Five Keys for Eagles Against Rams
Jason Kelce will be a rookie starter for the Eagles at center, and that has him involved in multiple keys to the win today for the Birds.
5. Quiet the Crowd Early – If the Eagles didn’t hvae the calm presence of Michael Vick at quarterback and some key veterans scattered throughout the defense, this could be higher on the list. Still, it’s important to get out to a quick start and keep the St. Louis fans relatively quiet for players like Jason Kelce, and for communication along a recently-adjusted offensive line.
4. Limit Turnovers – Everyone knows the story of Michael Vick’s season last year – he started off on an absolute tear and protected the ball, then the turnovers crept in at the end of the season. Vick’s decision making has looked flawed at times in the preseason, particularly in Pittsburgh. Which Michael Vick will the Eagles get today, this season, and for the rest of his $100 million contract?
3. Juan Castillo – The Eagles defensive coordinator, who moved over from the offensive side of the ball to take the job, has all of the talent in the world on defense. Make no mistake, if this defense struggles today or throughout the season, Castillo will feel some heat. This is the first opportunity to evaluate him in game situations, so it will surely be taken for even more than it’s worth. Still, on a team loaded with talent, Castillo is still a question mark until he proves otherwise.
2. Defend the Run – Steven Jackson has run for 1,000 yards or more in six straight seasons, including more than 2,600 yards in the last two years combined. He’ll be a handful for the Eagles defense, which had it’s share of difficulties against the run during the preseason. This is the Eagles first chance to try their new wide nine technique along the defensive line in a real game, and it does leave them vulnerable to the run if the linebackers don’t fill their gaps.
1. Offensive Line – The Eagles haven’t had the chance to form a cohesive unit to protect Michael Vick. Todd Herremans hasn’t taken a live snap at right tackle since his position change, and Evan Mathis hasn’t taken a live snap with the first string as it stands. Jason Kelce is a rookie center, starting his first NFL game in a domed stadium on the road. Kyle DeVan has only been an Eagle for about a week and only practiced with the starters from Wednesday on. If the Birds offensive line can keep Vick comfortable and healthy, that bodes well for this game and the season. If not, it could be a long year.
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