It's time to get a little inside intelligence from a blog we know well. JasonB, over at the excellent Eagles blog, Bleeding Green Nation, answered five questions about the upcoming Cowboys/Eagles tilt in Philly. Yeah, we hate the Eagles, but we've been chatting with Jason and his cohort JimmyK for a long time at BTB, so let's see what BGN has to say.
Blogging The Boys: Given the preseason hype associated with the Eagles, how do you feel about this team at 2-4? How disappointed, optimistic, unsure are you about the Eagles going forward.
Bleeding Green Nation: Obviously it's been an incredibly disappointing start which has been even more exacerbated by the way they've lost these games. It's one thing if you can just write your team off and say they just aren't good enough... but the Eagles have really been beating themselves. Balls going off WRs hands into the opposition, guys who haven't fumbled in five years putting the ball on the ground in the fourth quarter, inexplicable penalties in big spots. It's been a comedy of errors here and has just made this start to the year even worse to endure.
BTB: One stat that stood out to me is the amount of rushing attempts and yards the Eagles have this year - given the reputation of Andy Reid. Talk about the running game and what's different this year. How much is Mike Vick a factor?
BGN: Well clearly Michael Vick is going to inflate the rushing yards of any team and he's the reason this is the top rushing attack in the league, but like you said that's not the whole story. LeSean McCoy is having a legitimate breakout year and Andy Reid has generally just been feeding the hot hand. Not only has McCoy obviously taken an extra step this year, but I think he's also been helped by having Jason Peters one side and now Todd Herremans at RT. Herremans used to be at LG and made for a really good run blocking left side of the line, but now that he's on the right the Eagles have two major run blockers on either side that seal off the edges and allow for a guy with the speed and cutback ability of McCoy to get to the edges and really rack up a lot of yardage.
BTB: How has Nnamdi looked? What's up with the Assante Samuel situation? Give us a read on the Eagles defense.
BGN: Nnamdi has actually played quite well over the last few weeks. He got a lot of criticism early on, but I think we all have to take into account his situation. He'd been with the team about a month before the season started and was not only learning a new scheme but being asked to play a lot of zone when he'd been a man cover corner his whole career. They also moved him around a lot and had him playing the slot on a lot of plays, all of which he's never done. So we saw him struggle, which in hindsight was probably predictable. But as he's become more comfortable in the scheme and they've also had him play some more man coverage, he's looked a lot better. And in fact, his coming up and supporting the run was a significant reason the defense shut down the Redskins on the ground. And I'm sure you all saw that hit he put on Chris Cooley that ended his season...
BTB: There's been plenty of talk about teams taking shots at Mike Vick last year and this year. How do you feel about that, do you think teams are giving a little extra to Vick? Have all the hits affected his play any?
BGN: I don't think teams are purposely trying to hit Vick any more than any other QB, I mean that's the goal on any play for any QB right? As a defense you're always going to take a shot if you can get it. And lately he hasn't quite been taking the beating he did over the first couple weeks. For all the hand wringing you see about the Eagles offensive line, he's only been sacked 8 times this season which is less than 28 other QBs.
BTB: What areas on the Cowboys are you most worried about? Where are some potential matchups that Dallas could exploit Sunday Night to get a win?
BGN: Well, honestly I'd be worried about the same things against the Cowboys as I would against any team. The Eagles defense has failed to stop the run in all but the last game against the Redskins. So obviously that's a major concern. We hope that Redskins game was a sign of a light going on, but until we see it more than once I don't think anyone will be confident in the run defense.
But otherwise, I'm always concerned about the Eagles stopping what are seemingly the only three plays in Jason Garrett's playbook when he faces us. Delayed handoff, bubble screen, slant.
Thanks for dropping the knowledge, Jason. Check out Bleeding Green Nation for more stuff.