Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles: Final Thoughts
At long last, the Atlanta Falcons kick off their 2015 season against the Philadelphia Eagles. Dan Quinn aims to kickoff his head coach career with a victory over the well-coached Eagles, led by Chip Kelly. The time for talk in the preseason is over, and we’re ready for real football.
Will this be the start of a sustained playoff push for the Falcons, or another season of mediocrity? Let’s hope it’s the former. The Falcons host the Eagles tonight – here are my final thoughts.
Let’s see what the defense is made of
We’ve all got excited at how well the Falcons defense played in preseason, but that counts for absolutely nothing now. The Eagles will bring their fast-tempo, hard-to-control offense with them to the Georgia Dome, and Atlanta will need to play fast to avoid getting blown away.
Kelly wants to find creative ways of catching teams out; Quinn just wants his players to go hit somebody.
It all starts with stopping the run. Keeping DeMarco Murray in check is absolutely crucial; allow him to find his groove and Matt Ryan won’t be on the field very often. The Eagles are a fast-paced team, but don’t allow them to control the clock with Murray – or Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles for that matter.
Put the game in the hands of Sam Bradford, and ramp up that pass rush. Vic Beasley, Adrian Clayborn, O’Brien Schofield – go get the quarterback. Bradford is coming off of two ACL surgeries, so collapsing his pocket consistently may take his eyes away from his receivers and onto the oncoming rush.
Can Tevin Coleman make some noise?
Tevin Coleman won the battle to be the starting running back, although he didn’t have to do anything to win it. Devonta Freeman was ruled out of preseason with a hamstring injury, but he will be on the field at some point tonight, so it’s important for Coleman to seize his opportunity.
The Eagles defense is rebuilding much like the Falcons’ is, so maintaining balance and putting them under pressure is the way to go. A lot of focus will be on Julio Jones and Roddy White, so you bet there will be opportunities to run the football.
Who wins the coaching battle?
Chip Kelly is a scheme-heavy coach and he will have plenty of new tricks up his sleeve. Dan Quinn is very different. He wants to keep things simple and play a fast and physical style of play, much like the Seahawks where he coached the past two years. The battle between them tonight should be interesting.
Kelly wants to find creative ways of catching teams out; Quinn just wants his players to go hit somebody. Will one of these two out-coach the other, or will it be too close to call?
Be sure to stay tuned to Blogging Dirty tonight. Come join us in our live thread during the game and stay tuned to our Twitter for updates on the game. We will be recapping the events immediately after, too.