The Sports Daily > Eagles Eye Blog
It’s about mismatches, not balance, in Eagles-Giants showdown…

I am a little tired of the constant complaint of Philly fans who demand a more "balanced" offense out of the Eagles attack…

Offensive "balance" is a myth in today's NFL…

This sport has evolved into a chess match…and the key word is "match"…

Teams that win in the NFL today are the ones who identify and exploit "mismatches" in personnel and scheme…and every game and every opponent is different in this respect. So to say we need a uniform vanilla flavor to the balance of our offense is fallacy.

Look, if the mismatch is on the cornerbacks or linebackers or safeties of the Giants this Sunday, then that's where Marty and Vick are going to go…

If the Eagles O-Line is perceived as superior to the run defense of the Giants' DL, then Marty and Vick will go more to the run and the screen game…  It's as simple as that.

That's why I find the current "Run vs. Pass" controversy surrounding the Eagles going into this game against the Giants a joke.

If they show they can't stop the run, then you run…If they show they can't defend certain passing lanes, then you throw the ball there…

It's more complex than that based on situational down and distance, of course…but in the end, it boils down to that key reality—seek out the mismatch.






Speaking of mismatches, Antrel Rolle is a question mark to play for the Giants against the Eagles…but he is a huge question mark, because he has tormented the Eagles from the safety position when healthy.

Here's what the Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin had to say about Rolle and other matters in his Friday press conference:

Q: Rolle was out there today?
A: He was, yes. He moved around okay, I think. He's making progress.

Q: Are you okay with him for Sunday?
A: He made progress, yes.

Q: If Hosley is out, who would play the slot corner?
A: We'll have to wait and see. We have a couple of guys who have practiced at it.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Eagles' "Wide 9" style?
A: It's a very effective scheme for them. They've done very well with it. As you know, they play nine guys on the D-Line, and they run them in and out and keep them fresh. They attack the quarterback. They play the run on the way to the ball.

Q: You've had disc issues in the past. How severe is running back Ahmad Bradshaw's disc injury, and is it something that could flare up?
A: Well, I suppose it could flare up. In his case, he's been treated for a couple weeks so hopefully that's not going to happen. It can flare up. We've gone through some backs, we've gone through some necks, you do that in this game. Hopefully once you get it under control, and you know a little bit about it, so they don't put themselves in that type of position. Sometimes you can't help it, but it can be recurring.

Q: Thoughts on the documentary: [I think he's talking about NFLN's 'A Football Life' here— I'm not really sure!]
A: Quite frankly, I haven't seen it yet. I've received some nice comments about ‘family.' Judy, I told her, I'm sending her to California, to Hollywood. She told me she was sending me some place, too (laughs). She didn't quite finish the sentence.

Q: Will you get around to watching it?
A: Oh, I will. Definitely.

Q: Thoughts on Osi's play the first three games?
A: Played well the other night.

Q: The sack numbers haven't been quite up to usual:
A: They haven't, but we're playing hard, so hopefully we're starting to get there.

Q: Have you seen teams scheming against your ends?
A: Oh sure. Sure they do.

Q: With all these quick throws?
A: There's quite a bit of that. It wasn't necessarily all quick throws last week, but it's definitely a part of the plan.

Q: How do you counter these moves against your ends?
A: It's not easy. What happens then is you go through this…When you chip, you don't get as many people out, so you're in a constant (dilemma) between the strategy of protection with the chipping, with the tight end, where you place the tight end, do you snap the ball with someone in front of the pass rusher vs. spreading them out and getting some people out in the pattern quicker? There are decisions that have to be made all along. You just keep coming. If you're defensive linemen, you just keep coming. You recognize the chips, and when you study Philadelphia, you see that a lot of times those outstanding rushers from the outside, when they see the chips coming, they move back into a bull rush position. There are ways, there are strategies.

Q: With a QB like Vick, are you tempted to blitz more?
A: It's calculated. If you miss, he comes out of there. I don't know if he's struggled against the blitz, there's been some breakdowns in protection and things of that nature. Forced to hold the ball sometimes. They do a good job; they put him on the perimeter, which gives him a better opportunity to extend the play, which is what he really does well.

Q: Do you emphasize trying to strip the ball against a fumble-prone Vick?
A: We always emphasize. The number one thing we do at the beginning of the week is the turnover drill. Based on last week when we played, we put ourselves in a plus category in terms of takeaways-giveaways, and that's where we want to stay.

Q: If Coe and Hosley cannot both go, does that put you in a tough position?
A: Well it certainly isn't like having five. We'll see how that goes. We may dress one of the people from the media.

Q: Based on Andy Reid's comments about Vick last week, have you guys prepared for Foles at all?
A: No, I didn't. I didn't hear that comment.

Q: Have the expectations of placekickers risen in recent years?
A: Have the expectations for accuracy risen? I would say like everything else, yes. The expectations for every other part of the game have risen, so I'm sure in that regard they have as well.

Q: Any idea why the accuracy is so off the charts this year?
A: Stronger, bigger, obviously an area of emphasis for people who are inclined to have that kind of ability. A lot of these young men who are this skilled play for a long time.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was somewhat surprisingly listed as questionable Friday by the New York Giants for Sunday's key NFC East game against the Eagles. Nicks, who missed last Thursday's game against the Carolina Panthers due to lingering issues with the foot he broke during the off season, apparently also has swelling in one of his knees.

Also for the Giants, offensive tackle David Diehl (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring) and linebacker Keith Rivers (hamstring) will not play Sunday.

Safety Antrel Rolle, dealing with the after-effects of slamming his knee into a camera during the Carolina game, is listed as questionable. Cornerback Michael Coe is also questionable.

Nicks' injury likely means that Ramses Barden will start once again, coming off a nine-catch effort against Carolina. Wide receiver Domenik Hixon, who missed the Panthers' game with a concussion, is probable.

Here is the complete injury report:

T David Diehl (Knee – DNP)
CB Jayron Hosley (Hamstring – DNP)
LB Keith Rivers (Hamstring – DNP)

WR Hakeem Nicks (Foot/Knee – DNP)

CB Michael Coe (Hamstring – LP)
S Antrel Rolle (Knee – LP)

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Neck – FP)
WR Domenik Hixon (Concussion – FP)
DE Adewale Ojomo (Hamstring – FP)
CB Corey Webster (Hand – FP)

RB Ahmad Bradshaw says he will be ready to play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

When Bradshaw went down with a neck injury, many New York Giants fans wondered how they would replace their starting sixth-year running back. Well, backup running back Andre Brown answered those concerns last Thursday, rushing for 113 yards and two touchdowns. This has led many to question whether Bradshaw's workload will change. While Bradshaw respects his backup's ability, he still expects a similar workload.

"I expect to get the full load. It's not going to change," Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw said he is ready to go for Sunday's game. "I feel great. No symptoms at all, nothing," Bradshaw explained. "Lets me know that I'm going to be prepared for this week."

 Andre Brown has been magnificent the last two weeks, helping the Giants find a running game the likes of which they haven't seen since 2010. The model changes this week, however, when starter Ahmad Bradshaw returns from a neck injury. Theoretically, that should be a good thing. But will it? It will be interesting to see how the workload gets divvied up and whether or not Bradshaw can continue what Brown started. They have drastically different styles, and you wonder if Brown's decisive, straight-ahead style has really been part of what has jump-started the running game for the Giants.

Brown is slower compared to Bradshaw, but like I said, he tends to run north-south behind his blocks, at least moreso than Bradshaw, and he has had a change-of-pace effect on opposing defenses that seems to throw them off their timing.

Regarding the  Giants' secondary — The list of walking wounded is long. Antrel Rolle, Corey Webster, Jayron Hosley and Michael Coe all have some type of ailment. Amazingly, Prince Amukamara might be the healthiest corner on the roster. The Eagles should still live for the big play with Vick, DeSean Jackson, and hopefully a healthier Jeremy Maclin…. Dealing with that will be a challenge for a banged-up group of New York secondary defenders…

As for Justin Tuck—After three games Giants fans are still waiting for the Justin Tuck of old to appear, instead of this "old Justin Tuck" they have been watching. Tuck has a -3.4 grades from Pro Football Focus overall, and -5.7 in the pass rush department. That seems right because Tuck hasn't sniffed a quarterback yet. He has no sacks, no hits and no hurries.

Key matchups—- Trent Cole and Jason Babin vs. Will Beatty and Sean Locklear — The Giants' offensive tackles played exceptionally well against the Carolina Panthers in a game that showcased the best work by a Giants' offensive line that folks have seen in some time. Beatty, matched up with Cole, and Locklear, matched up with Babin, will have their hands full Sunday night.

We are two sleeps and a Palmetto nap away from kickoff on Sunday night…