Eagles-Vikings: Singing Like a Canary
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Andrew Sendejo is typically understated in the Eagles' locker room but according to his former coach the veteran safety has the voice of a songbird.
A canary to be exact.
“I’m sure he’s singing like a canary,” Zimmer joked on a conference call when asked by 973espn.com about his former longtime starting safety opposite All-Pro Harrison Smith. “He’s a really good kid, he’s very, very smart. He’s going to go full-speed, 100 miles an hour, snap-to-whistle. ... He’s going to go downhill and there’s going to be some friendly fire in there, but that’s just how he plays."
Philadelphia fans learned of the friendly-fire part of Sendejo's hard-hitting nature when he took out Avonte Maddox in an almost disastrous play in Green Bay, one in which left the second-year corner with a concussion and neck injury that will keep him out of his second straight game against Minnesota on Sunday.
Sendejo will be front and center back in Minneapolis, however, for the first time since losing his job to the emerging Anthony Harris after a groin injury shut down his 2018 campaign. As a cerebral player who understands the entire defense not just his own position Zimmer realizes Sendejo has to spill about his former team.
“He knows [our scheme] as well as anybody,” Zimmer admitted. “We’ll make adjustments.”
Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh had already admitted Tuesday that he and the offensive coaching staff has tapped into Sendejo.
“He was there a long time. He knows the calls,” Groh explained. “He’s in our system now defensively, so it’s not as fresh to him, but there are some things here and there that he might remember.”
Zimmer is regarded as one of the best defensive minds in football and the Minnesota defense is annually among the top five in the NFL, currently at No. 4 overall this season.
The trademark, although it's been tempered a bit in recent seasons due to copycats, is Zimmer's sugaring of the A-Gaps. With the Vikings, he has two very athletic LBs -- Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks -- who can stand over the center and either blitz or bail out into coverage.
"Yeah, he's the Godfather of it, isn't he?" Groh acknowledged when discussing Zimmer's DNA. "... Obviously, with their package, they have it all, so they're not missing a piece here or there. They can do anything they want to out of it. It's got our full attention."
Zimmer's attention seems to be focused on Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, the guy throwing Ertz the football, and a player he has plenty of experience with from Chicago in Jordan Howard.
“Ertz is an unbelievable football player, catches the ball great, and [Carson] Wentz looks the same to me. The way he moves, the way he’s hard to tackle, the way he reads the coverages,” Zimmer said. “They’re an aggressive offensive unit and I think [running back Jordan Howard] adds another dimension to them.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen