This guy, J.T. O'Sullivan, stands between the Eagles and a 3-3 record. Usually, I'd say a guy like this (shown in his fetching Frankfurt Galary home purples) poses no obstacle whatsoever, now I'm not so sure.
If you can find a way to lose to a team with Kyle Orton under center, pretty much anything is possible. Compounding the Eagles woes this Sunday is an ominous injury report.
Shawn Andrews, Juqua Parker and Brian Westbrook haven't participated in a practice all week and will all probably miss the game. Reggie Brown was a limited participant on Wednesday, did not participate on Thursday and is listed as questionable. The good news is that both Victor Abiamiri and Kevin Curtis were listed as full participants all week, so we could see action from them for the first time this season.
Filed under "questionable moves" comes this doosey. The Eagles have had Tony Hunt taking his practice reps as a halfback, rather than a fullback this week. The idea seems to be to use him in that role and slide Dan Klecko to the fullback position. Hunt hasn't played horribly as a full back, he's made some nice catches out of the backfield, but he hasn't exactly been a devastating lead blocker. Then again, Klecko hasn't gotten the job done when he's brought in for goal line situations (see 2nd/3rd/4th and 1 against the Bears and 3rd and 1 against the Skins last week for examples.) I pretty much agree with Jason's take
from Bleeding Green Nation on this one, Hunt can't do any worse than Buckhalter/Booker have, and it may actually be beneficial to have a bigger back getting some of the carries. Moving Klecko to fullback, though, doesn't seem like the right move.
After the jump we'll take a look at the keys to beating the Niners.
- Patrick Willis - Willis is the best player on their defense. He's probably one of the best defensive players in the entire league. With Westbrook out, he's going to be free to wreak havoc on the Eagles all day long. The RBs need to pick him up on blitzes, McNabb needs to keep an eye on him in coverage and someone needs to get a body on him when they run the ball.
- Ex-Eagles - Willis leads the team in tackles, numbers two and three are both ex-Eagles, Takeo Spikes and Michael Lewis. I'm not a big fan of playing ex-Eagles with a chip on their shoulder after getting cut by the Birds. These guys both fit the bill and they're both going to be looking for payback.
- RB by committee, or to be more accurate, no running game - Calling running plays for a healthy Brian Westbrook sometimes resembles pulling teeth for Reid/Mornhinweg, calling running plays for Buckhalter/Booker/Hunt just isn't going to happen. If they total 15-20 carries it'll be a minor miracle. The Birds need to pin their ears back and use that humongous offensive line to wear down the Niners defense.
- Give Him The Damn Ball - Kevin Curtis's return, if it happens, could be a deciding factor. Not because of what he may do, but because of what it could mean for DeSean. The rook is your playmaker, get him the ball.
- Enough Talk - Donovan McNabb has gone out of his way to say that he's the leader of this team. He's used his blog, a closed-door players-only meeting, and every press outlet who will listen. That's a great start, but he needs to translate it onto the field. I've been thinking back and I seriously can't remember the last time the Eagles won a game and I came out saying, "Man, McNabb really won that game for them." It's been years, I think.
- Stop Gore
- Hit O'Sullivan
Let's keep it simple this week.