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Keys to the Game: Chargers vs. Eagles
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Here are five keys to the game heading into Sundays match in Philadelphia between the San Diego Chargers and the Eagles:
1. All Hands on Deck– It’s no secret that Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly wants his offense to go fast. The team rattled off an incredible 53 plays in the first half and 77 total for the game. As a result, the Chargers defense must be prepared to match that tempo by any means possible. Defensive Coordinator John Pagano says it’s all hands on deck:
“Everybody needs to be ready. I think I might be ready to go if I need to come off the sidelines for a play. It’s fast paced. We talked to the players this week about truly understanding the speed and tempo that they are about. It’s something all our guys need to be focused on. It’s not just the 11 guys that are on the field. It’s the guys that are watching the game. There are critical moments in every game and you don’t know until it happens. Our guys are prepared and are making sure to watch each other so that if one of these situations comes up we can get the right personnel in there.”
2. Don’t Forget Philly’s D – With everyone enamored by Philadelphia’s fast-paced offense, it could be easy to lose sight of the up-tempo nature of their defense as well. Fortunately, the Chargers are doing no such thing, as Philip Rivers described the fast nature of the Eagles defense:
“I know everyone has talked about how fast the offense plays, but the defense is the same way. The personnel is fast and they just fly around. It’s our first time on the road together in regular season atmosphere and it’s going to be a heck of a challenge. They have two rushers who are fast off the edge. They are just sound and disruptive. They don’t want you to ever get comfortable. They don’t just line up and say here we are. The backers are active giving multiple looks and bringing different coverage. They’ll never let you settle in and get comfortable.”
3. Corral Vick – When he first came into the league, Michael Vick revolutionized the quarterback position. At age 33, he has shown no signs of letting up as last week he threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns while running for 54 yards and one touchdown. Head Coach Mike McCoy thinks Vicks experience has made him even more dangerous:
“He’s always been one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the history of the game. And I think anytime you play for as long as he has, the experience comes into play. The more you play, the better you’re going to be. He’s improved in all areas of his game, I believe, because of his experience. He’s in a system right now that really takes advantage of his skill set. I think he’s perfect for what they’re doing. You can see him. He’s been re-energized.”
4. Communication is Key– Like Rivers mentioned earlier, playing on the road presents a challenge, particularly for the offense. More specifically, it can play havoc on an offensive line. As Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt pointed out, the offensive line needs to communicate properly in order to offset the raucous nature inside Lincoln Financial Field:
“Playing in the noise is always difficult but we’ve got a center that’s done it with the quarterback for a long time, so there’s a comfort level there in the communication. Both of our guards, Chad (Rhinehart) and Jeromey (Clary) have both played in the league. The communication is what is so important when you’re dealing with that. Having those guys who have done it and played, that will help in communicating to (DJ) Fluker and help in communicating to King (Dunlap) because really, it’s all about being able to relay the calls and making sure that everybody is on the same page.
5. Finish!– No matter who you’ve spoken to this week, from the coaching staff down to the players, they’ve repeatedly stressed the need to finish in light of last Monday’s defeat to the Houston Texans. Nonetheless, the Chargers have used this as a stark awakening in preparation for their upcoming battle against the Eagles. As McCoy reiterated, they are focused on playing a complete 60 minutes of football from here on out as they move forward:
“Finish. You’ve got to finish”