The 49ers enter their week five matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles looking for that elusive first win of the season, and now find themselves battling a team that is a bit banged up with injuries to the likes of Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy and Asante Samuel. Until the 49ers actually win a game it remains to be seen that they will in fact actually win one, but for now the Eagles are doing all they can to get my hopes up.
We're back this week with five questions, this time with Jason from Bleeding Green Nation. The Eagles have had a bit of a wild start to the season themselves with the re-emergence of Michael Vick, his subsequent injury and all the drama that comes with quarterback controversies. Check BGN out this week to get all your Eagles info, but in the meantime thanks to Jason for taking the time to answer a few questions.
Fooch: With Kolb starting over Vick, the threat of Vick's legs are taken off the table. How will the Eagles alter their plan for the passing attack?
BGN: Well, I wouldn't think the plan for the passing game would be altered too much. Obviously Vick has an ability to launch stuff downfield that most other QBs don't have, but the deep stuff he's thrown seems like more his decision than any specific scheme to me. That said, the Eagles are going to try to work the short passing game more with Kolb. We saw that to an extreme degree against the Redskins where everything became dumpoffs to the backs... I don't think it will be that bad this week, but look for lots of slants, screens, and throws to the tight end.
Fooch: It sounds like LeSean McCoy could very well end up a game-time decision. If he's out or limited, how do you view the Eagles rushing game?
BGN: I don't have a very good view of it. He more or less is their running game. I assumed he'd get better in his sophmore year, but I didn't think he'd make the jump he has. He's been very dangerous this year and against Washington he was basically the entire offense. He's developing into the run/receiving threat that Brian Westbrook was for so many years here.
So if he can't go, that will be a major blow. His backup, Mike Bell, has done very little so far this year.
Fooch: Aside from Asante Samuel and Ernie Sims I don't really know a whole lot about the Eagles defense. Can you tell us more about the defense as a whole? Aggressive/Conservative? Better versus pas or run? You guys are up near the top in sacks, so are you happy thus far with the pass rush?
BGN: Well, they've been a very up and down group this year. We've seen them get torched by Green Bay and Detroit, then they shut down Jacksonville. They struggled against the Skins in the first half and then shut them out in the second. They're inconsistent. Oddly, they're prone to giving up yardage and points yet they also will rack up sacks and force turnovers.
They're an enigma. I really don't know what to expect from them week to week. I would say that overall they're stronger against the pass than the run.
Fooch: What would you say are the biggest strength and the biggest weakness for the Eagles (factoring in players that are out due to injury)?
BGN: The weakness is the offensive line. They just haven't been very good this year. It seems like when they aren't giving up sacks and pressure they're committing penalties. The strength is the receivers, they're a dangerous group. DeSean Jackson can score on any given play. Jeremy Maclin is off to a good start to his second year and seems to be developing a knack for getting into the end zone. Brent Celek has had a slow start, but when he does the get the ball he's tough to bring down and has a nose for the first down marker. LeSean is turning out to be a real receiving threat out of the backfield.
Fooch: The 49ers have had plenty of issues with their head coach. While the Eagles haven't had nearly as much drama, Andy Reid certainly has his drama with Eagles fans. What are your thoughts on Reid after all these years and what can he do with the Eagles this year?
BGN: Well, there isn't much Reid does to surprise us anymore. We know he'd rather throw the ball than run it, we know he'll make goofy clock management decisions... There's a familiarity that's set it. I often wonder whether that makes us overrate his faults or underrate his strengths. It's hard to argue with his record... but at the same time shouldn't there eventually be a payoff?