Three Key Eagles Against Seattle

Warnest Contributor Andrew Pluta takes a look at three Eagles that have to play well on Sunday in order for Philly's playoff chances to stay alive. Chris Gocong has stepped up his game in recent weeks, but what two other Eagles have to step up? Find out inside...

Chris Gocong

Now in his second year in the league, Gocong has proved that he is versatile enough to play linebacker and has started to emerge as a playmaker, even though he played defensive end throughout his collegiate career at Cal Poly. A third round pick by the Eagles in the 2006,  Gocong was looked at as a pass rushing threat after setting the Division I-AA record for sacks with 42 in his four years of college. Last week against New England, he recorded the first sack of his professional career and the first sack by an Eagle's linebacker this season. Gocong is used in multiple ways in Jim Johnson's defense, lining up at both strong side linebacker and defensive end at various points in the game. Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck was sacked five times against the St. Louis Rams last week and has been taken down 23 times this season, and the Eagle's will look to move Gocong to different spots on defense as a “joker” to confuse the Seahawk's offensive line and keep the quarterback from getting comfortable.

Juqua Thomas

Thomas had one of the best games of his career last week, recording eight tackles and sacking Tom Brady in the Eagle's Sunday night loss against the Patriots, and he has continued to play well as a starter. The seven-year veteran Thomas is second on the team in sacks with five, and seems to have been a good choice to replace the aging and injury-prone Jevon Kearse in the lineup. Thomas will have to rely on speed rushing and moves to get around the Seahawk's massive tackles, Walter Jones and Sean Locklear. The pass protection problems that Seattle had last week against the Rams should provide Thomas and the Eagles defense some ideas of how to get to the quarterback.

A.J. Feeley

With Donovan McNabb not practicing all week, it looks as though Feeley will get the nod as the starter once again. Feeley looked brilliant at times last week against New England, hitting eight different receivers and throwing three touchdowns, but he also made some costly mistakes and threw three interceptions. Still, Feeley looked confident under center and does a good job of getting the ball out quickly, something Philadelphia often struggled with when McNabb was playing. The former Oregon Duck will need to use his quick release and the chemistry he seems to have with the receiving corps to avoid the Seahawk's speedy pass rush. Feeley will probably not have to throw the ball 42 times like he did last week against the Patriots, and heavy doses of Brian Westbrook should open things up downfield and make the play-action pass very effective.


Andrew Pluta can be reached at ajp8231@gmail.com.