Ryan Fitzpatrick is a good athlete. Yes, you read that correctly. While he is no Mike Vick or Aaron Rodgers with his athleticism, Fitzpatrick knows his way around the pocket and picks and chooses good times to run. One big key for the Eagles will be keeping Fitz in the pocket and making him get rid of the ball quickly. This shouldn’t be an issue for the Eagles’ defensive line.
Just a Week Ago
Fitzpatrick ran the ball 12 times for a total of 36 yards and a touchdown in week 1 against the New Orleans Saints. That is only a three-yard average so Fitz wasn’t breaking off long runs last week but he was using his legs to pick up some much-needed yards to continue drives. He even capped off a 6 play 75-yard drive with a tough 3-yard touchdown run where he dove and was hit by Saints safety Marcus Williams as he crossed the goal line (photo below).
Fitzpatrick was also able to move outside the pocket while also keeping his eyes downfield. The veteran receivers on the Bucs are smart enough to work back to Fitz when he breaks the pocket. Evans and Jackson were both recipients of a few 10-12-yard completions from Fitzpatrick where he broke outside of the pockets and found the veterans as the broke off of their routes.
Ultimately, Fitzpatrick torched the Saints for 417 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Eagles can not allow that to happen this week. One thing is for sure, Jim Schwartz will not let it happen.
What do the Eagles need to do to Contain Fitz-‘magic’?
This shouldn’t take any fancy game-planning from Jim Schwartz, just keep it simple. The key to this matchup will be the beast himself, Fletcher Cox. If Cox and the rest of the defensive line are able to disrupt Fitzpatrick the way they got to Matt Ryan last week, Fitzpatrick will not be able to escape.
The play I see happening once again this week is the strip sack from Chris Long. This may be on repeat throughout the entire season. Fletcher Cox brings the bull rush up the middle pushing the opposing quarterback right into the edge rusher, which in this case is Chris Long (pictured below). The Eagles should be able to wreak havoc up the middle with Cox and Micheal Bennett as inside rushers on passing downs. This will cause Fitzpatrick to get rid of the ball quickly and should allow the Eagles corners to stay aggressive without getting caught on the double moves and deep passes. At the end of the day, this defensive line will continue their dominance and help the Eagles keep Fitz-“magic” in check.