Philadelphia Eagles News

Frank Reich Outlines Offensive Plan Vs. Falcons

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The Eagles know what to expect from Atlanta's defense on Saturday in the Divisional Round playoff game and, sure, that helps. But beating the Falcons is another matter entirely.

"Everybody knows this defensive scheme is a middle-field, closed, zone defense," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said on Monday at his weekly press conference at the NovaCare Complex. "They are playing a little bit more man coverage. Sometimes you get to the playoffs and as things ramp up, you tend to tighten down your coverage a little bit, maybe play a little bit more man coverage. That's common. That's normal."

Reich is impressed by what he's seen of the Atlanta defense, which limited the NFL's highest-scoring team, the Rams, to just 13 points in Saturday's Wild Card playoff game.

This is a defense that flies around and plays with confidence.

"I think what stands out with watching their tape is that their defense is playing very fast and very aggressive," Reich said. "I think obviously they had a tremendous year as a team last year. I think their defense has stepped it up a notch, even from last year, playing fast and playing aggressive."

In a win over Atlanta on November 13, 2016 at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles ran for 208 yards and controlled the clock for more than 38 minutes. It's a blueprint that many think the Eagles will try to employ on Saturday.

Of course, it won't be that easy.

The Eagles want to be balanced and they want to make explosive plays in the passing game, too. And that's where quarterback Nick Foles comes into play. He's been the subject of so much conversation after a less-than-stellar performance by the offense in a 19-10 win over Oakland a few weeks ago.

"We've got to mix it up. You just can't be one-dimensional.

"As much as we and everybody else wants to run the football, you have to be able to stay aggressive in the pass game and get the ball down the field. Nick has proven that over the length and entirety of his career. He not only can get the ball downfield, he can do so very well," Reich said. "He wants to throw the ball downfield. He's aggressive in his mindset, as aggressive a guy as I've been around. He's looking to throw it down the field. Some guys are the dink-and-dunk kind of guys. That's not Nick. Nick is aggressive.

"So we need to be good in the run game and be able to mix in our play-action, take our shots down the field, keep the defense off guard, and keep them guessing and that starts with good production on first down."

What does Reich expect from Foles, who threw two touchdown passes in his lone playoff appearance, way back in the 2013 season when the Eagles fell, 26-24, to New Orleans?

He expects to see a quarterback play aggressively and confidently.

"it would be for him to be aggressive and just because we've, as an offense against the Raiders, didn't have a very good game, the last game of the year was a different kind of category for whatever way you want to look at it," Reich said. "So let's not let the most recent outings, five quarters of play, let's not let that slow us down in our confidence. Maintain your confidence and aggressiveness."

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