September 20 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Rich Hofmann:
“Left to right, their names are Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Mike McGlynn, Nick Cole and Winston Justice. They make up the offensive line of a football team still searching for consistency and an identity.
Offensive line is the ultimate have-to-see-the-film position group, and these guys are about to begin that process anew as the NFL spits out the stat sheets that say Eagles quarterbacks have been sacked a dozen times in two games so far.
There are things you don’t need to see on video, though, things you understand intuitively. They all have to know already that they hold the immediate future of quarterback Kevin Kolb in their uncertain hands.
Because here is what happened yesterday at Ford Field: Michael Vick won a football game that Kevin Kolb might not have been able to win, all things being equal. Same situations, same play calls, same hellacious pressure from the Lions, and Kolb likely does not get you to 35-32.
That is how good Vick was in ducking away from pressure and then refocusing on the task at hand. That also is how many pass rushers came alarmingly free. The Lions were almost recklessly aggressive with their rush at times, and Vick made them pay enough that it all worked out in the end.
As Lions coach Jim Schwartz said, “He made a couple of great plays. We dialed up some blitzes and we had free runners to him, and he got away from guys that were free to [hit] him. Those are matchups that we need to win, that he won.”
The truth is that Kolb would have had a harder time avoiding those rockets being aimed at his head than Vick did.
The truth is that the line needs to be better if Kolb is to have a fighting chance at winning over the town.
“I do think that they played very well situationally, play after play, and then, all of a sudden, I have to look at the film,” Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said.
Part of the problem, the Eagles say, was this hyperaggressive Lions’ blitz scheme. The Lions came a number of times with a “zero blitz,” which means they sent six or seven guys hurtling at Vick and left no safety help back to assist the cornerbacks. The dangers are obvious enough. With the right play call, be it a pass or run – screen, draw, something like that – as Eagles coach Andy Reid said, “There’s nothing there but the end zone.”
Still, it works a good percentage of the time, mostly because there are more blitzers than the offense can possibly block. When used judiciously, it can kill an unsuspecting quarterback.
“They zero-blitzed us a few times, and I can’t get into details there, but Mike did a fabulous job with the zero blitz,” Mornhinweg said. “They got us a couple of times but we got them several times . . . “”
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