As the Eagles finish their final preparations for Indianapolis, the Colts pass rush is certainly on the top of offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's mind. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis make up what is arguably the most feared defensive end tandem in all of football. The two have a combined 10.5 sacks this season, and both are in the top ten in sacks for the AFC.
More dangerous than their ability to sack the quarterback, however, is Freeney and Mathis' ability to get the ball out of the quarterback's hand. Mathis has been in the top 5 in forced fumbles in the AFC since 2004, and Freeney is second this season with three forced fumbles through seven games. This week, expect Michael Vick to take extra care of the football if the pocket starts to collapse.
"It's part of their skill and ability," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. ""They're speed rushers and many times if they get there, they get it done. Otherwise, they keep motoring, the quarterback holds it, they're from the backside and they get those strips that way."
Of course, one way to slow down that relentless Colts pass rush is by effectively running the football. Running back LeSean McCoy is no longer listed on the injury report for the rib injury he suffered in Week 4 against the Redskins. Considering that the Colts have the 28th-ranked run defense, Sunday could present McCoy with an opportunity for a big afternoon.
"The two teams that beat them (Houston and Jacksonville) did it that way and jumped out on top of them. And other teams wanted to do it, and then find themselves behind," Mornhinweg said. ""It's all good unless you're 14 points behind or something like that.
"They have such great pass rush ability that you do need to do some things to counter that. There's many different ways to go about it and I think we've got a pretty good plan. We'll see if it works."
That game plan will be put to the test Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in the Eagles' fourth nationally televised game of the 2010 season.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 6:22 p.m., November 4