It's time, once again, for my regularly scheduled Q&A with an SB Nation colleague. This week, since the Saints are facing off against Philadelphia, I had a little chat with JasonB from Bleeding Green Nation. We discussed all things Eagles, including the hazy quarterback situation, the matchup this Sunday and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. Give it a once over then share your feelings about Jason's answers.
CSC: Which quarterback do you think should have the starting job this Sunday and why?
BGN: Well, if Donovan McNabb can't go the QB will be Kevin Kolb. If it happens that McNabb feels good enough to play, then he should be the starter and I have plenty of confidence in him. As for Kolb, it's really hard to say because he's never started a game before. So I have all the trepidation someone would have when they have a completely unproven, young QB starting. Some might say Jeff Garcia, who is certainly proven, should start but I get the idea of starting Kolb. Garcia knows the system, but there's something scary about signing a guy off the street one day and starting him at QB a few days later. Kolb has been here for a few years now, this is his shot to prove he belongs... It's just one game, might as well let the kid show what he can do. I wouldn't give him an infinite leash though, if he truly struggles then I think we could see Jeff Garcia at some point..
CSC: Philadelphia's offensive line is a little nicked up. Any concern there?
BGN: Not really. They did a great job against Carolina and really alleviated some of the fears people had. I wouldn't really even call it nicked up this point. Starting LG Todd Herremans is out, but Nick Cole has done a good job filling in for him. People might point to Shawn Andrews as an example of an injury on the line, but considering he missed the end of 07, virtually all of 08, and all of this year... Does he even count? He hasn't been part of the line in a long time. All the other notable guys are there and healthy. Stacey Andrews seems to look good after offseason surgery and Jason Peters, who was knicked up in preseason, seemed to get better and better as last week wore on.
CSC: Saints fans had their eye on defensive coordinator Sean McDermott this off-season. Talk about what he's brought to the Eagles.
BGN: He seems to have really followed in the footsteps of a guy like Steve Spagnuolo, who left the Eagles for the Giants and won a superbowl with them. It's still clearly Jim Johnsons' system, but like Spags you can see that McDermott has put in a few of his own wrinkles and showed us some stuff Johnson didn't. In some ways, McDermott might be even more aggressive than Johnson. He really seemed to confuse Carolina by lining up DE Trent Cole as a "joker" in the middle of the defense and essentially rushing him as an inside linebacker. In all, the pressure created up the middle by the Eagles last Sunday just killed the Panthers.
He really seemed to show a knack for play calling, which is the one thing we didn't about him. He dialed blitzes up at the right time, took advantages of weakness, and showed some serious aggression. It's only one game, so I don't want to overrate the guy just yet... but so far so good with McDermott.
CSC: What do you think will be the Eagles gameplan against the Saints?
BGN: On defense they're going to bring pressure, that's no surprise. They always do that. The key will be making sure it's disguised well and when they bring the blitz make sure it gets there. They're going to try and hit Brees often, throw off his rhythm, and force bad throws. Against the run, they're going to try and funnel things into the middle where DTs Bunkley and Patterson have done such a great job of swallowing up the run.
On offense, I'm expecting a healthier dose of the run than teams are used to seeing from the Eagles. Assuming Kolb starts, the last you want is to ask him to throw 35 times and do everything Donovan McNabb does.
Any surprise players on the Eagles that Saints fans might not know about and should keep their eye on this Sunday?
Probably the entirety of the defensive line. Trent Cole has made a pro bowl, but overall there's not a lot of famous names on the line. They play really well together as a unit though and are often switched in and out for different packages. You guys will recognize Darren Howard, who played well against the Panthers and is coming off a double digit sack season where he didn't even start.
CSC: Prediction for the game?
BGN: If McNabb can go, I think the Eagles will win. If not, I don't.