As the Cowboys make their final preparations for the Eagles here are some thoughts.
- With the way that Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and his defense play this wide "9" technique with Jason Babin and Trent Cole look for Jason Garrett to possibly try to get the ball on the edge or inside of these ends when he runs the ball. The wide 9 is in reference to where the ends line up in the scheme. A "9" technique is as wide as you can get on the defensive front. The job of Babin and Cole is to get up the field as fast as they can. Garrett will let Free and Smith push these ends up the field then play off their aggressiveness. In the past few games we have seen more 11 and 12 personnel but with how this Eagles front plays scheme wise, we will probably see more of a traditional scheme with Vickers because the Eagles have struggled with power at the point.
- There has been much written and talked about this week and throughout the season about the poor job that the backups along the offensive line has done for the Eagles. There is no doubt in my mind that they will not allow DeMarcus Ware to beat them in this game. Rob Ryan has been creative in the past with the way he has come up with scheme to try and get Ware some one-on-one matchups where offenses cannot key on him. The Eagles have really struggled when Demetress Bell has been in the game at either tackle spot but watch and see how Ryan tries to attack right guard Dennis Kelly. On film the Eagles have done a poor job when they have had to block teams that run games inside and Kelly has really been the weak link. For the Cowboys, this game is more about the other rushers in this game Spencer, Hatcher, Ratliff and Butler. Pressure affects most quarterbacks but it really affects Vick in a negative way.
- It's been a quiet week for DeSean Jackson who has usually said a thing or two about the matchup against the Cowboys and I don't know if that is a good thing? These Eagles receivers will be a huge test for these Cowboys corners. Jackson is every bit as explosive as what they have faced the last three weeks in Steve Smith, Victor Cruz and Julio Jones. There are two big time play makers in this Eagles offense when it comes from scoring anywhere on the field, LeSean McCoy and Jackson. What Rob Ryan and this defense have to guard against is how Eagles offensive coordinator likes to get the ball in Jackson's hands. If you think it's important that the defense tackles McCoy quickly, the same needs to be said about Jackson. Last week against the Falcons, there were some tackles that were missed in the secondary that resulted in some big plays, that can't carry over to this week. If the Cowboys are going to win this game, one of the main reason will be if they can eliminate the big play from DeSean Jackson who can deliver that at any time.
- In my NFL travels, I worked one season for the Philadelphia Eagles and along with Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network, got to run the 1998 Draft for Jeffery Lurie and Joe Banner. I remember one day sitting in Mr. Lurie's office with the gentlemen I mentioned talking about Andy Reid who at the time was a quarterback coach in Green Bay. The Eagles at the time were interested in bringing Andy to Philadelphia as an offensive coordinator on Ray Rhodes staff. I worked with Andy for five years and was a just around the corner neighbor in Green Bay. I remember Mr. Lurie and Joe asking me all kinds of questions about the type of coach Andy was for us in Green Bay and I gave them my honest answers. I had always respected Andy's passion and dedication to his craft. He was developing himself into a form of Mike Holmgren who at the time, had huge success with the Packers. There were two coaches off that Packers staff that I always believed would be outstanding head coaches in the NFL, Jon Gruden and Andy Reid. I left that meeting with my bosses, and was later to learn that Holmgren blocked Andy from coming to Philadelphia, so we missed out on that opportunity. A year later I was in Jacksonville, when Andy Reid was hired as the head coach with the Eagles and what was the start of an incredible run. I reflect back on that sit down meeting and have to smile that all the things I believed in Andy Reid at time, he was able to deliver in Philadelphia.