Last week, the Birds were outplayed by both the offensive and defensive lines of the Detroit Lions. It wasn’t a shock that the Eagles lost the game because they know you win or lose games in the National Football League on the offensive and defensive lines. This is the reason the Eagles have spent so many of their top draft picks on offensive and defensive linemen. Still, right now, they’re not getting the job done. If the lines don’t improve immediately, the Birds won’t beat the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.
For the last three games, the Birds haven’t been able to register a single sack. I would shake things up by starting Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt or Brandon Graham. They’ve got to get the attention of veterans Trent Cole and Jason Babin because they haven’t gotten the job done lately. Neither Cole nor Babin was a factor against the Lions, who single blocked the two veteran defensive ends, while throwing the ball play after play in their comeback win. This pair must be more productive or this team will be kept out of the playoffs.
At the defensive tackle position, there have been numerous reports that veteran Mike Patterson will return to practice today. Patterson could help the play of the team’s defensive tackles. Veteran Cullen Jenkins hasn’t been doing much, so I would consider sitting him down. Derek Landri seems to be laboring with a leg injury, so he needs to be replaced.
I would like to see Fletcher Cox and Cedrick Thornton be the third down pass rushers. Cox has been their best defensive tackle so far and Thornton seems to be doing the best job as a pass rusher next to Cox.
Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd must find a way to help the middle of the Birds offensive line play better. They were absolutely horrible in their battle with the Lions. The Detroit defensive tackles were five yards into the offensive backfield when the ball was handed to LeSean McCoy. Center Dallas Reynolds, left guard Evan Mathis and right guard Danny Watkins must get better or get replaced.
Right tackle Todd Herremans hasn’t played his best football and was beaten for a sack on a key play in overtime. Left tackle Demetress Bell needs help blocking the better defensive ends in the league.
Mudd must do whatever is necessary to improve their play and that should include allowing them to use techniques other than his. Offensive linemen who are quick and athletic tend to be very good in Mudd’s system, but the Eagles best athletes, Jason Peters and Jason Kelce, on the offensive line are injured. Mudd can’t continue to coach this offensive line like two of his best offensive linemen are still there.
The same is true for the way offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg calls the plays. They’ve got to be more balanced with the running game and they must stay away from the seven-drop pass routes. This offensive line can’t hold their blocks for the deep throws, so the Birds must go to maximum protection for these plays.