Eagles' Offensive Line Should Shoulder the Blame for Losses in Dallas

Written By Bob Cunningham On Sunday, January 10, 2010

McNabb was under pressure while Dallas gave chase.

After another humiliating loss to Dallas, people are scrambling to pick out just went wrong. And as is always the case, most of the uninformed are pointing at Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb. If you want to blame Reid because he's the head coach, then fine. He'll gladly take the blame for his team.

However, blaming McNabb is a showcase of ignorance.

The man was under constant pressure all game long -- and from everywhere. One play it was DeMarcus Ware, the next play it was Anthony Spencer, the next play it was Jay Ratliff, and even the safeties were in on the action.

The offensive line, namely Nick Cole, Todd Herremans, and Max Jean-Gilles, could not pick up the blitz to save their own lives, much less the life of their quarterback.

I've been screaming about it since the day he was put in as a starter; Cole is not a starting-caliber lineman in this league. His footwork is atrocious, he's obviously not very football smart and can't identify a blitz, and even worse, he's lazy on the field.

Multiple times there was a linebacker or safety showing blitz, but instead of picking them up he was usually double-teaming someone with Jean-Gilles, or just standing around looking straight ahead as someone blew past him. From there, McNabb was forced to move around and make a throw on the run.

The same could said of Jean-Gilles, who was victimized by a line stunt all game long. He and Cole lack the footwork to be starters in this league, especially in a pass-heavy offense.

Then we come to Herremans. Herremans has pretty good feet for a guard, but he lacks the mass and upper-body strength to be any help in the running game and can't stand his ground in the passing game. He got beat up all year long by defensive linemen stronger than him, and it's time for a replacement.

Jason Peters stopped his feet a few times against Ware, but when you pass every down, Ware is sure to get his eventually. Once again, Winston Justice was the best guy across this line and didn't really get beat -- noticably, anyway.

But because of the defecit the Eagles faced, the Dallas defense was able to pin their ears back and attack McNabb. Add that to the fact that the interior of the line couldn't pick up even the simplest of linebacker blitzes and you have a recipe for disaster. Just the fact that McNabb didn't have to leave the game is a miracle and a testament to his escapability.

Were it not for McNabb, the outcome would have been a lot worse. He probably avoided about a dozen sacks (no exagerration) and, in the conditions and dealing with the line he had in front of him, did a fairly decent job.

Yes, he missed some passes here and there, but that was a result of being under pressure all day and his receivers not getting open at all down the field.

But, even if they did get open, his linemen allowed him no time to set up and survey the field. So, before you criticize McNabb, maybe you should go back and actually watch the film. Learn a little something before blindly throwing out your opinion and having to back it up with "Oh yeah, well how many Super Bowls has he won??"

Come on.

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