LAST week’s narrow loss to the Jets, saw our starters basically put us up 14 – 0; before calling it a night, in the second quarter. Don’t expect to see starters at all in this one. Instead, get ready to find out which Eagles back-ups are ready to break through, and put the world on notice.
While the wins and losses mean nothing to us fans, they mean a great deal to the lower draft picks, the undrafted, and aging back-ups. Understand this, almost no one who plays in this game, is guaranteed a roster spot. You will see players this Sunday, who will be gone next Sunday.
The point of Four Things isn’t to predict a winner, it’s to discuss which tactics would give our Eagles the best chance to win this game. So here are the Four Things that we need to focus on this week versus: the Browns
1) Don’t Get Gashed: Given the players that we have at DT, we have no business giving up a ton of rushing yards up the middle. It’s preseason ball, so there’s bound to be some miscues. So a long run broken to the outside, isn’t a big deal, right now. It’s all the routine runs.
Setting aside any 30 yard runs (Pitches, Tosses, Sweeps) directly to the outside, keeping the Browns under 80 rushing yards and 4.0 yards per carry, is a decent goal for back-ups.
2) Cut the Engine: Wrap the thighs, to kill forward progress at the point of the tackle. That’s the tackle technique I’m looking to see. Hard to get helmet to helmet penalties when a player is aiming for thighs
3) Clean Interior Pocket: Guard, Center, Guard. They have to keep defenders out of the gaps and away from the passer. The QB needs to be able to step into his throws, and those three players especially, make that happen. Also, when a defender jumps to bat down a ball, that interior pocket (G-C-G), needs to make his landing a rough one.
4) Solid Team Culture: Every player you see out there, is likely playing for his football life. Despite the inherent competition for survival, it will be interesting to see which players offer each other encouragement, and cheer for their competitors. We will get a taste of just how strong the team culture, really is.
If the Eagles do these Four Things, then we’ll be virtually impossible to beat. That being said…
The win or loss only means something to players. Some of whom will suit up for the last time on Sunday. For the rest of us, it’s being billed as lesser than the joint practices, which the teams conducted this week. Let me tell you what it really is.
2010: Rookie, 7th round, S Kurt Coleman enters game four of the preseason as a player “On The Bubble”. This is a do-or-die game. Not for the team, but for Kurt. His dream is on life-support. During the game he recovers not one, but two fumbles, and he returns them both for scores.
The Eagle lose the game, but Kurt makes the team. He goes from 7th rounder with barely a chance in 2010, to being a starter in 2011. He plays 10 seasons. Intercepts 7 balls in 2015 (the NFL leader had 8). And all of it hinged… on a single game like this. If we’re lucky, maybe we’ll see the next Kurt Coleman in this game.
Prediction: EAGLES 17 – Browns 13
WARNING: I don’t have the faintest clue as to what a point spread is, and I know even less about how it works. I know football and that’s IT. If you use Four Things as a gambling tool, you are trying to lose your money, and will deserve it when you do.
Check back in a couple of days for Four Things Reviewed, and we’ll discuss how this game went.