Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has quite a challenge ahead this Saturday night as he has to rectify a defense that gave up a season-high 179 rushing yards and allowed quarterback Tony Romo to pass for 311 yards.
It's certainly not the first roadblock thrown in McDermott's first year as the team's defensive coordinator. And for the way he's handled those obstacles thus far, he was ranked as the No. 1 defensive coordinator in the NFL by Pro Football Weekly. Here's what a pro personnel evaluator told Pro Football Weekly about McDermott.
"(McDermott) is a rising star, now. I think a lot of people expected the Eagles to fall off after (former defensive coordinator) Jimmy Johnson passed away, but this kid clearly paid attention. He was with Jimmy 10 years, sitting at the corner of the table eating crumbs and absorbing it all. In some ways - with how creatively he finds ways to bring pressure - I think he might be better than (Johnson). He's got a great feel (for play-calling)."
In addition to replacing a legend in Johnson, McDermott has dealt with a number of injuries at the linebacker position. The Eagles started six players at middle linebacker this season and that doesn't include Stewart Bradley, who was lost for the year during training camp.
Despite the turnover at linebacker, the Eagles ranked third in the NFL in takeaways this season with 38 (25 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries). The Eagles intercepted one out of every 23.2 passes thrown at them this season. The Eagles also had the second-best third down defense with an opponent's success rate of just 33 percent.
But the honor won't mean much if the Eagles can't figure out a way to stop the league's No. 2 offense in the wild card round.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 5:48 a.m., January 5