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Random Thoughts And Things I Think I Know

On a Friday that is actually in Thursday in terms of game preparation -- Monday night game, remember -- there are some things to discuss and debate and wonder about in the land of the Eagles. So let's do it here and now ...

  • The Kevin Curtis situation is really disappointing and concerning. You wonder if he will come back and play at all this season. You wonder about the worst-case scenario here. Curtis has not looked like Curtis since last year. He had the off-season sports hernia surgery and then did not appear to have his quickness and confidence in his hands at times in training camp. The timing in his case has really affected the team. If the Eagles had known then what they know now about Curtis' knee, they maybe would have kept Danny Amendola on the active roster, or not released Hank Baskett. Maybe Curtis would have gone to Injured Reserve prior to the start of the season. Things worked out as they did and, well, the Eagles have four good receivers on the roster. What they don't have is a glut of talent waiting in the wings, as they did in the summer. Makes you think that at some point in the off-season, wide receiver will again be a position to address. There are some uncertainties at the position looking long-term. Not with the starters, necessarily. DeSean Jackson is a standout and Jeremy Maclin is a young, promising player. Jason Avant is a superb slot receiver. Reggie Brown, I'm still going to say this, can play.
  • Speaking of Brown, the Eagles are going to call his number at some point this season and he is going to have to respond. The last year has been tough on Brown's psyche. I truly wonder how much confidence he has. Feeding him a few passes would be a good way to find out.
  • Washington's defense is third in the league against the pass and 22nd against the run. That still doesn't mean the Eagles are going to load up on the running game on Monday night, but it sure does add some intrigue. Will they run early?
  • Donovan McNabb is 9-6 with a passer rating of 91.3 in Monday night games. He has thrown 17 touchdown passes and 6 interceptions and has run for 415 yards and 8 touchdowns. So, yeah, if you're looking for a player to watch early and gauge where the Eagles are, look at No. 5. When he starts fast, the Eagles are usually really good. When he is slow to start, the Eagles follow suit. Somehow, the team has to find a way to reverse tough starts and win some games coming from behind.
  • The Eagles are plus-7 in giveaways/takeaways and the Redskins are minus-4. Some stats mean more than others, and this one is huge.
  • Victor Abiamiri's absence creates a void for the Eagles along the defensive line. Juqua Parker will play a lot and will start at left end, but Chris Clemons and Jason Babin are going to have to add some quality snaps. It is time for Clemons to get more reps and contribute on a week-in, week-out basis. He has speed off the ball and gives the Eagles some pass-rushing punch. Look for him a lot in the nickel.
  • Can't wait to see how the Eagles match up against tight end Chris Cooley. The defense has been hurt all year by tight ends, and now Cooley starts off a string of three good NFC East tight ends in a row. Cooley runs great routes, has excellent hands and is a kiler in the red zone. How do the Eagles slow him down?
  • Good matchup on Monday night is Jason Peters against right end Andre Carter. Carter has become a force rushing the quarterback. He's got 5 1/2 sacks and Peters has a big job in front of him.
  • I know everybody is screaming about the run/pass ratio from Sunday's game in Oakland, and I have expressed my opinion that the Eagles probably should have run the ball a tad more. But when you look purely at the numbers, the offense had been reasonably balanced to that point. In Carolina, the Eagles passed 29 times and ran 32 times. Against New Orleans, the Eagles passed 52 times and ran 22 times in game that got way out of hand. Remember, in that Saints game, the Eagles had 35 offensive snaps in the first half and called 22 passes and 13 runs. That is not at all crazy, especially when the final 6 snaps of that half were all passes in the last-minute drive to score a field goal. In the win over Kansas City, the Eagles had 36 passes and 27 runs. Against Tampa Bay, 24 passes and 21 runs. Then it was way, way out of whack against Oakland, with 46 passes and 6 sacks and only 14 running plays. What it all means, I don't really know.
  • Here is a problem, which may or may not be related to the running game: Third and 10 yards or longer are killing the Eagles. They are 0 for 15 in such situations this year. Strangely, the Eagles have converted 4 of 7 third-and-9 situations.
  • The last time the Eagles won by scoring in the final two minutes of regulation was a 23-20 win over Oakland in 2005.
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