Hot pink cleats aside, the Philadelphia Eagles have no ruby slippers to magically transport them to the place they most want to be—atop their division and the league.
A skeptical Eagles Nation anticipated results from newly-appointed defensive coordinator Todd Bowles against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons in Game 7. What they got was the bad end of a fairytale when the Falcons defeated the Eagles in Philadelphia for the first time in 24 years.
In Game 8, as the Birds dragged into the middle of the season against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, fans hoped to see the Eagles demonstrate they possessed the heart, smarts and courage for a win in Louisiana. Instead, the Eagles’ season continued unravel on primetime television.
Heralded as the dream team during the preseason, the Eagles have fallen far short of those expectations in their first eight games. If the turnaround never comes, home may be the last place these players want to be but at home against the Dallas Cowboys may be the very place the Eagles take their first steps down the yellow brick playoff road.
Measure Heart by Sacks. By now, the Eagles sack record has sunk in. The defense did not have any sacks for three straight games: a record Philadelphia has not held since 1983. Eagles led the league last year with 50 sacks. The present team total for sacks is 11 including two against the New Orleans Saints.
Measure Smarts by Stopping the Run. The Eagles have relied on running back Nnamdi Asomugha to interfere with offensive receivers. The trouble is, Asomugha often fails in his assignment. The defensive unit has to hold Dallas minimal yardage on every play, first through fourth quarter, if the Eagles intend to end the in victory. So far, the Eagles have allowed a total of 913 rushing yards.
Measure Courage by Tackles. Once again the Eagles broke the worst kind of record possible and lost to Atlanta for the first time in 14 years coming from a bye week. And every team unit has received its portion of the blame. Following Game 7, former NFL All-Star Deion Sanders said described Philadelphia defense as “atrocious.”
On Philly’s local sports radio, former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski called the defense performance “lethargic” and said they “weren’t ready to play.”
This week against the 3-5 Cowboys, the Eagles need to come in ready to play to win.