Peyton Manning is as close of an extension to a head coach on the football field as you will ever see. If he sees a defense he doesn’t like, he will check out of the call and go to something else. If he feels like a defense is soft leaving less men in the box, he will audible to a run and gash a defense that way.
This can be frankly demoralizing to an opposing defense. Manning’s football IQ is off the charts, as he seemingly has seen and knows every defensive look and blitz package known to man. This is a big point of concern for the Philadelphia Eagles defense.
The Eagles need to stay disciplined. The young players, especially, can’t play in awe of the Hall of Famer that is Manning. They have to treat him like he is any other quarterback, as hard as that may be, for the team to have any chance.
The keys for the defense are tackling well, winning the battle up front in the trenches, playing smart and fundamentally sound football, and getting creative with the game plan. Manning has seen it all, no doubt, but this shouldn’t stop defensive coordinator Billy Davis from mixing up looks. Manning will pick apart a vanilla, generic type of defensive scheme, and that just won’t work.
The Eagles’ defense is in for the biggest challenge of the young season. Manning is arguably the best quarterback to ever do it, and he is playing at as high a level as he ever has in his career to boot. The Eagles also have to travel to Denver in front of the Denver Broncos‘ rabid fan base, which is a monster challenge for sure. If the Eagles can somehow, someway, come out the other end victorious, it could be the boost needed to start a playoff run of their own.