What to Watch for: Eagles vs. Cowboys
For Eagles fans, this might be the dullest Cowboys game in over a decade. With the enthusiasm for the team almost non-existent, it shows how in the dumps this city truly is.
Despite their abysmal play, there are a few positive things to consider coming into this game. First, the Eagles can doom Jason Garrett. Once the Todd Bowles to Wade Phillips’ Juan Castillo, Garrett has fallen out of favor in Dallas with an underachieving roster and could be let go at the end of the year. If the Eagles can get up for this NFC East match-up, they might help seal his fate. Second, the Eagles could make a run based on their schedule.
The Eagles play Dallas twice, Washington twice, Carolina, Tampa, Cincinnati, and the Giants. The only team with a winning record is the Giants and the Buccaneers are 4-4. So, the theory is that the team can make a run against the weak schedule to get into the playoffs. However, their ability to do so is a whole other issue.
So, with that in mind, here’s what to watch for this Sunday:
1. Demetress Bell vs. Demarcus Ware. This match-up is terrifying. With the Eagles lacking options on the line, Bell was switched from right tackle to left tackle to be at his “more comfortable position”. the switch is like going from sleeping on a bed of nails to a pile of rocks. It’s discomfort with a different name. The worst part is that Bell will now be facing Ware throughout the contest…who has nine sacks on the year. Mike Vick’s not gonna need a bullet proof vest. He needs a bomb shelter.
2. The Secondary vs Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Austin and Bryant are a quality duo of wide receivers, despite Dallas’ offensive struggles. The Eagles secondary is having a similarly bad year after an impressive start. Pass interferences, blown coverages, and poor scheming have made the Todd Bowles promotion a serious concern. Can the mental errors be corrected?
3. Michael Vick calling adjustments at the line. With Dallas Reynolds being everything you would expect from someone named Dallas, the line has been terrible. The Eagles allowed seven sacks to the Saints on Monday Night, when the team had 13 through the whole season previously. And the Saint’s defense isn’t just bad. They’re one of the worst of all time! So, while it’s probably a few weeks too late, Vick will be identifying blocking shifts at the line. Ideally this helps Vick get rid of the ball faster. By being accountable for the line, he should have a better idea of where the pressure will be coming from.
3. A total lack of running the ball. With DeMarco Murray injured and Andy Reid confusing a handoff with a forward lateral, running should not be a factor in this game. With Felix Jones filling in at running back, he’s had 92, 44, 19, and 39 yards rushing. Not exactly intimidating numbers. The Eagles running game, well….I don’t want to pop a blood vessel.
4. Blitzing. Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan knows that the Eagles offensive line is decimated and the Eagles managed to generate some pressure on Drew Brees with the blitz, notching two sacks. Both quarterbacks will likely be under duress all day.
5. The screen pass. As it’s gone for the Eagles under the “Wide-9” scheme, opponents are manipulating the pass rush first mentality by dumping the ball over the ends. Brandon Graham in particular has become a regular victim to this play. Expect Dallas to do this early and often.
6. Bigger packages. Calm down, ladies. I’m talking about two tight end sets and the use of Stanley Havili. If the Eagles want any chance of winning this game, they need to give Vick extra protection and create a larger line of scrimmage. Clay Harbor was a regular contributor when the team was winning games and Havili has shown that he’s the capable athletic fullback that the Eagles need for their system. The problem is that Andy Reid hasn’t called their numbers. Shame on you, Big Red.
Posted on November 10, 2012, in Posts and tagged Andy Reid, Clay Harbor, cowboys, dallas, Dallas cowboys, Dallas Reynolds, demetress bell, dez bryant, Eagles, felix jones, Michael Vick, miles austin, Stanley Havili. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.