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Packers-Eagles Scouting report

January 7, 2011

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Packers on offense: Patriots fans might think they got lucky when Aaron Rodgers (concussion) was forced to the sideline when the Packers came to Foxborough last month. But in reality they missed a chance to see one of the most complete quarterbacks in the NFL. The 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound Rodgers is smart, deceptively mobile, and has a rocket arm. He makes minimal mistakes and has been remarkably resilient considering some of the hits he’s taken. He threw for 3,922 yards and 28 touchdowns and was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 356 yards. Greg Jennings (1,265 yards, 12 TDs) is a big, powerful receiver with strong hands and a fiery disposition. Donald Driver is an excellent slot receiver who uses his strength and quick feet to get open quick. James Jones and Jordy Nelson have been solid if not spectacular. Brandon Jackson has done an adequate job handling the Pack’s rushing attack. Not blessed with great physical skills, Jackson is instinctive and slippery and will show flashes. Fullback John Kuhn has the strength to push the pile.

Eagles on defense: Philadelphia’s strength is its secondary. Safety Quintin Mikell (team-high 88 tackles, 3 interceptions) is rangy and physical. Asante Samuel (7 picks) has uncanny instincts and quickness.

Eagles on offense: Michael Vick leads a unit that is extraordinarily quick and fun to watch — unless you’re on the other side of the ball. Vick has speed and moves to die for. He slips out of situations he has no right getting out of, and no one in the league can turn a 10-yard loss into a 25-yard gain like Vick. The lefthander has a very strong arm, and his accuracy has improved dramatically this season. He’s an effective chucker on the run, and when he gets into a groove, he can fit his lasers into tight spots. He will get cocky, however, and make mistakes. Vick takes a lot of big hits and doesn’t bounce back as quickly as he once did. DeSean Jackson (there’s simply nobody faster) and Jeremy Maclin (seemingly always open) provide as explosive a receiving tandem as there is in these playoffs. LeSean McCoy has a quick first step and darts through holes in a hurry. He’ll break a tackle or two, and if he gets into the secondary, it’s good night, Irene.

Packers on defense: The Packers are tough on all three levels. Nose man B.J. Raji is tough at the point of attack. Linebackers Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk (both have above-average field awareness and quickness) control the second level, and Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams are top-notch cover corners.

Special teams: Green Bay kicker Mason Crosby (I’m sorry, that just doesn’t sound like a football name) has hit 22 of 28 field goal attempts, with a long of 56 yards. The kid practices in Green Bay, so he knows how to kick in foul weather . . . Tim Masthay averages 43.9 yards per punt and has landed 25 inside the 20-yard line . . . Jordy Nelson (22.6-yard average) and Sam Shields (21.5) have split the kick-returning duties . . . Tramon Williams (8-yard average on 41 chances) handles the punt-return chores . . . David Akers has been a consistent force for the Eagles for 12 seasons. He converted 32 of 38 field goal attempts, with a long of 54 . . . Sav Rocca (Australian Rules Football rules!) averages 43.8 yards per punt and has nailed 28 inside the 20, with only two touchbacks . . . Jorrick Calvin (21.6 yards on kickoffs, 10.4 on punts) is Philly’s top return man.

Miscellany: Packers won at Philadelphia, 27-20, in Week 1 of the regular season. Kevin Kolb was Eagles QB for that one . . . Eagles are 2-0 vs. Green Bay in postseason . . . Eagles have gone to postseason nine times since Andy Reid took over in 1999 and are 4-1 in wild-card games under his watch . . . Green Bay has been to the postseason in 13 of last 19 seasons.

JIM McBRIDE

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