HIT BRADY EARLY, OFTEN & HARD
Sometimes you just don’t know where to start.
And so it is in defending the New England Patriots, who have scored 54 touchdowns in 10 games.
Take away Randy Moss, who has 16 TD’s? That was John Madden's suggestion.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson only wishes it was that easy. Donté Stallworth, Wes Welker, Ben Watson and running back Laurence Maroney all pose matchup problems particularly in terms of speed.Beyond Moss, 19 other Patriots have touchdowns.
The Eagles' 22 total touchdowns are spread among nine players.
The key is to hit Tom Brady. Eagles linebacker Takeo Spikes says that's the best way to rattle the Patriots quarterback. Hit him often enough and he will hear pain in the footsteps of the defenders.Says Spikes, “It doesn’t have to be a sack, just a good hit. The hits have to come often. You want to get him at least once every three times he gets a chance to drop back and pass.”
Getting to Brady is a lot easier said than done for he’s been sacked just 10 times in 338 attempts. That’s one sack every 33 or so throws.
Spikes’ old team, the Buffalo Bills, didn’t get there at all last week and were humiliated 56-10. They rushed only two players at times, which definitely wasn't the right thing to do.
When Spikes called up his old teammates to get some dirt on the Patriots and their unsung offensive line, he got nothing beyond "have your track shoes on.”
The Eagles will do whatever it takes to get to Brady - even activating veteran defensive end Jevon Kearse, who's track-fast when healthy.With a week off to rest a sore knee, Kearse (3 1-2 sacks) should be able to cut it loose against the pass-happy Pats. At least that’s Johnson’s hope.
The pass rush - whether it sacks Brady or not - is the underdog Eagles' only real hope.