Previous Grade: B-plus
Well, the running game struggles without Westbrook, but they’ve been without
him enough lately for us to know that’s not the line’s fault—even if they can’t get enough push to convert third or fourth downs with less than three to go if their lives depended on it.
Pass protection, specifically lack of it, is their fault. And it’s quite disturbing, to boot.
They’ve allowed 15 sacks in four weeks, yet surprisingly, the lowest total came against the Giants—who might have the best rotation of pass rushers in the NFL.
To make matters worse, backup King Dunlap was abused by Richard Seymour and a porous Oakland defense missing their best cover corner racked up six sacks. That’s horrible, any way you slice it.
That lingered so badly in the Birds’ minds that Jason Peters sprained his ankle against the Cowboys yet still had to play, because DeMarcus Ware would have eaten Dunlap alive.
The ‘Boys still recorded four sacks anyway.
They need to get better, period. They’re “healthy” for the first time all season with Todd Herremans back and Stacy Andrews continually recovering, yet they’re playing worse than they did with a patchwork system in place.
Sure, that was against bad teams...but the Redskins and Raiders qualify in that category, too.
If they don’t, I pray for Brian Westbrook and eventually Donovan McNabb.
The only thing saving them from a really bad grade is a handful of huge rushing plays—two of which came against the Giants, not coincidentally—that show flashes of brilliance.
Overall Grade: C-minus