Game Preview

Posted: November 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 38 Comments »

I wrote about the game for

I trust the Eagles offense.  They scored 24 on Chicago in 2009 and then 26 last year.  The key, as I state in the column, is scoring TDs.  Last year we failed to do that in the RZ and it cost us.

The defense has a great opportunity.  Matt Forte is a big, fast RB and is having a great year.  If the defense can keep him under control, I think the Bears will struggle to move the ball.  Jay Cutler is really talented, but can be an erratic QB at times.

We must pressure him, but with discipline.  Don’t let him escape and throw.  Keep him bottled up and get inside pressure as well.


* Jason Babin needs to be disciplined.  He loves to use spin moves to the inside.  This could burn us in regard to letting Forte and/or Cutler out wide.  Jason can still use the spin moves, but needs to be judicious.  Better to play outside-in and keep Cutler/Forte boxed in.

* Jamar Chaney has struggled at times with tackling big RBs in space.  Michael Turner ran right through him for a TD in the Atlanta game.  Forte is a big challenge for Chaney.  Jamar must show that he can wrap up and take down big RBs on his own.  Chaney’s confidence should be pretty high since his level of play has improved.

* Thank god Greg Olsen is gone.  Glad the Bears got rid of him.

* We could very well come out throwing tonight.  Big Red went run heavy last week, but part of that was his fear of Dallas and their elaborate blitzing.  Chicago hasn’t blitzed all that much this year and they run a 4-3, a more stable defense.  Chicago also doesn’t have a great secondary.  Very possible that Reid decides to attack the Bears through the air for a lot of the 1st half.

* Reid said WR Steve Smith showed more zip in practice.  I wonder if that means we’ll see him on the field more in this game.

* If I’m Mike Martz, I attack to the right side.  Make Babin play run defense.  Also, you’re running at Asante Samuel.  That’s also where Moise Fokou is most of the time.  Dallas had their best run to that side.

* Is this a game to blitz?  We’ve done very little of it this year.  The DL has gotten good pressure.  Maybe you mix in more blitzes to try and catch the Bears OL off guard and to pressure Cutler into some bad throws.  Hopefully the D-line will do such a good job with pressure that there is just no reason to blitz.

* TE screens seem to work better against 3-4 teams so I’m not expecting us to stick with that play tonight, but it won’t bother me if we at least try it a time or two.

* Mike Vick needs to be smart with this throws.  He’s facing some tall DL in Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije.  Those guys can tip passes and that’s asking for trouble with ballhawks like Brian Urlacher and DJ Moore in the middle of the field.

* I would love to see us get an early lead and force the Bears to go into pass happy mode.  That matchup should favor us big time.  All the more reason to think Reid will want to throw early.

* I’m curious to see how the team responds to last week’s blowout win.  Last year we blew out the Jags and Skins.  Neither was a good team and the games were awkward wins.  In 2009  we blew out the Panthers, Giants,  and Falcons.  Those games also came easy.

I felt like last week we dominated an opponent and it was more about us than them.  Jake Delhomme didn’t throw 5 INTs.  The Dallas defense didn’t give up 50, 60, 70, or 80 yard TDs.  We didn’t dominate a backup QB or highly injured team.

The last time we had a game like this was the 2008 season finale, also against Dallas.  We won 44-6 and manhandled them.  The team took confidence from that win and won 2 road playoff games in the next 2 weeks.  I’d love to see the current Eagles also build off the Dallas win by playing good football and winning some big games.

* Is it 8:30 yet?

* * * * *

Buddy Ryan will be honored at halftime tonight.  That’s awesome.  I’m a big Buddy fan.  He’s one of the primary reasons that I’m an Eagles fan.

I’ve written a lot about Buddy over the years.  I wish I had the time to put together some long piece on him today, but gamedays are crazy.

It is great for the Eagles to honor Buddy.  He is an important part of Eagles history.  He never won a playoff game and he get over-praised at times, but he got this franchise back on the right track and put together some amazing teams.

The Eagles were very good under Dick Vermiel.  Once he left things weren’t so great.  If not for the hiring of Ryan, the Eagles might have remained a poor franchise.  Instead, he brought in talent and attitude.  Lots of both, actually.   We needed the talent to compete with Landry, Parcells, and Gibbs.  We needed the attitude so that we wouldn’t be afraid of those coaches and their great players.  We didn’t wait our turn.  Buddy had us trying to win ASAP.

The Ryan era left us with great memories, but lots of regret as well.  Still, I’d rather have that be the case than some other coach who delivered neither.

The best thing about Buddy…he does bleed Eagles green.  He was mad at his son Rob this summer for accepting the job as Dallas defensive coordinator.  That is beautiful.  Maybe Buddy will sneak into the locker room tonight and offer up a bounty on Rob.  “Somebody take out that fat bastard running the Dallas defense in the rematch and I’ve got $500 for him.”   Sure, Rob is his son, but Buddy is Buddy.  And we wouldn’t want it any other way.

* * * * *

Reuben Frank posted some great Buddy stories.  Be sure to check it out.

Here’s another Frank column with some quotes from Buddy about tonight.  Great stuff.

38 Comments on “Game Preview”

  1. 1 Ben Hert said at 12:55 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    “* Is this a game to blitz? We’ve done very little of it this year. The DL has gotten good pressure. Maybe you mix in more blitzes to try and catch the Bears OL off guard and to pressure Cutler into some bad throws. Hopefully the D-line will do such a good job with pressure that there is just no reason to blitz.”

    I really think this is going to be key. Pressuring Cutler is the best way to defeat him. If we can sack him, all the better, but not letting him sit in the pocket and have the time to make decisions is the most important thing we can do in terms of stopping Cutler. I can also see bringing 6 or 7 on obvious run plays could be huge, as getting to Forte before he gets into space could be a big key to counteracting what you said about Chaney getting in the open field with big RBs.

  2. 2 Eric Weaver said at 1:30 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    I’m just hoping Asante isn’t torched by some double moves by Hester again.

  3. 3 Jimmy Kempski said at 1:51 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Great point on Olsen. Completely forgot about him. This will be a rare game where I have absolutely zero fear of the opponent’s TE.

  4. 4 Eric Weaver said at 2:08 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Yeah, driving yesterday I was thinking about the game and said to myself, “wait, who is their TE now? No Olsen, thank god.”

  5. 5 Alex Karklins said at 2:09 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    I love Buddy, but that quote: “If we had had the owner they have there now,” Ryan said, “we would have probably won five or six Super Bowls.” is a little Uncle Rico-ish, don’t you think?

  6. 6 Anonymous said at 2:29 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Nope. It is one million percent fact. Or more.

  7. 7 Alex Karklins said at 2:44 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Of course. What was I thinking?

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 3:56 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    The entire Ryan family could be inducted into the HOF based only on theoretical Super Bowls.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 5:19 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    The are in the virtual HOF, speaking of which Anthony Carfagno is a lock for, when his virtual career is over.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 2:10 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Tommy —

    A couple of reactions to some random comments . . . and Buddy.

    I think the Eagles went heavy on the run to past two weeks to shorten the game as much as anything. There’s no doubt this offense can score. The problem, until the past two games, was leaving plenty of time for the opponent to score. [Of course, I defer to any inside info you may have had in framing your opinion that Dallas’s exotic blitzes pushed Red to run.]

    I think you’re right . . . the Eagles come out firing in the air. Success’ll depend on Pass-Pro.

    Anyway, like I said, I think Big Red confident the Eagles will put up points. But when they get a lead, Red’s gotta go to running the ball.

    If he still has the 49ers game plan, Andy needs to burn it, go the beach in Margate NJ, and throw the ashes into the ocean. NEVER AGAIN!

    A couple of Buddy’s best lines.

    In 1985, Ernest Jackson led the Eagles in rushing with 1,028 yards (3.6 YPC). Buddy drafted RBs Keith Byars and Anthony Toney 1-2 in the 1986 draft, so Jackson’s days were clearly numbered.

    When asked about Jackson, Buddy said: “I’d trade for a 6-pack of beer . . . and it doesn’t even have to be cold.”

    Kevin Allen was another target. He ranks right there w/ Jon Harris as among the worst 1st-round picks in Eagles history. The Eagles passed on Ohio State All American Jim Lachey to select K-Allen from the Univ of Indiana with the 9th overall pick in 1985. Lachey went 12th to S.D. and within a couple years was the cornerstone of the Redskins “new Hogs” — and a perennial All Pro.

    Anyway, a reporter asks Buddy about Allen, who struggled as a rookie after missing most of training camp w/ a contract holdout (a trademark of the 1st rounders during the Norman Braman/Harry Gamble regime). Allen played terribly once he joined the team.

    During the 1986 camp, Allen seemed to have allergies that kept on the sidelines quite a bit.

    So in response to the reporter’s question, Buddy said: “He’s pretty good at standing around and killing grass.”

    But Buddy’s ULTIMATE QUOTE . . . after the 1989 Bounty Bowl game between the Eagles and the Cowboys — Jimmy Johnson’s first year as coach — Buddy was asked something by a reporter about the Cowboys.

    Buddy’s response: “Who the hell are the Cowboys. We beat them every time.) And indeed Buddy won his last 7 straight against the ‘Boys.

    God’s speed to Buddy.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 3:10 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Good stuff.

    Always love Buddy stories.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 7:05 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Yeah, the Buddy/Randall/Reggie/Gang green teams were the pinnacle for those of us who fell in love with the Eagles during the late 80s and early 90s.

    Being that I was a teen for much of that time, and thought my high school football team was the most important football team in the world, and girls were the most important thing overall … plenty of these stories are new to me even though I followed the Eagles then. I follow details much more closely now.

    Please continue telling the stories in any way, shape or form. They are awesome.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 2:30 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    I keep playing this game in my head and I only have one conclusion: no turnovers (we don’t have to win the turnover battle, just no turnovers) + no ST TDs by the Bears = Eagles Win. We matchup well against them on defense and our offense should still score 24. Don’t beat ourselves!

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 3:16 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Chicago doesn’t win unless we help them. We’ve done that this year, but not the last couple of weeks. Hoping that trend continues.

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 3:32 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    I don’t know that I agree that we matchup well on defense. If we don’t come out and score early and often, Forte will be a key factor in the game. Our defense, despite playing a whole lot better still struggles at times against the run. Against Dallas, our defense benefited a ton from the offense getting a big lead early and limiting the run game for Dallas, but whenever Dallas did run, they were gaining huge yards. Hopefully our defense can improve the run defense or our offense can control the tempo of the game, otherwise, this will be a very tough game for us.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 4:00 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Dallas ran really well early, but we got better as the game went on.

    Still, that’s a legit concern.

    I don’t think you’re as nervous about going to an 8-man front vs CHI as you might have been against Witten, Austin, Bryant, etc.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 5:29 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    That is definitely a good point about the 8-man front. Hester’s speed is a concern, but the Bears passing offense doesn’t scare me all that much, especially considering we should be able to get pressure on Cutler with our Dline. Still, Forte has shown that he can be a very good running back against much better run defenses than ours. I think we are the better team, but in terms of matchups, Forte is a major concern, no matter how you look at it. We have given a fair share of big plays to RBs, but if we can limit them, or at least limit the long TDs, I think we should win. From the Bears standpoint though, I would be coming out and making the Eagles prove they can stop Forte.

  18. 18 Jonathan said at 2:48 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Hey Tommy,
    How much of a factor do you think the relatively fast track (at least relative to Soldier Field) will be this year? Last year, I felt like everyone on the Birds were slipping and couldn’t utilize their speed. Maybe it’s just an excuse, but I really felt like it was a factor last year in a close game, that this year should play to our favor.

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 3:11 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    That did hurt us, but the Bears aren’t slow. I’d rather not play in that cow pasture they call a field, but it did even out.

  20. 20 the guy said at 2:56 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Some thoughts:

    * “Gang tackling is going to be the best way to control him. Forte is rarely brought down by the first defender so players must swarm to the ball. The good news is that the defense has done this in recent games.”

    I never thought of it as a positive before, but maybe those weeks of terrible tackling were a good thing. What better way to train a team to gang tackle and swarm to the ball than to have everybody watch opposing players break tackles week after week?

    * One key factor you forgot to mention: home field. I realize the Eagles haven’t played well at home, but if they never play on that Bears field again I’ll be happy. They built that surface the Chicago way: corrupt.

    * I’m worried. This is a must win game. The Eagles seem to match up well, until you think about Hester and the Eagles’ punt/kick coverage, Cutler’s skills when he’s on, Julius Peppers, and Matt Forte. It will be interesting to see which Eagles team shows up.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 3:35 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    I’ll really enjoy watching the Eagles O-line work at the “second level” against the Bears’ LBs on running plays.

    They have Ehrlacher, Briggs (and Nick Roach). The first two are very big, very mobile and athletic, and very experienced LBs.

    This’ll be a bigger challenge than facing the SF front seven, because it’s a 4-3.

    Danny Watkins . . . tonight is why the Eagles drafted you!!!


    Also, I expect lots of 3-step rhythm passes by Cutler. Quick slants and quick posts. Why use 5-step drops and get hammered.

    TOMMY — what kind of passing plays put the MOST pressure on the Eagles LBs, given their scheme?

    We’ve talked about how this is a ‘must win’ for the Birds.

    No less true for the Bears — which, if they lose, will be 2 games behind the Lions and 4 behind the Pack.

    This game should have playoff intensity.

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 4:05 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Should be playoff like. Very true.

    Pass plays / LBs? Screen passes and play action passes are the worst for the LBs.

    Cutler and quick throws…smart idea, but Martz knows we’ll be looking for them. Plus, Martz prefers to mix in downfield routes. He likes to get yards in chunks.

    Martz is unpredictable vs us. Remember in 2001 NFC CG he fed the ball to Faulk over and over to win. Got to SB and went back to being pass happy. Why didn’t he stick with the pass against us???

    Martz tends to play cautious vs the Eagles. Maybe that will mean more quick throws tonight. If we mix in press coverage, that makes the short throws tougher. Let’s hope we mix press and bump ‘n run. Make the Culter hold the ball and look more downfield.

  23. 23 Alex Karklins said at 4:14 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Is it possible that Castillo uses Asomugha as a spy on Forte in this game? That would be a great way to keep our star corners on the field, while taking away Chicago’s most important offensive weapon. I’m just spitballin’ here, but can’t think of a good argument against using that strategy.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 7:23 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    not a bad idea homie.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 4:16 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Tommy, have you seen this?

    This is the first I’ve heard of the double 3 technique. Is this article accurate and can you elaborate on its effect. Thanks

  26. 26 Anonymous said at 5:12 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Between changing the clocks and coming across a time zone, the Bears’ bodies will think it is 10:20 by the time the game kicks off. That can’t hurt us.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 5:12 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    I’m still shocked that Steve Kaufusi and Mike Reichenbach aren’t one of 20 or so ex players there tonight. No I’m not! Still confused by some of the names there. Was there a quota to fill?

    Enjoy the game all, I wish you a fun evening (as that will it is comfortable for us)

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 5:35 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    I hope the WR’s, TE’s and RB’s get the memo – the Bears routinely stand up the WR/TE/RB and try to rip the ball out…ball security is paramount – this applies to Vick too!!

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 7:09 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Why would he announce that? “He LeSean, be sure you tuck the ball away!” Silly.

    Anybody else think this would be the Eagles’ best win to date? Kinda weird that even though we had four good teams on the ropes, the Cowboys are the only decent team we’ve beaten.

    Need this won for many reasons, but that’s one of them. Get to .500, believe it can beat a good team, continue playing well …

  30. 30 Mike Roman said at 7:07 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    I don’t even know what to say about Buddy. He took a young Eagles fan and made him an Eagles fanatic (me). I truly believe the Eagles were a running game away from a Super Bowl back then. We all love the player Keith Byars became but, ugh….not the guy we hoped he was going to be. Of course, those horrible o-lines back then didn’t help. But it does go to show you (listen up Andy) why you have to be able to run the ball against good teams in the post season.

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 7:33 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    It was the lack of an O-line.

    And the fog.

  32. 32 Anonymous said at 7:25 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Oh boy do Trent Dilfer and Steve Young have a man crush on Vick!

  33. 33 Kammich said at 7:36 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Huge game. Every week, its been a do-or-die situation, and the team delivered against Dallas last week. I hope to see them deliver at home once again tonight. A lot of the pundits will talk about containing Vick or getting to Cutler, but I think this game comes down to the RBs. Forte and McCoy, two underpaid 2nd rounders who are carrying their teams; whoever has the bigger game, that team likely wins.

    I want to see discipline, I want to see fire, and I want to see the defense swarming to the ball. Our offense was slightly sluggish against CHI last season, but that was on a sloppy, muddy and generally awfully conditioned field. That won’t be a problem tonight. I am not concerned about our offense vs their defense. I wanna see our defense continue to make the strides they’ve been making since halftime against Buffalo, and make a STATEMENT tonight.

    Fly Eagles Fly, baby. Enjoy the game, ladies and gents.

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 7:42 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Amen, brother!

  35. 35 Anonymous said at 7:44 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    Man I usually ignore all this pregame stuff, but I wish I DVR’d DJax, McCoy and Nnamdi talking about how much they love Big Red. And the spot with the bullied kid that DJax and them helped out.

    I bet the Gruden segment with Andy will be funny too. Someone report back … before we analyze the game to death and forget about the fluff pieces.

  36. 36 Kammich said at 7:57 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    I got a text from my brother-in-law(a staunch Cowboys fan) after that piece aired. It said something along the lines of, “I would’ve sold the jersey for $18 instead of $1,800, but even I will admit that that was really awesome.”

    Good dude, that Fraction Jackson.

  37. 37 Anonymous said at 7:46 PM on November 7th, 2011:


    Your boy Keenan Clayton is active today! Wohooo!

  38. 38 Anonymous said at 8:13 PM on November 7th, 2011:

    First Rolle, then Keenan … next Vince Lombardi!