Anyone doubting that the McNabb and Reid era is soon coming to an end in Philly need only look at last night for proof. Not that the Redskins were dominant. We were occasionally out of synch leading to some drops, some overthrows, and some unseemly penalties. But the boos that were predicted here yesterday rained down on McNabb almost immediately. The lack of creativity in the offensive game planning was appalling for the Reid era. For the second straight week, Reid sat still while watching his recievers get pounded at the line. McNabb looked lost, hurt, and unmotivated. The only player playing with any pride was Brian Westbrook. The Eagles are one or two weeks from turning on each other on the field the way veteran teams that suck always do.
Isn’t it freakin’ beautiful!
Last night was one of the most satisfiying wins of the second Gibbs tenure. Not only were we generally always in control of the game, but for the first time in quite awhile, I looked out on a field where I felt like we had the more athletic, more talented, better team when facing a “good” team. Questions remain about how good the Eagles were, but there were tons of plusses. Let’s look at them:
Despite injuries to Jansen and Thomas (more on Thomas), the line was pretty stout, particularly in pass protection. I don’t recall Mike Terrico even mentioning Jevon Kearse. We ran the ball noticeably more often to the left, but that’s not a bad thing as long as it doesn’t become predictable.
Jason Campbell made leaps and bounds in the way he handled both the blitz and the way he scans the field. Forget the interception. They’re bound to happen with a young QB. Most of the day, Campbell found an open man even when the Eagles sent 6 or 7. He did have a tendency to overthrow his receivers when pressured because he threw off his back foot, but show me a QB that doesn’t. Campbell made all the throws. He zipped short outs and curls to the sidelines. He hit timing routes across the middle. He hit a go route to Moss and made several great throws on corner routes. I think the game would have been even more comfortable had Cooley come up with that catch on a deep corner on the first play. MNF had some great shots of Campbell looking off the safeties, something which he failed to do against the Dolphins. This is a veteran skill and if he can keep improving it, he will be one of the elite QBs in the NFL.
Related to Campbell’s growth was the great game planning. After putting it on film that we can kill you with smash mouth football, we came out gunning on Monday night. We moved the chains with a great combo of runs on first down and outside passes to Moss and Randle-El. The deep passing routes slowed the Eagles rush, and now we have it on tape for the league that we can beat you either way which will open up some breathing room for Portis and Betts.
And no conversation about the plusses can be complete without talking about this defense. The Post has an article saying we are running a more simplified defense. Personally, I don’t see it. I think we are blitizing a little less, but I think this is the same Williams defense I’m used to seeing. The new wrinkle last night was the use of more man to man and more press coverage. The Packers used this well last week, and kudos to the staff to go away from our tendancies to use a winning formula. Carlos Rogers had a great game last night. This might be the sign of a breakout year. Then again, Reggie Brown, Kevin Curtis, and Jason Avant are not Plaxico Burress or TO.
And of course, we can’t talk about the defense without talking about that Laron Landry hit to end the game. Welcome to the team, Laron! I have a feeling your jersey sales will rise this week.
I could talk about the drops, the overthrows, and the bizarre string of penalties to end the first half, but screw it! We’re 2-0! We’re going to beat the Giants next week and go into the bye undefeated. According to ESPN, every time Gibbs has started 2-0, we’ve gone to the playoffs. And twice, we’ve won the Super Bowl.
Things are looking good. We’ll wait on the Thomas MRI to see how good. But if you aren’t feeling great at work today, I don’t know what to say. Hail Skins!