Philadelphia Eagles News

Offense Ready For The Legion Of Boom

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Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell. Those are the four starting defensive backs for the Seattle Seahawks. Sometimes they're referred to as the Legion of Boom.

This weekend those four players, along with the rest of the Seahawks, will face off against the Eagles in a showdown of prodigious proportions.

Why the reputation? Through 13 weeks this year, the Seahawks are one of just three teams to allow fewer than 200 yards passing per game, ranking third at 199.3 per game.

While as a team they only have nine interceptions, the four starting defensive backs are responsible for seven of those nine interceptions, and what they lack in forced turnovers they more than make up for with solid coverage. The team has allowed just 15 passing touchdowns all year, third best in the league.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez, fresh off a nearly flawless performance against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, said the Seattle secondary is likely the best the Eagles will face this year. He, and his teammates on offense, understand what they're going up against on Sunday.

"They can do it all," Sanchez said. "They've got corners who can play man-to-man. They've got guys who can drop out in zone. They've try to make things look the same. Plenty of single-high, getting into long yardages. We could see some split safety stuff.

"They can do it all."

But you won't see the Eagles changing their preparation or their offensive scheme upon kickoff this Sunday.

"We certainly have a healthy respect for the fact that (Sherman) is one of the finest corners in the league," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said Tuesday, "but I do think we've got some good receivers who can go out and match up."

One of those receivers is wideout Jeremy Maclin, who said Wednesday he's preparing for this week as he would any other week.

Sunday's game will be a challenge for the entire Eagles' team, Maclin said. But he thinks his skills, and his teammates' skills, will stack up just fine against the Seahawks' secondary.

"The thing about this league is everybody's here for a reason," the veteran wide receiver said after Wednesday's training session. "I like my chances against anybody."

For good reason, Maclin has picked up at least 50 yards in nine of 12 games this season, at least 75 yards in seven games and at least 100 yards four games. Maclin has never played better football, and he feels good about his ability to keep playing the same football he's been playing for three months.

Tight end Zach Ertz feels the same way. A teammate of Sherman's while at Stanford University, Ertz understands better than most what kind of an athlete the Seahawks' premier cornerback is. But he's watched film, and he also understands how the Eagles can succeed against the Seattle secondary.

Part of it is exploiting a weakness in the Seahawks' Cover 3 defense. Ertz said that a place teams can find success against Cover 3 is down the seams, where Ertz has seen a great deal of production this season. Seattle's Thomas is good at defending the seams and covering up those holes, Ertz explained, but that's one place the Eagles' passing game can look for openings Sunday afternoon.

And part of it is simply seizing opportunities when they have them.

"We've just got to make plays when the ball's in the air," Ertz said. "If you've got an opportunity to get open and make a play, you have to make it."

When you pit forces like the Eagles' offense and Seattle's secondary against each other, that's normally where one triumphs over the other: in the details and in the execution.

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews said he thinks it will be an excellent matchup, and one his team seems ready for.

"I think two titans are going to meet," Matthews said, "and we have to come out on top."

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