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Andy Reid was in a festive mood as he met the media today for his usual Monday press conference. While he didn't dress up for the press, the Eagles coach did don a Halloween hockey mask for his weekly sit down with Eagles web guy Dave Spadaro. It's a sharp contrast from the somber and sometime irritable we've seen from Andy earlier this season as the Eagles struggled.
It was revealed that RB LeSean McCoy showed up to the Eagles Tuesday "blitz meeting," which RBs don't typically attend. Andy asked if that had anything to do with his dominant performance?
"Well listen, you guys know him, he's got a smile on his face when he comes to work, he loves to play the game, and he wants to be the best. This particular week you're going to see a lot of different looks, maybe more than you see throughout the year, with ones that you'll tape. Until you play them again, right? It was important that he came in and he wanted to make sure he stayed up on that, and that's a compliment to LeSean."
Reid also praised Michael Vick for how he handled the Cowboys blitz packages and pre-snap looks. In fact, he says that two of the Eagles TDs, the first one to Maclin and the second of McCoy's TDs, were as a result of audibles that Vick called.
"Well really, two of the touchdowns were plays that he either changed the play or got rid of one, where we had two of them called in the huddle and you could switch them over to the other. I thought he played a fine football game. I think you've got the numbers, as far as the quarterback rating goes, and so on, that show that, but the little things like you're talking about here, switching either protections or switching from play to play, I think he's becoming very comfortable."
He also highlighted how outstanding Nnamdi Asomugha has been now that he's had some time in the system and is really grasping how it works.
"Well, yeah listen, it was new concepts for everybody, but in particular for the new guys coming in. So a lot of the terminology was the same and things that were being done before are the same for the guys coming back. But for the new guys coming in it was a little though. And Nnamdi, listen, he wants to do it all. He studies like crazy [and] he's highly intelligent. But the bottom line is we probably were giving him too much too soon so we backed off him, and then we just added to it. [Defensive coordinator] Juan's [Castillo] added to it every week and given him a little bit more, a little bit more. And he has great feeling for Nnamdi [and] they have great communication between the two of them. And Nnamdi's very honest now with what he feels comfortable with and what he doesn't feel comfortable with, and that's important [and] from a coach's standpoint, that's important. And there's a trust factor there and some of the guys who are new they're understanding that, and even better coaches get to know the player, the player gets to know the coach and you can share things."
But the coach certainly isn't going to let his team be complacent or too happy themselves. As he said last night, "We still don't have a winning record."
They can get to .500 however next week as they host the Bears on Monday night football.
Last night, LeSean McCoy set a career high with 185 yards rushing in what was a true coming out party for the third year back. It was the most yards the Cowboys have given up to a RB since 2000 and the most an Eagles RB has rushed for since Duce Staley ran for 201 yards in the famous pickle juice game against those same Cowboys.
So it’s no surprise that McCoy was the talk of the post game press conferences.
"I think Shady has shown us pretty much everything that he’s shown us for that last two years – that he’s a dynamic player and he’s by far one of the best in this league." said Michael Vick. "You have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line, I mean those guys did great in the run game, great in the protection game. They’re starting to gel and play with confidence and believe in one another. It’s one thing I always tell them – believe in yourself and believe in one another and I think they do us well. Sorry if I got sidetracked in answering your question. I know you asked about LeSean, but you have to give those guys kudos too."
"He’s a beast, man." Added Jeremy Maclin. "He’s definitely one of the premier backs in this league. He does great things with the ball in his hands. I think today we had a great balance of run and pass and I think if we do that and we maintain that, I think we’re pretty hard to beat."
Andy Reid also said that McCoy is one of the very best in the game right now.
"Right now, he’s playing as well as any running back there is. That is a compliment to him and the guys blocking around him. The receivers had a couple of nice downfield blocks as well, so it was kind of a joint effort. LeSean is tough to bring down one-on-one. He has tremendous quickness and lateral mobility."
Cowboys LB Keith Brookings couldn’t help but be impressed as well.
"He is a very good runner and if you get out of position McCoy can expose you very quickly. He did that tonight. It is hard to tell but he is a great player and I think he won the battle tonight. He really made some great yardage on his own. He ran inside and outside and just really did it all tonight."
The Eagles got off quickly tonight with Michael Vick leading the team on a 74 yard drive that was capped with a 12 yard pass to Jeremy Maclin for the touchdown. After the first td the birds were off and running. The Cowboys tried to respond but their opening drive was halted by penalties and Tony Romo getting sacked twice.
The next drive was led by running back LeSean McCoy who rushed for 53 yards and scored a touchdown from the two yard line. Michael Vick added 42 yards in the air. The Cowboys drive was halted when Tony Romo threw an interception to Asomugha. Michael Vick took command and led the team 67 yards to score another touchdown, this time to Celek.
The Cowboys were unable to establish a running game and Tony Romo was unable to connect with his receivers leading to another Eagles drive that resulted in an Eagles field goal going up 24-0 to end the first half.
The second half began as the first ended with the Eagles driving down the field for another field goal. Along the way LeSean McCoy firmly established himself as the go to player for the Eagles offense. He'd lead the offense again down the field for a second rushing touchdown putting the Eagles up 34-0 with 15 minutes to play.
Tony Romo finally go out of his funk for a single play connecting with Robinson on a 70 yard pass for a touchdown. Following the Cowboys touchdown, the Eagles placed the full responsibility of the offense on Shady's shoulders to run down the clock.
LeSean McCoy ended the game with a career high 185 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. It is the most against the Cowboys' defense since Warrick Dunn had 210 yards in 2000. Michael Vick added 279 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. The Eagles defense sacked Tony Romo four times and picked him off once. Romo ended the game with a 66.7 quarter back rating.
The Cowboys defense came into this game with the #1 ranked rushing defense in the NFL allowing just 70 yards per game on the ground. The Eagles came in with the NFL’s best rushing attack gaining 170 yards per game. Something had to give.
That something is the Dallas run defense.
The Eagles have gashed the Cowboys on the ground to the tune of 132 yards, which is the most rush yards the Cowboys ave given up since the Eagles game last year. Dallas has yet to allow a 100 yard rusher this season, but LeSean McCoy is very likely to end that streak as he’s already got 87 yards on 10 carries and a TD. Michael Vick just might end the streak himself as he’s got 45 yards rushing already.
And perhaps better than anything, the flukey plays have been going the Eagles way tonight. Before this, every tipped ball or bobble seemed to end up as a turnover, but the Eagles have had the ball bounce their way tonight as evidenced by this Nnamdi Asomugha pick.
The Eagles got off to the start they were hoping for as Michael Vick capped an 8 play, 74 yard opening drive with a 12 yard TD pass to Jeremy Maclin. The Eagles met with very little resistance as they marched straight down the field with a balanced attack against the NFL’s #1 rush defense.
On third down from the 12, Vick hit Maclin on a WR screen that perfectly blocked and the 3rd year WR scampered into the end zone for the first score of the night. It was Maclin’s 39th catch and four TD of the season. Maclin had previously caught a 24 yard pass on the second play of the drive.
The Eagles #1 ranked rushing attack was also on display as LeSean McCoy ran for a 21 yard gain and Michael Vick picked up 15 yards on the ground.
The Eagles defense also came up big on the Cowboys first possession, sacking Tony Romo twice and forcing a punt.
Curtis Marsh, Jarrad Page, Keenan Clayton, Julian Vandervelde, Winston Justice, Dion Lewis & Phillip Hunt
The Eagles host the Cowboys in primetime on NBC's Sunday night football. It's the Eagles second primetime game of the year and the first of five national TV games they'll play in the next six weeks. If there was ever a week for these Birds to prove they're "ready for primetime" this is it. So here's some interesting notes for tonight's game.
- Here's a great bar bet question for tonight. Which current Eagles WR has the most career TDs against the Cowboys? Steve Smith with three. Guarantee you win a free beer for that.
- Michael Vick has a career 104.2 QB rating against the Cowboys with his first start coming against them in 2001.
- Tommy Lawlor had an interesting observation. The Eagles haven't beaten Tony Romo in two years. He swept us in 2009 and was injured for both games in 2010.
- Eric Allen, who will be inducted into the Eagles honor roll tonight, is tied for the franchise lead in INTs (34) and leads them in pick sixes with five.
- Jim Johnson will also be inducted in the honor roll tonight. His 2001 Eagles D is only the fourth in NFL history to play a 16 game season in which they never allowed more than 21 points.
- The Eagles starting defensive line has 11.5 career sacks against the Cowboys.
- The Eagles have the sixth best home record in the NFL since the Linc was opened, but have lost five straight there including the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Eagles will host their division rival Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night in a borderline must-win game. Andy Reid has never lost coming off a bye week.
Tashard Choice cut to make room for Bruce Carter. More to come on @ESPNDallas and 103.3.
Choice was once a promising prospect for the Cowboys. In 2008 the rookie opened some eyes while filling in for injured running backs Felix Jones and Marion Barber. That December he carried the ball 62 times in four games, for 325 yards (5.2 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also added 17 receptions for 163 yards – all coming against stout run defenses in the Steelers, Giants, Ravens and Eagles.
Since then Choice has only rushed for 667 yards. He has become infamous for his boneheaded fumble against the Redskins a season ago, along with an embarrassing autograph request from Michael Vick immediately following a loss at the hands of Vick's Philadelphia Eagles.
Choice had 28 carries for 75 yards this season and has lost a fumble in two consecutive games. The emergences of rookie running backs DeMarco Murray and Phillip Tanner last week, made the decision to cut Choice an easy one for Jason Garret and the Cowboys.
With Felix Jones out with a sprained ankle the Cowboys will enter Sunday night's showdown against the Eagles with only two active tailbacks, barring a late signing.
The Philadelphia Eagles certainly respect the Dallas Cowboys run defense. But that doesn't mean the Eagles will shy away from the challenge.
"We're going to run the football, that's what we do," said Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid, whose ground game is led by LeSean McCoy's 569 yards. "We're not going to stop running the ball."
The Cowboys, anchored by a talented front line, have afforded a league-leading 69.7 rushing yards per game.
"Tops in the league and very worthy of that," said Reid. "They're big, strong, physical guys up front. I include the two outside linebackers in that. And then the two inside linebackers, when they're in their base personnel, run around and make plays. I mean, they're excellent football players. And when their safeties get involved in the box, their safeties are good tacklers and physical."
Reid complimented Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, calling the Cowboys defense aggressive and noting the unit's versatility. Reid said one person who makes Ryan's defense especially tough to handle is linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
"They move him all over the place, inside, outside. He's one of the best in the business. Again, tremendous athlete, football player. He, along with the other fella, they've got a few other guys on that defensive line too that are pretty good, so that's a great challenge for our offensive line," said Reid.
The Eagles will have their hands full with Dallas's defense, which snapped New England's streak of 30-point games two weeks ago and surrendered only seven points last week to St. Louis. But Philadelphia's own defense will be bolstered, too.
Defensive end Trent Cole is set to return from an injury that sideline him for two weeks. Reid said Cole should not have any limitations.
"Well listen, he's a Pro Bowl player and that's what he's been year, after year, after year, and he brings a lot of energy to our football team, and so to have him back is a good thing," said Reid. "You add him into the mix, that's a healthy thing."
Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg knows he will face a staunch foe this Sunday in the Dallas defense.
"This week, we have a great opportunity and quite a challenge," said Mornhinweg during a press conference Thursday. "With this defense, the numbers are high in virtually every category with very few exceptions. They have great skill and ability, and they have some very good pass rushers. Start with [DeMarcus] Ware, and [Jay] Ratliff in the middle is fantastic. Their linebackers are excellent, and the man from Penn State is playing at a high level, Sean Lee. Their secondary is very aggressive and have made some offensive groups look really bad. We've got a great challenge and we look at it as a great opportunity."
The Cowboys have surrendered fewer rushing yards per game than any team in the NFL. They gave up just 16 points to the New England Patriots two weeks ago, then seven this past week against St. Louis.
Mornhinweg expects Cowboys defensive coordinator Bob Ryan to camouflage his defenses and would be surprised if the Cowboys did not blitz very often.
Mornhinweg later expanded on his praise for Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff.
"I think he's one of the great players in the game on the inside at tackle," Mornhinweg said. "Typically when you have one of the great players in the game, he has it all. He's got strength, quickness, speed, has all the techniques down, spin moves and he's a powerful man. He's gotten after some guys, so we have quite a challenge there with our rookie center."
Mornhinweg believes Ratliff is talented enough to adapt to any defensive scheme.
"With some 3-4s, they want a guy with bigger size. I think he can play with any defense. I don't care if it's the nose or defensive tackle, he could probably play fullback really. The great ones can play in any type of scheme," said Mornhinweg.
The Eagles have suffered a rash of turnovers during a 2-4 start, giving the ball away 17 times, the most in the NFL. They realize the issue and will look to solve it against Dallas.
"Our whole offense, I told them a couple weeks ago, that 90% of our offense is outstanding," noted Mornhinweg. "We're moving and grooving. Five percent is okay, and the other five percent is when we turn the ball over. It's crystal clear that it was a big problem."
LeSean McCoy has been a fantasy revelation this season with 8 total TDs through 6 games and being on pace for over 1,500 yards rushing. But according to Andy Reid, his role may increase even further
Cowboys rookie RB DeMarco Murray was forced into a start role last week thanks to an injury to Felix Jones. To say he made the most of that opportunity would be an understatement. Murray exploded for 253 yards rushing, including a 91 yard TD romp in the Cowboys 34-7 blowout of the St. Louis Rams. The Rams do have the NFL's worst run defense, but regardless, it was an incredibly impressive performance from the rookie 3rd round pick out of Oklahoma. Eagles LB Jamar Chaney was impressed by what he saw on film from Murray.
"He's really fast and he's a guy that can make good decisions and find the right hole to go through. And the offensive line did a great job, too. I mean, they do a great job blocking and it's a team effort, you know, their wide receivers are down the field blocking. So it's not just him, it's a team effort. You know, even when [Dallas RB] Felix [Jones] was back there they have pretty much everybody that's supposed to be blocking, blocking -- receivers, tight ends, running backs, all of them block."
Eagles DT Mike Patterson, who is coming off his best performance of the season, was also asked about Murray and pretty much had the same scouting report.
"He's a hard runner. I mean, you guys saw it last week what he did. You know, he's just a hard runner, he's an explosive guy, and he doesn't just go down, he keeps his feet moving and runners like that, those are tough guys to take down. So you have to give him credit [because] he did a pretty good job when he came out."
The Eagles defense did a complete 180 against the run last time out against the Redskins. They came into the game with one of the worst rush defenses in football and held the Skins to just 42 yards on the ground. Patterson says they'll need a similar performance this weekend against the Cowboys and feels that the defenses improvement is coming as they get more familiar with one another.
"Yeah, I mean the more time you have with each other, the more you can feel each other out and stuff like that. So that's what it came down to, team chemistry. [And] that's what it came down to, that's how I feel at least. You know, when guys are trying to do what we do we have to gel together. I mean, I think everybody's starting to learn how each other are playing and stuff like that."
The Eagles will welcome back two major pieces this weekend when they host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. At his Wednesday press conference, head coach Andy Reid declared that pro bowlers Trent Cole and Jason Peters are "good to go" and will start against Dallas.
The Eagles have been without the pair for the last two games after both were injured against the 49ers. Cole has been nursing a calf injury while Peters has been rehabbing a hamstring. The offensive line has fared surprisingly well without Peters as King Dunlap did a solid job against the Bills and Todd Herremans was outstanding at LT against the Redskins. Still, Peters on the left and Herremans back on the right is the optimal lineup to protect protect Michael Vick against a Cowboys team with good edge rushers.
While the offensive line has played well in Peters absence, the pass rush has clearly struggled without Cole. After leading the NFL in sacks with him, the line has managed just three sacks in the last two games in his absence. That said, they did turn in by far their best effort of the season against the Redskins last week.
Cole’s return means the Eagles will now be able to rotate at least four healthy defensive ends, which should help to keep the starting duo of Cole and Jason Babin fresh as the season goes on. Darryl Tapp, who has been starting in Cole’s place, was injured in week one and Cole was forced to play nearly every snap. Now those two can share the duties while a healthy Juqua Parker can split time with Babin.
Also returning soon will be Eagles 2010 first round pick Brandon Graham, who is practicing this week and is eligible to come off the PUP list after undergoing knee surgery last season. He’ll likely take some time to get up to speed, but he could be a major piece when he’s fully healthy.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham practiced Monday for the first time this season. Defensive end Trent Cole and left tackle Jason Peters also practiced.
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