Defensive Preview for the Wild Card: Eagles@Cowboys

I would have done a defensive recap for the game last Sunday, but there was no defense played. So I’ve decided to do a defensive preview for  Philly today, and an offensive preview for them tomorrow. Although you all know I am an Eagles fan, I am going to be as unbiased as possible, also at the end of this article I will answer a few of the questions you asked me via email. So, let’s begin:

Sean McDermott called, by my count, 3 blitzes in the first half. Each of these 3 blitzes were against the pass, and each of them were effective. However, to all of you that asked me “why didn’t McDermott blitz more often?” it is because of the Cowboys running the draw play, and screens, which effectively nullify any hopes of a positive outcome for the blitzing team. But I have already explained this in an earlier article, so I won’t worry about doing it again.

The most obvious thing that needs to be done is putting pressure on Romo, and that comes from putting pressure on the offensive line.  Getting to Romo is the reward for pressuring the men up front, and from all my months (yes, months) coaching kids (yes, kids, but the same general principle does apply) this is what ends up being a deciding factor in the trenches.

The more pressure an offensive line has on them ( higher percentage of blitzes, number of players in the box etc.), the more they will have to commit to their blocks, and more importantly, to how fast they pull on counter plays, or direct the line on power plays. The earlier the center or guard pulls, the earlier the defense has to read the play, and the faster they can get there.

The Eagles were torn apart by big runs, and I can’t help but think if Dallas’s O-line was getting more pressure, encountering more blitzes, and getting pushed around a bit more in general, the score wouldn’t have been so one-sided.

The next thing I will be hoping to see is some defensive audibles being called. We have Jeremiah Trotter in the LB core, and by my understanding he was added to the roster mainly to bring some leadership to the defense. You know, the type Brian Dawkins brought to the table. But anyways, I couldn’t count how many times Romo saw who the Mike backer was, and then adjusted his play accordingly. If the Eagles had adjusted as well, the play may have turned out differently.

You see, the exact play I have in mind brings us back to week 2 fo the regular season, in Dallas’s 33-31 loss to the Giants.

Romo saw New York’s coverage before the snap, and called an audible to chang the play, in doing so he alerted Antonio Pierce, who called an audible of his own and changed the defense’s play to a cover 2. This ended up having a confused Romo throw a pick-six. If I remember correctly, during the press conference after the game Romo commented on the fact Pierce changed the play. So if the playoff-missing Giants can confuse Romo, why can’t the Philadelphia Eagles do the same?

Then of course, there was the lacking play by the front four. No pressure, no contain, nothing. And that brings me to the next point:

Despite the questionable play calling by McDermott, a lot of the blame needs to be put on the players. They looked tired, and they didn’t play with any heart. No matter what, the game all boils down to how hard the players play, and the Eagles didn’t play last game. Trent Cole was silent, Asante made a good play, but he gave up a big gain to Austin, the safeties were on the wrong side of the field half the time… look, I could go on, but the bottom line is, if the Eagles are outplayed again they will lose.

So on that upbeat note, here are some answers to your emails:

From Jordan L. and others:

“If the Eagles don’t win on Saturday what will the draft look like for them? What are the positions that need to be addressed the most?”

I’m tossing up LB and Tackle/Guard, Philly showed how deep they could be at LB this year, but the run defense has suffered. The O-line has been reasonably solid, but it has its holes. After those, I’d say safety needs to be addressed, as well as center. The thing is, I don’t think any rookie will immediately become a starter in any position because the team is very well-rounded. A good first rounder would be Navorro Bowman.

Vince asked:

“After last week are the Vikings a threat to the Eagles and would you change your article of the two teams you wouldn’t want to face in the playoffs to include Minnesota?”

The Vikings have always been a threat to the Eagles, they are the type of team that Philly has a problem with: very potent passing game with a receiving TE, and a very potent run game, although they are using it less and less, their defense is also very good and they can bring pressure very easily. Yes, I would take the Packers off of the list. Don’t get me wrong, they are a very good team, but the Vikings have more potential fire power, plus AP.

David A. asked quite simply:

“Is DeSean Jackson injured?”

I haven’t heard anything like that, I did see him limping a bit last game, but it shouldn’t stop him from playing Saturday.

Thanks for your questions, and I know I didn’t get to most of them but I will answer 3 more tomorrow.

As always you can  contact me via email: JamieBrown@thePhillyLinc.com

This is the email address where I will take questions which I will answer in my articles, as well as any requests you may have.

Or directly on Facebook: Facebook.com/thephillylinc.JamieBrown

The offensive preview comes tomorrow, so keep your reading glasses nearby.



2 Comments

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2 responses to “Defensive Preview for the Wild Card: Eagles@Cowboys

  1. Pingback: American Football NFL » Eagles vs. Cowboys Wild Card Defensive Preview

  2. DBAGS

    I have a question? Would you trade McNabb this offseason or draft day? I would think it would be a good thing. Then we have Kolb who I think can handle the job. Didn’t he throw for over 350 yrds twice this year? it would be great to see him work with the young receivers and backs and we have Vick as a backup. What do you think?? Thanks

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