Young quarterbacks give Eagles problems

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Young quarterbacks give Eagles problems

Postby 1niksder » Sat Dec 09, 2006 11:48 am

Young quarterbacks give Eagles problems
ROB MAADDI
Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA - There used to be a time when defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's complex schemes gave the Philadelphia Eagles a huge advantage against young quarterbacks.

Not this season.

The Eagles (6-6) are 2-5 against teams whose starting quarterback is 28 years old or younger while they're 4-1 against teams with QBs in their 30s.

On Sunday, Philly faces another young quarterback when it plays at Washington (4-8). Jason Campbell, who is making his fourth start, turns 25 later this month. The second-year pro replaced veteran Mark Brunell in the starting lineup right after the Eagles beat the Redskins 27-3 in Philadelphia last month.

"They're going to make plays regardless of their age," safety Brian Dawkins said. "If they're in this league, they're here for a reason. They're talented. You respect every guy, whether it is a veteran or a young guy. The thing that we feel as a defense is that if we come out and play the way we are capable of playing, with the emotion that we played with this past Monday night, it is going to be tough for any quarterback let alone a rookie."

The two rookie QBs who've faced the Eagles this season - Tampa Bay's Bruce Gradkowski and Tennessee's Vince Young - came out winners. Both players - no coincidence - are mobile and hurt the Eagles with their scrambling ability.

Gradkowski's 9-yard run set up Matt Bryant's improbable 62-yard winning field goal as time expired. Young had 49 yards rushing in a 31-13 win on Nov. 19. Jacksonville's David Garrard, who is 28, ran for 36 yards in a 13-6 win in Philly on Oct. 29.

"Part of that is just when we're blitzing, we just have to stay in our rush lanes," linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said. "When we played Vince (Young), they had designed draws and sometimes that's tough when you're really not thinking. You're thinking pass rushing and getting up field and then the quarterback takes off on you."

Campbell isn't much of a running threat. He has scrambled 12 times for 28 yards in three games. The Eagles have been successful against quarterbacks who stay in the pocket. They sacked Dallas' Drew Bledsoe and the Giants' Eli Manning a combined 15 times.

"I think he's more of a pocket-type quarterback," Johnson said of Campbell. "We want to try to pressure. We probably were a little bit more concerned about Vince Young as far as pressure because of the scrambling ability, so certain things go into things. Every case is so different."

The most dangerous running quarterback in the NFL is Atlanta's Michael Vick. His only win in three starts against the Eagles came in last year's season opener when he ran for 68 yards. He had a total of 56 yards rushing in two playoff losses against the Eagles.

Notes: DE Darren Howard (knee) practiced for the first time this week on Friday, but remained questionable for the game against the Redskins. CB Rod Hood (hamstring) is the only other player listed as questionable.
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