Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.
@tim_mcmanus How will Dallas playing C change the offensive run game strategy? He is quite a bit different than Kelce from what I understand
— Dan Hansel (@hense83) September 20, 2012
Jason Kelce (6-3, 295) is a little lighter than Dallas Reynolds (6-4, 320), though both are athletic and of a similar body-type. Kelce is exceptional at getting upfield in the run game. Reynolds will be hard-pressed to match his effectiveness at the second level.
My greater concern is how he handles his first start on the road. Kelce and Michael Vick were having their share of communication issues in Cleveland on a day where the quarterback took an absolute beating. Reynolds will be sharing pre-snap duties at the line like Kelce was, and you would think there will be a learning curve. Consider also that the Eagles will be working with a different left tackle in Demetress Bell. Evan Mathis will have a new teammate on either side of him. He was asked if it changes his approach at all.
“A little bit,” said Mathis. “I’ll focus a little more on communication to make sure we’re on the same page.”
Mathis added that the offensive line will not alter what it does in the absence of Kelce and King Dunlap. They will try and do the same things. The University of Phoenix Stadium roof will be closed, and it will be loud. This Cardinals defense is proving to be formidable. Communication along the Eagles offensive front has to be the main concern going into Sunday.
@tim_mcmanus What can the Eagles do to counter Kolb’s familiarity with the team? I remember it being an issue last time we played.
— David S (@dfsynnamon) September 20, 2012
That’s debatable. For a refresher, here’s what Kevin Kolb said after the Cards beat the Eagles 21-17 last November.
“During the two-minute drill, you almost feel guilty,” Kolb said. “Mike’s sitting there giving the signals, and I’m standing there on our sidelines, screaming at our corners, ‘Hey it’s a go ball, hey he’s running a screen, hey he’s running a slant.’”
And here was Marty Mornhinweg‘s response: “That’s a story you can always anticipate, an ex-player that’s on another ballclub and who’s injured and wants so badly to be a part of a win. In the two-minute (offense) we only called two plays on the line. Completed the third down and then dropped a big one.
“I did check and it had absolutely no effect.”
I tend to side with Mornhinweg here. Kolb was likely burning to be a part of the win over his old club, but had minimal impact on the outcome. I would say Vick’s broken ribs and DeSean Jackson‘s absence may have had a little more to do with it.
You can count on this: the Eagles will make sure, following Kolb’s assertions, that the signals are not identifiable to their former QB anymore, just in case.
@tim_mcmanus Nick Foles.
— Captain Fun (@TheFlyersPanda) September 20, 2012
@tim_mcmanus is our defense actually this good or are we just playing terrible offenses?
— Matt Hubsher (@hoobsher) September 20, 2012
The early evidence suggests the former.
Brandon Weeden had a 5.1 quarterback rating against the Eagles and rookie Trent Richardson was limited to 2.1 yards per carry. Against the Bengals last week, the Browns racked up 439 total yards, Weeden threw for 322 yards with a pair of touchdowns (114.9 QB rating) and Richardson rushed for 109 yards (5.7 average) with a TD.
Similarly, a Ravens offense that hung 37 points and 430 yards on Cincinnati in Week 1 looked far more pedestrian against Juan Castillo‘s unit. Now, maybe the Bengals’ defense is just that bad. But both the stats and the eye test suggests that the Eagles’ “D” is pretty darn good.