Not going to discuss the offense in this post. We all know what a steaming pile they generally were highlighted yet another poor playoff performance by McNabb and equally poor games for Weaver, Vick, and MJG among others.
I am here to talk about the defense and the crazy assertion by Mike Quick (and others on the postgame show) that this defense 'played as well as could be expected.' All kidding aside, how does a defense that let up the following stats in the 1st half - 27 pts, 17 1st downs, 262 yards, and allowed Dallas to convert 5/7 third downs - be considered as having paid 'as well as could be expected'. This is poor any way you slice it. Honestly if it weren't for the Dallas penalties on offense they might have even put my more points in the 1st half.
Review of players I thought had to 'step up' last week:
1. Patterson - Actually thought he had a much better game this week than last week. Made a couple of nice tackles and did a much better job of holding his own against Davis/Gurode this week in the running game. Arguably had one of the strongest performances by an Eagles' player on either side of the ball. Grade: B -
2. Cole - He had a better game this week particularly against the run. He even made a few plays behind the line of scrimmage. Also thought Cole did a better job of not getting too wide and playing the numerous draws the 'Boys ran all day. In the passing game, he still wasn't much of a factor. Got credit for 1 QB pressure/hurry but Adams did a solid job on him much of the day. Another week where Cole didn't play at a Pro-Bowl caliber level. Grade: C
3. Samuel - Said it earlier on here a few weeks ago but Pro-Bowler my a$$. Makes the sexy picks but gets beat too often in coverage, gives up too many big plays gambling to make a pick, and is a horrendous tackler. Funny thing is that Samuel actually had a better game tackling and actually made 1-2 nice tackles tonight including sticking Witten in the flat 1-on-1 in the 1st qtr. Too bad he didn't have a good game in coverage. Gave up a couple of big plays to Miles and Williams tonight. Eagles pay this guy to be a top flight corner and the reality is that he isn't a shutdown corner and his tackling often leaves alot to be desired. Grade: C-
4. Mikell - It is hard for me to grade Mikell's performance tonight. He made a number of tackles in the secondary but it also seemed like he whiffed a couple of times in coverage and missed a few tackles to boot. Grade: C-.
5. Hanson - Not sure what happened to him after he gave back after the suspension but his play really seemed to fall off especially compared to last year. He was generally terrible tonight all around. He was late getting in on 1-2 blitzes, a non-factor against the run, and Crayton was open all night long it seemed when Hanson was on him especially on the 'hot' route. Grade: F
6. Left DE - Seemed like it was a combo of mainly Parker/Clemons tonight. Clemons seemed like he made a few plays rushing Romo but Parker was a non-factor tonight. Yet again, the Cowboys had some big runs to this side including Jones 73-yd tonight run. Really the only reason I thought they played a bit better was because Colombo didn't play as well as Free had the week before. Colombo hadn't played in several weeks and his timing/footwork showed it a couple of times. Honestly, this was arguably the shakiest call the Dallas coaching staff made all night long. Grade: C-
Brown - Sad for me to say this but Brown had arguably one of the worst games I can remember him having in an Eagles' uniform. He got beat all night long in coverage on even the most basic routes by Austin. He also wasn't much of a factor in the running game either. He deserves alot of credit for clearly playing hurt but there comes a time when you have to realize that your inability to execute due to injury hurts the team more than being out on the field. Grade: D
Harris - Never want to see an Eagles' player helped off the field due to injury but Harris was an absolute zero tonight. Whiffed on more tackles (3) than he made (2) and got beat like a drum a couple of times in coverage. Jones didn't play well either but the Eagles lost nothing when Harris left due to injury. Nothing Macho about his game including his tackling and arguably one of the crappy Eagles' DBs I can remember in the last 10 years. Biggest position of need this offseason for the Eagles' is FS and I would be surprised if the Eagles are counting on Harris to fill any kind of meaningful role for them next year. Grade: F
LBs - Yet another night where not a single Eagles' LB played a good game. Trotter looked like an old man who got pushed around often and couldn't knife into the games on those draws/delays up the middle like he used to be able to 3-4 years ago. Jordan was a no-show tonight and didn't do anything. Been a non-factor since coming back from his knee injury. 'Spoon seemed like he played 'ok' tonight but he has clearly lost a step too as he was a bit late on getting to Romo on a couple of blitzes and he gets blocked too easily. Gocong made a play here or there but didn't get much time tonight. Fokou played a bit better this week including not taking any dumb penalties and doing a bit of a better job of shedding blocks. Eagles just don't have any playmakers (run or pass game) and really need to figure out this mess in the offseason. It wouldn't surprise me if you see a lot of changes here including the Eagles bringing in 1-2 new players via FA/draft this year to potentially start next year. Grade: D
People can talk about the injuries, McDermott, etc but the reality is that the last 2 games this group just wasn't good enough. They got pushed around early and often, couldn't get to the QB when they only blitzed their lineman, no playmakers at LB, and had too many breakdowns in coverage. There are going to be a couple of positions that need to be evaluated this offseason including FS, every LB position, DE, and CB. Really hard to ask your offense to have score 28 pts or more in order to beat a quality team with a good offensive.