Here are a six-pack of observations on the Eagles’ slim 30-27 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night.
1. Michael Vick is still taking too many shots.
I don’t know who asked the question, but Cris Collinsworth relayed a comment by Vick that was interesting. Vick said that if he was defending himself, he would do what the Texans and Cowboys did the past two weeks: keep hitting him. Even he knows the best way to stop him is for the defense to deliver as many clean shots whether he’s in or out of the pocket. While he went on to complete 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 270 yards and two touchdowns, he threw two interceptions (one wasn’t his fault as the catchable pass went off his receiver’s hands and into the arms of a defender) and 151 of those 270 yards came on two plays (a 60-yard reception to DeSean Jackson on the first play of the game and a 91-yard touchdown to Jackson at the start of the fourth quarter). On a whole, Vick wasn’t spectacular and you have to wonder if the pounding he’s been taking is starting to add up. His sizzling numbers in the middle of the season were bound to drop, but he’s looking mortal with each passing week. Andy Reid did a better job of getting LeSean McCoy more involved on Sunday night. But he and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg still have work to do when it comes to figuring out a way to protect Vick.
2. Jackson is electric but he needs to mature.
DeSean Jackson once again showed how incredible a player he is by racking up 210 yards and one touchdown on just four catches. As previously mentioned, two of his catches went for 151 yards and the play he made in the fourth quarter on his 91-yard touchdown reception was thrilling. But once again, he flashed his immaturity. On the 91-yard touchdown, he stopped inches short of the goal line, put his back to the end zone and as defenders were closing in, he laid back with his arms outstretched and fell backwards into the end zone. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth debated whether or not he should have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct (he was), but it really doesn’t matter. The gesture was unnecessary and while I know the kid is just having fun, what’s the harm in racing into the end zone, flipping the ball to the ref and celebrating with your teammates sans the penalty? This is the third time since high school where he’s played around at the goal line and with the playoffs coming up, it would be nice to see DeSean kick this nasty habit. He’s such a good player; I would hate to see his antics at the goal line take away from his talent.
3. “Shady” McCoy is developing into a nice player.
For only the third time all season, McCoy rushed for over 100 yards on Sunday night. He carried the ball 16 times for 149 yards and also caught three passes for four yards. He continues to be a double-threat and Vick often looks for him when he’s flushed out of the pocket. McCoy flashed excellent vision on a couple of plays tonight and is getting better at becoming a one-cut-and-get-up-field runner. He was the perfect choice to replace Brian Westbrook in Reid’s offense and if he stays healthy, he’s going to be a player for the Eagles for years to come.
4. Inexperienced corners hold their own for Eagles.
With Asante Samuel once again out of the lineup due to a knee injury, the Eagles were susceptible to giving up big yardage through the air. But corners Joselio Hanson and Dimitri Patterson held their own against the Cowboys’ passing attack. Patterson had a huge interception off Jon Kitna after the Eagles scored to make it 27-20 early in the fourth. Philly turned the turnover into three points and that field goal provided huge with the final scoring being, 30-27. The Eagles are going to need Samuel back for the final three weeks and heading into the playoffs, but Reid had to be pleased with the performance he got from his cornerback duo after they were abused the past two weeks.
5. I think Jerry Jones will eventually drop the interim tag from Garrett’s title.
Keep in mind that I’m the guy who predicted Josh McDaniels would get one more year in Denver just hours before the Broncos fired him, but I have a gut feeling Jason Garrett will win the Cowboys’ head-coaching job. Even though the Cowboys aren’t winning every week, Jones has to be impressed with how his team has responded with Garrett as their leader. Dallas has been competitive with Jon Kitna under center and that’s due in large part to Garrett’s game plans and playcalling. I’m sure Jones will go through the interview process (why wouldn’t he?) this offseason and if Bill Cowher is seriously interested in the position, then all bets are off. But if the candidates are ho-hum, then Garrett should be brought back. One thing to keep in mind is that Jones doesn’t want to see the coach he handpicked succeed elsewhere.
6. Where is Miles Austin?
Where’s the guy that racked up 81 receptions for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns last year? One season and a few dates with Kim Kardashian later and Austin has turned into a marginal player. I know Tony Romo has been out, but Kitna has more than held his own in the passing game. Austin caught just two passes for 22 yards against the Eagles’ banged up secondary and hasn’t caught more than four passes since a seven-catch, 117-yard performance against the Jaguars all the way back in Week 8. I’m sure I speak for all fantasy owners when I ask: Where did this guy go?