Sunday, January 4, 2009

Brave New World

We're back in the playoffs, but there are some interesting aspects this time around. Donovan McNabb hasn't played in a postseason game since the Super Bowl. Pretty weird when you think of that. Donovan was excellent in the 2004 playoffs, with the exception of his INTs in the Super Bowl.

How will Donovan play? He admitted to having a lot of frustration in watching the 2006 team play well without him. I wonder if Donovan will press at all, with the mindset that he's got something to prove. McNabb is a streaky QB as we all know and it will be interesting to see which guy shows up today.

We're the #6 seed for the first time in the Reid era. Normally we host the Wildcard game or have a bye. How will the team handle the underdog role? I hope the guys are able to use that as some sort of bonding and motivational tool. I'm not a big fan of that stuff, but it can work in some situations. We need to embrace the fact we're on the road. We're the spoilers...the villains...the bad guys. We want to hear boos. The more boos we hear, the better our chance to go to Tampa.

We're packing a top flight defense for the first time in a while. In 2003 and 2006 we had mediocre or bad defenses. Injuries and age hurt those units. The 2004 team had a good defense, but I don't think they were as good as the current group. The LBs were Dhani, Trot, and Sim. Would you take them over Gocong, Stew, and Akeem? No way.

This is also the first time we've gone into the playoffs with our top QB, RB, and WR healthy since 2001. Let's hope that shows up in the form of a good playoff run.

I won't even go into the number of new starters in this game as opposed to the past. Suffice it to say that this is a new team in a new situation. What makes that interesting is that we don't know which players will step up. Could we see a breakout performance from Quentin Mikell or Chris Gocong or Brent Celek? Absolutely. I'm hoping Brodrick Bunkley really steps up this postseason.

Finally, there are some guys coming to the end of the road, as Eagles or just as NFL players. Those guys will bring a sense of urgency to the situation that hopefully will help us out if we need it.


Be patient. Last year Tampa ran 20 plays on 2 drives and had a 7-0 lead at the end of the 1st quarter. The Giants had 3 straight 3 & outs. They looked bad. Tampa was dominating the game. The Bucs slowed down. They only put up 7 points in the next 3 quarters and New York scored 24 to win the game and advance.

Yesterday the Falcons got down 14-3. They didn't panic. The offense adjusted and defense took away big plays. Next thing you know they have a 17-14 lead. The Falcons couldn't hold the lead, but the point is still there. Don't panic at the end of a quarter or even a half.

Heck, we all remember the fast start we had against Tampa in 2002. Unfortunately they didn't panic and closed out The Vet in a painful way.

Playoff games are funny. Teams can go on drastic rolls because of the intense pressure. Don't get too up or down. Remember that we're a defensive team this year and we'll give up some things, but will adjust after each series.


T_S_O_P said...

Pumped yet nervous.

My son (nearly 3) was singing the Eagles Fight Song this morning, always fun to hear.

Here's to not beating ourselves, continued defensive dominance, and containing Mssrs Peterson & Jackson

T_S_O_P said...

Oh and a bit of BBW!!! (buck & Brian Westbrook)

Tommy Lawlor said...

Good stuff.

I hope our RBs out-do the Vikings RBs. That'll be a great sign.

I can't wait to see what the defense does. I'm really excited to see just how good these guys can be.