t really think they didn’t anything much different than what the Giants or Cowboys had tried to do… it just worked for them. I think a large part of the reason was that they hurt Vick early. He’s taken a ton of brutal shots this year, but that game against the Vikings was the only time that it really appeared to slow him down. He was limping all night and it really seemed to affect his accuracy, which I think in turn kinda hurt his confidence. One of the more shocking things about Vick this year is just how accurate a passer he has been, so when he hurt the quad and that base wasn’t there his accuracy suffered and I’m not sure if he knew what to deal with it.
3) The Packers’ defense have been susceptible to the run at times this year, but do you expect Andy Reid to give more focus to LeSean McCoy, when he is normally a “pass-first” coach?
No, not particularly. There’s nothing to suggest in the over a decade’s worth of evidence of the way Andy Reid approaches games to suggest that he’ll run the ball more against a team because they’re susceptible to the run.
4) It seems like the Eagle’s pass defense isn’t the strongest unit and has a penchant of giving up big plays at times, how do you think they will curb this trend against Aaron Rodgers?
That was a very diplomatic way of describing the Eagles pass defense you had there. I’d say it just flat out stinks… As to how they might fix it? I would hope they just try to blitz more often than they have. Outside of Asante Samuel, it’s just not a great coverage unit. So, rather than try to play zones and get pressure from basically one good pass rusher… why not throw extra guys at Rodgers and hope for the best? They were able to force him into a couple picks in week one, so possibly they could get him to make some mistakes this weekend as well. The Eagles cover guys are not good enough to just sit back and cover the Packers WRs, so I think they have to do something to dictate how the game comes to them.
5) A lot has changed for both teams since they met in Week 1, in your opinon what is the biggest difference in facing the Packers 17 weeks later?
Well for the Eagles it’s clearly that Michael Vick is running the show on offense. In that week one game, it was almost hard to believe that the Eagles offense was the team in the second half of that game. Vick himself nearly accounted for 300 yards of offense in just the second half, they scored 17 points and damn near came back to win the game. From the second half of that game on, the Eagles offense has been the best in the NFC. So that’s the biggest difference. The Eagles went into the game with a young QB and an offense with weapons but you weren’t sure how it would come together… to the top offensive team in the conference.
Hopefully this won’t be the last Q&A we have this season, but thanks again to JasonB for joining us to kick off the playoffs. Make to check out Bleeding Green Nation before Sunday’s game for some great insight from the Philly perspective.