Philadelphia Eagles News

Reese: Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity Knocks

There are a bunch of teams that are pretty good. They used to say there's really nobody great in the NFC, but in the AFC there are some really great teams. The best teams used to reside in the AFC. But this year, there's not one team in the NFL that you can look at and say they're anywhere near as good as the Patriots or the Indianapolis Colts of the past five years.

It means the Eagles' chances are as good as anybody's to go the distance. A week ago everyone was talking about the fact the Eagles are in bad trouble. They were already three games behind the Giants and two games behind the Cowboys and Redskins. Well, guess what? I was saying to people, everybody was posing and figuring that the Redskins, Cowboys and Giants, all they were going to do was lose to each other and beat everybody else. That's not the case.

The truth of the matter is, when you watch a Washington team lose to St. Louis, when you see Dallas lose to Arizona and the Giants fall to Cleveland, you know that anything's possible. They have one game to make up, but there are plenty of games left.

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What's there not to llike about Hank?
If you look at areas the Eagles need to improve, I think they still need to improve the red zone offense, which I think is much better but it still needs work. The other thing is they still have to improve their ability to stop the premiere ball-carriers, which I thought they had when they stopped the whole string up until the Washington game. I think it was a little bit revealing when at the end of the Bears game on several crucial downs, they couldn't stop Matt Forté. But then Portis ran through them and Gore did a good job Sunday.

At the bye, as I look at the one of the positions that was under the microscope at the start of the season - the wide receivers, I have to say that I love Hank Baskett. I think Hank Baskett is a terrific player. I think he offers something unique with his ability to get up high and make plays. We also got a chance to see the fade pattern for the first time. It really does work. I think there are some things they will probably incorporate throughout the rest of the season.

I think Correll Buckhalter played a terrific game the other day. He does a great job. When you talk about Brian Westbrook, you're talking about one the premiere backs in the entire NFL. One of the greatest weapons, both running the football from scrimmage and catching it, that anybody has. There's no doubt in my mind had they had a healthy Westbrook, they would have beaten the Bears and may very well have beaten the Redskins.

I think if you would have asked me before the season what their record at the bye would have been, I probably would have said at least 4-2 and maybe get hot and be 5-1. But 3-3, considering the fact that midway through the third quarter, this team had a good chance to be 2-4. There's a huge difference between being 3-3 and coming off a win heading into the bye and 2-4 and coming off a third-straight defeat. It's a huge difference. And the way this team just took it upon itself to go get the football. One of the things that hurt in the Redskins' game was this team went into the game with nine takeaways and they ended the Redskins game with nine takeaways. I kept saying on the air in the fourth quarter that they had to find a way to come up with a fumble, find a way to come up with an interception. That will change the game. Not that I'm a great prophet, but the two most revealing stats at the end of a season, and I'm not a big stat guy, but the two things that every playoff team has in common are they are all pretty high up in turnover differential and they are all very, very good in third-down conversions and stopping third-down conversions. The Eagles were 50 percent on third downs for themselves, and they held the 49ers to 2-for-12 on third-down conversions. That's amazing. That's a big difference.

You don't know what's going to come out of the Atlanta game, but here are the Cowboys now without Tony Romo for the next month. Brad Johnson is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback but he doesn't move well. Even with Roy Williams, a potential 12-4 can become an 8-8 with the snap of a finger.

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