EAGLES: Sack happy
Team Report: Inside Slant
Inside Slant | Notes and Quotes | Strategy and Personnel
The return of cornerback Lito Sheppard has provided a much-needed boost to the Eagles' pass defense. Sheppard injured his ankle on the first series of the Eagles' Week 1 win over Houston and missed the next three games.
His absence was compounded in Week 2 by a heel injury to nickel corner Rod Hood, who has missed the last 2 games.
Sheppard returned to the lineup Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys and had two big fourth-quarter interceptions to help preserve the Eagles' important 38-24 win, which ran their record to 4-1.
The Eagles sacked quarterback Drew Bledsoe seven times and got him to cough up the football four times, including three interceptions. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's game plan was to pressure Bledsoe and contain wide receivers Terry Glenn and Terrell Owens.
They kept both of their safeties back in coverage most of the game, which opened up some running room for Julius Jones and Marion Barber. But Johnson was willing to live with that if it meant shutting down Glenn and Owens.
And the strategy worked. The Eagles held the two talented wideouts to a collective 8 catches for 106 mostly harmless yards and no touchdowns.
"We knew if we didn't give (Glenn and Owens) any big plays, we were basically going to win the game," Sheppard said.
Going into the game, the Eagles pass defense had had its problems. With both Sheppard and Hood on the shelf, they gave up five touchdown passes and 18 plays of 20 yards or more in the first four games.
But Sheppard's return has helped stop the bleeding, and Hood could be back for either Sunday's game at New Orleans or next week's game at Tampa. His replacement, NFL Europe alum Joselio Hanson, has played well the last two weeks. Sunday, he was matched up man-to-man with Owens every time the five-time Pro Bowler lined up in the slot. Owens had just three receptions for 45 yards.
This week, the defense won't be able to be as generous with the enemy ground game. Johnson almost certainly will have to put strong safety Mike Lewis up in the box a lot to deal with the Saints' 1-2 running punch of Deuce McAllister and rookie sensation Reggie Bush. Bush also is a threat in the passing game. He's got a league-high 34 receptions after five games.
With Sheppard, and possibly Hood, back in the lineup, though, Johnson will be a little more willing to take a safety out of coverage. "You could kind of gradually see Lito becoming more aggressive and confident as the game went on Sunday," coach Andy Reid said. "The first couple of throws were in front of him, and then he progressively started to challenge the ball more. At the end there, he was all over it."
I hope that is the idea. Drew will have a field day. big game from the OL will be needed. they look better with each game.
they are gelling
RE: EAGLES: Sack happy
Put that safety in the box...we got something for him called the hammer...put bush in the slot and that puts colston and Horn in single coverage...I like those odds
RE: EAGLES: Sack happy
closton horn henderson bush or ernie. 300+ for drew. run just enough to keep them honest
It is going to be a great chess match between Jim Johnson and Payton...they have gone head to head several times and this should be a good one.
I believe that this will be the week that we will open up the vertical passing game.
Boom or bust will be the theme of our offense this Sunday.
Drew has checked down so much in the previous 5 weeks.
I believe Sean will green light him to take some chances downfield.
With Devery coming back this week (if he can catch the ball) we have an opportunity to do to the Eagles what we did to the Falcons.
Hit them in the mouth and control the game.
They will have 8 in the box to slow the leading reciever in the NFL.
Throw downfield and stun them!
I think it will be hard for our WR's to beat their corners deep...they have 2 very good cover corners and it is going to be a challenge to beat them deep...especially against their complex blitz packages.
A few Colston slants out of the slot should get their safeties cheating.
Add Reggie screen passes that they will be looking for already.
The O-line has given Drew protection thus far.
I like Joe's chances 1on1 downfield.
BTW, Devery and his SPEED adds another dimension that we have'nt had during our 4-1 run.
Oh, The possibilities!
We can beat these guys!
I been looking at this game all week was worried in the beginning but if you think about it WHO have the eagles beaten . Answer noone
I was originally thinking about selling my tickets for this game. I have band practice on Sundays and I have some friends who are constantly after me for tickets.
As the week progressed, not only do I think we have a chance to win this game, I actually think WE WILL. And, I want to be there.
I think we should run the ball down their throat with Deuce, once they respect the run then I'd play action like hell, but we need to run the ball often keeping McNabb where he belongs, the sidelines.
IMO if we have a good day with our running game we win, or at least have a good chance at winning.
If they shut our run down it could be a long day for us, J. Jones however ran the ball against them 26 times for 100 yards, Deuce can do a lot better...
Bush might have a big day tomorrow, (Will he get his second TD against the Eagles?)
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