Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2001

Eagles, Chiefs expect to see plenty of Holmes

November 29, 2001

Advertisement

— Here's one where just about any armchair quarterback could probably draw up an effective game plan.

The Philadelphia Eagles have the NFL's top-ranked pass defense and the Kansas City Chiefs have the lowest-rated quarterback in the league.

At the same time, the Eagles' run defense rests in the bottom third, while Kansas City's Priest Holmes is third in the AFC with 902 rushing yards.

So when they line up in Arrowhead Stadium tonight amid temperatures dipping into the low 20s, the Eagles expect to see plenty of Holmes.

"They're right," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said.

Of course, the Eagles (6-4) don't expect the Chiefs to forget they've also got a Pro Bowl tight end in Tony Gonzalez.

"Every week there's a key guy that we have to stop," Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent said. "Gonzalez is a tremendous tight end and Priest Holmes is a great back, but you have that every week."

The Eagles are coming off possibly their worst game of the year, a 13-3 loss at home to Washington where quarterback Donovan McNabb was inconsistent and the offense generated fewer than 190 yards.

The Chiefs (3-7), on the other hand, played their finest game to date with a 19-7 victory over Seattle. Holmes had 190 yards from scrimmage and Trent Green managed not to add to his NFL-high 16 interceptions.

Vermeil was not shocked to learn the Eagles were focusing on Gonzalez and Holmes.

"They know those two guys can go this year and play in the Pro Bowl," Vermeil said. "Those guys are our weapons. The guys who make a difference in the close games are the gifted players. Priest Holmes is moving up to the upper echelon of running backs in the league.

"Priest will have a big target on his back, I'm sure."

Among running backs with at least 100 carries, Holmes' 5 yards per carry is best in the AFC.

"Maybe we can put the saddle on his back and ride him a little more," Vermeil said.

"We need a real sound running game. We'd like to run the ball well enough to control their blitz package."

That would be OK with Green, who has 16 interceptions and a 62.1 quarterback rating.

"It's a very aggressive defense," Green said. "You work all day and all of a sudden you may pop one.

"Philadelphia generates a lot of run-stopping blitzes where they bring eight people down in the box to try to stop the run and that's where we need to be effective with our play-action passes. Priest has run the ball so well, he deserves to carry the load."

The Eagles' assignment on offense is to get McNabb back in the groove. Although he's one of the most effective quarterbacks inside the 20, the Eagles have not been there for six straight quarters.

"That's weird," said Chiefs cornerback Ray Crockett. "With a quarterback who can run and create as well as McNabb, you sure wouldn't expect that."

For McNabb, it's a matter of focusing on the Chiefs.

"We don't look at their record or anything of that nature. We just watch the film and try to prepare for them," he said. "They have a lot of blitzes in their packages. I think they will just let their players play."

McNabb will be keeping an eye out for Donnie Edwards, who the Chiefs believe is one of the most underrated linebackers in the league.

"They have a Pro Bowl player in Donnie Edwards," McNabb said. "He's the guy that puts everyone in the great position to make everyone successful. We just have to match intensity, get back on track and try to come out with a win."

The Eagles are 4-0 on the road, while the Chiefs, once almost invincible in Arrowhead, are 1-5 at home. But NFC teams since 1995 are only 1-12 in Kansas City.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.