‘This Is The Way To Win’
Q&A: Shots Plays Needed To Compete With NFL's Heavy Hitters
The Philadelphia Eagles’ offense is flying high thanks to a passing attack that rediscovered the deep ball.
On the latest episode of “Q&A” on Inside The Birds, former Eagles Jason Avant and Quintin Mikell recapped the latest Eagles win and previewed the prime-time matchup against the Houston Texans.
Jason Avant: “In order for us to compete with the Chiefs, who are averaging 32 points per game, in order to compete with the Bills, who are averaging 29 points per game, you need the shot play, and you see how effective it is. Yes, we hit most of them this week, but even if you don’t hit them, you back the defense up or get a pass interference. You give yourself a chance to play the game without being perfect. I think this is the way to go in order to win a Super Bowl.”
Quintin Mikell: “It was huge. Watching the entire game, the Steelers played a lot of man, single-high concepts early on, and after those two big shots, now they’re in a two deep coverage. Now the running game gets back into it and you can hit Dallas Goedert over the middle and get him some balls, a lot of in-breaking routes from DeVonta Smith. By throwing those deep shots and having success with it early, it takes away what the defense is willing to do and it really puts them on their heels.”
Avant: “It helps that you were going against the Steelers, because the Steelers are missing Levi Wallace and a few other people that were slotted to compete for starting positions in that secondary. When you have a banged up secondary, that’s one thing, but again, [the Eagles] self-scouted and said we were effective running the ball, but it shortens the game when you can’t score as many points and some of these games are closer than we’d like. Why not get out to a bigger lead by doing some shot plays?”
Avant: “We lost Derek Barnett for the season, you gain some of that production back plus some, a guy that had 18.5 sacks last season, a guy that has gone to the Pro Bowl three times, over 10 1/2 sacks five times, this dude has 102 career sacks, so it’s a dude that knows how to get to the QB and he’s at the stage of the career where winning a championship is what he’s playing for. He has money, Pro Bowls. If he wins a Super Bowl and gets another 15-20 sacks, you start talking about a outside Hall of Fame type of career. Those are the things in his grasp. I’m not saying he’s a Hall of Famer. What I’m saying is if he continues to have high production over these next couple of years and he wins some Super Bowls, you have to start considering the man. So he’s here for the right reasons. He wants to be here because he wants to win a championship.”
Mikell: “When I was with the Rams, my second year with them was when they drafted Robert Quinn. The thing that was crazy for me is he’s bigger than he looks. He’s got skinny legs, but he’s very long and very athletic. Just watching him in the way he rushes and how he’s able to bend his body and get around the edge against some of these taller, less athletic tackles is going to be phenomenal.”
Avant: “If we were playing chess, A.J. Brown would be the queen because he can move in any direction, he’s not limited, and he doesn’t need much help from everyone to get the job accomplished. Him being on the field is going to have everyone else play well. I think he’s that central piece for a receiving core that you need.”
Mikell: “I haven’t watched a whole lot of them. I wasn’t high on Davis Mills coming out of Stanford. I always kind of thought he was an OK guy. Brandin Cooks is at the end of his career. I think the Eagles are going to win this easily.”
Avant: “The thing that they do have is speed. (Phillip) Dorsett is a blazer, Brandin Cooks has always been a blazer, he’s hit or miss when it comes to catching in critical situations. Dameon Pierce is a good running back and we don’t have Jordan Davis, so they’re going to try to run the ball on us because they can’t depend on their QB.”
Avant: “They are not playing as much Cover 2 as the [Lovie Smith-coached] Bears did, just because they don’t have the personnel, but it’s still an integral part of the defense. It’s hard to play Cover 2 when you’re losing by a bunch all of the time. Cover 2 is one of those defenses that you can rest in and be good in if you’re playing with a lead and don’t need turnovers. When you’re down and clawing your way back, you tend to play a lot more man and fire zones in order to create pressure and havoc, so this is not the traditional Lovie Smith Cover 2 defense.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com
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