Eagles Nation is a bit nervous. Totally understandable.
The team just got whipped last week in Arizona. That didn’t do much to strengthen our confidence in this team. The 2-0 start was nice, but still shaky. Now there is a beatdown in the mix. Is it time to panic? Heck no.
We won’t really know what to make of the Cards game for probably another month. It might turn out to be an aberration. Teams that travel coast-to-coast have been know to lay an egg. Maybe that’s all it was.
It is possible that the game will serve as a wake-up call and get the Eagles going in the right direction. The loss to Baltimore in 2008 and the loss to Seattle last year both ended up doing good things for those teams. They were rock bottom moments and the coaches and players responded in a good way.
It is also possible that the loss was like the first tears in the Titanic by the iceberg back in 1912. I truly doubt this one, but will admit that anything is possible in today’s NFL. We have seen talented teams fall apart.
I’m not panicking because I do think there are reasons to be optimistic.
Let’s start with the OL. Crazy, I know. Dallas Reynolds really struggled last Sunday. He should be improved this week. That was his first ever start. We knew he’d have some problems. I don’t think he’s magically going to be a great player this week, but he’s now got a game under his belt. That should help him to improve. He can study the tape and see his mistakes. Players like him that lack ideal talent must do the little things to be successful. The only way you learn how to do the little things is by playing, studying, and practicing.
I do not think Demetress Bell is going to have the same bump because he’s got plenty of experience. The only hope here is that he will benefit from playing his first complete game in the Mudd system. I fully acknowledge that Bell is likely to be a major issue on Sunday night.
Getting Jeremy Maclin back will be huge for the Michael Vick and the offense. The Eagles now go back to having 2 deep threats. The Giants can’t just focus on DeSean Jackson. Also, this helps when we do get in the Red Zone. Mac is our top target down in there. Mac is the best possession receiver and will help if/when the Eagles to try to go with a ball control attack.
Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg fear the Giants pass rush. They tend to be more conservative when facing the Giants. They’ll run the ball more. Last year there were 60 run plays called vs the Giants (non-QB runs). 30 runs a game is just fine with me. LeSean McCoy totaled 47 carries in those games. Again, that’s a good thing. This is the time to use him.
The more balanced approach makes life easier on the OL (which is critical for Bell, Reynolds). Vick will still take some big shots. There’s just no way around that when he’s facing the Giants and they are going to blitz him.
The Eagles defense did a good job on the Giants last year. They allowed 612 yards in the 2 games combined. To put that in perspective, the Giants just gained 604 yards vs Tampa a couple of weeks back.
Eli Manning and company had real problems sustaining drives. They basically lived or died with the big play. That worked in the first game as they got 2 long TDs to Cruz, a long TD to Jacobs, and a couple of big runs by Ahmad Bradshaw. The big plays went away in the rematch and the Giants scored just 10 points.
If you remember the mistakes of the first game, they were dumb mistakes. Casey Matthews blew coverage on Jacobs on a wheel route. Kurt Coleman missed an easy tackle and Victor Cruz went 74 yards for a TD. It wasn’t a case of them being flat out better. Our guys blew simple plays. We got better during the season and are playing better D this year as well.
Andy Reid has a good track record vs the Giants. He’s 16-13 overall, but that includes an 0-5 stretch early on when Reid was building the Eagles and the Giants were a Super Bowl team. Against Tom Coughlin, Andy is 11-7.
By my count, we’re 4-1 in Sunday Night Football games over the last 2 years. The loss was at Atlanta and we were leading that when Vick left with an injury. We’ve won the last 3 straight SNF games vs the Giants. We’d previously lost to them in 2007 and 2008.
I’ll write up more of a strategical post later. Just wanted to put something up quickly that offered some hope since more than a few fans seem really down on this game. I can’t make up my mind on it. JPP scares the heck out of me, but the Giants back seven doesn’t. Dallas was able to block well enough to win and their OL isn’t anything special. As we all know, strange things can happen when the Eagles and Giants play. Just ask DeSean and Herm Edwards.