Just finished watching the Saints-Lions extended highlights on NFL Network and will share some thoughts on what stood out.
But first, let's get to the Stacy Andrews news. Interesting development yesterday when Andrews announced to reporters that he would start the game on the bench and Max Jean-Gilles would get the nod at right guard.
When I broke down the Eagles' offense player-by-player earlier this week, I noted that Andrews probably had the least impressive game of any of the linemen in Week 1. It was understandable, considering he's recovering from offseason knee surgery.
But Andy Reid and company apparently are only worried about making sure the best players are on the field. And that's a good thing. They signed Andrews to a six-year, $40 million deal in the offseason, yet he'll start Sunday's game on the bench. The concern of course is his knee, but both Andrews and Reid said that wasn't a factor in the decision. Assuming he's healthy, Andrews will likely continue to be eased in and eventually take over the starting job. I can't imagine them taking Nick Cole out of the game Sunday. He looked very good in Week 1.
Thoughts on Eagles-Saints:
** Saints left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who is filling in for the injured Jammal Brown, seemed to have a pretty tough time in his first career start. Trent Cole could have an even bigger impact than last week, and don't be surprised if Sean McDermott's blitzes attack from that side.
** The funny part about the plays where Bushrod got beat is that many of them were still big gains for the Saints' offense. Drew Brees did a great job of feeling the pressure, stepping up in the pocket and delivering accurate throws.
** Great chemistry between Brees and his receivers. On multiple plays, the Lions had defenders in the right place, but the New Orleans receivers just made plays on the ball. This will be a good test for Macho Harris.
** The Eagles' linebackers will also be in focus. Brees completed 14 passes to running backs and tight ends last week. The most obvious guy is Reggie Bush, who had five catches for 55 yards. But fullback Heath Evans also caught four balls. And of course, Jeremy Shockey makes his return to Philly. He found the end zone a couple times in Week 1.
** Tailback Mike Bell had a monster game with 143 yards against the Lions, but I'd be surprised if he came close to that number against the Eagles. Bell had huge holes against the Lions, and the Birds looked strong against the Panthers' running attack.
** Fantasy owners, if you have Brian Westbrook, you should feel good about this matchup. Lions RB Kevin Smith had seven catches last week. Look for Westbrook to be involved in the pass game. I wouldn't be surprised if he or LeSean McCoy broke off a big gain on a screen pass. The Eagles should be able to really have a strong screen game this season with their athletic offensive line.
** Disastrous special teams for the Saints in Week 1. They allowed a big punt return and a big kickoff return. New Orleans fumbled a punt and had a field goal blocked also. Special teams could be the difference.
** We'll be live chatting the game once again at 1 p.m. Be sure to join me.