Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Sketching out a Game Plan for Philly

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 9, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 5:  LeSean McCoy #25 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on November 5, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Eagles 28-13.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

If the Philadelphia Eagles want to avoid drastic chances eight weeks from now, they'll have to make drastic chances right now. Philly's defense is holding up OK, but the offense just isn't delivering. The play-calling has been a disaster and the pass protection even worse. 

And thus my game plan for Sunday's matchup with the equally desperate Dallas Cowboys requires Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg and Todd Bowles to take extreme measures. 


Make LeSean McCoy the centerpiece of the offense

There are no options left now, because Todd Herremans is out for the remainder of the year and 80 percent of the offensive line is down. Michael Vick is unable to handle pressure like an experienced veteran, Vick stands no chance against DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, Anthony Spencer and the Cowboys' pass rush.

Dallas will most certainly be expecting this, but Rob Ryan will still have to account for DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin deep and they're exploitable regardless with Sean Lee and Dan Connor out. 

The Dallas run defense has surrendered a respectable 4.1 yards per carry this year, but it really started to feel Lee's absence in the second half against the Falcons. Michael Turner had 86 yards on his final 10 carries Sunday night against the Cowboys, which works out to 8.6 yards per. Half of those came on one hand off, but it's still an indication that McCoy could be in for a big day.

If the Eagles are going to make a run, and if it's going to start in Dallas, they'll have to win with that superb pass rush and solid all-around defense. The responsibility of the offense, now, is to control the ball for as long as possible and avoid game-changing mistakes. Running often with McCoy will help them accomplish that, and might even give Vick, Jackson and Maclin a chance to hit a home run against a sleeping secondary.


Take more chances on defense

With DeMarco Murray out, Dallas can't run the ball effectively at all. And so with the offense in trouble, Philadelphia has to sell out to make big plays on defense. Tony Romo is struggling against pressure this season and his receivers haven't been coming through for him.

The Eagles can't afford to sacrifice much in the secondary with Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten to deal with, but they can force the 'Boys to keep it on the ground with the struggling Felix Jones and Lance Dunbar by bringing heat up front. 

It couldn't hurt to send DeMeco Ryans or Mychal Kendricks on the odd blitz, and it would be interesting to see Jim Washburn's line adopt the Giants' approach and attempt to put the red-hot Brandon Graham on the field at the same time as Jason Babin and Trent Cole. 

Bowles has sent extra rushers only 12 times in two games since taking over for Juan Castillo. It's time to mix in more blitzes and show some unique looks in an attempt to take advantage of a Dallas offense that has turned the ball over more than every other team in the NFC.