Gang Green vs Gang Green

Posted: December 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 27 Comments »

Game Preview

On Sunday we face the NY Jets. That name sounds intimidating when you think of Rex Ryan, Darrelle Revis, Bart Scott, and their power running game. Reality shows the team not to be the juggernaut that some thought they might turn into.

They were 9-7 in Ryan’s first year. They improved to 11-5 last year. Now they’re 8-5, but sure don’t appear to be a team poised for a postseason run. They have one win against a winning team – Dallas. And the Cowboys had to hand that game to the Rexies for them to win.

The Jets allowed 236 points in 2009, #1 in the league. They gave up 304 points last year. This year they’ve given up 270 and have 3 games left, making it likely that the total will rise once again. The vaunted Jets defense is heading in the wrong direction. They’re still good, but not as strong as you might think.

NY has been very streaky this year: 2 W, 3 L, 3 W, 2 L, and now 3 W. Are they at the end of a win streak or about to extend it to 4 games, which would be their longest streak of the year? This is a team you can’t figure out. They look very good at times, but mediocre at others.

The Eagles are on a 1-game win streak. Are they at the end of a win streak or about to extend it to 2 games, which would tie their longest streak of the year? This is a team you can’t figure out. They look very good at times, but mediocre at others, and outright bad on occasion.    


The Jets don’t have a great pass rush. They only have 29 sacks. The leading sacker is Aaron Maybin and if you watch him, most of his sacks are of the coverage variety. The QB holds the ball for several seconds and Maybin is able to run around blockers long enough to get free and hit the QB.

The Jets do blitz really well. We don’t handle the blitz all that well. This is where things get interesting. The Jets love overload blitzes. They send 4 guys on one side and design it so you’ll have 3 blockers for them. This isn’t the old Buddy Ryan system where 8 rushed and you had 7 to block. Rex isn’t into high-risk, high-reward. He tries to be aggressive, but smart at the same time.

I don’t worry about individual matchups between our OL and their front seven. We can block them. Confusion and missed assignments due to blitzs/exotic alignments is another story. They excel at that stuff and it has caused problems for us. Mike Vick doesn’t always read those situations well. We’ve had skill players get confused and block the wrong guy. We’ve also had OL get confused. The good news is that Howard Mudd faced the Jets twice in 2009 and has seen Ryan in other years when he ran the Ravens defense. Mudd has to make sure everyone has an idea of what is coming.

Vick is a mystery at this point. He looked good in the 2nd quarter last week, but struggled in other parts of the game. I’m hoping that was him shaking off rust and also dealing with pain from the ribs. There’s no more rust. If Vick struggles this week, it is because he’s just not playing well. We need him to be smart and not force the ball into coverage. The Jets have 15 INTs. They play the ball well and love coming away with turnovers. The Jets use a variety of coverages. They do a lot of complex things. And they do them well (as opposed to Dallas and Rob Ryan who just do complex things sloppily). Vick must make good reads and be decisive. I wonder if this is a game where you’re better suited to go with max protect and then limit Vick’s options. If no one is open, run or throw the ball away.

My guess is that Darrelle Revis will cover Jeremy Maclin and then Antonio Cromartie will shadow DeSean Jackson. Revis can physically overwhelm Maclin. I am looking forward to seeing how the guys fare against Revis. You can’t look at is “he’s gonna shut us down”. You have to make him prove it. Test him. Revis does in fact shut down most of the guys he covers, but Stevie Johnson fares well against him. You never know until you try.

Safety Jim Leonhard is out. Brodney Pool will take his place. They’ve had a week to prepare, but Leonard is an invaluable member of their secondary. That has to hurt them.

I think the key for our offense is LeSean McCoy. The Jets don’t have a super-fast front seven. We need to attack the edges and try to get Shady out in space. The Jets run defense is better against inside run guys. They struggled with the Raiders run game / speed earlier in the year. Darren McFadden lit them up. McCoy can have success. We need him to bounce back from Sunday’s struggles.

And keep Brent Celek involved. Good things happen when he gets the ball.


The Eagles could not handle Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s power run game. Now comes a chance for redemption. The Jets have a big RB that loves to break tackles and wear down a defense. Shonn Greene is exactly what the doctor ordered. Let’s see if the team fares better after having Lynch run over and around them.

The Eagles have shut down some power runners this year. Beanie Wells and Brandon Jacobs both struggled in recent games. Greene is the most physical of the trio and will be a major challenge. I’m glad. I want to see who can step up and handle the challenge. This is a problem that needs to be solved. Let’s see who can do it and who can’t.

I think we’ll do a solid job vs the Jets offense. They play pretty conservative. Their offense is built not to turn the ball over. They prefer ball control to big plays. I do have some concerns about them spreading us out and then running LT vs our Nickel D. Reggie Bush had success in that situation last week, but LT doesn’t have Reggie’s speed or elusiveness, but he’s still effective.

Jason Babin has a chance to build on his 15 sack total. RT Wayne Hunter is not a great pass blocker. You can beat him with speed and he’s also susceptible to inside move. KC got a sack vs him last week with a good inside move.

I think the real key in this game is the Red Zone. The Jets are the #1 RZ offense in the league. They score TDs. They run well. They mix in trick plays. Both Jeremy Kerley and LT can be the Wildcat QB. They throw to the TE. They also have great RZ receivers. Santonio Holmes has 7 TD catches. He has very good hands and great body control. He can adjust to passes, up or down, in or out. Plaxico also has 7 TD catches. With him, size is the key. My one hope is that Nnamdi and DRC can match up with them in the RZ and limit their success. There is an x-factor. Sanchez. He’s run for 5 TDs this year. He is good on QB draws from the spread set and QB keepers on the bootleg (scored that way vs KC).

I am curious to see how the guys respond to last week’s game. Phillip Hunt played his best game. Same for Casey and Keenan Clayton. DRC played pretty well. Akeem Jordan had a good game. Do these guys stay hungry and focused? Do they build off last week? Was it simply an anomaly against a pedestrian Miami offense (although one that had been on a roll in recent weeks)? Sunday is a big test.


The kicking game will be crucial. The Jets blocked a punt vs Dallas in the opener. We just had one blocked last week and Miami got close on another. We must tighten that up.

The Jets lead the league in KORs. Joe McKnight is at 32.4 per KOR, which puts them out at the 25 or 30 most of the time. That’s important for a ball control team. It would be nice to have Colt Anderson for this game. His replacement, Tom Nelson, did okay Sunday. Let’s hope he’s better this week.


The Jets are a bad 1st quarter team. If we get up 10-0, that won’t phase them in the least. They are built to win in the 4th quarter.

The Jets have never beaten the Eagles in a regular season game. Odd streaks like this that span generations fascinate me. Literally hundreds of players and multiple coaches have come and gone for each team, but the result is the same. Weird.

We’re awful at home, 1-5. The Jets suck on the road, 2-4 with only wins at WAS & BUF.

For some reason, I expect the Eagles to play well (proof I didn’t quit sniffing glue, right?). I am curious how the team would be affected by DAL and NYG. If both teams win, we’re officially out of the playoff hunt. If one or both lose, hope is alive. Dallas plays on Saturday night (Go Bucs!!!). The Giants play at 1pm on Sunday vs the Skins. We’ll know the outcome of both games (barring overtime) when we kickoff.

Put on your Josh Freeman jersey Saturday night. Then break out your London Fletcher jersey for early Sunday. Cheer for them so that our game still has relevance. The playoffs are a very distant goal, but it is fun still having a goal to chase. Gotta enjoy that while it lasts.

* * * * *

I wrote about the LB platooning for my SB Nation Philly column.  If you don’t have 1 good LB, find a way to use what you do have.

27 Comments on “Gang Green vs Gang Green”

  1. 1 Kammich said at 3:01 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    “The Eagles are on a 1-game win streak. Are they at the end of a win streak or about to extend it to 2 games, which would tie their longest streak of the year?”

    That was really depressing to read.

  2. 2 Mac said at 3:52 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    seconded… I’m going to go all morton on you and say we wasted our pick on Graham… we obviously should have drafted TEBOW!

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 4:01 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    Eagles did like Tebow…just not 1st round.

  4. 4 Sjampen said at 4:11 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    I can’t figure out if you’re serious. I know everyone is Tebowing right now, but he’ll fade out soon enough, if he doesn’t develop. Now i think that Tebow might actually develop into something real, but i don’t think he can continue this way of playing. Just like the Wildcat offense, the Zone blitz defense and so on, teams will figure Tebow out and force him to be an NFL starter, not a College trick play guy.

  5. 5 Mac said at 9:07 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    That’s exactly what i was going for… it’s a joke, but also not a joke. His leadership intangibles might have been enough to spark something interesting when Vick went down this year, and who knows what he may have developed into with proper coaching…

    I like Graham though : )

  6. 6 Anonymous said at 4:09 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    Somehow I believe that this will be Nnamdi’s best game as an Eagle.

  7. 7 Emile Gogineni said at 4:34 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    Even if one of the two NFC East teams (Dal and NYG) wins, the Eagles still have a small chance for the playoffs, right? The winner would have 8 wins, which the Eagles would have if they won out, and the Eagles have tie breakers right now

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 5:04 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    If both DAL and NYG win, they go to: 8-6. They play against each other in the final weekend, so someone would get a 9th win in that game. Or in the case of a tie, would avoid an 8th loss.

    Gotta have a loss from DAL and/or NYG this weekend to stay alive for NFC East title. Eagles could get WC spot at 8-8, but would likely need an absurd amount of things to happen…beyond just us going 8-8, which is still a major long shot.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 4:37 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    Jets: Bootleg right, Sanchez to Dustin Keller on a flag pattern.

    It’ll be there on 1st and 2nd downs.

    If the Eagles stop Keller, and pressure Sanchez — who’s still very uncomfortable in the pocket — the Birds’ll be in this game.

    But the key is Vick. If Vick plays below the McNabb line, Jets win. (the McNabb line is NO INTS, NO FUMBLES, 60% completion rate).

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 5:00 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    We seem to have had success against 3-4 defenses this year (SF, WAS, DAL, MIA).

    Is there something to this, or were these defenses just not that good at the time?

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 5:40 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    If both the Bucs and the Redskins lose, do you see us making any changes, either in this game or in the final two? I understand keeping in the best players while we still have a chance to make the playoffs, but once we are eliminated, I think it is important for us to see what we may have in some of our younger guys like Jarrett and Marsh. I don’t think they need to start or anything like that, but I would certainly like to see them on the field (beyond STs) a lot more to get an idea of what they can do.

  12. 12 Anonymous said at 5:50 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    I only want to play Marsh if the coaches feel he’s ready. You don’t want to put a young CB on the field too early. That can shatter his confidence and ruin his career. I’ve seen that with plenty of players over the years.

    I also would like to see Jarrett play. I’d be fine with sitting Nate Allen for Jarrett. Kurt Coleman has played pretty well and deserves to stay on the field. Nate could use the experience, but is still coming off a knee injury. A couple of weeks of rest might not be a bad idea for him.

    I am glad Hunt is playing. We needed to see what he’s got. Same for Clayton.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 7:06 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    Jets on the table . . .

    TOMMY — how ’bout following the Jets philosophy? [Posted here — hope that’s okay.]

    Draft a young QB (and at an expensive price which has paid off so far).

    Put a very experienced DC in place (as HC).

    Create the identity of being tough, big, aggressive, physical, and fast at the skill positions.

    On both sides of the ball.

    The Eagles, honestly, are none of these things. (Are they?)

    That formula has seemed to work for Rexy . . . especially in the post season (whereas Reid’s formula has failed in the post season).

  14. 14 Nicholas Hill said at 8:12 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    How has Rex Ryan’s formula been more successful than Andy’s in the postseason, exactly? 2 AFC Games to 5 NFC Championship Games, and 0 Super Bowl appearances, 1 Super Bowl appearance for Andy. Your point about a shift in defensive philosophy has merit, but even after this awful season, but nothing Rex Ryan has done makes him a better Head Coach.

  15. 15 Nicholas Hill said at 8:18 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    Unless, being more interesting at press conferences actually wins football games. Pretty sure Rex opens his mouth before every big game, and blurts out a few bulletin board quotes, and, more often than not, gets burned just like his brother does. There is a very good reason this guy was passed over by numerous team before the Jets finally took a chance on him.

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 9:11 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    I wish you would have done Bucs/Cowboys and Giants/Redskins previews. Do you think those two underdogs have much of a chance? What a crappy season!

  17. 17 Furt said at 9:42 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    For the Skins’, think back to week 15 in 2007 when Cheesecake Factory Collins, Betts, and Portis beat the Giants in NY. Both dogs have a chance, Cowboys find ways to lose and the Gints are inconsistent.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 10:20 AM on December 17th, 2011:

    I hope you’re right. However I am afraid that both Dallas and NY will win..

  19. 19 Jamie said at 10:53 PM on December 16th, 2011:

    Instead of Revis shutting down whatever WR he plays, how about we use that WR to take Revis out of the game? That’s like using a man to block him, right?

  20. 20 Anonymous said at 8:05 AM on December 17th, 2011:

    If the Eagles lose this game they won’t be Gang Green, they’ll be Gangrene.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 10:26 AM on December 17th, 2011:

    Nicely done.

  22. 22 Mac said at 12:01 PM on December 17th, 2011:

    I wanted the title of this article to be,

    Gang Green vs. the Green Gang

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 10:35 AM on December 17th, 2011:

    Jets at 8-5 and Eagles at 5-8, two teams with preseason super bowl hopes that are going nowhere. Thought for sure the title of this piece would be: It Ain’t Easy Being Green.

  24. 24 Steve H said at 11:28 AM on December 17th, 2011:

    So here I am on a saturday late in the season after the Eagles have been killed off and left for dead multiple times, wondering whether its foolish to still be clinging to our playoff hopes, praying for a Cowboys loss today and a Giants loss tommorow, or if I’m just giving this team one more opportunity to break my heart this season.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 11:48 AM on December 17th, 2011:

    I finished my PEcom column a while ago. I wrote in there that I’m setting logic aside and will embrace the long shot scenario. We’ve got 3 weeks left. Then no football for 9 months. Gotta enjoy it while it’s here…no matter how loony it seems.

  26. 26 Steve H said at 12:23 PM on December 17th, 2011:

    sigh, I just don’t know if I can have my heart broken for the 3rd (or 4th? maybe 5th?) time this year…

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 11:48 AM on December 17th, 2011:

    Just a little off-season thought:

    Would you take a flyer on Laron Landri, who’s in his last contract year and being seriously injured?

    We all know the Eagles FO likes to gamble on players coming from a serious injury but although it will never be a guarantee for successs Landri’s tackling skills are very tempting. Good and young safeties are hard to find in today’s NFL..