What Would Buddy Do?
Push coming to shove: the most dispiriting part of the Eagles right now
Posted on October 27th, 2008 at 12:00 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

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Yes, the Eagles are 4-3, looking healthier than they have all season, and the gods of officiating looked upon them favorably yesterday. 4-3 is a lot better than 3-4, etc etc. Still, I’ve decided that I have a new overriding Eagles-related anxiety: that the offensive line has lost its confidence. That is, on third- or fourth-and-short, I don’t think they believe that they can get it done.

Obviously the Chicago game was the first — and most painful — data point for this hypothesis, but the Eagles also struggled inside the five-yard-line against the Redskins. And then this past week the Eagles had two chances to effectively seal the game in the fourth quarter, if only they could push forward for one yard:

2-1-ATL 1 (9:15) 5-D.McNabb pass short middle to 36-B.Westbrook to ATL 1 for no gain (56-K.Brooking).
3-1-ATL 1 (8:52) 5-D.McNabb up the middle to ATL 1 for no gain (94-K.Moorehead).
4-1-ATL 1 (7:59) 2-D.Akers 18 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-46-J.Dorenbos, Holder-6-S.Rocca.

and,

1-10-PHI 17 (3:42) 5-D.McNabb pass short right to 87-B.Celek to PHI 25 for 8 yards (24-D.Foxworth).
2-2-PHI 25 (3:01) 36-B.Westbrook up the middle to PHI 26 for 1 yard (59-M.Boley).
Timeout #2 by ATL at 02:54.
3-1-PHI 26 (2:54) 36-B.Westbrook left end to PHI 26 for no gain (92-C.Davis)

As Andy Reid is so fond of saying, it all starts up front. We like to get caught up in the fancy x-and-o-ifying, but ultimately football is about pushing people around. And right now, it sure doesn’t seem like our guys are confident that they can push the other guys around when it matters. It’s not like Andy Reid hasn’t noticed:

On whether he is disappointed the Eagles struggled offensively in short yardage situations: “These one-foot things, we have to change this. We’re going to keep working on it. We’ve been working on it, but we’re going to keep working on it.”

The thing is, pushing the other guys back a few feet probably isn’t about “working on it,” and Andy Reid knows that. It’s about an attitude and confidence regarding your ability to push. And the Birds don’t seem to have that right now.  Let us cross our fingers and hope they rediscover said confidence before it’s too late.

(And yes, SHAME ON ME for dropping negative energy in the midst of the glorious Phillies result from last night.)

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