Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is going to truly learn how much his crew has developed this Sunday against the Packers.
The Packers boast the league's third-highest scoring offense from a year ago led by a premier quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. There are a variety of threats to challenge McDermott's defense from downfield threat Greg Jennings to tight end Jermichael Finley to big back Ryan Grant. But McDermott relishes the opportunity to prove just how good his defense is.
"Is this a challenge? Yes, it's a huge challenge," McDermott said. "But our players are ready for it and they welcome that challenge."
In two years as a starter, Rodgers has thrown for over 8,400 yards, 58 touchdowns against 20 interceptions.
"He's a tremendously talented quarterback and watching the evolution of his game over the years and how he's handled himself, he seems to be a very classy individual off the field and on the field," McDermott said. "He's tremendously talented from a skill-set standpoint. He does a tremendous job."
That being said, if there is one area where the Eagles can succeed it would be the ability to generate pressure on Rodgers, who was sacked a league-high 51 times last season. The Eagles boast a healthy, robust group of defensive ends anchored by Trent Cole and rookie Brandon Graham who will be heavily relied upon despite his youth.
"You see more and more young faces being given playing time," McDermott said. "In this case, you're seeing a young Eagles team overall but that is good. We're energetic. We're fast. Are there going be learning curves? Yes, there are going to be learning curves. We welcome that. We welcome the energy that that brings."
The one area of the defense that has undergone the most change since the end of last season was at linebacker. The Eagles hope to have improved the coverage in the middle of the field with Stewart Bradley, Ernie Sims and Akeem Jordan. Finley, who had 12 catches for 163 yards and a pair of scores in the preseason, will be a great test out of the gate.
"Tremendous challenge for a tight end to be as mobile as he is and as big of a body, it's a matchup problem," McDermott said.
Last year, McDermott's debut as a defensive coordinator was an outstanding one as the Eagles defense smothered the Panthers offense in a blowout win. Let's see what McDermott has up his sleeve for one of the juggernaut offenses in the league.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 1:10 p.m., September 9