The Eagles are looking to tighten things up against the “slippery” 49ers quarterback.
The San Francisco 49ers are set for a highly-anticipated rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday, looking to avenge their loss in the NFC Championship Game last season.
Last year, the game between the two sides was essentially over before it really started to take place, as quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a torn UCL injury early in the first quarter, leaving the 49ers without their starter.
However, Purdy is back and playing at a high level in 2023, as the quarterback leads the NFL in completion percentage and yards per attempt, while ranking near the top in other statistical categories.
Purdy’s play has caught the notice of the Philadelphia Eagles, as defensive coordinator Sean Desai praised the quarterback for his efficiency and timing with his receivers.
“Brock’s playing at a high level. Really efficient with the ball,” Desai said on Tuesday, via NFL Network. “Getting the ball out with rhythm and timing to his receivers. I think they do a good job mixing the run and pass. And Brock really runs that offense really well. And he’s feeling really comfortable doing that.”
In addition to his throwing ability, Desai noted Purdy’s evasiveness as another area of strength, which has allowed the 49ers to create more explosive plays.
“He’s slippery. He’s a little bit quick and can be evasive in the pocket,” Desai said about Purdy. “And he keeps his eyes up field and is able to target some explosives downfield that way too.”
However, Desai believes that the Eagles will be well-prepared for Purdy, noting that one tactic could be to tighten up the coverage and force the quarterback to make tougher throws.
“We will have to have a good plan corralling him and getting tight to some of these routes so we can contest some of the throws that they throw,” Desai said. “We look at everything. And that’s our job as coaches to make sure we’re prepared for everything and try to do our research and digging and trying to find everything,” he said. “They still have to play some offense, and they’re still trying to go win that game. We do, we look at everything.”
The Eagles have seen their fair share of evasive quarterbacks this season, as they’ve faced Dallas’s Dak Prescott, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, and Buffalo’s Josh Allen in consecutive weeks, winning each of those matchups.
Now, they’ll face the 49ers high-octane offense that has begun to click at its early-season levels once again after their bye week, with Purdy at the helm and a slew of playmakers at his side.
Philadelphia possesses a strong defensive line, consisting of Brandon Graham, Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, Fletcher Cox, and Josh Sweat, among others.
That has been an issue at times for the 49ers offensive line this season, although the unit has allowed just one sack over the past three weeks, despite Purdy holding on to the ball at a longer rate than earlier in the season.
Additionally, the Eagles return both of their top cornerbacks from a season ago in Darius Slay and James Bradberry, which will provide an intriguing challenge for Purdy and the 49ers as they look to continue their hot streak.
This game has major NFC implications, as the Eagles currently stand at 10-1, while the 49ers are at 8-3 on the season.
Should the 49ers win, they’ll own the tiebreaker, although the Eagles would need to lose at least one more game than San Francisco down the stretch for the latter to earn the No. 1 seed in the conference.