Philadelphia Eagles News

Communication Could Be The Difference Sunday

It starts with the play call. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg sends the play to quarterback Michael Vick, who relays the information to his teammates in the huddle. The lengthy name of the play will give everyone from receivers to offensive linemen their responsibilities.

The Eagles will come to the line of scrimmage and center Mike McGlynn will point out the middle linebacker and begin to make calls to the guard. The guard and the tackle have their calls and the tackles and the tight ends have their calls. During this time, Vick may recognize something that he's seen on film and communicate that to the center or to the receivers. He also has the ability to change out of the play if necessary.

Once the communication process is over and the ball is snapped, a lot of things can happen over the course of the next few seconds. Everything the Eagles saw in the pre-snap read could go according to plan and the offense can execute. If not, chaos could reign.

To off-set the Eagles' explosive offense, defenses have thrown everything to slow them down. Head coach Andy Reid joked on a radio interview with ESPN's Mike and Mike on Friday that he's even seen the guy selling the popcorn in the stands blitz. But it will be the Eagles' ability to account for this pressure that could very well be the difference between a win over the Packers or ...

"The last about four or five weeks, I'd say we got blitzed more than anybody in the league," said offensive tackle Jason Peters. "We watch film and they sit back not blitzing as much. Then (when they face us), they're blitzing off the edges and up the middle and all of that. We just have to make adjustments.

""I don't want to feel like I did last year, one-and-done."

The Eagles have been able to make teams pay for bringing the house. The Giants raced out to a 31-10 fourth quarter lead thanks in large part to the heavy doses of pressure put on Vick. But it was that same aggressiveness that allowed Vick to escape out of the pocket and run for huge chunks of yardage to help make the Miracle at the New Meadowlands a reality.

"We've been good against full plus one. We had two or three problems with a little disguise and really it ends up being a five-man rush, that's where we had a couple of problems," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "I think we'll be in good shape there."

For the year, Vick has completed 55.1 percent of his passes (70 of 127) for 1,036 yards with seven touchdowns against three interceptions and 19 sacks for a 90.5 passer rating. That passer rating was good for 12th in the NFL this year, but fails to account for Vick's running ability. And according to Sheil Kapadia of Philly.com, the game that Vick was blitzed the most against this year was in Jacksonville. In that game, Vick was 17 of 31 for 291 yards and three touchdowns in what was arguably the most decisive win of the season.

In Vick's last game, against Minnesota, he battled through injury and pressure and completed 25 of 43 pass attempts for 263 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a lost fumble that was returned for a score. Like the Vikings, their NFC North rivals, the Packers have the weapons on defense and an aggressive scheme to contend with Vick. Linebacker Clay Matthews had 13.5 sacks this season and cornerback Charles Woodson is the reigning defensive player of the year.

Of course, one of Matthews' sacks came in the season opener between the Eagles and the Packers which allowed Vick to become the starting quarterback. Vick had 175 passing yards and 103 rushing yards as he nearly led the Eagles to a miraculous come-from-behind win. But this time around, there's no secret who the Eagles' starting quarterback will be.

The Eagles simply know they must execute the play calls in order to win.

"We're sticking to our protections. We've got everything accounted for. We've got to execute as an offensive unit, an offensive line, tight ends. If we execute, we're fine," said rookie tight end Clay Harbor, who could very well be asked to block on the edge at times on Sunday. "You look at the film and picture what type of defense that they are going to give you and make some of your plays off of that."

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:00 p.m., January 8

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