Week 5: Cowboys stun Eagles!

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The Eagles crashed and burned in Dallas last Sunday and what can we learn from that game. If you want to be a Eagles homer - you can stop reading now, because I will give credit where it's due.

First and foremost, Dallas played a great game. You can't take away from their team, on both sides of the ball, how well they played. The pair of TD passes to Terry Glenn (118 yards, 2 TDs) by Drew Bledsoe (289 yards, 3 TDs) were simply great passes. Drew proved he has still a great touch with his accuracy and is tremendously dangerous when sitting in the pocket. Julius Jones, with only a half played, attemped 16 times for 72 yards (4.5 yards per carry), and his backup Thompson ran 20 times for 75 yards (3.75 yards per carry) - the Eagles run defense did a good job there, in my opinion.

Here is what I saw as the key factors to the loss:

  • Not enough pressure on Bledsoe. How many times did you hear the broadcasters say, "Eagles blitz..." and just watch the Dallas offensive line pick it up easily? Again, great job by Dallas and a poor job by Eagles. No matter how you slice it the Eagles need to re-tool the blitz against Dallas next time they meet.

  • Terrible special teams. I have said it before, and I will say it again - do you think we miss Ike Reese? I'm not saying one player makes that special team special - but we have a glaring problem with a) people that over run coverage or b) giving our punt/kick returners lanes to run. Eagles gave Dallas tremendous field position and Dallas may us pay for that - by either converting for points or giving us terrible field position. Also we couldn't move the ball very well with special teams, but i'm guessing we are 26th in the league on punt and kickoff returns.

  • Dallas & Falcons learn how to beat the Eagles. Step 1 - pressure McNabb with blitz packages. Step 2 - force him to throw in a hurry. Step 3 - watch as the Eagles offense sputters. Why? Simple - we don't have a running back named Tomlinson, Alexander or James that can threaten the opposing team. Westbrook is very good, I think he deserves a good contract, and I hope he remains on the team for a long time. But, with that being said, I don't think he is an upper echelon back that can change the dynamic of the game with his running. I think of Westy got the ball 30 times a game, he would be injury riddled by Week 14 - if not sooner. You have to think of Westbrook more like a shifty wide receiver that is playing a running back role. Eagles need a powerhouse back. We can absolutely win with our team, but here is the kicker: When McNabb is off his game (either because of defense or himself) - like against Dallas or Falcons - our team will lose. Why? Because we are a pass happy offense that needs him to be extremely accurate to win. If he isn't crisp, we are in big trouble. We have the weapons to win, but the linchpin is McNabb.

The haters will read this as an Eagles fan who trashes his team when they lose and praises them when they win. Everything I mentioned above is the same for all the Eagles games - special teams, pressure of McNabb or defense.

The bye week, at week 6, is fairly crucial for the Eagles, especially for McNabb. I think the injuries are going to be a nagging factor all season, and it is up to Donovan to either say if he wants to sit or not. Personally, if I were Reid, I would sit McNabb until Nov 6. Give him 4 weeks of rest.

Yep, you heard it here first.

I know everyone is going to go bonkers when they read this, but my attitude is remember that we did win without McNabb 2 years ago. It is the Philadelphia Eagles, not the McNabb Eagles. Rest him up, and let the chest and hernia heal more. Gear him up for the next meeting against the Redskins.

By that time we will be 3-5, 4-4 or 5-3. The next 2 games we play, both of them are against AFC teams, and not as crucial as playing an NFC team (especially an East team) when it comes to getting a playoff spot.

I think by keeping him in, we are playing on borrowed time. What if we keep him in - win the next 2 games, and by week 15, the tank is out of gas? Come the playoffs we can't have him hobbling on the field, just to prove to everyone how tough he is, and watch as teams swarm him.

Also consider the rest of the NFC East's three games:

Dallas will play Giants, Seattle & Arizona - two tough games, one easier one.
Giants will play Dallas, Denver & Washington - all not easy wins.
Redskins will play K.C., SF & Giants - don't count SF as a win with this team!

Because of the matchups, Dallas vs Giants and Redskins vs Giants, this means that two of three NFC teams will lose 1 game. Lets just imagine that Dallas goes 2-1, Giants go 2-1, and Redskins go 2-1:

Washington 5-2
Giants 5-2
Dallas 5-3
Philly 5-2, 4-3 or 3-5.

Now, Philly has the next 3 games against divisional rivals, with a healthier McNabb. For certain, this is a gamble. But ask yourself - would you rather have a battered McNabb walking into the Redskins game or a McNabb who just took the last 4 weeks tending to his injuries, stretching and practicing? Hey, maybe it is just me. But that is what I would do.

Sometimes you have to roll the hard six.

3 Comments

Personally, I was hoping to see the Boys hang a 40 piece on your Birds. Eh, maybe next time. Oh yeah, I was happy to see TO come up empty handed in the endzone, no Star dancing for him, at least until next year. Or maybe the playoffs...... hmmmmmmmm.......

Where the hell were you when the readers of my blog handed me my ass weeks ago when I said we could win without McNabb?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I agree, rest him now because we will need him later.

Sorry Cass - I don't have a blogger account, I can't comment on your site :(

Joe, grats on the win. The boys are back, and NFC East football along with it. Hey, I like good rivalries and it has been a long time coming that someone had to challenge us... :)

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on October 11, 2005 12:56 AM.

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