Philly Won't Change Defensive Philosophy

Many teams have given up trying to blitz Packers' QB Brett Favre because he's so good at picking it up and because he's got what is arguably the best offensive line in the league in front of him. But not the Eagles.

The most memorable play in the Eagles' come-from-behind 20-17 overtime playoff win over the Green Bay Packers last January was that fourth-and-26 catch by wide receiver Freddie Mitchell in the fourth quarter that set up David Akers' game-tying field goal.

But the play that propelled the Eagles into the NFC Championship Game for the third straight year was safety Brian Dawkins' interception of a Brett Favre pass in overtime that set up Akers' game-winning 31-yard field goal.

That interception was triggered by a bold first-down Eagles blitz that resulted in a hurried, up-for-grabs throw by Favre that Dawkins picked off and returned 35 yards.

Sunday, the two teams meet again at Lincoln Financial Field. And even though Favre has been sacked a league-low five times this season, blitz-happy defensive coordinator Jim Johnson intends to again try to put pressure on the Packers quarterback with extra rushers.

"We go into every game with a pressure package," said Johnson, whose defense is second in the NFL in sacks with 34. "And I'm probably not going to change much. We do what we do.

"There's times you've got to pick your poison as far as when you're going to blitz, when you're not going to do it. Will the protection be there or not? But we still have to be aggressive. We're not going to change that."

Many teams have given up trying to blitz Favre because he's so good at picking it up and because he's got what is arguably the best offensive line in the league in front of him. But not Johnson and the Eagles. Johnson has sent extra pass rushers after Favre on more than 40 percent of the Packers' pass plays in their last three meetings with the Eagles, including last January's playoff game.

"The reason a lot of teams have backed off the blitz against them is because they're so balanced offensively," said Fox NFL analyst Brian Baldinger, a former offensive lineman for the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. "The way they run the ball, if you blitz and they run away from it, their back might run forever. Ahman Green had a 90-yard run this year against a zone blitz. If you catch a defense just right like that, you're talking about the potential for a big, big play." But Johnson looks at it the other way around. If he catches a quarterback just right, it will be his defense that has the potential for the big play. Like the one last January.

"He's been sacked only five times," Johnson said. "That's an amazing stat. He knows everybody so well. So we'll have to see how that goes. "But like I said, we do what we do. Against the Giants Sunday, they picked up a couple of blitzes and put our corners in jeopardy. But you can't say, 'OK, we're not going to do it anymore.' That's not our nature."

SERIES HISTORY: 35th meeting. Packers lead the series 22-12. The two teams met twice last season with the Eagles winning both times, including a come-from-behind 20-17 playoff win in Philadelphia. Quarterback Donovan McNabb completed a fourth-and-26 pass to Freddie Mitchell in the fourth quarter to set up a game-tying field goal by David Akers. Then Brian Dawkins intercepted a Brett Favre pass in overtime to set up Akers' game-winning 31-yard field goal.

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