There’s no denying the fact that the majority of the Eagles struggles have come on the defensive side of the ball this year. The offense hasn’t been stellar, but the defense has been far worse.
Although the defense has struggled in all aspects, the most glaring has been their run defense. They made some adjustments going into the Redskins game and only gave up 42 yards on the ground, but they’re yet to show that they can stop the run on a consistent basis.
Come Sunday night against the Cowboys, the Eagles run defense will definitely be tested.
In case you missed it, the Cowboys had a large amount of success running the ball this week against the Rams. Rookie running back DeMarco Murray had an absolutely phenomenal game, rushing for over 250 yards.
With the success they had with Murray and the fact that the Eagles have struggled against the run, you can expect the Cowboys to test the Eagles run defense early.
The real question will be which run defense shows up for the Eagles. They took advantage of a beat up Redskins offensive line. Can they have the same type of success against the Cowboys? Will the defense tackle better than they have the majority of the season? They’ll need to if they want to slow down Murray.
As I also mentioned, the Eagles defense has struggled just about everywhere. The first objective will be to shut down the run. Doing so successfully will help, but it’s far from being the only thing that needs to get done.
The Cowboys have two monster receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, and also have one of the better tight ends in the league, Jason Witten.
Matching up with a team that has receivers like the Cowboys do is a large reason why the Eagles went out and got Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. However, we’ve seen that you need to do more than simply add talent. You need to make sure you utilize that talent to the best of its ability.
Andy Reid and Juan Castillo will need to come up with a solid game plan in order to slow down the Cowboys offense. Can you trust any of your linebackers to cover Witten? Will they throw Asomugha his way?
Coming off the bye week, the coaching staff has had plenty of time to think about how they want to go about this. There should be no excuse for not putting together a solid game plan.
At the same time, the players are also responsible for executing that game plan. We’ve seen key players not step up and make key plays. Against the Cowboys offense, everyone on defense needs to execute.
Despite bringing in a lot of names this offseason, this defense is yet to show us they can play at a high level. The matchup with the Cowboys is a great opportunity to do that. It’s time for the defense to step up and make a statement.