No one really stepped up last week and made plays for the Eagles. You could argue and say that Brent Celek did, but he contributed to an offense that scored zero points so its hard to give him too much credit. This week has got to be different. If the Eagles want to win, they need players to step up. The question is who is it going to be?
Offensively, Donovan McNabb gets the obvious nod. He’s been on this team the longest and can really dictate the overall success of the offensive unit. Everyone knows he didn’t bring his A-game last week and that is something that has to change. Although McNabb is the easy answer, I think the whole offensive unit needs to step it up this week. The line didn’t provide great coverage last week and failed to open holes to give the running backs room to run. As far as the running backs, I think they will get a lot more opportunities to make plays this week and will have to step up when given the chance. The Eagles have three viable options in the backfield (four if you include Vick) and I believe each has their own style. You saw the success the Cowboys had with their running back tandem who are two different style of runners. This effort has to be emulated on Saturday night. If it is, big things will happen for this offense. It was apparent that no wide receiver had a spectacular day looking at the box score. However, what the box score doesn’t show is the high number of drops by the unit. We have receivers that can make plays, but they have to catch the ball first.
Defensively, the team got taken to the wood shed early. They allowed the Cowboys to easily march down on their first drive and score. This set the momentum for the entire game and the Cowboys never looked back. The defense showed a little spunk in the second half, but it was already too late. I want to see the linebackers step up big this week and shut the run game down early. We all know the lack of blitzes that were sent Sunday and I expect that to change this week. Whoever blitzes needs to get in Tony Romo’s face and let him know they’re going to be there all day. Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles load the box to stop the run early. Dallas used a lot of draw plays last week so the Eagles will need to be under control when they attack. Over-pursuing the play leaves you in no position to make a tackle.
Coverage definitely needs to be tightened as well. It seemed as though when Tony Romo needed to drop back and complete a pass to gain a big chunk of yardage he was able to do so. Miles Austin and Jason Witten combined for 13 catches on the day. This production needs to be limited much more. Those are Romo’s top two targets and you know he’s going to look there early and often.
The only good thing about losing last week was that it didn’t mean the season was over. That doesn’t hold true this week. The Eagles need to step up their game or they better pack their bags.