When asking around the Eagles' locker room for a scouting report on the New Orleans Saints offense, you'll hear a lot of descriptions about the "pace" and "tempo" under which Drew Brees operates.
One of the best quarterbacks in the league, Brees is known for the quickness with which he releases the ball on a consistent basis. For an offense that ranks first in the NFL with 316 passing yards per game, Brees is rarely sacked. In fact, he's been sacked on just over 4.1 percent of his pass attempts this season, good for the fifth-best mark in the league.
"He doesn't really take a lot of sacks," said cornerback Brandon Boykin. "He's able to get rid of the ball. Even when he's in trouble, he's able to make time for himself. It'll be up to us as a defense and our defensive line to get pressure and for the secondary to kind of plaster the receivers. So we'll be ready."
"They know what they're doing," said cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. "I think all the receivers, they know the outlets, even the tight end. And Drew doesn't need to hold the ball long; he's got enough guys that go out on every play. And they throw just about every down, so it's definitely a challenge there. He gets the ball out quick."
So how does that fast-paced style of play affect the Eagles' preparation?
"You're going to see that every week," said defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. "Every quarterback right now, with four guys rushing the passer, you're going to try to get rid of the ball a little quicker and let your playmakers make plays. But (Brees) can do both. He can make all the throws. He gets rid of it quick, he can play-action, he has all the intangibles. You just have to make sure you have a solid gameplan.
"You have to have a good overall gameplan against them. You have to hope (Brees) is off a little bit. You have to hope they're a little bit worn down. He's been tough for years now. It's not just this game, he's been tough against everybody. I mean, they're the number one pass offense in the league for a reason."
Now that the Saints will be without running back Darren Sproles, the NFL's leading receiver among running backs, you might think the Saints offense would slow down a bit. But the Saints have so many weapons, from wide receiver Marques Colston to tight end Jimmy Graham to running back Pierre Thomas just to name a few, that the Eagles will still be under fire.
"They present a lot of different formations," said linebacker DeMeco Ryans. "They're a quick-tempo offense, so you have to be set and ready because they're a fast-paced team and they give you a bunch of different looks. We have to be on top of our game."
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