After scouting the Chicago Bears offense over the weekend, it's time to see what Carson Wentz will be seeing up close on Monday night.
The Bears' defense features a good mix of veteran presence with young, raw talent. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is a veteran in the business, and is known as a coordinator who can present a number of looks to an offense. With the amount of youth that they have on that side of the ball, they haven't quite been able to reach that level of multiplicity. There are still a number of things that Doug Pederson, Frank Reich, Wentz and Co. all have to be prepared for under the lights on Monday Night Football.
First, let's start in the run game. The Eagles obviously want to be able to get things going on the ground. They were efficient against Cleveland last week, but there were some yards left on the field. Second-year nose tackle Danny Shelton was disruptive inside for the Browns, and the offensive line may have an even bigger test in the Bears' Eddie Goldman.
A second-round pick a year ago, Goldman has seemingly taken the next step as a player. A nose tackle in their base 3-4 front, Goldman is stout at the point of attack and moves well for a 310-plus pound tackle. Watch how well he controls this block last week against Houston, locking his arms out at the snap, keeping his eyes up, throwing the center away as he finds the football. Goldman is strong, tough and you can make an argument that he's the best player on that defense right now.
Goldman's game isn't just about strength and power though, because his competitiveness shines through in a number of ways. This is as good an individual play as you will find from this preseason. Goldman chases this screen pass downfield, tomahawking the ball out and forcing a turnover.
Goldman is typically not on the field for the Bears in their nickel subpackage, but he showed the ability to be a disruptor in the passing game during his career at Florida State. He gets good push here on this play from last week, as he converges with rookie first-round pick Leonard Floyd for the sack of Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Floyd missed a good amount of time this summer with an injury. Unlike Goldman, Floyd's game is based on speed, quickness and flexibility. He's not where he needs to be yet in terms of proper hand use, but his first step, versatility (they play him as a standup linebacker down on the goal line) and ability to turn the corner are top notch. They didn't do this as much last week against Houston, but he had been very effective this preseason running stunts and twists up front.
Here's Floyd running a T/E stunt against New England this preseason. The defensive tackle here, third-round pick Jonathan Bullard, penetrates upfield to occupy the guard. If he can keep the guard's attention, he'll open up a lane for Floyd to run through on his way to the passer, and that's exactly what happens here. Bullard isn't a starter yet, but had a very strong Training Camp and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him take first-team reps early on as a rookie. His ability to line up at a number of spots along the defensive line will serve him well down the road under Fangio.
At the second level of the defense, the Bears have two veteran inside linebackers in Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan. Both are newcomers via free agency, and they complement each other well. Trevathan, a rangy linebacker with sideline-to-sideline speed and very good toughness downhill, won a Super Bowl a year ago with the Denver Broncos. Freeman is more of a thumper than a "run-and-chase" player, but his instincts have helped him be very productive throughout his career.
Here, you see Freeman's instincts on full display against the screen game. Watch how quickly he reads this play, evading a block and getting a tackle for loss.
Later in the game, Trevathan flies downhill to take on a lead blocker in the hole at the line of scrimmage. The veteran destroys the block, falling off to make a play for no gain. The Bears have a really strong triangle up the middle of their defense with Goldman and both linebackers. The Eagles can't let these three wreck the game on Monday night. That will be an area of focus.
In the secondary, the Bears have some youth at both corner and safety. Cornerback Kyle Fuller is a second-year player who likely would have been drafted higher if not for an injury in his final season at Virginia Tech. The team drafted Deiondre' Hall on the third day in this year's draft out of Northern Iowa. He will compete for playing time on the outside. The most veteran player in that secondary is a former teammate of Malcolm Jenkins, cornerback Tracy Porter.
Porter is in man coverage on this play, and watch how well he reads this route on the outside. Porter is matched up on DeAndre Hopkins. Watch how well Porter flips his hips here at the top of the break, turning his head around to find the football and finish with an interception.
There are a lot of matchups that will be very fun to watch on the perimeter and in the middle of the field when the Eagles have the ball. I'm anxious to see how they play out as the game progresses.
Fran Duffy is the producer of "Eagles Game Plan" which can be seen on Saturdays during the season. Be sure to also check out the "Eagle Eye In The Sky" podcast on the Philadelphia Eagles podcast channel on iTunes. Prior to joining the Eagles in 2011, Duffy was the head video coordinator for the Temple University Football team under former head coach Al Golden. In that role, he spent thousands of hours shooting, logging and assisting with the breakdown of the All-22 film from the team's games, practices and opponents.