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BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Cowboys Wild Card Game

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Cowboys Wild Card Game Offense   1)    Pound the edges: In last week’s debacle at the house that Jerry built, the Philly ground attack never took off. Aside from two scrambles by Donovan McNabb, the backs carried the ball just seven times. Of those seven touches, Leonard Weaver touted the rock one time. That cannot happen again.   The Eagles must establish their ground attack against a Dallas front that has handled their passing game.   Moreover, running the ball off tackle would be an effective solution to managing the stealth edge rush duo of DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Philadelphia has to force the Dallas pass-rushers to take on and disengage blocks.   2)    Stay patient: One of the primary reasons that the Dallas defense has had success against the Eagles, when other defenses have struggled, is they have prevented the big play from occurring.   When Philadelphia has been forced to move the ball i...

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Cowboys

This one is for the division title...
BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Cowboys Offense   1)      Max Protect: The key to having offensive success against the Cowboys starts with protecting the quarterback. Dallas is one of the top pass rushing teams in the league. Led by edge rusher DeMarcus Ware, there are few teams that boast such a fearsome five-man rush. Protection against the Cowboys starts from the outside. In order to slow down Ware and Anthony Spencer, the Eagles will have to chip and double team.    Although Philadelphia would lose some firepower by keeping the backs and tight ends in to block, they’ll have a better chance to keep Donovan McNabb upright.   2)     Quick-hitting runs: To slow down the Dallas front, the Eagles will have to run the ball in obvious passing situations. Specifically, when Ware and Spencer rush up field to get after McNabb, the Eagles have to find a way to force them to defend the run.   The Dallas front will be looking ...

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles v. Broncos

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles v. Broncos Offense   1)    Pound the edges: Although Denver is a fast front, they are undersized. The outside linebackers are edge rushers first, run defenders second.   The Eagles’ best bet to slow down the speedy combination of Elvis Dumervil and Mario Haggan would be to run off tackle. Dumervil and Haggan should be challenged to take on blocks and play the run.   2)    Don’t give up on the run: Not only will the Eagles have to test the edges, but they’ll also need to maintain their running game for four quarters.   The Eagles will have the size advantage up front, and they should continue to pound away at a Denver defense that has worn down in the past.   If the game is close or the Eagles have a lead, expect a healthy dose of Leonard Weaver in the fourth quarter. Weaver has turned into the pounder that Philadelphia has lacked for years. He’ll need to close out the game agai...

Battle Plans: Eagles v. 49ers

Battle Plans: Eagles v. 49ers Offense   1)    Play physical: Playing San Francisco through this late stretch of games will prove to be a boon for the Eagles, as they prepare for the playoffs. The 49ers present a tough, rugged group to deal with on both sides of the ball.   The 49ers’ game plan will be to bully Philadelphia’s sleek weapons every time they touch the ball. The offense has to be able to withstand the hits against San Francisco.   2)    Coverage recognition: Against Arizona, the 49ers used a lot of different coverage shifts to keep quarterback Kurt Warner guessing. He had a hard time identifying whether the coverage was man, zone or quarters.   That same plan will be in play against Dononvan McNabb. The veteran quarterback will need to make the right checks at the line before the snap and stay patient with his post-snap progression to find the open receivers.    3)    Max ...

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Giants

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Giants   Offense   1)    Vertical game: The Giants continue to struggle against the pass, as they have given up an average of nearly 300 yards in their past three games.   Clearly, this is the most distinguished mismatch of the game, as the Eagles specialize in the big play. Even without DeSean Jackson in the lineup against Atlanta, the pass offense had little trouble racking up yardage.   The Eagles will have to turn up the heat and test out the depleted New York secondary downfield.   2)    Blitz recognition: Part of New York’s renewed success against the Cowboys stemmed from their ability to keep quarterback Tony Romo guessing. Although Romo had a solid game, he was pressured in some key situations, as the Giants brought a variation of blitzes from the outside.   If the Eagles operate from a primary spread offense, the Giants will try to counter using coverage formations. In turn, the...

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Falcons

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Falcons   Eagles vs. Falcons   Offense   1)      Build an early lead: The Falcons come into this game decimated by the injury bug, in particular on the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Matt Ryan will be out and tailback Michael Turner along with receivers Michael Jenkins and Roddy White are listed as questionable. Up front, left tackle Sam Baker and guard Harvey Dahl are also questionable, as both players did not participate in practice.   With the Falcons potentially missing six starters on offense, they would struggle to keep pace with a fast-paced Philadelphia attack. Despite the potential loss of DeSean Jackson from the lineup, the Eagles still have the ability to press the issue and establish an early lead. The goal has to be to force the Falcons to play catch-up.   2)     Establish Michael Vick: In a game in which the Eagles may be without Jackson -- their No.1 gadget guy R...

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles v. Redskins

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles v. Redskins Offense   1)    Big play strike: The Eagles went back to their bread and butter against Chicago, hitting on a number of big plays to put the game away.   Against the Redskins, Philadelphia will once again have an opportunity to stretch the field. While the Redskins have fared well at times, particularly in the red zone, they have struggled with their discipline. Look for McNabb to try to throw deep to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin every time the Washington cornerbacks are isolated in coverage.   2)    Diversify the ground game: With Brian Westbrook out of the lineup, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg did a nice job of mixing up the rushing attack. Although LeSean McCoy was the lead back, Mornhinweg also sprinkled in some Wildcat looks featuring Michael Vick, and fullback Leonard Weaver carried the ball three times.   The Eagles will need to have the same type of effort against a Washington run...

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Bears

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Bears Offense   1)       Attack the backers: The Achilles heel of the Chicago front seven has been its linebacker corps. The group has been decimated by the injury bug. Without All-Pro Brian Urlacher at the inside linebacker post, opposing offenses have gashed Chicago in the running game, and pierced the intermediate lanes that Urlacher used to occupy. The game plan should be to test the linebackers’ coverage integrity by using misdirection plays. In addition, the backs should be involved in attacking the Chicago backers in-between the tackles and on short passes over the middle.   2)      Dink and dunk: Part of the problem for the offensive ineffectiveness in the past two contests has been offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s inability to adjust. Against blitz heavy teams such as the Cowboys and Chargers, the Eagles tried to go downfield to hit the home run ball. That strategy didn’t w...

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Chargers

Keys to victory in San Diego
BATTLE PLANS: Eagles @ Chargers   Offense   1)    Pound the inside: Although the Chargers have played better on the defensive side of the ball, they have still struggled in spots to stop the run. In particular, since losing nose guard Jamal Williams, the Chargers have become more vulnerable to an interior ground attack.   This is a game in which the Eagles – with its newfound power rushing game – will need to drive right at the undersized interior of San Diego. Tailback LeSean McCoy and fullback Leonard Weaver are capable inside runners, and they will need to find room behind the large duo of Jamaal Jackson and Nick Cole.   2)    Locate Shawn Merriman: It has taken some time, but Merriman finally appears to be rounding into form. The once dominant pass-rusher was a non-factor for much of the first quarter of the season. He displayed none of the explosiveness and power he had before ripping up his knee in 2008. With Merriman mi...

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles v. Cowboys

BATTLE PLANS: Eagles v. Cowboys Offense   1)      Attack Demarcus Ware: Despite starting the season with a doughnut in the sack column, Ware has come alive over the past three games, registering five sacks. Ware is arguably the best pass-rusher in the NFL. He is long, athletic, and plays with power.   The Philadelphia line has finally started to gel, but they will still be hard pressed to slow down Ware. Left tackle Jason Peters will need some help.   The game plan should be to run plays toward Ware’s side so he’s not able to pin his ears and fly up field on every play. The backs should be involved on screens, chips, and draw plays. When Ware widens his rush and gets up field, the backs will have to hit the vacated gap.   2)     Pump fakes and play-fakes: Although the Dallas secondary has played with better discipline, especially during its three-game winning streak, this is still a group of defenders that ...
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