It's a difficult task to prepare your football team for an opponent in the NFL. Not knowing which quarterback you're going to face makes a tough job that much more difficult, especially when those two quarterbacks have such different styles.
That's the situation facing Detroit this weekend, as the Eagles have yet to announce a starting quarterback for Sunday's game.
But Lions head coach Jim Schwartz says that Vick's sporadic playing time in the wildcat packages over the past year has made that preparation a bit less complex.
"I think it's made a little bit easier by the fact that they were using Michael Vick anyway," Schwartz said on a conference call with the Philadelphia media. "They sort of put down a pattern of the way they were using him, in special packages, and the way they were using him to run the ball and do those sort of things. We still have to get ready for those things no matter who the quarterback is.
"And their passing game, they still emphasize the same principles in the passing game…regardless of Kolb or Vick back there."
While the Eagles offense may be similar in principle no matter who plays the quarterback position, both Kolb and Vick have a unique set of strengths and weaknesses. As the Lions prepare to see a heavy dose of Vick, they are preparing to face a quarterback with unique mobility.
"There aren't many quarterbacks who have running back and wide receiver skills," Schwartz said. "He's fast like a wide receiver, he's strong like a running back and he's got great open field instincts. He adds a different dimension to their run game because of his boot ability…he's one of those guys where you can have (defenders) in the right spots, but you can't always make the play."
This week also marks the homecoming for linebacker Ernie Sims and defensive end Brandon Graham. Sims was a first-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2006, but he became expendable when Schwartz and his crew took over in 2009 and implemented a new defensive scheme.
"Ernie is a really, really hard working guy who practices with a lot of energy and a lot of tempo," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "But really what happened is that his talent level and his particular skills fit a different scheme than what we were going to on defense."
Meanwhile, Graham will return to the state of Michigan this weekend where he starred for the University of Michigan Wolverines. The Lions head coach had an opportunity to see firsthand what makes Graham such a special pass rusher when he coached Graham at the Senior Bowl last spring. And Schwartz likes the idea of letting Graham play both outside and inside on the defensive line.
"He's got tremendous leverage, he can push through a lot of different things," Schwartz said. "He's stout enough to play the run in there but he's also quick enough to shorten the corner.
"The more inside you are the closer you are to the quarterback, so he doesn't have as much ground to cover to affect the passer."
Sounds like the Lions have their hands full as they prepare to face a hungry Eagles team in search of their first victory of the season.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 8:00 p.m., September 15