-Clay Matthews was unstoppable, as we know, but matched up against Brent Celek he was pretty much transcendent. Whether the Eagles’ No. 1 tight end was chipping him or assigned to block Matthews one-on-one, he trashed him nearly every time, including on the game-ending sack of Vick on fourth and one. If Capers can get Matthews matched up on Celek, look for him to make plays.
-Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton were awful against Trent Cole and Juqua Parker. Both Parker and Brandon Graham (since placed on IR) were able to blow past Tauscher with speed, or bull-rush him with power, or chop his hands down at will. Bulaga will have to be much better then Tauscher was in pass protection.
As for Clifton, Cole did a good job of getting his hands inside of Clifton’s, and partially as a result, Cole was able to power him back to Rodgers multiple times (two sacks). The Packers also had awful production running the football on the offense’s left side; both Colledge and Clifton were repeatedly stacked up and either Grant or Jackson would get creamed. The few times Jackson made any hay off the left side, late in the fourth quarter, were by ploughing through would-be tacklers on his own. When the Packers run left, don’t expect much. A called rollout to the left was also blown up.
They were able to run decently behind Josh Sitton. The inside handoff to Kuhn worked as a surprise play twice, although after a season of running it, the Eagles will be prepared this time for it.
Rodgers’ two interceptions were more of bad decisions-forcing it into triple coverage for Finley, an inexplicable wild throw-then any particular ability of the Eagles’ secondary. Asante Samuel jumped a run-pass option slant to Donald Driver and should’ve picked that off as well, but most of the time, Rodgers did a fine job of making the Eagles’ secondary look bad. In particular, when Greg Jennings matched up against Ellis Hobbs (since placed on IR), Rodgers beat him all over the field. The Eagles still haven’t named a cornerback to start opposite Samuel, from what I can tell.
LeSean McCoy isn’t a power runner. He’s sort of a shiftier Matt Forte: he makes good cuts inside and is exceptional on screen passes. The Eagles gashed the Packers at least twice on well-run screens where they blocked half a dozen Packers defenders away from the play. Vick will make use of the screen game against the Packers, count on that.
The Eagles have no center, no left guard and their right guard is questionable. Raji stormed through a double team in the second quarter with an arm-over move. He nearly sacked Vick then and got pressure a few other times with bull-rushes. Raji against the Eagles’ interior is a mismatch.
One thing I noticed about Michael Vick’s passing in this game: He took a lot of short, underneath throws and only rarely went down the seam. I can’t remember him going deep down the middle for Jackson or down the sidelines. He was very quick to take the short square-outs and shallow crosses. I know all the success he’s had going to Jackson and Jeremy Maclin downfield, but against the Packers, he didn’t. Something to think about.
Finally, when Vick scrambled in that game, he almost always went to the left. And it almost always worked because the ROLB would blow contain. The time when Raji pressured him up the middle, he skated around the outside of Cullen Jenkins, around the OLB and was gone for 23. It’s more natural for him to go to the left, which means Cullen Jenkins should be cognizant that he has to contain Vick as much as rush him. Containing Vick and keeping him in the pocket works; we’ve seen that this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matthews rushing from the right side of the defense a few times, so as to force Vick to roll to his right.
Rolling right forces Vick to turn his body awkwardly to throw a pass, making him much less dangerous through the air. The one time he tried, he was hustled out of bounds at the line of scrimmage because of that. A called draw play off right tackle gained 13, but his scrambling wasn’t much to speak of. Keep Vick from rolling left and you make him a lot less dangerous.
Andy Tisdel’s is an occasional guest author for AllGreenBayPackers.com. More of his writing can be found here: by Tisdel’s Tirades