- Coming into the first-ever matchup of two teams that have zero game film to study, its difficult to key in on strengths vs. weakness. Based on a look at the rosters and information coming out of camp and early season practices, here are some key things I believe the Iron need to do if they want to get the W.
Keep pressure on the QB.
Seems obvious right? Its a bit deeper than that. In a battle of two defensive gurus, the Iron need to live in the Express backfield. Take advantage of the weaker Express O-Line with the guys inside. Josh Frazier is a name you are gonna hear a lot. Also look for Coach Lewis to throw multiple looks and pressures out. The confusion will result in missed blocking assignments and create free rushing Iron Linebackers.
Stop Zac Stacy.
Period. He had a successful career in the NFL for a reason. With excellent speed, power and a superior ability to catch out of the backfield look for Lewis and Co to use a spy and a lot of nickel cover to try and combat him as a receiver. As far as stopping him inside Birmingham has their work cut out for them. Lucky for Birmingham the interior D Line is probably the strength of the team.
Take advantage of every opportunity.
Whether on offense or defense the Memphis unit will be disciplined. It’s up to Birmingham to create scoring opportunities every chance they can. QB Luis Perez must make the reads and deliver the ball on time every time. The cohesion should come easier for his offensive line as 3 of them played on the same 2015 national championship winning Crimson Tide team.
Will we see the Trent Richardson who broke ankles and crushed would be tacklers in his final year with the Tide and rookie season with the Browns? Do we get the guy who basically quit on his team in Indianapolis and never made another NFL active roster? Do we get something in the middle? The physical talent is there for #33; it’s a matter of mental toughness.
This will be a game that reminisces the early days of football. Three yards and a cloud of dust… Pound the inside and utilize quick strikes off of play action. The Linebacking Corp of the Express is serious. They have edge rushers that will make life hell if Luis Perez tries holding the ball too long.
Don’t beat themselves.
In the scrimmage against Arizona(favorites to win it all) Birmingham had too many dropped balls, missed blocking assignments, and a lot of poor tackling. Add to it a pick-six by Blake Sims, and you have a 36-17 butt kicking. That won’t work against Memphis either.
To beat the Memphis Express, the Iron need to be a team of discipline and opportunism. What looks to be a tight game, Birmingham can ill afford to give Christian Hackenberg and Zac Stacy extra possessions. You can see the two teams grind it out this Sunday at 4 p.m EST/3 p.m Central on CBS Sports Network.