A few thoughts on the Packers-Saints game and how they apply to the NFC East teams

Casey Matthews and Jamar Chaney haven't tackled much in the past 8 months. Will their tackling suffer on Sunday?

1) Poor tackling – Tackling last night was atrocious.  I’ve covered Eagles camp for the past two years, and the difference between camp last year and this year was night and day.  Last year, there was about a 50-50 chance that if you attended the morning session, you were going to see 11-on-11, live hitting/tackling for a good half hour or so.  I didn’t see tackling at all this year.  There were some 11-on-11 thud sessions (“thud” sessions include full blocking and you can hit the runner to a degree, but no tackling), but little more contact than that.

Due to the lack of OTAs, the thinking was that the Eagles were more cautious about hitting this year simply because the coaching staff didn’t want to risk hitting with players that may or may not have been in peak physical condition.  And when they actually did thud drills, a timer would go off signaling that it was time to take off the pads and move onto something less strenuous.  That timer was part of the new CBA deal that doesn’t allow live hitting to go on longer than it used to.  In the afternoon walk-throughs, the team looked more like a herd of cows just milling around in a pasture that you might pass on the road in a rural area.  I’d be surprised if the action at practice (or lack thereof) wasn’t the same around the rest of the league.

Tackling is skill that takes practice.  A guy like London Fletcher isn’t going to forget how to tackle, and Dallas has run weaksauce camps for years (they’re used to not practicing tackling, so no change there, haha), but the lack of tackling in camp could negatively affect teams like the Giants and Eagles, who have so much youth and inexperience at the linebacker positions.  Conversely, the lack of tackling might help some teams that employ players with the ability to break tackles.  If I’m Kevin Gilbride, I’m making it a priority to get Brandon Jacobs 12-15 carries, and even more if it’s working.  If I’m Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg, I think I’m gameplanning for LeSean McCoy to get at least 20-25 touches, for the reason above, and also because of their offensive line concerns in pass protection.

2) Outstanding QB play – Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees put on a QB exhibition last night.  The accuracy was just something to behold, and I’m not sure that he gets as much credit for this as he should, but Rodgers has an absolute cannon.  You may not see two QBs play that well in one game for the rest of the season.  Appreciate that game last night for what it was: Two stellar offenses led by 2 of the 3 best QBs in the league pretty much doing whatever they wanted in the passing game.  And it’s not like those defenses are devoid of talent at the corner positions.  Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, and James Shields make up a great trio of corners in Green Bay, and they got shredded.  Ditto that for Tracy Porter and Jabari Greer.  I can’t help but wonder if there’s any way an offense could throw all over Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie the way Brees and Rodgers dominated last night.  Even with their pinpoint accuracy, I just can’t see it.

3) Awful officiating – This really has no tie-in with the NFC East, but how in the hell was Charles Woodson not ejected from that game last night?  The rule, as it has been explained to me, is that if you throw a punch, you’re gone.  There’s no judgment needed.  Punch… thumb.  Woodson threw a punch, and obviously the officials saw it because they threw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct.  But no ejection.  So are we just not enforcing the rules now?  Clean it up, stripes.


  1. make beats says:

    Whenever i originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new testamonials are added- checkbox and after this any time a remark is added I buy 4 emails sticking with the same comment. Will there be any method you can easlily remove me from that service? Thanks!

  2. tuna83 says:

    Yeah, but when you have a defensive line breathing down your neck, you tend to look for the guys you are most comfortable with (unless you are Vick, then you look for Cooper). You start to force things and make bad decisions and Rodgers, like Manning, like Brady, like Brees will do just that…. Weeeee

  3. Stephen says:

    The thing thats scary Jimmy about an offense like the Packers going up against our secondary is that they have no reason to attack our top 3 guys. They will send 5 guys out on routes and all 5 of those guys is going to be a threat to catch the pass. James Jones, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley go out on a route and you’re going to end up with one of those guys matched up in a suboptimal way, and Rodgers will absolutely throw to the best option, he doesn’t care about feeding one guy stats.

    That being said, hopefully our pass rush will be good this year and force them to consider keeping more guys in to block, which would let our big 3 cover a higher % of their guys.

    1. deg0ey says:

      I also think that Chaney will do a reasonable job in coverage, and matching him up on the TE (possibly with Safety help) and we all know that NA, AS, DRC can take care of business. With Hanson coming back as well, I think it’s going to be difficult to consistently pick holes in this D even with a 5 WR set.

  4. Anders says:

    I have always had allot of respect for Woodson, but handing out sucker punches is just lowlife and I know he wont get a 1 games suspension, but believe he should.

  5. Gary says:

    Woodson definitely should have been ejected. Even Mike Pereira said so on Twitter.

  6. tuna83 says:

    One of the stripes had to of seen it. It was a tussel at the end of a play. I agree, enforce the rules. They guy should be gone. I don’t think it had anything to do with him being who he is either. I just think it was poor work by the stripes.

    Offense usually starts off quicker than the defense, isn’t that how the saying goes? Still what a sick game and the NFL deserves props for putting it together.

    I will say as an Eagles fan and overall NFC east fan, those teams don’t strike fear in me. Maybe the Saints. However I like our chances..

    I also think I’m going to rant a little bit, I’m tired of listening to Philly talk radio bashing the line and the linebackers. What did we have last year in the line backer position or the offensive line that made us feel any better? I agree we need to protect Vick. Aboso freaking lutely, but come on. We upgraded BIG time over what we were last year as a team.

    I’m also sick and tired of the Dream Team stuff. The term is subjective and he can use it how he wants to.. The media is really getting out of hand.

    That is all.

  7. brisulph says:

    Guaranteed they saw a tussle, likely suspected it was a punch, but did not see it well enough to chuck him. So instead they pulled out a patented hockey “make-up call”, and just gave him unsportsmanlike to punish him and say “sorry we can’t throw him out coach”.

    1. Maybe, but the ref was standing right there. I figured that since the punch was to the guy’s midsection, they thought it wasn’t as bad as a punch to the head, and were afraid to toss him.

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