Eagles Enjoy a Productive Bye Week
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - If you're a glass-is-half-full guy the Eagles bye week went swimmingly.
Not only did Philadelphia acquire a needed playmaker at the trade deadline in YAC-machine Golden Tate, the Eagles "fell back" on Sunday to watch Washington prove the old-school mentality of running the football and playing solid defense is not exactly a consistent winning formula in the modern NFL when Atlanta blitzed the Redskins early and coasted from there, turning what was a two-game deficit for Philadelphia in the NFC East to just one game with eight to play, five of them against division foes.
Dallas could put a bow on a very pretty package Monday night by losing to Tennessee but even if the Cowboys persevere the Eagles are set up nicely as the second half kicks off at Lincoln Financial Field next Sunday night against Jason Garrett and Co.
After all, the 'Skins not only lost the battle against the Falcons, they may have lost the war and are now down four offensive linemen for the foreseeable future with starting guards Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao potentially lost for the season.
More so, while the team's at the top of the conference were wowing people with their undeniable offensive acumen, to the more astute, the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams were also proving something else -- they can both get got.
The Rams have significant holes in their back seven while the Saints are very Michael Thomas-centric on the outside and will be facing better game plans than leaving the undisciplined Marcus Peters on an island with him moving forward.
After an uneven 4-4 start things may finally be breaking the Eagles way but before taking joy in the flaws of others, realize any run has to start in the locker room at the NovaCare Complex.
Other teams look at Philadelphia and see flaws as well, notably a Wendell Smallwood-led backfield, a receiving-corps which still lacks a true deep threat, and a secondary that's like most in the NFL, one that can be shredded at a moment's notice.
It's easy to smile at the misfortune of a rival. It's harder to take advantage of it.
The coaches spent most of last week self-scouting before starting preparation for the Cowboys and will greet the players Monday with the game plan.
"I think as a staff, offense, defense, and special teams, really go back and focus on some areas in the first eight games that we either struggled in or had success in, learn from it, and then come up with a plan as we move forward," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said when discussing the downtime. "I think it is a great couple of days with no game obviously, but to be able to look ahead to our next opponent, the Cowboys, and get a feel for them and put some thoughts on paper, so that when the players come back we can execute and start that process too."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen