Saturday, November 15, 2008

Up Front

You can talk about a lot of things in regard to the Eagles and why the team is only 5-4. One simple problem is that we aren't owning the line of scrimmage (LOS) the way we need to.

I was watching the NFL Network last night and checking out the NFC Playbook show. I had the volume off because I was also paying attention to the LOU/CIN college game. The NFLN show was doing some segment about the Giants running game. They showed several plays that were successful. The one thing that stood out to me as I watched the highlights was how quickly the OL got off the ball. Those guys fire out and start blocking immediately. It is a beautiful thing to behold.

The Eagles OL doesn't look anything like that. They come off the ball more deliberately. They push and lean on defenders. The Giants attack. That is one of the big reasons that they run block so effectively and our guys don't. You can really see the difference in short yardage situations. We don't push the defense backward. Our massive OL is stalemated or moved back.

There isn't one reason for this. We have big guys. They don't normally move as quick. We don't run enough so the guys don't get into a rhythm. Even with those factors I don't know why we aren't better. We should be.

We are good to very good in pass protection. Our OL gives McNabb a clean pocket most of the time.

On defense we control the LOS in non-division games. It is against NFC East teams that the guys get handled. The pass rush was non-existent against Dallas and the run defense only okay. Against Washington and New York the pass rush was only okay, but the run defense was basically non-existent. No matter how you slice it, we didn't come close to controlling the LOS in any of the games.

I don't know exactly what needs to be done, but the coaching staff needs to push some buttons. They have to get the guys to play more aggressively and physically. We've seen the guys do it. We don't lack the talent. We simply lack the results.

If we are going to win 10 or 11 games this year it will require the guys up front playing at a higher level. If the guys are good with 8 or 9 wins the status quo will do just fine.

We've seen the guys take over the LOS in the past. Our OL dominated at times down the stretch in 2006. Our front seven was #1 against the run after the first 4 games of the year. They also were #1 in sacks. They have shown this year that they can be special.

Get it done, big boys. Get it done.

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