One phrase you have likely heard plenty of times this week — the San Francisco 49ers are going to be a good test for the Eagles.
There is truth to that. The 49ers are a better team than the Falcons. They are not the juggernaut some make them out to be, but they do present some issues for the Eagles that the Falcons didn’t.
Here are 3 issues the Eagles will have to deal with in their matchup with the 49ers:
Defensive breakdowns: Shanahan is one of the best offensive coaches in the league and one of the most creative coaches before the snap. Shanahan will make sure his offense has plenty of pre-snap motion on Sunday, trying to throw the Eagles off and create blown coverages. The Eagles seem especially susceptible to falling for it as they are just one game into learning a new defensive scheme with a new defensive coordinator. Early on against the Falcons there were breakdowns, with Falcons wide-open in the secondary. The 49ers might not have a Calvin Ridley or Matt Ryan, but they are going to require extreme defensive discipline from all 11 players on the field.
Missed tackles: One thing Shanahan loves to do is put his receivers in space and trust them to make plays — especially with receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuels. There will be chances to blow these plays up and stop them for short gains, but to do so, the team will have to do a much better job tackling than they did last week. Part of the reason the Falcons had so much success early? Missed tackles. The Eagles missed eight tackles against the Falcons, with linebacker Eric Wilson missing four. Cornerback Darius Slay also missed a tackle, something Shanahan will definitely take note of. It would not be surprising at all if the 49ers go right at Slay and force him to make tackles in space. If the Eagles can contain the 49ers skill players in space they should be able to stop their offense.
Trey Lance: The idea of a two-quarterback system is not that concerning. Eagles fans witnessed that first-hand last season. It is more of a detriment to the offense than an issue for defenses to prepare for. That being said, Trey Lance is a wild card. Would the 49ers put him in for Jimmy Garoppolo if the Eagles get to Garoppolo early-and-often to create a lead? Would the 49ers put Lance in when they get in the red zone, like they did against Detroit? Lance has a higher ceiling and creates more issues for defenses than Garoppolo does. The more Lance is on the bench, the better for the Eagles.
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org!