3 Ways the Cowboys Can Capitalize on the Eagles' Defensive Troubles
For a team that went to four straight NFC Championship Games starting in 2002, they've come a long way from their winning ways earlier in the century.
Just about every unit has failed on a massive level at some point this season, but none more so than their awful defense. They've managed to lose games in entirely new ways and have blown every kind of coverage and lead under the sun in the past seven games.
This week, the circus goes to Dallas and The House That Jerry Built. Appropriate, some would say.
Let's see how Jason Garrett can take advantage of the Eagles' woeful defense this weekend.
No More Jason Babin
For a team that's lost seven straight, you'd think releasing a healthy defensive end that went to the last two Pro Bowls would be the last thing on their mind.
Well, not for the team that promoted their offensive line coach to defensive coordinator, only to fire him midseason the following year.
It's the Eagles, and in Andy Reid's world, anything is possible.
In their defense (pun intended), Babin only had 5.5 sacks thus far in the season, compared to a total of 18 last season. Still, he could've finished the year with double-digit sacks considering the weak offensive lines remaining on the Eagles' schedule.
Reid said that Babin was released in order to give younger players more playing time. Call me crazy, but in 31 other teams in the league, that means you simply bench one guy and start another.
In Philadelphia, that means you fire him so he doesn't accidentally end up on the field, which might actually be possible for them.
Regardless of the reason, one less Pro Bowl caliber defensive end bearing down on Tony Romo can only be a positive for the Cowboys' inexperienced offensive line.
If this somehow equates to Romo having even a single second more in the pocket, that alone could prove fatal for the Eagles come Sunday.
When given time, Romo is on par with the top quarterbacks in the league. Unfortunately for him, time isn't always a luxury his offensive line can afford.
So much for Nnamdi Asomugha.
He's wonderful off-field and has been one of the best corners on the field, but the Eagles' $60 million man hasn't quite lived up to his billing since leaving Oakland.
He's no longer the guy who could shut down half the field simply because offenses were afraid to throw in his direction.
It's not all him, though, and the rest of the secondary has been as bad or worse. Unfortunately, when you've got $25 million guaranteed, you get singled out.
In his defense, he hasn't had any sort of consistency at defensive coordinator given the lockout his first year and Juan Castillo being fired mid-season this year.
From a pass yards perspective, the Eagles' defense looks marginally respectable, with 228 allowed per game.
Where it really looks bad is that they've allowed 20 passing touchdowns, compared to a league-worst 23 from Oakland and Washington.
That and only seven interceptions on the season tells you that teams aren't afraid to air it out against the Eagles.
Tony Romo won't be throwing 62 times like he did last week against Washington, but rest assured Jason Garrett will try to find a way to exploit the Eagles' secondary in the end zone.
They're Not Too Bright Between the Ears
"Eagles Defense Lacking in Upstairs Game," is a headline that Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist Les Bowen ran this morning.
In his column, Bowen suggests that the Eagles' defenders simply aren't smart, and that the blown coverages against Cam Newton last weekend are a testament to that.
He even goes as far as to suggest a possible former player, potentially a former Eagle, simply says the players are "dumb."
Regardless of their football acumen, the Eagles raised a more serious concern postgame.
According to Bowen, Andy Reid implicated that rookie corner Brandon Boykin blitzed on the Panthers' second touchdown pass when he wasn't supposed to. Boykin told a Daily News reporter after the game the he was supposed to.
This is very simple and very disturbing for Eagles fans. Either Reid is lying or the rookie is lying. That, or neither of them know what they're doing on the field or on the sideline—or after the game for that matter.
If the plays aren't being run the way they're called, or if the coaches are calling terrible plays and then lying about them postgame, that is definitely something the Cowboys can take advantage of.
That's probably something every team has taken advantage of already this season, whether they know it or not.
The more confusing looks the Cowboy offense can show the Eagles, the more likely they may be to misread what's going on.
Things aren't looking too great for the Eagles right now, nor for the Cowboys for that matter. It's another week and another 100 yards of turf for the better 53 men to make a stand.
Winning solves everything in this league, and Jerry's World has hardly proven to lend any sort of home-field advantage thus far. Both teams are preparing for what they know will be the usual divisional slugfest.