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Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/sports/12958997.htm" target="_blank">Philadelphia News Daily</a>


    JIM JOHNSON developed his defensive schemes to stop pass-happy offenses, like the West Coast attack the Eagles run. That was what attracted Andy Reid to Johnson, back when Reid was an offensive assistant with the Packers: They had trouble with Johnson and the Colts.

    Johnson gets pressure on the passer. Send out four or five receivers if you want, somebody will cover, maybe a defensive end at times. Meanwhile, good luck buying your quarterback time to look over all of those options.

    More and more, though, offenses seem to feel the way to attack the Eagles is by sending out fewer receivers and devoting more personnel to stopping the pass rush. So yesterday, Johnson made a startling declaration for a defensive coordinator widely viewed as a mad blitzer.

    Basically, he said the Eagles just might not be able to get tremendous pressure on San Diego quarterback Drew Brees this weekend, if the Chargers max-protect. San Diego has allowed just nine sacks this season. Johnson said the Eagles will just have to do a better job in coverage, particularly better than they did in their most recent game, that 33-10 debacle at Dallas.

    "We're down in sacks," Johnson acknowledged. His team has just 11 sacks in five games, vs. 20 through the first five games of 2004. "If you analyze what Dallas did, they went to a lot of max protection, keeping tight ends, keeping wide receivers in... you just have to make sure you cover well.

    "You've got to cover two wide receivers. That's all you've got to do... to be dumb and blitz every time, knowing you're not going to get there - you can't do that.

    "It doesn't bother me. We know we might not get the pressure right away. As long as you hurry the throw and as long as you cover, I don't care. If we're good on third down, that's fine."

    The 3-3 Chargers might present the most balanced offense the Eagles have faced. They average 148.2 yards rushing per game, thanks to LaDainian Tomlinson, and 192.7 yards passing. Brees isn't flashy, but he completes 66 percent of his passes.

    Johnson praised Tomlinson's vision.

    "He sees the hole and knows when to cut back or take the ball to the outside, and is dangerous out there," Johnson said. "He has excellent quickness and is one of those natural running backs, like Emmitt Smith or Barry Sanders. He's one of the best you'll ever see."

    The Birds' emphasis, after stopping or at least slowing Tomlinson (who will be trying to set an NFL record by scoring a TD in his 19th straight game), will be on not giving up big-play passes, as they did in Dallas. The Chargers have a wonderful weapon in tight end Antonio Gates, but they are not a big-play passing team - Brees' longest completion of the season is 41 yards, to Tomlinson.

    "We're going to have to cover tightly and make plays on the ball, which I know we can do," said Eagles nickel corner Rod Hood. "Whatever they do, we're going to adjust to it back in the secondary."

    A decent start is very important for the Birds' defense and their offense. They've been outscored 48-14 in the first quarter this season, including 34-0 in their last three games, though they came back and won two of those.

    "Wins come too hard around here to spot teams 10, 17 points," Hood said. "You're not going to be able to win like that. We understand that as a team, and that's what we're going to focus on this week."

    On one Dallas TD, corner Lito Sheppard seemed to lose a step to Terry Glenn as Sheppard looked back for the ball and misjudged it.

    "We're going to have to be more conscious of what we do on the back end," Sheppard said yesterday. "Maybe in previous games, previous years, we're used to the blitz getting there, and we react that way. Now we just have to adjust it a little bit, stay in coverage a little bit longer... Basically, not rely on the blitz to get there, not go for the big play all the time, just make sure they don't make the big play. Just play it a little safer, I guess.

    "A lot of times we're there, we're just not making the plays. It's just getting back that fight, that hunger, you know."

    The other starting corner, Sheldon Brown, said if opponents only send out two receivers, the Eagles ought to be able to double them effectively. But Brown agreed it would be silly to expect max-protect schemes to ever totally stop Johnson from blitzing.

    "That would be real silly," Brown said. "He's not going to do that."

    Brown suggested the Eagles' inconsistencies haven't really had that much to do with Xs and Os, and that schemes and strategies aren't going to end them, either.

    "Football can only elevate so much, there's only so much you can do," Brown said. "Bottom line, you just have to come out and look yourself in the mirror and say, 'I've got to beat his butt.' "

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