Sunday, January 3, 2010
Quick Take: Eagles at Cowboys
By Dan Graziano
Three things to know about next weekend's Cowboys-Eagles wild-card game.
1. The Cowboys are already trying to forget about Sunday's 24-0 beatdown of the Eagles. Wide receiver Patrick Crayton told me the team will try to imagine the Eagles are a completely different team. Maybe closer to the team that won six games in a row heading into Sunday's season finale. It's tough to beat a team three times in a row, but the Cowboys are obviously the superior team at this point in the season. The Eagles will show up with a completely different scheme on defense. At least that's what the Cowboys are expecting to happen. The zone defense that the Eagles used Sunday has to change. The Cowboys destroyed the Eagles with quick slants. And players were amazed that Philly didn't do more to change things up in the game.
2. Eagles have to have some pride on defense. The most demoralizing thing for the Eagles' defense has nothing to do with Tony Romo's 311 passing yards. It's the fact that they were gashed in the running game for 179 yards. That's an embarrassment for a defense that prides itself in being physical up front. The Cowboys' offensive line took over this game from the opening snap. When you get dominated at the line of scrimmage, you have to respond. Jerry Jones said after the game that next week will be an "extension" of Sunday's game. The Eagles better hope he's not right. I expect to see a completely different approach from the Eagles next week.
3. Wade Phillips is about to coach himself into another season. Jones said he had the "paperwork drawn up" on an extension for Phillips, but he wasn't quite ready to commit after the Cowboys' victory. I thought Phillips called an excellent game. He sent Bradie James and Bobby Carpenter on some linebacker blitzes early in the game that frustrated Donovan McNabb. Later in the first half, McNabb was feeling pressure that wasn't there. With the Eagles having to use maximum-protection, they couldn't get as many weapons into routes. Just a really nice game plan from Phillips and I expect him to do something similar next week.