Sunday, January 14, 2007

Run Defense Again Let Eagles Down

NEW ORLEANS -- When it comes down to it, an old nemesis bit the Eagles and ended their season. When things have gone wrong this year, a major culprit has been the Eagles' inability to stop the run.
And that was certainly the case during their 27-24 divisional playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints in the raucous Superdome.
The Saints ran for 208 yards on 37 carries (5.6 average) and two touchdowns. Deuce McAllister ran through them and Reggie Bush ran around them. And the Saints ran out the clock, when the Eagles needed a stop on that final possession, when the Saints got the ball on their own 22-yard line with 1 minute and 48 second left.
It's an old axiom, but teams that run the ball, usually go deep in the playoffs. Now the Saints are realizing this first hand, headed to their first NFC championship, while the Eagles head home.
There will be many off-season priorities, but the biggest would have to be shoring up the run defense. The Eagles have a number of high paid defensive linemen, but apparently there still isn't enough depth.
And the linebacker position needs an overhaul, if not a complete one, then at least two additions.
The Eagles gave more than most expected, especially after that 5-6 start, but the feeling persists that much more could have been accomplished, if only they could have consistently stopped teams from running all over them.