Casey Matthews And The Eagles Will Be Tested By Steelers Running Game

There’s one weakness I see on the Eagles defense and it involves the team’s linebackers and their run defense. Teams are going to be confident in throwing the ball against a secondary which boasts three Pro Bowl cornerbacks, but they’re licking their chops to run the ball against a defense led by a rookie middle linebacker.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked about wanting to see his young running backs run the football effectively, so you know what you can expect tonight. The Birds are going to get a major dose of the Steelers running game and Andy Reid and Juan Castillo need to thank Tomlin and his squad for the test.

The Birds have a new defensive system for stopping the run. The defensive linemen play the run on the way to the passer rather than sitting on the line of scrimmage and reading the blocking scheme.

The Eagles defensive line won’t be trying to keep linemen off of the linebackers like they have in the past, nor will the defensive linemen be concentrating on reading the blocking scheme. They’ll be focused on creating mayhem. If the offensive lineman in front of them blocks down, they will close but other than that they’re getting upfield at the snap of the ball and destroying anything in front of them.

The key for the D-line will be getting off on the ball and getting penetration into the offensive backfield any way they can. We should get a good look at middle linebacker Casey Matthews tonight because the first team defense will play a half of football. He’s got to show us that he can deal with the size of NFL offensive linemen.

Will he get pushed around or can he stand up against the huge offensive lineman in the NFL? Is he strong enough to pound an offensive lineman or will he have trouble getting off of blocks? I’m glad they’re playing the Steelers so we can see whether Matthews and our run defense are good enough.

I want to see him violently get free from the offensive linemen when they try to hold him because that’s what offensive linemen do to a small middle linebacker like Matthews. These big guys have vise-like grips, so it takes some serious effort to get free from them. You have to walk on the field with nothing but violence on your mind. I want to see him stand out.

I want to see Matthews lay some good licks on a couple of running backs. He needs to earn his stripes. He won’t be able to really lead aggressively in the huddle until he shows his teammates that he can make plays on this level. When the players watch the video, they’ll be check out the rookie to see if he can do the job. I’d love to see him earn some stripes tonight because that will be a weight off of his back.

The attacking strategy is good for getting stops in the backfield, but at times you can get up big runs when a runner splits the rushing linemen and the linebackers get blocked. The backers must use their quickness and tenacity to get off blocks in these situations to eliminate big plays.

The outside linebackers Jamar Chaney and Moise Fokou will be tested as well. Chaney is not a concern for me against the run, but I want to see how he does when asked to cover these tight ends.They’ll have to avoid offensive blockers, work through the “trash” and get to the football.

If the defensive line can get penetration, they’ll destroy the timing and blocking scheme of the play. The linebackers will benefit from it.

After listening to Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, I think the Birds are going to get a big dose of second-year Pittsburgh running back Jonathan Dwyer. “I didn’t see enough of him, quite frankly, due to circumstance,” Tomlin said. “We were behind. I’m definitely interested in giving him more looks, not only Thursday night, but in the remainder of the preseason and give him an opportunity to make an account of what he’s capable of.”

So this game will be Steelers vs. Eagles, but the undercard will Matthews vs. Dwyer.

31 thoughts on “Casey Matthews And The Eagles Will Be Tested By Steelers Running Game

  1. I know some people have a different view of where we ended last season than I do, but I find that view to be largely dillusional. Those who wlak through life with green tinted classes like Spadaro want to believe that we were five points from beating the SB champs ergo five points from winning the SB ourselves. That view is absurd. GB played conservatively and could have easily blown us out if they didn’t drop the TD before the half. We were nowhere close to GB as a football team last year. And we were in no way SB contenders before the offseason finally started. What we were was 7-9 team that was thin on talent with multiple holes who happened to go 10-6 because Vick was terrific last year. PERIOD. Other than Vick this team borderline sucked in many ways. The O line and pass defense were atrocious. THAT does not add up to SB contender.
    So what of Vick and the league figuring him out. Well…they did. Actually more specifically the Giants did and showed everyone else how to beat us. That happened in Week 11. So why couldn’t we adjust. Um, because we sucked. McGlynn, MJG and Winston Justice are all mediocre linemen. How do you adjust?? Tell them to be better? Keep the TE in to block when he can’t even block that well. That was like sticking your finger in a dyke. We were not at all capable from a personnel and talent standpoint to stop the blitz. And that defense. Ew God they stunk!! No pass rush and no coverage. Mediocre against the run. Horrific in the RZ. If you cannot protect your QB or stop the pass you will not win the SB in a thousand tries. So fo anyone who thought we were close or contenders before free agency, you’re a F-ing idiot!!!

  2. Now post free agency, where do the Eagles stand? Well they fired the idiot that was their D line coach two years late but they finally fired him. And they got one of the best in the biz with a scheme that is very fitting for our personnel. Then they went out and FINALLY after TWELVE years got us some depth in the pass rush. For the first time in the AR era we have more than one good pass rusher on the line. The fixing of the D line alone made us a good team instead of a mediocre one. Then we went out and got a couple guys that could actually cover. Our pass defense should be top notch this year. I would be stunned if we don’t finish top five in that category and number one is not at all out of the question. The DTs, LBs and safeties are not any better so we are still soft up the middle. Teams will try to run, but that will only be as effective as their defense is at stopping us. They can’t run if they are losing by ten points in the second half. I expect the run D to finish anywhere from 8-16. 16 is where we were last year and I don’t see personnel that really improves that by much especially if Patterson is done and I don’t think Casey will be as stout as Stew in that area based on sheer size. BUT, we could be a lot higher than last year simply for lack of teams trying. Its based on total yards not YPC so if teams don’t attempt it, our rank will be deceptively high because teams are constantly playing catch up against our offense. Bottom line, this will be a top ten D and will win some games for us when the offense struggles. But since D rank most closely correlates with run rank, we will be lower top ten. However, I fully expect to be top four in points because it will be a completely different story in the RZ this year and big plays just won’t happen against this secondary. Like the old days of JJ, we will bend some but we rarely break.

  3. On offense. Like I said C to RT sucked or were mediocre at best last year. Who kept MJG here for four years?? God I hated that fat stiff! The guy couldn’t play and they just wouldn’t give up on him. And McGlynn was behind him and Nick Cole on the depth chart so how good could he be? Not that good as it turmed out. I have never been a big Fat Jack fan but either he or Kelce has to be better at C than McGlynn. And I know Danny Boy will be better than fat stiff MJG. How much better is hard to say. RT is still a very worrisome issue because Justice is now an injured mediocre player, Dunlap pretty much sucks and it looks like Harris has brought his injury problems with him from Denver. If his back isn’t right by final cuts he has to go. I’m tired of carrying hurt players on our roster. Herremans may have to be seriously considered as an option. Evan Mathis is a quality guard in this league when healthy so the line can still be pretty good with him at LG. RT is a reason that this team will continue to struggle against top defenses.
    The WRs have some issues right now but we will be deeper and better come playoff time than we were last year. Shady will still be limited to two thirds of the field if the right side can’t block again this year. But he will have another excellent season if he is healthy. The coaching staff has to use him and Celek to exploit the blitz more often. And they need to make sure they don’t get away from Shady in games when they are struggling and they start becoming an extremely limited offense that keeps futiley trying to throw downfield in hopes of a big play.
    So where does this leave us? Well we needed to get better against the blitz. With better talent and better coaching on the O line we should do a little better holding back the onslaught. But its not all about the line. Vick has to do better with recognition and all reports indicate he is doing just that and taking the next step in his evolution. Now the receivers have to do the same. The offense is a little over rated as long as the O line is a work in progress, but they are still capable of blowing out weak to average teams and putting up points against all but the best of defenses. It comes down to coaching. Keep Shady involved. Run just a tiny bit more. Work the middle with Celek, Avant and S Smith. Play call better in the RZ. Do not become one dimensional and predictable and they will be fine. This is a top five offense but I wouldn’t get too carried away. The Saints, Packers, Cowboys and Patriots all have better offenses than ours because they have better O lines and/or more talented players.

  4. Bottom line this team is now a SB contender but we have to go out there and win games. 10-6 will not get us to the SB. We are not like other teams where everything will fall our way. We are not the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quite the opposite. Things come hard for us. We have to get a bye and we have to have home field against New Orleans and Atlanta. And we have to figure out how to beat GB. And bring on the Patriots! Who do you think will get sacked more? Brady or Vick? They have weak pass rush and only above average O line. I would take them any day over Pitt, Balt or NYJ who could all grind this offense down to a hault and run the ball. This is the best chance we may ever get in this decade. I hope for the best while fearing the worst. I just hope I can enjoy the ride (without constantly worrying about injuries) if we do finally win it all. In Vick’s name we pray. Amen.

  5. Hey jbird-

    I don’t usually comment, I read and keep it moving. I’m an Eagles fan. You’re clearly not. You just wrote like 4 paragraphs telling me why. You’re a hater , and a troll. So why don’t you be more like me, and read more- comment less. #Walks off with Asante Samuel chest out swagger#

  6. Will be missing the game tonight. Have to drop my dad at the airport, my grandmother passed away a few nights ago.

    Does anyone know what channel and when the game will be replayed?

  7. Most likely tonite at 11pm on nfl network… also comcast sportsnet will most likely replay it at 3pm on Sunday like they did last week. But still check…
    I send my regards to your family, I’m sorry to hear about your loss…

  8. Got a fantasy football question for you guys. Heres my line up

    Kyle Orton
    A. Petterson
    A. Bradshaw
    Roddy White
    Marques Colston
    Dustin Keller
    NYG Defense

    I have a trade offer

    Mcfadden and Matt Ryan NYG Defense


    Petterson and Kyle Orton DET Lions Defense

    Do you make this trade and why?

  9. vrcchini…yes make the trade…ryan will put up better numbers than orton, mcfadden wont match ap but will have a good year as the main back(ap will be targeted this year more than any with their wr/qb situation) and if the det def is bad you can always pick a servicable one up in free agency.

  10. zoltek…what does the Packers being 10-6 have to do with anything? Does that mean you think the Eagles can win the SB at 10-6 as well? Does that mean any 10-6 tean can win it all? Yes because it has been done before that means that 10-6 always gives you a good chance to win the SB. What kind of argument is that? So you think 10-6 is fine then? You wouldn’t rather have a better record and one less playoff game? You would rather play three games on the road because teams win three straight road games on a constant and consistent basis? So to be clear, a 10-6 team with no home playoff games has an equal chance to win the SB as a 13-3 team with homefield advantage? That’s what I thought. That makes perfect sense.

  11. eaglesinoak…I do not see what I had about my my post was downing the Eagles or being overly pessimistic. Would you prefer I swill a beer and slur out E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES like the blingh f-ing idiot that you probably are?? There is nothing wrong with a constructive breakdown of your own opinion. Its meant for conversation. But you just want to hear we are going to win the SB every year and everything is fine and we will cruise to victory. Do you live on this planet?

  12. eaglesinoak…why would anyone want to be “more like you?” You’re a dope, a moron and a nitwit. That was a completely unprovoked and over the top attack because I didn’t say the Eagles were perfect in every way. I’m a way bigger fan than you are. I bleed green and can tell you all about the last thirty years of this team in detail. You probably just watch the games and don’t even know all the players on the roster. Another thickheaded, mustard stained beer swilling jerk that hates intellectual discourse and prefers blind loyalty. You have nothing to say. Beat it!


    The title is a quote from Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcells. The idea is that a team is as good or as bad as its record indicate. Fans, commentators, and even players like to interpret – or rationalize – circumstances and game events so as to suggest that a team is better, or sometimes worse, than its record might suggest.

    A lucky bounce here or a bad call there and those close losses are wins, see, ‘we’re better than our record suggests’.

    Parcells on the other hand will have nothing of it. His take is that a team’s record is its bottom line. Explanations and rationalizations will not lead you to a championship season, only your results on the field of play. So rather than tell me that you’re a good team, show me.

    Oct 2009 by Dave Ozment

  14. Some good points in there jbird but I’m not sure where you get off saying the Cowboys are going to have a good offensive line. Also, zoltek is right, the Packers were 10-6 and won the Superbowl last year. What does your record have to do with anything provided you make the playoffs? Lastly, every team has weaknesses, even Superbowl winning teams. Remember the Colts’ inability to stop the run back in 2006? I think a couple weeks before the playoffs that year, the Jags rushed for over 300 yards against them. But they still won the Superbowl. Do I think the Eagles are going to win the Superbowl? Who knows; but I certainly like their chances.

  15. Jbird, are you kidding me? You posted 10 msgs on an article that had nothing to do with what you wrote. And what made it worst was you were the 1st poster ugh do that on a different site… what happens in your brain? Is your thoughts spaced out? Its unecessary, noone wants to read what you say. I didnt even read a full sentence lol

  16. you said “10-6 wont get them to a superbowl” 10-6 won a superbowl last year… so not even sure what the record has to do with anything. They started 3-3, and every damn year the eagles lose a stupid game early, and people think the seasons over.. and then they win 4 out of the last 5 games and play good at the end of the year, every year.

    Dont get too wrapped up in records, pay attention to how they play in the last 8 weeks of the season.

  17. the Jbird thing was a copy and paste from several Blog topics back. He has some valid points but seriously- we are EONS better than we have been in a long long time. Do the birds want a rookie at MLB? no. are they looking into every spot on every team to make this better. YES. I have at times been on this F.O. and on the coach. BUT…. this year, the’ve earned a break. They have done a good job- a GREAT job. We still have 2 million to spend if needed and a BUTTTTTTT load of talent. I live in MN now- the team here is just under the cap with lots of bloated wasted spending on mediocre players. The Eagles have done a great job this year. would i love a Monster in the middle? Yes…. but we can go to battle with these troops. I could not/ did not say that last year.

  18. no team is unstoppable. None. The pats were hands down the best team a few years back. Went 16-0 and lost to a Giants team who got hot at the right time.

    I dont care what the pack did last year. They were 3-3 at the start just like zoltek said. The question is…….

    1) Can we go to war with this team? the answer is yes.
    2) Can we match up with a team like the pack-falcons-YES
    3) can we focus on the rams for week 1? YES.

  19. Best quote concerning the eagles so far this year G….”You have to walk on the field with nothing but violence on your mind” – that I like very much; lets hope it translates into better on the field play throughout the season!

  20. Nate Allen, Casey Matthews & Asante Samuel sucked badly tonight. They better get some LB’s or it isn’t going to matter if you have all pro bowlers in the secondary. Mattews is slow & got blown up on 4 plays that I noticed. WOW! that game was putrid!

  21. A moment of Silence for Casey MAtthews please,
    His career as a Starting MLB in the NFL is a good couple of Seasons away,He will be a Special Teamer and a back-up LB which was my analysis of his ability since he was Drafted.. He is not Starter Material in the NFL a this stage of his development..

  22. It seems like every year, Reid undervalues or ignores a certain part of the team, & it comes back to bite him in the butt, every time. Mattews in no way, should be starting this soon. IMO, Allen is still technically a rookie & was playing tentatively, because of his injury. He should be alright. Mattews, on the other hand, is way too small, & got pushed around like a child. Get off your soap box Reid, swallow your pride, your not always right. Get another Veteran LB.

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