Monday, October 03, 2005

Game-changing pick no surprise

Remember when the Eagles were trailing the Chiefs 17-0 and Sheldon Brown stepped in front of Eddie Kennison for an interception he returned 40 yards for a touchdown that sparked the Eagles' rally, en route to a 37-31 victory Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium?

Turns out everyone saw it coming. Brown. Eagles defensive coordinator Jimmy Johnson. Chiefs offensive coordinator Al Saunders. QB Trent Green. Kennison. Even KC tight end Tony Gonzalez. Everyone.

Saunders dialed up the exact same play, from exactly the same empty backfield formation, as he did when Kennison caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Green to make the score 17-0 just a few minutes earlier.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, well ..... Jimmy Johnson is nobody's fool.

This from Jason Whitlock's column in today's Kansas City Star:


The Eagles adjusted to KC’s empty-back set and went zone. Sheldon Brown was waiting on Green’s toss to Kennison. Brown jumped the route and raced 40 yards into the end zone.

... The interception infuriated Green. As he jogged to the sideline, (he) flung his right arm in disgust.

After the game, Green tried his best not to talk about the interception.

“I don’t want to open a can of worms,” Green told me privately after a gaggle of reporters stepped away.

He said he wasn’t surprised at all that the Eagles adjusted their defensive look. You expected it?

“We all did,” Green said.

The problem is Saunders’ “system” doesn’t allow the quarterback to audible or for receivers to adjust their routes. Green and Kennison could see the zone defense and anticipate the danger, but they were powerless to do anything about it.

“He can’t do what Peyton Manning does at the line of scrimmage, even though (Green) could,” said tight end Tony Gonzalez.

And this from Andy Reid's Monday press conference:

"I think Kansas City did a great job offensively with their initial first 15 plays there of scheming that thing up. They caught us in the right defense with the right play called," Reid said. "Jim (Johnson) made some adjustments and settled down and we were able to pull it back together."

And what about Brown's scoring interception?

"It was a route that they had run before," Reid confirmed. "Sheldon anticipated it and did a great job with it."

Any system in the NFL that doesn't allow a quarterback to change a play at the line of scrimmage, or a receiver to break off a route based on coverage, seems like a sure system for failure.


Chiefs coach Dick Vermiel had nice things to say about the Eagles, the team he led to the 1980 Super Bowl.

"You can see why they were in the Super Bowl last year…. They’re better than we are.”

And McNabb, who threw for 369 yards and 3 TDs.

“He’s just not a normal guy standing back there.”


At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Whitlock's story in KC Star
this morning andI have to say, Al
Saunders didn't make Trent Green
throw the ball right Sheldon Brown.

I dont care how inflexible his sytem is,
if Green had really anticipated or
noticed the Eagles going to a zone coverage, he could (and should) have thrown the ball away.

At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eagles Rule!

At 8:17 PM, Anonymous ocjones said...

Vermeil is a very classy guy. I have always had great respect for him.

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it any wonder that Dick Vermeil is still an icon in Philly? I've wondered before if Andy Reid will ever be as popular, even though he'll probably end up being more successful. I think it's just Vermeil's folksy way. I love Andy as the Eagles' coach, but he's just not as personable to the public. Different strokes for different folks.


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