Philadelphia Eagles News

On Day After, Win Every Bit As Sweet

A day after the 40-17 win over New York, the Eagles turned their attention to Dallas and Sunday night's NFC East first-place showdown. It will be a great game, a terrific atmosphere and something to get hyped up about. It is the right thing to do for the players and coaches, to look to Dallas, and to work on the things that didn't go so well against the Giants. Here, the interest is to pick out some of the things to remember from a game that showed the Eagles just how good they can be ...

  • Leonard Weaver needs the football a few times a game. Whether he is a change-of-pace runner, or a short-yardage guy, or somebody to simply offer a new look to the defense, Weaver has earned some touches. He runs hard and he runs low and he keeps his legs moving. That he outran the entire Giants defense on a 41-yard touchdown run was pretty remarkable, and an indication of just how athletic Weaver is. I think offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has another option, and I think Mornhinweg will use Weaver in the weeks to come. Maybe not to the tune of 8 carries, but enough to add to the offensive repertoire.
  • Best statistic from Sunday's game: The Eagles converted 6 of 11 third downs offensively. I'm sure Sean McDermott isn't pleased that New York converted 8 of its 16 third downs, and that is something to work on with his defense. Very interesting conversions for the Eagles offense, actually. A third-and-17 snap resulted in a Donovan McNabb touchdown pass to Brent Celek. then McNabb passed to Jason Avant for 28 yards on a third-and-6 play. On third and 11 later in that series toward the end of the first half McNabb scrambled for 14 yards. Michael Vick ran for 4 yards on the same series to convert a third-and-1 snap. On third and 1 in the fourth quarter, LeSean McCoy burst 66 yards for a touchdown. On the next series, McNabb's 13-yard pass to Celek converted a third-and-12 situation.
  • McNabb, who has certainly had some inconsistencies this year, has 9 touchdown passes and only 1 interception, with a passer rating of 103.2. His yards-per-attempt average of 7.6 yards is excellent.
  • Updating DeSean Jackson's ratio of touchdowns per touch, he now has 45 touches and 6 touchdowns. That is one touchdown per 7.5 touches, which is remarkable. I would love to know what an all-time record is with that stat.
  • Sean Jones has, now we know, moved up the depth chart in a big way. He deserves it. The Eagles are smartly playing to Jones' strengths, which begin with using his physical nature near the line of scrimmage. He is a good blitzer who tackles well and gets his hands on the football. He and Macho Harris will rotate at free safety, with the free safety and strong safety positions basically looking interchanegable. Quintin Mikell's versatility helps the Eagles stay flexible there.
  • Great, great job by Winston Justice against Justin Tuck, who had one tackle and one pass knocked down at the line of scrimmage. Justice had some help, yes, but he looked so tough against Tuck. I congratulated Justice after the game and he said, "It's all God." I respect that. Certainly, something significant has happened in Justice's life to help his progress in the NFL. He is playing with a lot of confidence and is providing the answer at right tackle.
  • Good blocking on the left side of the offensive line on the big runs from Weaver and McCoy. Todd Herremans has made a huge difference since he returned the lineup. Jason Peters got beat a couple of times in pass protection, and needs to get out against the speed rushers and protect the edge, but he is a beast in the run game. Looks to me like Stacy Andrews is working his way into the starting position at right guard, too. Keep your fingers crossed: It looks like the line is coming together. And if it is, with all of these weapons, the offense is going to soar.
  • See how important a good return game is? Ellis Hobbs averaged 29.3 yards on 3 returns, setting the offense up twice in fine field positions. Both drives ended in touchdowns. And Jackson's 30-yard punt return at the end of the first half was a whisker away from going the distance.
  • Big-time challenge for the coverage groups this week with Patrick Crayton coming to town. He has punt returns for touchdowns the last two games.
  • Love the effort Jason Babin gives at defensive end. He always seems to be scrapping with somebody after the play, too.
  • Will Witherspoon is making a bit of a difference, isn't he? The man gets to the football, no matter where it is on the field.
  • I'm loving the depth up front on defense. At the end of the game, Antonio Dixon registered a sack, and to go along with Babin's, the Eagles had two sacks from players who weren't with the team way back in June when the blueprint was designed after the draft, etc. Goes to show that you can always add a quality player if you pick the right guy, no matter when you add him. Babin, Dixon, Witherspoon ... who would have ever thought those three players would help this team?
  • McNabb threw the ball great on Sunday against New York. He worked the pocket well, threw with confidence and clearly understands that he has a stable of receivers who are going to catch everything thrown their way.
  • Still, the Eagles need to do a better job against tight ends, especially with Jason Witten coming to town.
  • I thought Akeem Jordan, after missing an early tackle on Brandon Jacobs, had an excellent game against the Giants.
  • The Eagles have outscored opponents 61-24 in the first quarter of games. That is so important.
  • Dallas is going to be the toughest challenge of this season. If you think the Cowboys aren't smarting from the final game of last year's regular season, you are way, way wrong. The Cowboys are playing great football right now with wins against Atlanta and Seattle after their bye week.
  • Sav Rocca averaged 47.3 yards on 3 punts, with a net average of 44.0 yards. Awesome. The Eagles whipped the Giants in hidden yardage. It was maybe the most dominant performance by special teams all season. I'm sure, by the way, that Ted Daisher was very specific in his instruction to Babin on what to do when a kickoff comes his way: Get out of the way.
  • Finally: Isn't a joy to watch Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and Celek and McCoy and all of these kids week after week? I can't remember a team that had so many young skill-position standouts who are excellent now, and who are going to get better and better.
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