Chess is a game of strategy. The challenge is to put your opponent in a state of peril with a keen strategy, attention to detail and perfect timing. Just like chess, football is the ultimate game of strategy. Players can make plays, miss opportunities and do some memorable things all within one game. Along with that comes blame and success.
Just like players can make some great things happen, coaches can also make some great adjustments before and during games. One of the great adjustment makers in the NFL is New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Despite all the things talked about cheating in regards to the Patriots run of championships over the years, you cannot deny that they have made some great things happen in-game with the adjustments they have made and that is all a direct reflection of Belichick.
The Eagles, on the other hand, have been known to make some adjustments, but not enough to win the big game unfortunately, as their streak of not winning a title is legendary these days. In the Super Bowl, it will be critical for the Eagles to not only make pregame adjustments but adjustments within the scheme of the game. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson spoke on the challenges of coaching against a Bill Belichick team Tuesday to the media.
“It’s obviously a challenge to go up against a very smart coach,” said Pederson. “His team is going to be well-prepared and it’s not just the X’s and O’s, it’s the situational aspect of the game. Fourth down, redzone, blitz situations and all kinds of things that we could see from them. We have to be prepared and talk about it as a staff.”
Doug Pederson has to have his team well-prepared. Judging from their path to the Super Bowl, he has done a great job adjusting the game plan to what the strengths of his team are while taking advantage of the opponent’s weaknesses. While that has been manageable for Pederson up to this point, the Eagles have to be ready to make even more adjustments. No matter if they are leading at halftime or not, the staff of the Eagles will have to put their collective heads together to have a plan B for the things that Belichick can do and make adjustments on.
One thing the Eagles will have to combat offensively is the pressure Belichick likes to ratchet up after halftime. It seems like the pass rush the Patriots have is quiet to start the game but finds its way after Belichick and his staff are able to make those halftime adjustments. The one things that has to happen in this instance is the Eagles have to find a way to run the football consistently to slow down the game along with getting themselves in good down and distances to either run or throw the football. The less predictable they are, the more they will keep the Patriots guessing in this one.
Defensively, Brady and the Patriots offense like to change speeds as a means to get to defenses. They like to throw it quick and get it out to backs and of course tight end Rob Gronkowski. The best way the Eagles can combat the play of Brady there is to mix up the coverages on him. We all know that when it comes to Brady, it will not be easy, but it is something that they must do in order to try and throw his rhythm off. Hopefully for them, their defensive line will be able to get to Brady and wear out the Patriots offensive line over time, which would help the Eagles defense tremendously.
In big moments, pressure can busts pipes or make diamonds. So which will it be for the Eagles as they try to surround the Patriots on their way to getting their checkmate? We shall see come Sunday.
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