Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Keys to an Easy Victory over the St. Louis Rams
Are you ready for some football? The best sport in the world is back and it's time to see if the Philadelphia Eagles are for real. Once again they were the story of the offseason, as they acquired some of the biggest names in the game in Nnamdi Asomugha, Cullen Jenkins, Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Vince Young.
How will all of the stars that the Eagles have added mesh with the current roster? Will DeSean Jackson loaf until he receives a new contract?
Those questions and more will be answered throughout the season, but here are five keys to an easy victory over the St. Louis Rams in Week 1.
1. Screens and Quick Passes
Even with an offensive line that will start Todd Herremans at right tackle, a rookie at center and two guards who weren't on an NFL roster until a few weeks (days) ago, we all know that Andy Reid will call pass after pass.
That is fine and dandy as long as Reid makes sure to dial up a few screens to LeSean McCoy and some quick passes to Brent Celek, Ronnie Brown and Jason Avant. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo loves to get after the QB and you better believe he watched film of the end of the Eagles' 2010 season when teams continually blitzed Michael Vick.
The Eagles have one of the best pass-catching RBs in the NFL, and they will be wise to utilize Shady often in the screen game. Screens will slow down the Rams pass rush, protect a suspect offensive line (which has little to no experience together) and keep Michael Vick upright.
2. Run the Darn Ball
Philadelphia Eagles fans have been clamoring for the team to run the ball for Andy Reid's entire tenure, and it almost seems futile to suggest such a thing at this point. The offensive line is a huge question mark in this game, and the offense will be more effective if they can stay balanced.
The Eagles have two running backs in LeSean McCoy and Ronnie Brown who are capable of being NFL starters, and they can torch a suspect Rams front seven. If the Eagles are able to establish a running game in the Dome, then they will be even more dangerous when they...
3. Play-Action Deep
Speed kills, and the Philadelphia Eagles will be the greatest show on turf in St. Louis on Sunday. Michael Vick has arguably the strongest arm in the NFL, and he has a myriad of burners on the outside to which he can play-action pass deep.
Spagnuolo will tire of watching the Eagles pound the ball on his team and blitz even more than he usually does. That will be the perfect time to hit DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin or Riley Cooper deep.
Good luck trying to defend that, Spags.
4. Blitz Bradford
Sam Bradford may have had a terrific rookie campaign, but he will have his hands full on Sunday. The Philadelphia Eagles have assembled one of the greatest cornerback tandems in NFL history (on paper), and they will be able to match up easily with Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola, Austin Pettis, Mike Sims-Walker and whoever else the Rams put out there.
The Rams intend to pound the ball with Steven Jackson and keep the dynamic Eagles offense off the field as much as possible. The Eagles need to stack the box with their safeties and allow Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to do what they do best: shut down receivers.
The Eagles will be able to cover the Rams receivers without a problem, and an eight-man front will help disguise the huge question mark that is the Eagles linebacking corps. Eagles Nation has been told that their team will not blitz as much under Juan Castillo in 2011, but that would be a huge mistake against a talent-depleted St. Louis Rams offense.
5. Start Fast
The Philadelphia Eagles have become the sexy pick to win the Super Bowl in 2011, and the St. Louis Rams would be happy to make the playoffs. The Rams have been down as a franchise for the better part of the decade, and a quick score by the Eagles would be huge for both teams.
The Eagles would gain a ton of confidence and really start to believe that they are the real deal, while the Rams would feel like they are overmatched, just like the experts said. If the Eagles score early, this one will be over quickly.
A Vick play-action pass deep to D-Jack on the first play?