Is The Offense As Good As It Looked Vs. Rams?
Can any offense look as good as 522 total yards, 28 first downs, eight of 14 third-down conversions and 38 points every week? No way. The Eagles run into a much better defense Monday night in Dallas against the Cowboys, one that has better talent, a far superior secondary and an excellent pass rush.
Nobody knows if Reggie Brown is going to play against the Cowboys, but the wide receivers have a lot of confidence going into the Monday night early-season showdown. DeSean Jackson, Greg Lewis and Hank Baskett gained more than 100 receiving yards on Sunday and the Eagles had their way so much that Brian Westbrook's 21 touches, 92 total yards and two touchdowns were almost an afterthought.
How will the Cowboys attack Philadelphia's offense? They know they need to pressure Donovan McNabb, so look for the Cowboys to stunt and try to get penetration up front, and look for Dallas to test the Eagles' tackles, Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan. The Cowboys are deep and talented at cornerback and they thrive on turnovers.
Don't expect the Eagles to roll through the Cowboys like they rolled through the Rams. McNabb is going to have to be patient, like he was last December when the Eagles pulled off a 10-6 upset at Texas Stadium.
One very telling battle is going to be how Jackson plays against the Dallas secondary. They know his name now. They have a game plan in place. They have an idea of what they want to do to slow him down – bump him, rough him up, take him off of his routes – at the line of scrimmage. What happens to the Eagles' offense when Jackson is taken out of the mix?
Maybe then the Eagles turn it over to Westbrook, as they have in years past. Maybe L.J. Smith, who caught five passes for 39 yards and had a few more thrown his way, becomes more of a factor. Maybe one of the other receivers steps up.
Monday is a real test. How good is the Eagles offense? It was better than great against the Rams. Anything approaching that level of play in Dallas will make the Eagles more than pleased.