Bucs bracing for Eagles' fast pace

TAMPA, Fla. -- Since the start of the season, we’ve heard a ton about the Philadelphia Eagles’ fast-paced offense. Now, let’s hear from the man whose job it is to slow the Eagles on Sunday.

That’s Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. He normally runs an attacking- style defense (filled with blitzes) and it doesn’t sound like he has any plans to back away from that.

“You have to pick your spots because you don’t want to play the whole game on your heels and let them run their offense and hope that you can defend it well enough’’ Sheridan said. “You need to try to get them off balance and run second-level guys at the line of scrimmage and we will do that. But you want to be selective because they’re potentially so explosive.’’

Sheridan said the way the Eagles run the ball out of the shotgun formation makes Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly’s offense particularly challenging.

“The thing that’s most impressive is the play-action that it sets up off of it because you’re so wound up in defending the gun run because of the possibility of the quarterback being a running back as well and then they have an outstanding play-action pass route concept and formation concepts,’’ Sheridan said. “This stuff is well thought out. Chip’s been doing it for years and has had tons and tons of mileage out of it and he’s doing the same thing in our league right now. They’re tearing it up statistically.’’

Sheridan likes to rotate his defensive linemen extensively. But getting substitutes on and off the field could be difficult because Philadelphia runs plays so rapidly.

“That will be a challenge because they’re on the ball all the time and yet they have different tempos,’’ Sheridan said. “Sometimes they’ll literally get on the ball and snap it and hope you don’t have your hand down. Other times they’re just going to be on the ball at a little bit more of a moderate pace, so you have to be selective on your subs. We try to simulate it in progress, but it’s never going to be quite the same.’’