The Eagles will face off against a bit of an unknown this Sunday in Falcons' quarterback Chris Redman. Redman hasn't started a game since 2007 when he quarterbacked the Baltimore Ravens for six games, but he led the Falcons to victory last week in the absence of injured starter Matt Ryan.
Trailing by four points with just over two minutes to go against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Redman led the team on a 15-play touchdown drive that was capped by a 4th and goal pass to Roddy White as time expired.
"I thought Chris did an outstanding job in the first significant action that Chris has had in a real game in 27 games," said Falcons' head coach Mike Smith on a conference call with Philadelphia reporters. "I think you'll see the improvement in terms of his play (this week). I thought he played extremely well, but having an opportunity to take the snaps that the starter gets in practice will do nothing but boost his confidence as we get ready for the game this week."
Apparently, both head coaches felt the same way about Redman's performance.
"I tell you what," said Eagles' head coach Andy Reid, "Chris played a really, really good game last week. That guy when is given the time he's something. He's a true thrower and he did some nice things on the move when he broke the pocket. They were designed plays, where broke the pocket and threw the ball. His accuracy both in the drop back game and on the move I just thought was something. You figure in there that he didn't practice. He came in cold off of the bench and did the things he did against Tampa and it was something to watch."
So how does the defense go about preparing for a quarterback who hasn't played significant action in so long?
"We have (gone through film)," said defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. "We looked back at some '07 film, trying to dig up in the archives. You just go from there and the system is different, obviously playing in a different system, but you just try and simplify it and just look at the player in and of itself."
The Eagles don't expect the Falcons' offensive game to change very much, however. After all, Redman is, for the most part, a pocket passer like Ryan, and he will be asked to utilize the same weapons on the outside that Ryan has had all season.
"They're going to come in and run the football," said cornerback Sheldon Brown on how he expects the Falcons to look offensively, "Then they're going to take their shots to (wide receiver) Roddy White and (tight end Tony) Gonzalez. Redman can execute those plays. He showed last week that he could and that's what I expect to see."
Starting strongside linebacker Chris Gocong did notice one difference between Redman and Ryan though that could provide an opportunity for a big play.
"I would say (Redman's) close to the same guy," Gocong said. "The one thing that I did see is he's a little aggressive. I saw a few times where he could have slid but he decided to dive forward, so he's a little aggressive."
Still, the Eagles have not changed their approach to the game because the Falcons' quarterback is out. With leaders like Brown, taking the Falcons lightly is simply not an option.
"When you worry about who's not playing instead of who is playing, that's when you set yourself up for failure," Brown said. "I'll never allow myself to do that and I would never allow my teammates to do that."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 5:16 p.m., December 4