Disappointing doesn’t even begin to describe the loss to the Raiders last week. Although, with a little help from the Phillies, I am over it. There is still a lot of football to be played here and the Eagles need to put it behind them. They get their last struggling team before getting into the real challenging part of their schedule. This is a team they need to beat.
Here’s some quick team stats and league rankings:
Points per game: 13.2 (29th)
Yards per game: 294 (23rd)
Pass yards per game: 195.3 (20th)
Rush yards per game: 98.7 (23rd)
Points per game: 16 (5th)
Yards per game: 287 (5th)
Pass yards per game: 169 (3rd)
Rush yards per game: 118 (22nd)
Jason Campbell – The “Todd Collins Experiment” didn’t last very long and Campbell is back at the helm. He has had a rough season so far and has throw as many interceptions (6) as he has touchdowns. Despite all this, the Eagles really need to come out and shut him down. They need to pressure Campbell early and force him to make bad throws. He does have the ability to make plays with his feet so that will have to be kept in mind as well.
Clinton Portis – Portis has been struggling to get it going this year but is being hampered by an ankle injury. He had his first 100 yard rushing game last week against Kansas City which included a 78 yard play. The Eagles have been pretty good against the run this year so I expect them to be able to shut down Portis. If he doesn’t play, Ladell Betts will get the start.
Santana Moss – Although he doesn’t get a lot of attention, Moss is a talented receiver. He has speed and can make plays down the field. On the season, he has two touchdown receptions on plays that were over 50 yards. The secondary will have to keep an eye on him and make sure they keep him in front of them. We don’t want to see them come out and hit a homerun ball over the top.
Chris Cooley – Like every other week, the tight end position is where I see the biggest threat on the offensive side of the football. The Birds have been consistently getting lit up by opposing teams tight ends. Cooley can be a monster so if they want to have any type of success on defense, they are going to have to limit his production. I don’t think Campbell has a lot of confidence right now so I can see him trying to check down to the tight end a lot on Monday. Will Witherspoon seems to have a knack for finding the ball and he could really get in Philadelphia’s good graces with an interception.
Albert Haynesworth – Everyone knows about the big guy in the middle. He’s 6′ 6″ 350 pounds and an absolute monster. Although he has an ankle injury slowing him down a bit right now, he’s still a force to be reckoned with. Our interior lineman are going to need to do a good job shutting him down as we don’t want that frame busting up Donovan McNabb and his sensitive ribs. I’d also like to see them push this guy around and get the run game going early (but let’s not count on that).
DeAngelo Hall – This guys is your classic shut down corner and has had interceptions in half the games he’s played so far and knocked a ball down in all but one game. It seems as though the Eagles can only get production out of one receiver each week. I’d like to see them get contributions from everyone. In order to do this, they are going to have to use their speed and run good routes to beat Hall’s coverage.
Brian Orakpo – Orakpo is a talented rookie out of Texas who the Redskins took with their first pick this year. He has at least a half of a sack in his last four games and is continually putting pressure on the quarterback. The guy loves to blitz and comes hard when he does. Our offensive line is going to need to communicate to deal with these blitzes and provide much better protection than they did last week.
LaRon Landry – Landry is another Redskins player you don’t hear a lot about but is definitely a talented individual. He is still young and just getting into his prime. His coverage is good but I think his hitting ability is his strong suit. The guy is a strong tackler and will make you pay if he gets the chance.
Rock Cartwright – This guys is a special teams all start. He is a kick returner but is also great on coverage. On he returns he has the ability to make big plays. His returns aren’t flashy but he knows what he’s doing. The Eagles haven’t struggled much on special teams and I hope that continues.
Overall, the Birds really need to bounce back and get a win here. They are in the national spotlight on Monday Night Football so they are really on display. This is our first division game so they need to come out and make a statement.