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Looking ahead to the rams


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With the decoder ring of hindsight, it was clear from head coach Scott Linehan's

comments that the St. Louis Rams were wary -- to the point of terror --

of one particular Eagles player.


"I don't know how you defend (Brian) Westbrook," Linehan said, a few

days prior to the Eagles' 38-3 season-opening victory over his Rams at

Lincoln Financial Field. "You really do your best to keep him from

going crazy on you."



Score one for St. Louis. Westbrook didn't

"go crazy." In fact, despite scoring two of Philadelphia's five

touchdowns, he was pretty sane.


The Eagles' All-Pro running back

rushed the ball 19 times for 91 quiet yards and his score, and he

caught two passes for one yard and the game's first touchdown. The last

time he ended a game with fewer than those 92 total yards from

scrimmage was a 75-yard performance on Oct. 15, 2006, at New Orleans.



There were a couple of reasons that the most important piece of the

Eagles' offense didn't have a party on the unit's best day, and most of

them are positive.


The first, hinted at by Linehan's comments, was St. Louis, which turned its defensive game plan toward frustrating No. 36.



This isn't an innovative strategy, and it won't be the last time it's

employed. But it has a real element of risk, and until Sunday, the

Eagles had not made an opponent pay full price.


The Eagles' wide

receivers, aided by single coverage all game long, showed the ability

to win those favorable matchups. DeSean Jackson, Hank Baskett and Greg

Lewis were not only open, but they made catches, something they had not

done during a butter-fingered preseason.


Perhaps the trio of

100-yard receiving days posted by Jackson, Baskett and Lewis will have

future opponents thinking harder before keying on Westbrook, especially

when starting wideouts Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown are healthy enough

to return to the mix.


The Eagles' play calling was another reason for No. 36's relative absence from the spotlight.



"With the way they play their defense, we wanted to do a couple of

things in our pass game, and we got that accomplished," Eagles

offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "The other thing was we

were getting Brian in and out of the game, keep him fresh for the

fourth quarter. We didn't need that today, but we certainly could at

some point."


In other words, Westbrook represented another gear

that the Philadelphia offense never even came close to needing.

Quarterback Donovan McNabb provided the Eagles with more than enough

horsepower on Sunday, passing for 361 yards and three scores.



The last decade's record has proven the Andy Reid will go to No. 5

first, and look for other options if McNabb cannot get the job done.

For the past season and a half, since the quarterback's knee injury in

the middle of the 2005 season, the next option has been Westbrook.



Now that McNabb appears to have regained his Pro Bowl form, Westbrook

may be headed back to the complementary role that previously frustrated



For now, however, he says he's satisfied with victory.



"Coach (Reid) had a game play as far as how many touches he wanted me

to have and how he wanted me to go about running the ball," Westbrook

said. "The way Don was throwing the ball and the receivers were wide

open, it's hard to go away from that.


"It's difficult to take the ball out of (McNabb's) hands when he's having so much success."



The Eagles' next opponent is Dallas, the consensus favorite to win the

NFC East and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The Cowboys are aware

of what McNabb is capable of, but it was Westbrook who hurt them in

2006, amassing 299 yards from scrimmage over two meetings, including an

upset at Texas Stadium.


That Week 15 Eagles victory may be best

remembered for Westbrook passing up a touchdown, instead sliding down

at the 1-yard line to ice the game at the two-minute warning.


Dallas isn't going to forget about No. 36. The Eagles shouldn't either. Transaction



The Eagles tweaked their eight-man practice squad on Tuesday, signing

rookie free agent defensive back Jonathan Hefney, formerly a four-year

starter at the University of Tennessee.


To make room for Hefney, Philadelphia released cornerback Kyle Arrington.

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Teams make adjustments. Don't expect the Giants to run up the score.. not to mention the Giants go conservative after scoring a TD :brooding:


there is one adjustment they can make. Put more db's/lb's in to cover our Wr's/TE's


leaving room for Jacobs /Ward and Bradshaw.


and when they adjust back to stop them well you know the routine.... or should

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The point is that the Rams are not as tough a team as the Giants. That is why they will lose. The Giants are tough both lines, the Rams are just not. I see the Giants rushing for 200+ yards in this one.


But the Giants do have a habit of making every game a nail biter... don't you agree?

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The point is that the Rams are not as tough a team as the Giants. That is why they will lose. The Giants are tough both lines, the Rams are just not. I see the Giants rushing for 200+ yards in this one.


That is very possible, but dont be surprised if there is an aerial assault led by one Eli Manning. I remember the last time we faced the Rams we torched them by 20+ points and Eli had a big game. With more confidence now he could really air it out. But I do agree, a big ground game is likely.

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I don't want to see him air it out. I want to see good QB efficiency from Eli and a great defensive showing. I would be happy with 235 yards, 2 TD's from Eli.


235 and 2 TDs a game is more than enough for this team to win. What will matter the most is when the run game is being stifled and Eli needs to compensate.



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