2. The Philadelphia Eagles need to utilize their tight ends and attack zone coverage.
With Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, this might be a little bit surprising. However, the Giants called a lot of zone coverage in their most recent game with the Washington Football Team. Obviously, the game plan changes from week to week and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was known for his man coverage scheme in Miami. We’ll probably see a mix of zone and man and maybe even a combination of the two at times.
Either way, the Eagles’ tight ends can be useful. As mentioned earlier, the Giants run defense has been pretty stout thus far, and with this Eagles offensive line, it could be difficult to get the run game going. Overall, Richard Rodgers has been great at run blocking. While many people are quick to blame him for the failed read-option on that final two-point conversion in Week 6, the play design was actually flawed from the start with Rodgers being motioned over to the left side. That brought an extra man to that side of the formation. Plus, Doug Pederson shouldn’t even be running a read-option in that situation.
The point being, Rodgers has been one of the Eagles’ best run-blocking tight ends in recent years. They could use his help with the offensive line and Miles Sanders won’t be there to make something out of nothing. Rodgers can also release off his blocks into routes for short gains. When the Giants do call zone coverage, Philly can attack with Rodgers in the middle of the field. He’s a veteran and knows how to find holes in zone coverage.
Jason Croom isn’t too shabby either. He’s a young and athletic tight end who has some NFL experience. He only had one snap last week, but he scored a touchdown off of it recognizing a blown coverage. Don’t underestimate the impact he can make. There’s also Hakeem Butler who made his Eagles debut primarily as a gunner on special teams. He’s a freak athlete with plenty of tools so don’t be surprised if he gets some reps.
Greg Ward is also a master at attacking zone coverage so don’t be surprised if Carson goes his way a decent amount of the time. On the outside, those cornerbacks might be drifting into deep thirds in zone coverage or deep into the flat so the Eagles can attack with out routes or comebacks like they have been with Travis Fulgham or with DeSean Jackson now that he’s back. DeSean easily can do it against man coverage too when on the field. It will really depend upon where star cornerback James Bradberry is lined up and where their other starter Ryan Lewis is lined up. Kyle Allen completed 74 percent of his passes versus the Giants zone defense last week so the ‘Birds’ have to attack it however they can.