Saturday, August 2, 2008
A Healthy McNabb Means Sheppard Is A Keeper
If you have been around for the past nine years you know that Andy Reid loves the passing game. Of course he does, the West Coast Offense is built around the passing game. Despite that fact, Andy Reid REALLY loves the passing game. The man never met a down or a situation that wasn't perfect for a passing play.
All reports have McNabb at 100 percent healthy entering this season. The knee is fully healthy and there are no lingering shoulder problems. Oberservers have noted that McNabb has been lights-out in training camp. His mobility is back and he passes are crisp and on target. When healthy McNabb is a top five quarterback. A healthy McNabb means the sky is the limit for the Eagles this year.
A healthy McNabb means Reid will be even more inclined to throw the ball. The additions of Booker and Jackson to the offense should result in more points on the scoreboard. A high scoring passing offense means that the Eagles should be able to score early and have the opposition play catch-up through out the game.
When the opposition needs to come from behind they are more likely to abandon the running game and go pass, pass, pass. The Eagles defense will then be seeing a lot of three man wide receiver sets. Three wide receivers means the need for three cornerbacks. Three cornerbacks means having Sheppard, Brown, and Samuel on the field at the same time.
Earlier this off-season Jim Johnson threw out 60 percentage as the amount of time that he would use a three cornerback set. If the opposition is playing catch-up, that percentage will only increase.
Just look at the 2004 season as an example. The Eagles finished the season as the 8th highest scoring offense in the NFL. It was not uncommon for the Eagles to jump out to an early lead. During the season the Eagles threw the ball 547 times. Because the Eagles were putting up big points the opposition was forced to also throw the ball. In 2004 the opposition threw the ball 550 times against the Eagles.
With 21 of 22 starters returning from a top-10 offense last year, it is likely that we could be seeing a repeat of the 2004 statistics. If that is the case the Eagles better have a happy Lito Sheppard on the team.
Despite Sheppard not being healthy enough over the past years to demand a new contract, the Eagles need to do something to assure that they have the defensive pieces to support their offensive firepower.
Oh yea, Drew Rosenhaus....SHUT IT! And it's Lito, not Lee-Toe!