Game Preview – Headin’ to Big D

Posted: December 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 19 Comments »

No matter what else happens this weekend, let’s beat Dallas.  We haven’t swept the Cowboys since 2006.  While this season has been disappointing, a sweep of the Boys would make life just a little bit sweeter.  There is no greater holiday joy than seeing Jerry Jones sad face in the owners booth as he contemplates why he ever let Jimmy Johnson leave.

Beat the Boys.

Last time out we won 34-7 and the game wasn’t that close.  We had 31 1st downs to just 12 for them.  We outgained them 495 to 267.  We didn’t have any turnovers and only had 33 yards in penalties.  We played a flawless game.

That won’t happen again.  We can still win and even win big, but we won’t have a perfect game.  I think the real key to that game was that Marty & Andy feared Rob Ryan’s blitz attack.  They built a gameplan based on moving the ball rather than going for explosive downfield plays.  And we played small ball really well.

If we have the same type of gameplan, I think we will be able to move the ball very well.  We’ve got such dynamic pieces that if you get them the ball quickly, the guys can make things happen. We run into problems when going for the long TDs.  That requires longer blocking, a more perfect pass, and the receiver getting open and then making the catch.

We dominated the LOS on both sides of the ball in the first game.  We can do that again, but I don’t want to count on it.  I’m sure Rob will have his guys really fired up.  Still, the only pass rusher to fear is DeMarcus Ware.  The other members of the front seven have talent, but can be blocked.

As for the other side, our DL can definitely win the battle up front.  Patt and CuJo played well in the first game and controlled the middle.  Cole and Babin got plenty of pressure and were just regularly disruptive.  The backups all had good moments as well.

Once Dallas got far enough behind, they gave up on the run game.  I’m sure Jason Garrett will stick with the run as long as he can this time out.  He knows we’re built to play the pass, not the run.

DeMarco Murray is gone.  Felix Jones is hurt and hasn’t practiced, but will play.  Jones is a talented RB who is capable of having big games.  The guys must tackle well.  Jones has the speed to break long runs.  I’m not sure how the injury will affect him.

We focused on Jason Witten in the first game and held him to 4-28.  He was targeted 12 times.  We used a variety of guys to cover him.  Coverage for that game was outstanding.  Kurt Coleman bit on a fake and gave up a long TD.  Aside from that play, the longest completion was for just 13 yards.  The DBs, LB, and DL worked really well in unison.  Good pressure and coverage.

I would once again focus on Witten.  He is Romo’s go-to guy.  Take him away and Romo gets uncomfortable.  Luckily, we’ve got some guys who match up well with Witten.  Asomugha played him at times and was good.  Even Kurt Coleman and Jamar Chaney had some success.  We’ve now got Casey Matthews and Keenan Clayton in the Nickel.  Those guys have the potential to do a good job on Witten.

I think Dallas will have more offensive success in this game.  Tony Romo is on a big time hot streak.  Laurent Robinson is more a part of the offense now.  Miles Austin is healthy.  Dez Bryant remains very inconsistent, but has a TD in 3 straight games.

Trying to get a read on the intangibles and misc factors in this game is like trying to eat soup with a fork.  Dallas is 5-2 at home.  Looks good, but their wins are vs STL, SEA, WAS, BUF, and MIA.  Dallas got the Seahawks and Bills when they were struggling.  In the last 2 home games Dallas barely beat Miami and lost to the Giants.  The Eagles are 4-3 on the road, but the wins aren’t all that impressive.

Dallas is famous for struggling late in the year, but did beat us twice late in ’09 and beat us late last year, but that game featured our backups.

We’re known as a team that excels in December, but currently own a 6-8 record so it’s hard to buy into the fact that this team can build on a 2-game winning streak.

Prior to blowing out Tampa, Dallas had played in 4 straight games decided by a TD or less.  2 of the games went to OT.  The Eagles have played played in 4 straight blowouts, 2 losses with Vince Young followed by 2 wins with Michael Vick.

It is hard to get a read on this game.  Will Dallas melt under the playoff heat?  Can we really win a 3rd game in a row?  If you break the game down to simple matchups, I think we’re better.  Asante Samuel will miss the game, but DRC is playing his best football of the year.  He’ll step in at LCB.  The only way this hurts us is that Brandon Hughes or Curtis Marsh will have to play RCB if we want Nnamdi to cover Witten in some sets.  It will be interesting to see who the coaches choose.  Marsh is bigger and more gifted, but Hughes started vs Dallas last December and played pretty well in that game.

LeSean McCoy has killed Dallas in the last 2 games.  We’ve played well vs 3-4 defenses.  Vick played well in his 2 starts vs Dallas and if you remember the crappy ’09 games it was Vick who brought some life to the team in those games.  The huge thing is not to turn the ball over.  Vick played a clean game back in October and we killed the Cowboys.

I think the Eagles have a very good chance to go down and win in Dallas.  If our good friends the NY Jets help us out, we might be looking at a real meaningful win.

* * * * *

Mike Patterson won the Ed Block Courage Award for the Eagles this year.  I don’t say enough good things about Mike.  He’s not a spectacular player, but is reliable.  You know he’s going to do whatever it takes to get the job done.  He’ll gladly do the dirty work.  All he asks for is the occasional sack or hit on the QB.  We all got a bit scared back in the summer when he had the seizure and then found out he had some medical issues.  Thankfully, Mike has stayed healthy this year.  He still gets to play the game he loves (and make a few bucks).  We get a good DT so that’s a win-win for everybody.  In the spirit of Christmas, go sit on Romo and make him beg for mercy.

19 Comments on “Game Preview – Headin’ to Big D”

  1. 1 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 12:08 PM on December 23rd, 2011:


    If we assume we get to pick in the 11-20 range and we wont pick OL, RB, QB, TE, S and there’s no DTs worth taking there (Still is not worth it), we only have WR, DE (where we presumably are set), CB and LB left…

    That would leave us with the following options on draft day (in my opinion):

    1. CB Claiborne (probably gone)
    2. ILB Kuechly
    3. CB Kirkpatrick
    4. DE Mercilus (we have a good rotation already)
    5. CB Jenkins (off the field issues)
    6. WR Floyd (only if Jackson leaves)
    7. OLB Brown

    So it’s really down to Kuechly, Kirkpatrick and Brown! As of now, and with RG3, Claiborne, Blackmon not sliding.

    Who would you rather have? I know, I know (Kuechly), but what will the Eagles do? They almost HAVE to go MLB, right??

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 4:47 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    Be careful in ruling out certain positions. You never know who the Eagles covet. Do you pass on Dwayne Allen if he looks like an elite TE prospect? What if a QB emerges? The Eagles liked Christian Ponder last year. Would they have taken him if he slid into the 20s?

    Your logic is sound, but the thing to do in the 1st round is focus on players more than position. What special players are available? Do they fit us, long term if not short? You’re always an ACL tear away from needing help at a spot.

    But lets get Luke!!!

  3. 3 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 6:19 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    Thanks for your answer Tommy!

    You’ve said yourself, that OL shouldn’t be the pick in the 1st (unless ofcourse by some magic Kalil woulde slide)

    Would you really pick a TE in the 1st, even if he had elite talent? They just don’t seem to get picked that high anymore (Gronkowski, Graham, etc.)

    It is hard to predict if someone will slide, but with Barkley staying, RG3 is looong gone (sadly), and it would be an upset if Claiborne would slide with Jax, Tamba, Min all in dire need of CB

    I agree that you should focus on players instead of positions! But this it just seems that MLB fits both need and BPA.

    I would give everything to see our draftboard in April!! To see how many 1st round talents WE think is available and so on…

    Didn’t Cowboys just have 7! 1st round talents a few years back, when the draftboard was “leaked” via a photo from the warroom??

  4. 4 James Coe said at 9:59 AM on December 24th, 2011:

    One scenario that I’ve been thinking about lately is that we trade Asante to the Vikings (all sorts of CB issues going down over there) for a 2nd (practically a late first). That way we can take Luke with our 1st, use 2 of our 2nd rounders to trade back up for Floyd (if he slides back into the mid-late first round). I’d then use the remaining pick in the 2nd round to pick up some more depth at CB (Chase Minnifield).

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 12:14 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    As someone on here mentioned before, I can see everything falling our way.. just to see us fall on our face against the Redskins next week.

  6. 6 Alex Karklins said at 1:18 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    Yep, that wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 4:47 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    That would be so cruel that it might be funny.

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 7:16 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    Yeah. I could see myself laughing and crying at the same time.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 12:40 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    Any views on how Dallas is going to change what they did last time on defense to keep us from scoring 34? Did they try to take DeSean away too much last time or was it just a sloppy overall performance from the players?

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 12:55 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    How important is practice? I see Jones didn’t practice but is questionable to play.

    Obviously he’s really important with Murray gone.

    Is this something that’s gonna hold him back, or can he just suit up tomorrow and do his thing?

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 4:11 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

  12. 12 Anders Jensen said at 3:56 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    I think its funny how this years team have no problems with 3-4 defenses, because I always remember when we had JC as o-line coach, we would have big problems with 3-4 defenses

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 4:05 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    I think McCoy is the key to that. He is so dangerous cutting outside of the DE and inside of the attacking LB that opposing teams have to respect it and slow down their attack.

  14. 14 Ace said at 6:33 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    I seem to recall another running back in Eagles green who was pretty good getting around the edge…

  15. 15 Anders Jensen said at 7:58 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    Yea, Just seems the speed of this years line, match up better with 3-4 then the old fat/slow line

  16. 16 Anonymous said at 4:09 PM on December 23rd, 2011:

    As the fact that we didn’t even discuss Dallas until the day before the game seems to support, I think this game is more about us than it is about them. If we do the things we are capable of doing, we win. I don’t see Dallas coming out on top of a good performance by both teams.

    Of course, if that wasn’t such a big if this year we would be playing this game to try to secure homefield advantage instead of trying to get ourselves in a position to benefit from help by other games…

  17. 17 Mac said at 12:45 AM on December 24th, 2011:

    Either way… I am enjoying the sackfest.

  18. 18 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee said at 8:45 AM on December 24th, 2011:

    Merry christmas to you Tommy, and all other fellow Eagles fans!

    Thanks for making this the best blog there is!

  19. 19 Steve H said at 9:08 AM on December 24th, 2011:

    I’m very nervous about today, for some reason I have the gut feeling the Cowboys are going to have our number today.