The Eagles don't believe in letting opposing offenses force their defense into changes
While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were slipping by Dallas, 10-6, on Sunday, their week-two opponents, the Philadelphia Eagles, were dueling with the St. Louis Rams in Philly. St. Louis eventually prevailed, 20-17, in overtime but the Eagles racked up 334 yards of offense, including 277 through the air.
Presumably, those two results would put the Eagles in a more critical need for a victory this Sunday, should the Bucs-Philly game go off on Sunday as originally planned. Following are some notes gleaned from Eagles sources to give Buc fans an idea of what their opponents are discussing.
Scanning the Waiver Wire Pays Off
Though he may not be in the starting lineup at the beginning of every game, 3rd cornerback Al Harris is simply regarded by defensive coordinator Jim Johnson as a starter. "I love to get him on the field," said Johnson. "If it is second down and long, Al Harris will be on the field. I still feel that Al is a starter. I never say that he is a backup."
This week Harris returns to the town that passed on him in 1998. He was originally selected in the 6th round (169th overall) of the 1997 draft by Tampa Bay, and spent his first season on the Bucs practice squad. He was waived by the Bucs on the final roster cutdown day of 1998, Philadelphia claimed him on 8/31.The Pompano Beach, FL native, arrived in Philadelphia just days prior to the season opener vs. Seattle. That Sunday, Harris stepped onto the field as the starter versus the Seahawks in place of the injured Bobby Taylor. He would go on to start seven games that year, including the first 5 contests at RCB, and register 53 tackles.
In three seasons as an Eagle, Harris has played in all 48 games regular season games, including 17 starts, and collected 125 tackles, 4 INTs and 21 passes defensed. The trio of Harris, two-time Pro Bowler Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor make up one of the best cornerback tandems in the league and completes one of the best secondaries in the game.
Early Injury Report
The following players are listed on the injury report: FS Brian Dawkins (groin), DT Corey Simon (foot strain), LG John Welbourn (ankle sprain), WR Na Brown (knee contusion) and N.D. Kalu (ankle). All injuries will be updated later in the week.
Bringing the Heat
Last season the Eagles defense ranked t-10th in the NFL in terms of total yards allowed and 7th in the entire league in terms of passing yards allowed under the direction of defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. The attacking style that Johnson has brought to Philadelphia picked up where it left off last week as the defense registered two takeaways and four sacks. It was the third lowest point total for the Rams since Kurt Warner has been the starting quarterback, including playoff contests.
"We're never going to let an opposing team dictate what we're going to call defensively," said cornerback Bobby Taylor. "I take my hat off to Jim. Regardless of what club we play against, Jim's going to keep his philosophy and we as players buy into that. We're not going to let an opposing team dictate how we call the defense."
Quote Sheet: Head Coach Andy Reid, 9/10/01
On how concerned he is with the running game: "I 'm concerned about total the production of the offense. When I look at it, I look at what the defense does and what we end up doing to counter that. If the defense is going to present you with blitzes and eight-man fronts, I'd look at the same thing the other way around. I 'm sure I 'm looking at the same thing the Rams are looking at. You're presented with those type of fronts that they presented us and you're going to do what's best. Yesterday, the majority of the time we thought that throwing the football was best."
On whether defenses are geared to stopping Donovan McNabb or Duce Staley with eight-man fronts: "A little of each. They are very aware of Donovan and his running ability. As long as we can establish something outside of throwing the football then they will have to make a decision."
On whether Donovan McNabb will work more on getting out of the pocket for next week: "In the drop back game, he was able to work to his second and third receivers. He was able to see them. As the game went on he utilized them. That is always part of the game, I'm not going to measure it for you but we always mix it in there with the drop back game. As far as his drop back game, I thought he did a pretty good job working the second and third guys, and seeing down the field."