An Interview with Inside The Iggles on the Detroit Lions Matchup
By Jeff Risdon
We were fortunate enough to interview Inside the Iggles expert Geoffrey Knox to answer a few questions about this week’s game between the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles.
1. He’s getting praise from everywhere, but what specifically makes Carson Wentz so effective as a rookie QB so far?
Carson Wentz is probably one of the most mature rookies I’ve seen. He just seems to get it. Physically, he has everything you’re looking for, but I think it’s more than that. When you keep hearing things like he’s beating coaches to the Novacare Complex, and he’s locked in and studying film, you smile. Before that, you were hearing about him walking into training camp already knowing the playbook. Sure, Wentz can toss the ball around, but Wentz is special because he demonstrates an understanding that playing quarterback in this league is all about all of those other things.
He’s humble, hardworking and Coach Pederson says that he’s “Peyton Manning-like” in his preparation. It’s hard to argue with that type of praise when it’s coming from the people who are around him everyday.
2. What do you see as the Eagles’ biggest matchup advantage in Detroit?
I think the biggest advantages will come when the Detroit offense is on the field against the Philadelphia defense. I think you guys just have one guy too many missing, but we also get our best tight end, Zach Ertz, back for the first time since week one. We’re hearing about some three tight end sets to either force Detroit to match up with base personnel or maybe bring on a third corner. The thinking is either option gives this team some weird matchup advantages on offense.
3. How are the special teams faring?
We’ve been excited about our special teams for a while now. They always seem to do something huge, and it’s always exactly when it needs to happen. There are punt returns for touchdowns, blocked field goals and other things. Dave Fipp has done a great job. We got 14 points from our special teams last year in New England, and that was the spark plug that lifted us over the Patriots in that one.
We did give up a late touchdown on a punt return to the Chicago Bears in week two, but fortunately we didn’t suffer too much as a result of that one.Those things happen, but the guys got a learning experience and it didn’t end up costing the team the game. Better to get those types of kinks out early in the season when the game’s already been decided than to see something like that happen in the divisional round of the playoffs I guess. Overall, we’re crazy about Coach Fipp and hope he never goes away.
4. What is the early impression on Jim Schwartz as Defensive Coordinator?
I’ve always liked Schwartz as a defensive coordinator. I just don’t think he’s a head coach, and that’s okay. Every position isn’t meant for everybody, but Schwartz’s presence means two things.
The Eagles transitioned back to a 4-3 rather than the 3-4 we employed under the Chip Kelly regime. The 4-3 is just better suited for the collection of guys we have on defense. Schwartz seems, for the most part, to be content with trying to create pressure with the four guys up front which allows the linebackers to kind of roam and make plays. We’re set at safety. We’re still figuring the cornerback position out, especially with rookie Jalen Mills filling in for Leodis McKelvin, but Mills will continue to improve with playing time.
It feels like defense is back in Philly, and that’s a great thing.We love Coach Shwartz, and just like Coach Fipp, we hope he’s here for a long time.
5. Who wins and why?
I’m going with our guys. I think Detroit just has too many important guys missing, and we’re starting to get our important guys back. Ertz gives Wentz another weapon on offense. Even though he’s gotten comfortable with wide receiver Jordan Matthews, I think he can become even more comfortable with Ertz.
Schwartz and company aren’t letting opposing offenses light up the scoreboard and I think that’s extremely important. I think they limit the Detroit offense.
I go 27-10 Eagles because I just don’t see Jim Caldwell as the guy who can put together something to stop or even slow down what we want to do on either side of the ball. Hopefully, I’m right on that one and the Eagles can get to 4-0.
To see how I answered Geoffrey’s questions on the Lions, check it out here.