COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: Philadelphia Daily News | Foles wastes his opportunity
Photo: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end George Selvie as defensive tackle Jason Hatcher helps on the play. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
The Eagles’ quarterback controversy has turned into a quarterback conflagration. This, on the afternoon when Michael Vick could not play because of a pulled hamstring; Nick Foles could not play, period (and left the game at the end of the third quarter with a head injury, besides), and Matt Barkley finished up the game by throwing three interceptions that counted and another that did not (because of a penalty).
Other than that, things went well.
The Dallas Cowboys played like garbage for much of the afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field and still beat the Eagles, 17-3, which pretty much tells you how the Eagles played. A decent defensive effort against Tony Romo and the fellas was completely wasted by an offense that was neutered by the Dallas Cowboys and by Foles’ ineffectiveness.
Before he suffered the injury, which could conceivably keep him out for next week’s game against the Giants, Foles was indecisive and erratic. On a day when many believed he had a chance to win the starting quarterback job, he played his worst minutes of the season, going back to training camp. The numbers: 11-for-29 for 80 yards and a poor 46.2 passer rating.
Slow on the trigger, missing open receivers — it was Foles’ worst nightmare. This was a clear opportunity for him to make a statement, and the statement he made was an emphatic, “Not yet.”
Others will say that it was, “Not ever.”
Now we prepare for a week in which the injury report will be the most important news. Last week, Vick sounded a bit skeptical about being ready to play next Sunday against the Giants. We will see now how the imperatives of the situation affect the healing process. More than that, though, the conversation about who should be the quarterback when Vick gets healthy has been silenced.
The truth was, Foles had an opportunity against an iffy Dallas secondary — but he needed to grab it. A lot of people, including me, figured it was going to take a big number to beat the Cowboys — but the way the game turned out, as an early punt-fest, ended that thinking. Instead, it was just going to take a good second half. For Foles, the opportunity was still there, even as he struggled. There was risk but there also was reward if he came through.
He did not come through, and he got hurt besides. He held the ball forever on the last play of the third quarter, was sacked and driven into the ground. He got up slowly, tried to shake it off on the sideline, but was eventually led to the locker room by the medical staff. That is how it ended, with a slow, sad walk.
And now, besides the ending of the quarterback controversy, there also will be a pretty significant burial of the talk about winning the NFC East. Because the truth is, the Cowboys did not play very well and still won the game handily. The Cowboys are 4-3 now and the Eagles are 3-4, but the distance somehow seems greater than that.
Courtesy: Rich Hofmann | Philadelphia Daily News
RIVAL HEADLINE–PHILLY: Why do YOU hate the Cowboys?
THERE IS a great Christmas song that proclaims, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” While I love the season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day because people are actually nice to each other and concentrate on things that are most important – family and friends – it is not the most wonderful time of the year!
That’s actually October, if you are a sports fan.
There is a plethora of football to watch, both college and pro. The baseball playoffs are in full swing, culminating with the World Series and all its tension and excitement. Hockey season has begun in earnest and the NBA launches at the end of the month.
To cite one example of how great October can be, consider if you lived in Boston. Last Sunday was a day you would never forget – unbelievable comebacks by the Patriots and Red Sox in big games. Yes, October is the most wonderful time of the year – the only month all four major sports are going on at the same time.
This year, October is even more special because tomorrow the Eagles play the Cowboys at home with first place in the NFC East at stake. Good god, I hate those Cowboys!
On Wednesday, I was on the train coming back from New York and I was sitting with my cousin Steven, a brilliant psychiatrist, his aide, Marguerite, and two rambunctious women named Sarah and Jennifer. We had a great time as they helped me create the “Top 10 Reasons I Hate the Cowboys.” Though they were my reasons, the crew helped me put them in descending order. It was great fun and I strongly recommend you do it with your friends. We share many of the same reasons, but ranking them as to which make you hate the ‘Boys the most is a hoot.
So here’s my Top 10:
10. The Star – What unbelievable conceit to make a star the symbol of your team and paint it right smack in the middle of the field. How did that star look at the end of the pickle-juice game (the 2000 season opener when the Eagles consumed pickle juice to combat dehydration from the 109-degree game-time temperature and beat the hosts, 41-14)?
9. Jimmy Johnson’s hair – Gelled and lacquered into a steel-like, immovable ‘do, and harder than those obnoxious Cowboy helmets. (I must admit to a tad of envy here.)
8. Cowboy (or AT&T) Stadium – A gaudy, incredibly extravagant mausoleum to Jerry Jones’ ego. Hey, Jerry, with Texas having the highest percentage of people without healthcare coverage of any state in the nation, couldn’t you have thought of a better use for your money?
7. Troy Aikman on TV – This ex-Cowboys QB has never gotten over the physical and scoreboard beating administered to him by the Buddy Ryan-led Birds. He takes it out on the Eagles every chance he gets with his slanted, hateful anti-Eagles commentary.
6. The “Don’t Mess With Texas” attitude – Everything is bigger and better in the Lone Star state, or so they think. Rick Perry as governor? Not so much. Cowboy Stadium is a great example of this. One thing that’s for sure: Everything is more arrogant in Texas, especially if it has anything to do with this football team!
5. Conceited, cocky, arrogant stars, past and present – Michael Irvin, Neon Deion, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant: I can’t stand any of them. (Jason Witten is an exception, but he should have been an Eagle. Remember, we picked L.J. Smith in the draft when Jason was still available.)
4. No cheesesteaks, hoagies, soft pretzels or Tastykakes are sold at Cowboy Stadium – Hard to believe, but true. I went to see the Birds play in Dallas once and sat in Ross Perot’s box. There was white wine, caviar, smoked salmon, Brie and crudités served with nary a soft pretzel to be found. They wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in the 700 level at the Vet!
3. Jimmy Johnson’s favorite phrase, “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” – I’m sick and tired of hearing it! Hey, Jimmy, how ’bout the fact that “Them Cowboys” have only won one playoff game (the dreaded “air guitar” game vs. the Birds, unfortunately) in more than a decade?
2. Jerry Jones – Need I explain? This unbelievably arrogant owner is the epitome of the conceit, braggadocio and excess that makes us hate the Cowboys.
1. “America’s Team” – Aaaaagh!! Who would have the gall to call themselves America’s Team? Who nominated them? Did we get to vote on this? This self-proclaimed title has inspired many faux fans around the nation to claim to be Cowboy rooters, but they all probably think a rollout is what you do with toilet paper and that the wildcat formation is found at the zoo.
So that’s my list. Have fun coming up with yours. To sum it up: “Cowboys suck,” and with injuries to Ware and Murray, the Birds win easily, 34-23.
Courtesy: Edward Rendell | The Daily News
Editors comment: Pretty lame article, granted. Not much creativity in Philly. After all, why remain bitter about Jimmy Johnson (and his hair) 25 years later? Seems like a “if you can’t beat ‘em … bash ‘em” mentality in the City of Brotherly Love (and resentment). Still, take a moment to vote in their poll. As you’d expect, it’s tilted towards a Philly win on Sunday. Let your voice be heard! While we’re at it … how ‘bout serving cheesesteak on Texas Toast with BBQ sauce for your gameday tailgate? Cheesesteak is basically shaved Texas beef brisket! Go Cowboys … hard pretzels, star and all!!
RIVAL HEADLINE: Philadelphia Daily News – Thoughts on what comes after Andy
Like everybody else, I’m trying to think about what the Eagles might do when this disappointing season ends and Andy Reid’s 14-year coaching tenure presumably ends.
I’ll be really surprised if the choice is some guy who won a Super Bowl elsewhere — Jon Gruden, Brian Billick, even Bill Cowher, who tends to be more highly regarded than Gruden or Billick in NFL circles. A couple of reasons there: 1. Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman think of themselves as bold, innovative people; they are unlikely to settle for trying to recreate what someone did somewhere else, and more important, 2. IT NEVER WORKS. How many coaches have won a Super Bowl somewhere, then gone somewhere else and won another? The answer is nobody, never, ever. Not Vince Lombardi, not Bill Parcells, not Mike Holmgren, who came closest, not Mike Shanahan.
This last point is something too few people in the fan base seem to understand. The objective here is not to hire somebody who will give us entertaining press conferences, or somebody who once beat the Eagles in an important game.
One caveat: I’d make an exception for Sean Payton, who would be available under unique circumstances that might make him different from the other retreads. But I really don’t think Payton is leaving New Orleans, and if he does, he has strong ties to Dallas.
I’m pretty sure Lurie and Roseman will go for a "bright young man" type. Of course, that has its risks, too. A lot of those guys look less bright, once they’re in charge. See Steve Spagnuolo, Todd Haley, Ron Rivera, Tony Sparano, etc.
The guy that everybody is talking about, in regard to every potential NFL coaching vacancy, is Oregon coach Chip Kelly, who certainly is a successful innovator. I am leery. Kelly has never spent a minute in the NFL, as a player or coach. "Pure" college coaches have been really, really unsuccessful in the NFL lately — Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino. Yes, Jim Harbaugh and Greg Schiano have been good hires, but both had strong NFL backgrounds, which they took to college coaching, before returning to the NFL.
Besides, Kelly is the guy who, when a disgruntled Ducks fan wrote him demanding a refund for traveling to a loss at Boise State, sent the guy a check for $439. The Eagles have a much larger, more critical fan base. I see looming bankruptcy for Chip if he comes here.
And it would be hard to keep up with uniforms that would change constantly.
More seriously, Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is not a bright YOUNG man — he’s my age, 56 — but Zimmer, the longtime Cowboys d-coordinator, sure knows defense.
Dirk Koetter, the Atlanta offensive coordinator, is going to be a hot name if the Falcons’ success holds up into the playoffs. He’s 53, has been a college head coach, unlike Zimmer, who is a career assistant.
It also might be relevant that Roseman’s agent is Bob LaMonte, Reid’s agent, and the guy who sometimes seems to orchestrate NFL coaching moves. Jon Gruden is a LaMonte client, as is his brother Jay, the Bengals’ offensive coordinator.
But really, the hottest guys will be the top assistants on the teams that get to the Super Bowl. That game will be played more than a month after the Eagles’ season concludes. (I’m assuming, I think safely, there will be no Andy-job-saving run into the playoffs).
Will the Eagles have hired a coach by then? As somebody who’s going to have to cover this, I think that would be nice, but it’s unlikely. I would anticipate a meticulous search, with Lurie and Roseman seeking advice from people they know across the league, weighing variables, holding multiple interviews. One goal here is to go another 14 years without having to do this. There is no need to rush.
Courtesy: Les Bowen | Philadelphia Daily News
Editors Note: If you want to vote in the poll, click on the poll link above. You’ll be taken to their website. Site should open in another tab.
NFC EAST UPDATE: Andy Reid returns to Eagles after son’s funeral
Andy Reid returned to the Philadelphia Eagles a day after his 29-year-old son’s funeral, saying it’s "the right thing to do."
Garrett Reid, the oldest of five children for Andy and Tammy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his dorm room at Lehigh University where he was assisting the team’s strength and conditioning coach during camp.
Andy Reid was back on the sideline for a walkthrough Wednesday and plans to coach the preseason opener against Pittsburgh tonight at Lincoln Financial Field.
"You feel the strength of the team," Reid said when asked why he came back so soon. "I felt it with my family the past couple of days, and I feel it with the team. I’m a football coach, that’s what I do, and I know my son wouldn’t want it any other way."
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, right, stands on the field as sign shows a photo of his son Garrett Reid, who died Sunday, before an NFL preseason football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Philadelphia Eagles’ Michael Vick and coach Andy Reid stand on the sideline during a moment of silence for Reid’s son Garrett
Andy Reid and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin meet at the end of the game.
Head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers before a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 9, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
EDITORS NOTE: More than likely, if you’re reading this post … you are either somebody’s son or you have a son of your own. Understandably, there is a lot of jabbing and posturing about other NFL teams here, particularly against our NFC East foes. However, there are times when the gloves need to come off. Especially with an issue as personally devastating as this. I hope you’ll join me in wishing Andy Reid and his family the best as they work through this difficult time.
ORIGINAL POST: Garrett Reid, oldest son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, found dead
NFC EAST UPDATE: Eagles owners announce divorce; split won’t affect franchise
Philadelphia Eagles owners Jeffrey and Christina Weiss Lurie are getting divorced, a team spokesman confirmed to NFL.com on Wednesday.
The split won’t disrupt ownership or franchise operations, the Luries told employees in a letter obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer .
The Luries were married 20 years ago and have owned the Eagles together since 1994. Jeffrey Lurie also serves as chairman and chief executive officer of the franchise. Christina Lurie is the president of Eagles Youth Partnership, a charitable foundation.
The letter said Jeffrey, 60, and Christina, 52, would “continue to work together as partners,” according to The Inquirer. They did not give a reason for the divorce.
Jeffrey and Christina have long been involved together in film production. They are the executive producers of “Inside Job,” which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
PHILLY HEADLINE: Eagles still think they’re a good team
For a group that had just been knocked out of the playoffs, sealing their fate as one of the more disappointing NFL teams in recent memory, the Eagles were surprisingly at ease Saturday night.
There were laughs in the locker room and talk about how maybe the team’s three recent wins would build toward next season. With some reporters asking about how dangerous the Eagles might have been if they reached the postseason, players happily grabbed the bait, talking about what a threat they could have been.
Perhaps it was because the Eagles had just won, or that their postseason hopes have been fading for so long, but there was precious little perspective on the bottom line: that the Eagles entered the year with Super Bowl hopes and didn’t even make the playoffs. That a team that won 10 of their first 15 games a year ago got just seven victories in the same time span this year. That after winning the NFC East last season the Eagles slid further from the Super Bowl instead of pulling closer.
To their credit, the organization did not rest on last year’s playoff appearance and embraced bigger aims for 2011. They went on a summer spending spree and backed the notion that the goal for this year was a championship. With 10 wins last year and more talent on board, they took a big swing. But they missed, badly.
On Saturday there was a new spin explaining why: that it took time to jell with so many new pieces.
"You look at all the teams that win Super Bowls the past couple years – those teams have been together a long time," said quarterback Mike Vick. "That’s how leaders are born and guys learn to step up and accept the challenge."
That’s true, but building that chemistry from within usually requires grooming quality draft picks who rise up together within a system. The Eagles have failed to draft enough defensive players who can form the building blocks of a title contender, so they tried to buy some through free agency. They fully endorsed free-agent signings as a viable route to a title. It’s too late to try to change the narrative now.
The Eagles knew they would have a short offseason to incorporate new pieces and knew they were taking a chance when they hired the least experienced defensive coordinator in the NFL. They knew they were putting significant responsibilities on uninspiring linebackers. They knew they had chosen to depend on an oft-injured quarterback who got hurt, missed three games and failed to finish two others. The Eagles went 1-4 in those games. Their strengths in other areas were supposed to make up for these weaknesses, but the flaws were deeper than first thought and assets less robust.
Other problems – a rash of turnovers and underperformances by some big names – were harder to foresee but were never fixed once they became evident.
One talking point in the locker room was that the Eagles are the most dangerous team in the NFC East, despite the fact that it will be the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants actually playing for the division crown.
"I’m not sure we’re a team that people necessarily wanted to see get into the playoffs," Reid said, implying that the likes of the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers were losing sleep over the 7-8 Eagles.
Their late win streak is a better alternative than simply quitting. But beating the 5-10 Miami Dolphins, imploding New York Jets and a Cowboys team that treated Saturday as an exhibition doesn’t replace an actual playoff run that might have salvaged the year.
"You can sit up there and try to make all the excuses in the world, but they don’t mean anything," said defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, one of the few Eagles who has won a Super Bowl and seemed to recognize what a missed opportunity this season was.
Despite Vick’s ailments, the Eagles were relatively healthy – no starter missed more than three full games to injury – and had a weak division. There is no guarantee those factors will break in their favor next year.
Seven or eight wins might be good reason for hope if your team finished with just four or five the previous year. But the Eagles were worse in 2011 than they were in 2010. They moved backward.
That has to be most important fact to consider as the Eagles front office decides how to approach another offseason searching for championship answers.
DALLAS HEADLINE: Eagles put a hurt on the Dallas Cowboys
PHILADELPHIA — The “All-Hype” team finally played up to their super expectations.
Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes, LeSean McCoy had a career-best 185 yards rushing and two scores and the Philadelphia Eagles routed the Dallas Cowboys 34-7 Sunday night.
Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan fired up the Eagles with some trash-talking during the summer after they added several big-name players.
Ryan, the son of beloved former Philadelphia coach Buddy Ryan, called the Eagles the “all-hype” team and predicted the Cowboys would “beat their (butt).”
He was way off.
The Eagles (3-4) dominated right from the start, improved to 13-0 after a bye under coach Andy Reid and snapped a five-game losing streak at Lincoln Financial Field that dated to last season.
The long-haired Ryan paced the sideline and desperately tried to figure out how to stop Vick and Co. It didn’t happen until the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.
The Eagles racked up 495 total yards and held the ball for 42:09. They thoroughly outplayed a defense that came in ranked seventh in the NFL.
DeMarcus Ware was one of the few players who played well for Dallas (3-4). He had four sacks, and has 12 this season.
Coming off a 253-yard rushing performance in a win over St. Louis, Cowboys rookie DeMarco Murray was held to 74 yards on only eight carries.
The defending NFC East champion Eagles entered the season with a Super Bowl-or-bust mentality after adding six former Pro Bowl players in free agency and trades.
But a 1-4 start had people wondering if the self-proclaimed “Dream Team” – backup quarterback Vince Young gave the Eagles that label after signing a one-year deal – was overhyped as Ryan boldly declared in August.
After two straight wins, the Eagles are in a three-way tie with Dallas and Washington for second place behind the New York Giants (5-2).
Vick completed 21 of 28 passes for 279 yards and led the Eagles to points on their first six possessions. He also ran for 50 yards.
A swarming defense harassed Tony Romo throughout the game. Romo got sacked four times and threw an interception to Nnamdi Asomugha.
McCoy had 80 of Philadelphia’s 115 yards rushing in the first quarter. That was more than Dallas allowed in any game this season. The Eagles entered with the No. 1-ranked rushing offense and the Cowboys had the top-ranked run defense.
The Eagles took the kickoff and drove 79 yards for their first opening-drive TD this season. Vick was sacked by Ware on the first play, but he connected with Jeremy Maclin for 24 yards on the next one. McCoy had a 21-yard run and Vick scrambled 15 yards to the Cowboys 13.
On third-and-9 from the 12, Vick tossed a screen pass to Maclin, who followed a lead block by Jason Peters into the end zone.
Vick led the Eagles 90 yards with McCoy running in from the 2 for a 14-0 lead. McCoy had runs of 11 and 34 yards before scoring for the seventh straight game. He’s one short of Steve Van Buren’s team record set in 1947.
Asomugha set up Philadelphia’s third scoring drive by picking off Romo’s pass at the Eagles 33 after the ball bounced off Martellus Bennett’s hands.
Vick kept the drive going with a 9-yard run on third-and-8, and made a perfect pass to Jason Avant for a 20-yard gain on another third-and-8. He threw a strike to Brent Celek in the back of the end zone on the next play for a 9-yard TD and a 21-0 lead.
The Eagles had a first down at the Cowboys 6 on their fourth possession, but settled for a 23-yard field goal by Alex Henery that made it 24-0.
Henery kicked a 26-yarder to make it 27-0 in the third quarter. McCoy’s 13-yard run put Philadelphia up 34-0 in the fourth.
But the Cowboys spoiled the shutout bid on the ensuing possession when Romo threw a 70-yard TD pass to Laurent Robinson.
ROB MAADDI | Ft Worth Star Telegram | AP
PHILLY HEADLINE: The real Eagles finally show up
Ladies and gentlemen, your Philadelphia Eagles.
The team that was praised too early and also buried too early — just impossible to figure in another confounding NFL season — arrived Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys lugging a 2-4 record and all of the imperatives such numbers suggest. They showed up for a game in a stadium filled with people who were wondering if they would ever see the team that they expected/anticipated/salivated over with each new free-agent signing in August.
Eagles 34, Cowboys 7.
It was a night when Chas Henry did not punt until the middle of the fourth quarter. It was a night when the Cowboys’ vaunted run defense was mutilated by Shady McCoy. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was the coach who got all of the ink during the week, but it was Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg who ended up being the evening’s unquestioned master. And Michael Vick was a sharp as we have seen him.
All of that, combined with a pass rush that set an early, terroristic tone, turned an expected drama into a farce. It also undoubtedly caught the attention of skeptics who have tut-tutted for weeks now about how the Eagles assembled talent in the off-season but did not assemble a team, and about how there was no way so much roster turnover, combined with so much turnover on the coaching staff, could ever have resulted in the kind of expectations that the Eagles carried into Opening Day.
All of it, as we now know, is just conversation — the Dream Team stuff, the snap-back against the Dream Team stuff, all of it. What we are left with is a team struggling to make up an early deficit, yes, but also a team with a lot of ability that is continuing to blossom. They have been good all year on offense, really. They started coming together defensively 2 1/2 games ago, during the loss at Buffalo.
This is the result.
The question: how much of it can they sustain?
A lot of us spent the bye week doing the math. There was no way around the notion that the Eagles were going to have to beat the Cowboys in this game, no realistic way to make the numbers work with a loss.
That was pretty much accepted by everyone. What follows is conjecture: that the Eagles probably have to win seven of their remaining nine games. Is it doable? Yes. A guesstimate on the Las Vegas odds is that they could very well be favored in just that many games, seven of nine. But it is all about showing up every week. It is the NFL’s biggest challenge and it is the thing Andy Reid teams are best at, especially in the second half of the season.
So, we’ll see. The NFC East has been reduced to this: the Giants are 5-2 and the Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins are all 3-4. Watching the events of the day — the Giants surviving at home against the winless Dolphins, the Redskins getting shut out by the Bills, the Cowboys getting obliterated by the Eagles — it is not hard to envision this: four teams, with four knives, locked in a room with a hearty “good luck” and the expectation that only one of them will emerge.
The Eagles, for the first time in a while, looked like a team with a chance to do just that. If this did not get the attention of the rest of the league, nothing will. What the Eagles did in this game, more than anything, is demonstrate to the world how good they can be.
The next few weeks will tell us if they showed up in time.
Courtesy: Rich Hofmann | Philadelphia Daily News
PHILLY NEWSPAPER: Predictions, matchups and Jerry Jones
Here is our weekly look at the Daily News staff predictions for the Eagles game against the Cowboys, plus the key matchups:
Everybody knows about Andy Reid and the 12-0 record the week after the bye. Across the league, teams coming out of the bye haven’t fared very well this year, maybe because the new CBA put limits on the amount of work teams can do during the week off. But Reid never has his team do anything during the bye week, so I don’t see any effect there.
I do, however, try to keep in mind one basic fact about streaks: the longer they go on, the closer they are to being over. Nothing lasts forever. There was a time when Reid was absolutely unbeaten with an extra week to prepare, in any situation. Then came Super Bowl XXXIX.
I think the Eagles have to win this game to remain viable for the playoffs. Not technically, of course, but at a feel-it-in-your-gut level. Lose this, you’re 2-5, and you need to go 7-2 the rest of the way just to get to 9-7, 8-1 to get to 10-6. That probably doesn’t add up.
The Cowboys have improved their defense a bunch. The way some pundits talk, though, you’d think they suddenly became this dominant team by beating up on the Rams last week. I don’t get that. They’re 3-3. Their foldup against the Lions was worse than any of the Eagles’ second-half pratfalls this season.
I’m taking the Eagles here, by the skin of their teeth. I think Andy will have some new wrinkles for Jason Garrett, given the extra week to work. That might make the difference in a closely matched contest.
Prediction: Eagles 17, Cowboys 16
Here’s what Rob Ryan, brother of Rex and defensive coordinator down in the Big D offered up when asked about the Birds: “I don’t know if we win the all-hype team,” Ryan said in August. “I think that might have gone to somebody else, but we’re going to beat their ass when we play them.” There’s your motivation.
Now, here’s your history, Part 1: The Eagles have a magnificent 12-0 record coming off the bye week during the Andy Reid reign.
History, Part 2: Tony Romo has had seven regular-season starts against the Birds and has thrown 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
And it looks as if the Eagles’ walking wounded are starting to heal with DE Trent Cole and OT Jason Peters listed as probable. Great news for the Eagles as they look to climb back into contention in the muddled NFC East.
Prediction: Eagles: 28-21
Paul Domowitch: Eagles, 31-27
Ed Barkowitz: Cowboys, 24-17
Bill Conlin: Eagles, 17-16
Marcus Hayes: Eagles, 21-20
John Smallwood: Eagles, 27-24
DOMO’S KEY MATCHUPS
1. Eagles LT Jason Peters vs. Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware: Both are perennial Pro Bowlers. Peters is coming off a hamstring injury. Ware will line up in different spots, but Peters will be matched up vs. him the most. Advantage: Even
2. Eagles WRs Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant vs. Cowboys CBs Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick: Maclin and Jackson both are on 1,200-yard receiving paces. Scandrick shut down Wes Welker 2 weeks ago. Advantage: Eagles
3. Eagles LB Moise Fokou and CB Nnamdi Asomugha vs. Cowboys TE Jason Witten. Witten’s unique combination of size, strength and athleticism makes him tough to stop. He has been targeted 20 times in last three games and has caught 17 of those passes. Advantage: Cowboys
JERRY JONES ON THE BIRDS
Some interesting comments from Jerry Jones as reported in today’s Forth Worth Star-Telegram about tonight’s matchup with the Eagles and how big it is:
“As I watched them add to their roster [in the off-season], knowing what they had at the skill positions, I circled this game as arguably the toughest road game we might have. This is the kind of game you can start a foundation, with a win that you can build significantly off of. We’ve had that happen in some of the great seasons that we’ve had.
“This is, again, that kind of game, even though their record doesn’t reflect it. They’re that kind of challenge. They’re that kind of threat. And certainly playing them at home was one that you knew was going to be hard to win. I still feel that way.”
Courtesy: Philadelphia Daily News staff
PHILLY NEWSPAPER: Eagles vs Cowboys – What We’re Watching
Here are five things we will be watching during the Eagles-Dallas game on Sunday night:
Taming Witten. Jason Witten has pretty much been able to do whatever he’s wanted against the Eagles, which really makes him no different than the rest of the league’s tight ends. In his last nine games against the Eagles, he’s got 53 receptions for 612 yards and 5 touchdowns. Eagles linebackers need to disrupt him coming off the line of scrimmage and limit his yards after the catch.
Will the Real Run Defense Please Stand Up. As Jason Babin has correctly pointed out, teams aren’t going to stop trying to run the ball on the Eagles just because they held the Redskins to 42 yards on 14 carries two weeks ago. Cowboys were averaging just 84 rushing yards per game before rookie DeMarco Murray went on his 253-yard adventure against the Rams last week. Cowboys no doubt will try to keep the pressure off Tony Romo by running the ball.
Handling the Blitz. The Cowboys’ defense is coached by Rex Ryan’s twin brother, Rob. Like his brother and like his old man, he is a devotee of the blitz. Likes to do it a lot. From every angle, through every gap. The Eagles have allowed just nine sacks in six games, but have frequently struggled against the blitz. Michael Vick’s passing numbers v. blitz aren’t very good. Both the line and Vick need to be on top of their game Sunday night when Ryan sends extra rushers.
Squandering Yards. The Eagles are third in the league in total offense, third in passing and first in rushing. But thanks to their league-high 17 giveaways and their poor red-zone production (just 12 TDs in 29 trips inside the 20), they are just 13th in scoring and 28th in points per 100 yards (5.47). Only the Browns, Dolphins, Rams and Jaguars are averaging fewer points per 100 yards.
Good Romo/Bad Romo? There’s been no middle ground with Tony Romo v. Eagles. He’s either been Hall-of-Fame spectacular or Hall-of-Shame awful. Cowboys have won five of the last seven games Romo has started v. Eagles. In those five wins, Romo had a 111.7 passer rating . In the two losses: 39.7.
Courtesy: Paul Domowitch | Philadelphia Daily News
PHILLY NEWSPAPER: Dallas Cowboys coordinator Rob Ryan weighs in again
Ryan: If They Need My Motivation…
Rob Ryan talked about his “Dream Team” comments from training camp, and went on to cover a lot of other interesting subjects.
Philadelphia Daily News | Posted: Friday, October 28, 2011
In one of the more anticipated news conferences leading up to Sunday’s Eagles-Cowboys game, Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan got his chance to add some fuel to the fire.
Ryan, you’ll recall, made a not so subtle reference to the “all-hype team” back in August. The Eagles players have been asked about those comments this week, with DeSean Jackson, in particular, taking issue with them.
“If they need my motivation to get ready to play us, then we’re gonna kick their ass anyway,” Ryan told reporters today, according to ESPNDallas.com. “It ain’t going to matter.”
While at the time, Ryan did not say he was specifically making a reference to the Eagles, he acknowledged today what was apparent then — the Eagles are exactly who he was talking about.
“I’m an emotional guy. Who are we kidding?” he said. “I’m not some guy [who] just can handle coach speak and be boring. I’m going to be emotional at times, and unfortunately that was one of my times, and I found out everybody listens in this town, which is good, unlike Cleveland. So I got in a little trouble there.”
Ryan seemed to be going back and forth during his comments, according to the report. At one point, he said he agreed with Jackson that coaches should not be talking because they are not on the field. Ryan then said he has earned the right to talk because of the work puts in. He then termed his comments “unfortunate” because of his respect for Andy Reid.
“Hell, he doesn’t have to worry about tackling me,” a laughing Ryan said of Jackson. “If he does, he can tackle me. That’d be great, because I’m going to land on his shoulder and put him out. So that’ll be awesome. Hell, he can tackle me two or three times.”
Guess you can say that Rob is fired up. “I can’t wait to get after these guys. It’s going to be great. Hell, let’s go get it on.”
Philadelphia Daily News | The Boys Are Back blog | Dallas Cowboys website
RIVAL NEWSPAPER: Dallas Cowboys, Jason Witten eager to build on Rams win
And they’re getting better.
This goes further than a 34-7 rout of the hapless Rams Sunday, a poor team to use as a measuring stick on its best day (to which the Eagles can attest, after a season-opening win in St. Louis) and a laughable measuring stick when A.J. Feeley starts at quarterback.
This goes further than Tony Romo, too. His broken rib felt so good Sunday, he thinks he will not need the painkiller shot he needed to play the last four games – at least, not before the game.
The Cowboys, 3-3 and in second place in the NFC East, are eager to see just how good they can be.
“This is going to be a big test for us,” tight end Jason Witten said Monday. “I’m sure they feel like their season is on the line. We’re starting to play our best. Having Tony healthy and confident, and everybody else hitting on all cylinders, we’re a much better team.”
After they won Sunday, explosive receiver Dez Bryant reiterated his statement that the Cowboys “can’t be beat.”
They’re certainly less beatable than they were.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Philadelphia Eagles vs the NFC East
Here is a look at some facts and figures about all-time series (regular season and playoffs) between the Philadelphia Eagles and the current members of the NFC East:
vs. Dallas Cowboys
Series: Cowboys lead, 59-45
On the road: Cowboys lead, 35-19
In Philly: Eagles lead, 26-24
Playoffs: Cowboys lead, 3-1
At the Linc: Tied, 4-4
Under Reid: Eagles lead, 15-10
Current run: Cowboys won 4 of last 5