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Frank LeMaster- Eagles Off To A Great But Painful Start

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The first game of the season for every team is always one of the most the most important games of the regular season and Former Eagle Frank LeMasteralways full of surprises. It is a game often not won by the best team, but by the team that simply makes the least mistakes and turnovers in the game. It offers the first indication of the strides and improvements that the coaching staff and players have made in the offseason… the nature of the chemistry and talent the team has developed in the off season… and who will emerge as next Eagles next superstar (My guess is DeSean Jackson).

The biggest surprise of the first season game came as Sean McDermott showed that he may have the ability to walk in Jim Johnson’s shoes as the new Eagles Defensive Coordinator. Coach McDermott called a fantastic defensive game, which kept the Panthers off balance for more than 3 quarters. He masterfully disguised his defensive front seven by using various fronts and blitzes to create 5 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries and five sacks.

The Eagles other surprise was an unwanted gift as Donovan McNabb scrambled into the end zone, but paid for the TD with a fractured rib. McNabb’s injury will offer a huge challenge for the offense for the next 2-4 weeks. Eagle fans will finally get to see Kevin Kolb perform after he has had a week of film study and game preparation under his belt, but keep in mind that good quarterbacks evolve over time and are not made in one week. I believe Kolb will do a good job, but only if the offensive line does their job. Do you think Jake Delhomme would have had a better game if his line had protected him? Of course he would. Every successful quarterback, running back or linebacker for that matter, will tell you that they are as only as good as the line in front of them.

It’s NFL Week 2 and this game will be the first real test that both teams will face this year. The New Orleans Saints’ offensive firepower of QB Drew Brees, TE Jeremy Shockey, WR Marques Colston and RB Mike Bell put 45 points on the board last week vs. the Detroit Lions. The Eagles only allowed 10 points and will have to play a very disciplined defense to contain Brees & Co. The Saints have a balanced attack as Brees can rapidly move the chains down the field with his accurate and consistent passing game. We may see Brees using more draws and screens against the Eagles to slow down the blitzes and Eagles pass rush. Look for the Saints to use the cut back running ability of Bell to take advantage of the Eagles defense aggressive pursuit of the ball.

I believe Andy Reid will mix up his passing and running game up as he did against the Panthers and try to give Kolb some short and medium route passing opportunities early on to build up his confidence. Reid will rely a lot more on Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy to establish the running game, which should help take some pressure off of Kolb.

I see the game to be close, but the Eagles special teams with David Akers’ kicking and Jackson’s elusive runbacks on punts, will give the Eagles the winning edge

Eagles 23, Saints 17