The Eagles' weakest link?

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:26 PM ET

PHILADELPHIA - Heading into Sunday's showdown with the Packers, Eagles cornerback Dimitri Patterson can live with tag of being The Weakest Link.

Following the wild-card game, Patterson just hopes the tag doesn't switch to The Biggest Loser.

Although Sunday's late afternoon game isn't a TV game show like the above titles, Patterson will definitely be a player who should receive plenty of air time Ń and for all the wrong reasons.

When Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers drops back to pass, the chances are the first place he'll look, the main target that he'll attack will be against Patterson, who after four nondescript season in the NFL, finally graduated to a starting role on Nov. 7 as the Eagles' right cornerback.

On Philly's left side at cornerback is eight-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler Asante Samuel, who led the team with seven interceptions and is considered one of the best in the biz.

Rodgers, being no dummy, is not going to test Samuel when he has a much easier pigeon in Patterson.

The Packers know it, the Eagles know it and Patterson knows it. Everyone expects him to be tested early and often.

This season, in his nine starts, the book on Patterson is that he can at times be overaggressive and will bite on a receiver's first move which opens up the possibility that he'll give up the big play. His aggression has also resulted in 12 penalties which ties him for the most on the team with defensive end Trent Cole.

Eight of his penalties have also come in his past five games which is a trend that the Eagles are not too thrilled with.

Patterson, who also has four interceptions, but just one over his past seven games, says that he's not going to tone his style of play down a notch, that he is who he is and he is prepared to face the consequences.

"There's nothing I'm going to change about my approach," he said defiantly in the Eagles locker room.

"I'm going to be aggressive, I'm going to play smart and I'm going to attack the ball.

"However they choose to use me this week, I'm going to try to play at a high level. I'm not going to make this game no different from the other games. Yeah, it's a big game, but my approach is not going to change."

As far as having a target on his back, of being perceived as the weak link in the secondary, he says there's nothing he can do about it.

If Rodgers keys on him, he certainly won't look on it as any kind of insult.

"Not at all, because from the first day that I became a starter, I've been targeted anyway," Patterson said. "That's been the case 80 percent of the time I've started. I've been targeted a lot.

"But I'm not really concerned with the targets (how many times Rodgers throws his way), all I'm concerned with is the success rate. They target me 20 times and are not successful, it's just 20 targets. So my mindset is not how many times they gonna throw at me. My main concern is are they successful throwing at me. So that's my mindset."

He knows that when he lines up against Rodgers, he's facing one of the best.

"He's impressive. He's very calm, mellow on the field," Patterson said of the Packers quarterback. "He doesn't seem to get to high or too low. He seems to stay the course. On top of being a very talented quarterback, he doesn't seem like he gets discouraged, not matter the situation."

Rodgers, meanwhile, didn't want to take the bait and admit that he's licking his chops over the prospect of seeing Patterson as the right corner.

"I'm going to look for whoever's open and throw it to the open guy, it's kind of how I like to play," Rodgers said during his conference call. "They have a very solid defence and played well this season as a unit. I'm going to go through my progressions and hopefully make the right decisions."

In his bio in the Eagles media guide, Patterson admits to being a shoe addict and claims he owns over 40 pairs.

"If I'm addicted to anything, it is definitely shopping, and shopping for shoes especially," he is quoted as saying.

If Rodgers has a big day throwing his way on Sunday, Patterson better hope he doesn't get the boot.

mike.rutsey@sunmedia.ca


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