Sunday, November 27, 2005

Planning For Next Year

Forget that the 19-14 win was over a 2-9 team, the Eagles needed a victory desperately. It wasn't pretty, but very little has been during this disappointing Eagles season. Soon after the win, with the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins having lost, there were a few misguided souls in the press box claiming that the Eagles are alive in the playoff race.
Three words: Forget about it!
There will be no playoff run, but the Eagles can still finish the down season on an up note. Especially with so many young players who are now contributing.
Add rookies Todd Herremans and Ryan Moats to that list of new contributors. Herremans played in his first regular season NFL game at left tackle and performed well. And Moats, who was activated for only the third time this season, earned his first carries of the season. He gained 24 yards on six carries and forced and recovered a fumble of a kickoff.
The offensive line now has three players - Herremans, Jamaal Jackson and Adrien Clarke, who have a total of five NFL starts.
The Eagles will be the last ones to admit that the final five games are for preparing for next year. Until they are mathematically eliminated, they should feel like they can contend.
Still, the foundation is being set for young players to make big contributions these final five games. And when coach Andy Reid and his staff evaluate players for next year, they will have a much better handle on things.
Of course, they would rather have looked toward next year at a more opportune time - next year. Still, this gives the Eagles one leg up on the future, even though they would much rather be playing for the present.

Final Score: Eagles 19, Packers 14

Does this mean we have to start caring about the final five games of the season?

Favre: Interceptions Nos. 19 and 20

Eagles cornerback Roderick Hood had two interceptions on the Packers' final drive of the game. That may seem impossible, but the Eagles' Trent Cole was flagged for a roughing the passer penalty, that nullified Hood's first pick (Replays showed the penalty was wrong). Hood then ended the Packers' last gasp hopes when Favre basically threw one up for grabs in the end zone. Filling in for the injured Lito Sheppard, Hood had a standout game.

Moats Gloats

Ryan Moats, getting his first significant playing time of the season, looks likes he's finally out of Andy Reid's doghouse. The rookie ran 6 times for 24 yards and made the game clinching play - well, not yet - when he forced and recovered a fumble on the kickoff after the Eagles went ahead, 16-14. Looks like he finally was able to understand that playbook.

Eagles 16, Packers 14

It only took more than three quarters for one of the Eagles' starting wide receivers to have his first catch, but it happened! Greg Lewis snagged a key third down reception for nine yards to keep the Eagles FG-producing drive alive. Reggie Brown, meanwhile, has been absent.

Third Quarter Score: Packers 14, Eagles 13

Aren't you just sitting on the edge of your seat?

Eagles Injury Updates

Lamar Gordon has a concussion and he's out for the game. The Eagles running back must have hurt himself on the opening kickoff of the second half. That whole thing one post ago when we questioned Reid on why he went with Moats instead of Gordon or called another play. We take that back ... sorta, kinda.

Defensive tackle Sam Rayburn is questionable after suffering a right shoulder strain. Was he actually playing? We didn't notice.

Packers 14, Eagles 13

Nice drive, poor play selection late. Why did Reid go to Ryan Moats on second and one on the Green Bay 23-yard line? We saw Brian Westbrook go the sideline after the previous play with what looked like a groin injury. But Moats in that situation? I think not.

On a more serious note, Packers safety and ex-Eagle Al Harris went to the locker room with cramps. Provide your own punchline.

Gotta Love Those Eagles Fans

Some idiot just ran onto the field, with what looked like a smoke bomb and an Eagles flag. He ran to the 50-yard line, got through the "in the name of the father, the son" part of the sign of the cross, spread his arms, Jesus-crucifixion style and plopped to the ground.

Only a cynic would say, "Maybe the Eagles should sign that guy to run the offense," since they have yet to cross the 50 on any drive in the first half.

Sincerely,
Cynic

Halftime Score: Packers 14, Eagles 10

Samkon Gado has bulldozed the Eagles defense for 101 first-half yards on the ground. What happened to the vaunted Eagles rush defense ... and let the halftime boos rain down from the Linc.

As we keep saying, the defense is the problem and not the cure of what ails these Birds.

Brett Favre: Interception No. 18

The Packers quarterback threw his 18th pick of the season at the most inopportune time for Green Bay, as they had the Eagles defense on its heels. He underthrew a wide open Donald Lee and Michael Lewis turned at the right time and made his first interception of the season in the end zone for a touchback.

Franks Update

It was reported in the press box that Bubba Franks has movements in all his extremities. The necessary precautions - stretcher, straps, etc. - were taken due to the tingling he had in both shoulders after he took a shot from Eagles safety Brian Dawkins. X-rays will be taken at the stadium.

In other injury news, Eagles cornerback Matt Ware has a knee strain. His return in questionable.

Ouch!

Brian Dawkins put a lickin' on Packers tight end Bubba Franks. The stretcher is being brought onto the field as we speak. It looked bad, but not bone crushing. Sometimes, though, it's the most harmless-looking of injuries that are the most serious.

First Quarter Score: Eagles 10, Packers 7

That was a hard quarter to watch. Long, boring and pointless ... sort of like The Postman ... I mean, Heaven's Gate ... no, Ishtar.

Eagles 10, Packers 7

It's hard to fault the offense this season, when the defense routinely surrenders TDs after the "O" scores. That was just plan pitiful. Packers running back Samkon Gado is not that bad a player, but he looked like Jim Brown after those two 18-yard-plus runs.

Brian Dawkins was completely juked out of his jockstrap on Gado's 33-yard TD run.

Eagles 10, Packers 0

Wow! The Eagles are back! What a play by Brian Westbrook! They're heading back to the ...
We can't take anything away from Westbrook's 27-yard TD run. He went off right tackle - a good block from Adrien Clarke - made a nifty lateral move and trotted into the end zone for his longest scoring run of his season. But the Packers look like ... the Eagles.

Eagles 3, Packers 0

The Eagles went on a long, clock-churning drive - seven plays, 13 yards - in 2 minutes, 55 seconds, to give the Birds the early lead. We're getting the feeling here that the Eagles may win by default.

Turnovers Will Get You Nowhere

Ryan Moats had the first carry on his NFL career for two yards. He was promptly taken out for Lamar Gordon. Two plays later, Gordon fumbled away a sure three points on the Packers 9-yard line. Sheez, no wonder Andy Reid has been hesitant calling the run all season.

Pre-game Notes

You're looking live at the Eye on Eagles blog. We're here at Lincoln Financial Field for ... for ... oh right, the Eagles are playing the Green Bay Packers. There are people here, it looks like somebody still cares. Let's hear it: who thinks the Birds have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs, 4-6, with six to go?

Today's inactives are: wide receiver Carl Ford, cornerback Donald Strickland, tight end Stephen Spach, linebacker Matt McCoy, defensive tackle Keyonta Marshall, guard Scott Young, tackle Artis Hicks and Andy Hall is the third quarterback.