The San Francisco 49ers fly to Philadephia soon to take on a Philadelphia Eagles team that's playing lights out right now. At 0-7, The 49ers have a tall task ahead of them if they want to try and topple The Eagles. What is some of the insider info to know for this matchup? We sat down with Turron Davenport, Reporter for USA Today-backed The Eagles Wire, and the analyst for The Eagles for NBC Sports Philadelphia. You can find all of his analyses on twitter at @TDavenport_NFL
1) Can the PHI secondary hold up if the pass rush is unable to get home?
I think the secondary can hold its own especially with the probable return of Ronald Darby this week. Rasul Douglas and Jalen Mills do a good job of keeping things in front of them but it results in a lot of 5 to 8-yard completions. They don't challenge receivers at the line to disrupt the timing of the passing game because they play off the ball.
The safeties are pretty good with Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins. They will use more three-safety packages that feature Corey Graham and McLeod in two-deep coverage with Jenkins playing in the box.
2) Given that OT Jason Peters is out for the year how aggressive will PHI in replacing him or do they have belief in their internal replacements?
I actually did a post that suggested possibly trading for Joe Staley. The Eagles have three fifth-round picks and I think one of them can land the veteran left tackle.
They can also look at possibly signing free agent Branden Albert to give them a veteran but ideally, they will leave Lane Johnson at right tackle and use Halapoulivaati Vaitai at left tackle.
3. Carson Wentz had a slow start to his year but has started to put it together in a big way. What do you attribute this change to and do you think it's sustainable for Wentz and the Eagles?
He's just gotten more and more comfortable with the timing, especially with Zach Ertz. Wentz had a solid game in the season opener. You are correct though, he is on fire. I think it is sustainable because he simply goes where the offense dictates him to throw it rather than locking in on any particular target.
Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said the group is like a basketball that has a lot of scorers but no one that averages 30 points.
4. Mack Hollins had a dynamic touchdown reception in their last game against Washington. How does he figure into the offensive equation going forward and what do you see out of the rest of the skill position players?
Hollins will begin to get more reps. They really like him. He ran a very good route to score that touchdown, gave the safety a subtle lean to the outside at the top of the route and turned upfield.
Zach Ertz will get the most targets. They use him in a variety of ways in line as well as in the slot.
They rotate a lot of receivers including Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, Hollins, and Marcus Johnson. Wendell Smallwood and LeGarrette Blount are the primary ball carriers.
5. Given your knowledge of the Eagles, what weaknesses do you see in the team that Head Coach Kyle Shanahan may want to exploit and how do you see this game going?
The quick passing game is the best way to attack the Eagles. As I said earlier, they play off coverage and allow teams to drive down the field only to tighten up in the red zone.