Sunday, January 18

Bird-Bowl

The game will be covered conventionally.

Many simple-sounding story-arcs like "The Eagles versus the Cardinals: Rematch of Thanksgiving day bird-massacreeeee" and "Quarterback battle between aged/re(juv)invented Kurt Warner versus retested/inexplicably reviled Donovan F. McNabb" &c.

Meanwhile, the bedrock story, the most pertinent and basic information, is swept under the rug. To wit: the Eagles' defense is specifically engineered to attack the Cardinals' offense.

Not in the solely conventional connotative sense of "That is what a defense does, dodo" but also in the specific *type* of defense. Multiple cover-corners (as many as FOUR, depending on the weekend that off-brand DBs like Lito decide to have) and various variable blitzes which disguise and fake-disguise varying coverages.

That is, the offense of the Cardinals relies on similar principles as the Greatest Show on Turf did. This is in no small part due to proclivities of Kurt Warner. His tenure in the NFL has been marked by an ability to read the downfield defense and make informed decisions about where the ball must go at the last possible instant. This lesson, learned at the feet of Offensive Genius Miek Martz, has served him well. Well, so long as he isn't gi(v/ft)ing the ball to the other team.

The read-react-adjusttoball routes of Zona rely on a strong QB-WR connection. They (WRs) read the defense and react in the same fashion as Warner, again and again, in an instant. This is the essence of the NFL. Repetitive pressure-filled (300lb+ lineman pus others are always pressure!) short-burst instense stress. Over and over again, both sides work to maintain full-focus and divest themselves of the affliction of pain. The price paid by body is determined by mind. No questions, no excuses, just act. Perfectly. Now. Now again. Now again. Again.

This QB/Receiver connection is precisely the sort of thing that Jim Johnson looks to disrupt. It is not the "everyone knows what is coming" pass that the Eagles defend well (please see continued inability to defend receivers like Plaxico on complicated routes like "I'm 6'6". Throw it high, motherfucker." Which, to be fair, leaves Larry Fitzgerald space to do something traditionally him-like. E.g., come down with a 50/50 pass or two in tight double-midget coverage.) but rather the timing routes and the concomitant adjustments to pressure that the QB-WR connection rely upon when the QB is under duress.

That is, the Iggles blitz the shit out of QBs so that they remember that it hurts to take a hit, even if the hit is delivered after the completion. (See Dawk's highlight reel) This is playoff football. QBs get hit in the playoffs. Which is good for all of us. except for them. Well, actually, the sport of football is about physical contact. QBs play the sport of football. This benefit is subordinate to the "decrease the amount of time the offense has to read the coverage."

IrRegardless of that batshit ranting, the pressure applied by the Eagles leads to the opponents relying upon their pressure-reads to get the QB out of trouble and get the ball to the WRs et al. When, over the course of the game, time-pressured adjustments are iterated, there are bound to be errors. There are a limited number of effective adjustments in any given route combo. By going to work on every down and every distance, the Eagles force the opponent to show their hand early and often. They take chances and rely on Dawkins to play the role of The Wolf, who'll be comin' directly.

The Cardinals need Boldin in this game. The defense of the Eagles can limit one receiver to acceptable levels. The addition of the second WR leaves a positive variable unaccounted for, which is where the mixing of schemes on the part of JJohnson and the ability of the Eagles D to make plays when it is time (not before or after) enter into it.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

or not

Anonymous said...

lol you have no clue what you are talking about. The eagles didn't force a single turnover.

dusty.rhodes said...

Thanks!
Your comments are enlightening. The choice of two comments drives your point home. Barkley-style.

Also, your future comments will be improved by a remedial course in 8th-grade reading comp.

Anonymous said...

To wit: Pikes offense is specifically designed to give up breaks.

J said...

Look, I'm all for trying to knock Dusty/the Eagles/Pike down a peg, but don't be scared! Sack (lip?) up and sign your posts!

Zac said...

Glad to see Martz, that ol' genius, is finally getting his due.