We will talk about Green Bay all week. For one day, though, the Eagles reserves who gave it 60 minutes of great effort on Sunday afternoon against Dallas deserve some kudos. The Eagles lost 14-13 to Dallas, which played its starters the entire game. There were plenty of things to like about the performance the Eagles gave.
Dallas played its first-team offense the whole way, and the Eagles defense with the likes of Colt Anderson, Jamar Adams, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Jeremy Clark and a bunch of other players who haven't had much playing time this year kicked the Cowboys in the teeth, stuffed the running game and pitched one of the most unlikely great games you will ever see.
The final score was disappointing in a game that didn't mean a thing in the standings or for the Eagles' post-season fate -- they will play Green Bay at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field -- but it meant something for the young men on the field on Sunday afternoon into evening. The defense, amazingly enough, had one of its best games of the season.
Some observations from the game ...
- The young cornerbacks were terrific. Trevard Lindley was aggressive and he anticipated routes well and broke quickly on the ball. Dimitri Patterson had a couple of outstanding blitzes, covered well and played with a level of confidence missing in recent weeks. Brandon Hughes, who hadn't played all year, looked like a real prospect with his size, long arms and physical play.
- It appeared the Eagles played a lot of two-deep coverage to keep it relatively simple, and safeties Colt Anderson and Adams did a good job tackling and taking away the deep game. Adams had a terrific breakup of a fourth-quarter pass to tight end Jason Witten on a third-and-4 snap. Witten came back to hurt the Eagles on the final scoring drive that produced the winning points for the Cowboys.
- Te'o-Nesheim had his first sack, a pressure and was pretty darn active in his best showing. I liked Darryl Tapp, too. He was outstanding. And newly acquired Bobby McCray had a good burst playing right defensive end. I think he can help a little bit in the post-season and provide some quality snaps.
- Omar Gaither was as physical as he has ever been with 10 tackles and good work at the line of scrimmage. Moise Fokou played both at SAM and with his hand down at left defensive end and was extremely quick off the ball.
- Tight end Clay Harbor had a tough game. He had a couple of drops -- maybe three -- and was beaten by DeMarcus Ware on a sack of quarterback Kevin Kolb. Harbor has to bounce back. The Eagles need him in the playoffs.
- Fine performance from Chad Hall, who led the team with 6 catches for 84 yards and his first NFL touchdown. He also averaged 10.3 yards on punt returns.
- Not a great game from Sav Rocca, who hopefully got it out of his system. He had a wobbly 29-yarder late in the game to set up Dallas on its 46-yard line. Dallas scored the winning points on the drive. Rocca had a 55-yard blast and placed one punt at the 9-yard line, but he didn't have the consistency that he has enjoyed this year.
- Kevin Kolb was clearly not pleased with his performance, which included 3 interceptions (one in the end zone to end the first half on a throw-it-up ball) and a fumble that Ware recovered and returned for a touchdown. Kolb made a really nice escape and throw to Hall for a touchdown, but he missed open receivers in the game and he didn't look comfortable in the pocket. He had some rust, clearly. That rust is gone, so if the Eagles need Kolb in the playoffs, he will be ready.
- I liked what I saw from Austin Howard at left tackle. Ware got him for one sack, but Howard has a chance to be really, really good. The question here is: Where? Where would Howard fit in next season, for example? Jason Peters is the left tackle. That isn't changing.
- My guess is that Gerard Lawson returns kickoffs next week, if the Eagles can fit him onto the game day active roster. Lawson had two returns, one for 28 yards. He looked fast and he ran hard. But can the Eagles work the numbers to have him dress?
- Jerome Harrison deserves the football here and there every week. He has power and moves and a touch of speed. Harrison gained 99 yards on 21 carries. Good job for him.
- I saw Stewart Bradley working out prior to the game and he has a real chance to be ready to go on Sunday against Green Bay. The next few days are crucial.
- Weird that with all of these reserves the Eagles had just 4 penalties for 40 yards, isn't it?
- The Eagles started an offensive line of Howard at left tackle, Reggie Wells at left guard, Nick Cole at center, Max Jean-Gilles at right guard and King Dunlap at right tackle. Cole moved to right guard and Mike McGlynn came in to the center spot when Jean-Gilles suffered a sprained ankle. Jean-Gilles, per head coach Andy Reid, should be OK for the Packers.
- Jeremy Maclin started and played sparingly as the Eagles hoped to get him 36 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Didn't happen. But he's healthy and happy and ready for the playoffs.
- Jeremy Clark did a nice job at defensive tackle. He played a ton of snaps and battled inside. Think about his journey: Off the streets after a few years in the league and he plays an entire game. He held up well.
- Michael Vick is going to be totally healthy and ready for Green Bay. As for the ESPN report that the Eagles would take him out in favor of Kolb if Vick struggles against Green Bay ... bogus. Totally bogus. A terrible report, and I believe it comes from absolutely no basis in truth. Vick is the guy, and will be going forward. How these things start ...