WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

September 05, 2018 at 1:08 am.

–Philadelphia and Atlanta were neck-and-neck in terms of offensive production in 2017. The Eagles had 5,852 yards of offense, which was seventh best in the league; the Falcons were eighth with 5,837.

–The Falcons may have the best receiving corps in the league. Along with Julio Jones, they have Mohamed Sanu and added rookie Calvin Ridley. Jones was ninth in the league in receptions (88) and second in yards receiving (1,444).

Doug Pederson on the Falcons’ receivers: “I think it’s a great receiving corps. It’s probably one of the tops in the National Football League. We obviously know about Sanu and Julio and what they can do. But Calvin Ridley — I remember him coming out and there’s an element of surprise with his speed. I think this guy has got some really good, kind of sneaky speed, catches the ball extremely well and had a really good college career at Alabama. He just makes this group that much harder to defend with the other two guys.”

–The Eagles owned the NFL’s No. 1-rushing defense in 2017.

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn: “I think it’s two good line-of-scrimmage teams. Who can do that better and execute better? Last year I thought (Tevin Coleman) had some runs in the game that looked good. We didn’t run it quite as well as we’d liked, but we know that’s a big part of what we do and kind of marries up with the play-action and the keepers that go along with that. That’s what makes us so difficult to defend.”

–Atlanta’s defense isn’t overly large, but it is quick. Last year, the Falcons were ninth in the league in total defense.

Doug Pederson on the Falcons’ defense: “Because they don’t do a lot defensively, they kind of just line up and make you march down the field. Those have always been tough defenses to scheme against. It takes a lot of detail in route running. Obviously, it starts up front with the offensive line, protection, the run game. But we can look back on things we’ve done, things we’ve done well against them, things that other teams have done. Really going into the first game, because emotions are running, juices are flowing kind of high, you want to keep things sort of simple as possible so your guys can cut it loose and play.”

–Dan Quinn on the play of centers Jason Kelce (Eagles) and Alex Mack (Falcons): “For those line coaches and people that appreciate line play, these are two of the best centers in the league that know how to get down the field and stay on blocks. You can imagine how difficult that is for a big guy, to make sure you can stay on a 235-pound linebacker, both these guys can block people in space. That’s a real challenge, but they’re able to do that.”

–The Eagles were the only team in the league last year to not allow any points in the final two minutes of every game they played.
TEAM MVP

–Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox: Carson Wentz, of course, is probably the easiest answer here, but Cox is on record as saying he wants to be the NFC Defensive Player of the Year. There is no reason to doubt his desire even though the Eagles’ defensive tackles play far fewer snaps than most of the league’s tackles because defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz rotates heavily up front to keep his guys fresh through a game and the season. Cox had 5.5 sacks last year and upped his game in the playoffs, adding a sack and making 13 tackles in three postseason games.
TEAM ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

–Tight end Dallas Goedert: Drafted in the second round, the 49th player taken overall, Goedert should benefit from lining up with Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz in certain packages this season. Goedert should be a red-zone target from week one and beyond.