Eagles got need, need for speed
Vick isn’t slowing down for anyone
Slow the tempo? Banish the thought.
While some are speculating that it might be in the Eagles’ best interest to take their foot off the gas in Sunday’s game, players and coaches want no part of that. They fear a slower pace — despite the possibility of keeping Peyton Manning on the sideline a little longer — would disrupt the Eagles’ rhythm.
“That’s not what we do,” Vick said. “We don’t slow down. We don’t try and keep the opposing offense off the field. If that’s coach’s strategy, then we’ll take that into consideration but I doubt we’ll stray from the script.”
The script for Eagles-Broncos has all the makings of a NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The over/under is set at 58 points — that’s the second-highest total since 2004. Most, if not all, are expecting a scoring frenzy. The question is, can the Eagles match the Broncos high-octane offense, which ranks No. 1 in both total yards and points.
“I think we can,” Vick said. “I think for the most part we’ve shot ourselves in the foot and still have had opportunities to score 30-plus points in all three games we’ve played. So the optimism is there. We know what we have. We know what we can do. We know how to execute it. And it’s just all about putting it all together. It’ll come for us at some point.”
Coach Chip Kelly isn’t even thinking about matching yard for yard, or point for point. He just knows he needs to score more than them to win the game. For the record, the Eagles rank second in yards and No. 8 in points.
“All we need to do is [say] how well do we play on a weekly basis [and do] we score enough points to win a game,” Kelly said. “We don’t compare ourselves to anybody else. At the end of the year, no one pats you on the back because your offense is rated at a certain level. That’s got nothing to do with it.”
More to worry about than Manning
Yes, yes — we know all about the mythical No. 18 at quarterback. He’s an all-time great.
But let’s take a look at some other areas of concern for the Eagles and things they can do to counteract what the Broncos do so well.
1. Attack the new guy. Chris Clark, who made a few mistakes last week, is the new left tackle (Winston Justice is the backup) in Denver after All-Pro Ryan Clady was lost for the season. Eagles would be wise to bring an extra attacker on that side, Manning’s blind side. Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham are two pure pass-rushers that come to mind.
2. Containing Wes Welker. You can’t stop him completely, the reliable slot wide receiver is already Peyton’s favorite safety valve. Welker has hauled in 19 balls for 190 yards and four TDs. More importantly, he’s earned Manning’s trust. The key is to bring him down in space and take away those easy crossing routes that the Chiefs exploited last week.
3. Cool it now. Chip Kelly and Mike Vick say they won’t do it. They won’t slow the tempo down to keep the Broncos’ offense off the field. Why? According to them, it would mess up their rhythm. But if they find themselves down 14-0 in a blink of an eye — which is entirely possible — they are going to have to try it. Otherwise, the Eagles’ defense will be huffing air. The unit is likely to have a first-time starter in there, too. Rookie Earl Wolff is poised to make his first NFL start in place of the injured Patrick Chung.