By Jordan Raanan, XFINITY Sports NFL Columnist and NJ.com Writer
Several weeks back, I thought about sticking with 'Duds and Duds' until the Eagles won a game. Good thing I didn't follow through with the idea. Talk about depressing. This would be your Monday morning noose central.
Thankfully, with the Eagles now losers of eight straight after a 38-33 defeat in Dallas, wins and losses don't really matter anymore. They just dictate where in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft the Eagles will be selecting.
Now, we have a different perspective, one where the only thing that really matters is the future. Our internal grader all of a sudden works differently. All we want to see are a few positive signs that give us hope for the future. Hopefully this puts you in a better mood this Monday - mission accomplished. Rookies Bryce Brown and Nick Foles gave us hope for the future.
Again, thanks for your votes.
Bryce Brown - The rookie running back rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. He flashed his impressive speed, strength and cutting ability. Brown blocked well and even caught four of the five passes thrown in his direction. There weren't just signs that he could be a player, there were moments that said he could be a star. Plays that left you wondering just how good the Eagles running could be next season with LeSean McCoy, Brown and a new coaching staff. And then there was the fumble - Brown's third lost fumble in the last two games - that Dallas returned for a touchdown. It ruined the Eagles' chances for a game-winning drive. The fumble tempered the enthusiasm and earned Brown almost as many votes for a dud as a stud.
Nick Foles - If I wasn't sold already, I am now. Foles showed enough Sunday night that I'm on board for him to be the Eagles quarterback next season. The Eagles aren't winning the Super Bowl next year anyway, so why not? Foles showcased a big arm, ability to throw accurately on the run, decent mobility and, most importantly, some growth in the loss. Foles' final line said 22-of-34 passing for 251 yards, a touchdown pass, no interceptions and a QB rating of 96.6. They weren't hollow numbers either. He made throws downfield - like the one to Brent Celek in the first half - with defenders in his face and made plays out of the pocket. Foles fired an impassive strike against his body to Jason Avant on third down two plays before Brown's fumble. For me, that throw was the clincher. I saw enough to want him as the Eagles 2013 starting quarterback.
Eagles Secondary - You guys couldn't just pick one. And who can blame you? The Eagles secondary was again a joke on Sunday night. Tony Romo went 10-for-10 for 179 and three touchdowns in the second half alone. The Eagles secondary couldn't knock down a single pass, and their coverage might not have been their biggest indiscretion. The tackling of Nate Allen and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie in particular was just atrocious. Kurt Coleman was nowhere to be found on passes deep downfield. Inexplicably, these have been common traits since Todd Bowles took over as defensive coordinator. Wide open receivers (like Cowboys tight end Jason Witten) running downfield and then breaking tackles to make big plays even bigger. I wouldn't dare argue with this selection, the entire secondary was deserving of this dishonor.
DeMeco Ryans - The Eagles middle linebacker has played well this year. Very well. This week in Dallas, however, was not one of his better games. Ryans wasn't in the backfield stuffing the run Sunday night like he has been most of the season. He finished with just four tackles against the Cowboys. He also bit on a few play-action passes that resulted in big gains, like Miles Austin's 27-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles linebackers were almost as bad in coverage as the defensive backs.