Philadelphia Eagles News

Eagles offense knows the challenge of a standout Packers defense on Thursday night

These are not the Green Bay Packers of recent seasons past, when they tried to outscore opponents and held on for dear life on defense. This Green Bay defense has been one of the best in the NFL through three games, allowing just 11.7 points per week in a 3-0 start, the second-fewest points per game allowed in the league.

That defense has caught the Eagles' attention in this short week of preparation.

"We know that we've got a great challenge going up to Green Bay," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said on Tuesday at his weekly press update. "Lambeau (Field) is a heck of a place to go play. They've got a great defense … they're a talented defense."

The focus for the Eagles is on what they are doing, with the intention of dictating to a Green Bay defense that beefed up its pass rush in the offseason and has some young secondary pieces that are playing very well together. Turnovers have been a killer the last couple of weeks as the Eagles gave the football away three times in Atlanta (one of those coming on a fumbled kickoff) and twice in Sunday's loss to Detroit at Lincoln Financial Field.

Groh and the coaching staff have orchestrated walk-through practices this week and have emphasized, once again, the importance of ball security.

"We emphasize those things in terms of taking care of the football," Groh said. "The guys know that. These are pro guys that have made a lot of plays. We obviously point out the things that we need to improve on, whether it's how we want to hold the ball or looking through our hands and focusing on getting the ball tucked away. We talk about those kinds of things. Our guys are urgent; they're ready to respond. This is a resilient group. We haven't lost any confidence in ourselves, and we're excited to go up there and play on Thursday night."

It remains to be seen who will actually play for an offense that has been damaged by injuries, but both wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and tight end Dallas Goedert would have been full participants if Tuesday's practice was more than a walk-through.

That's encouraging. Groh said that, despite the inconsistencies through three weeks of this 2019 season, the level of confidence remains extremely high. And, yes, the Eagles know the challenge they face at Lambeau.

"They do a great job, number one, of mixing their personnel groups. They've got a number of different personnel groups and they try to splash the water over here and then bring guys from over there, or drop out and then drop eight guys into coverage, so they do a great job," Groh said. (Packers defensive coordinator) Mike Pettine has been doing it a long time and they've got a lot of versatile players – really 'positionless' players, if you will – that go in there and try to mix their coverages up.

"It certainly is a challenging situation for us, but (quarterback) Carson (Wentz) has done a great job in being able to read coverages and get the ball out. He's playing at a high level. He's very decisive right now in the pocket and he's seeing things. He's accurate with the football and he's getting the ball out quickly. We're excited to get out there on Thursday night."

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