There’s no question here, the Eagles got owned on the ground last week against the Cowboys. It’s no secret that when an offense can run the ball effectively, they’re going to find success. If the Eagles want to make a playoff run, it’s going to start with their front seven and shutting down Marion Barber and Felix Jones.
Last Sunday, the two runners combined for over 180 yards on the ground. That’s ridiculous. Unacceptable. The Eagles were getting pushed around on the line and making poor tackles, leading to large gains on the ground for both running backs. They are two different types of runners but both were able to find plenty of success. It’s hard to allow any team to be able to run the football like that and find a way to win. Did the defense hold it’s own to some degree? Yes. They had a red zone interception and held the Cowboys to a field goal opportunity that was missed. However, if you had to give an overall grade to the defense it would not be good.
Was their improvement in the second half? Yes, there was. The Eagles only allowed seven points in the second half and it came on a 49 yard run by Felix Jones. We hope that the second half defense is the one that shows up this Saturday and not the one who looked horrific in the first half. Either way, we know that the first priority is going to have to be stopping the run. Dallas is going to come out early and try to do it again since they had so much success last week but the Eagles need to take a stand. Load the box and shut it down early.
Defensively, Quintin Mikell is the player I look for to really step it up this weekend. I called him out a few weeks ago and he’s the player you have to call out whenever the defense doesn’t perform. His personal performance was not strong and he also has to be a better leader on the field. Jeremiah Trotter is there for leadership but he doesn’t see the field nearly as much as Mikell. Q needs to do a much better job tackling, especially around the line of scrimmage. I also want to see some guys really go after the ball and force some fumbles. One turnover that was somewhat a fluke isn’t going to cut it. This defense has got to perform better.