A special holiday wish to you all….
As EYE ponder the 8-7 Eagles on the verge of turning the tide against a disastrously physical season and facing the prospect of a “win and get in” shot against the Giants at the Meadowlands this weekend, my thoughts turn to duct tape.
You can keep a lot of stuff running with duct tape. I personally have achieved temporary repairs with duct tape on automobiles, electric wiring, plumbing fixtures and central vacuum systems.
The Eagles are like a stock car with its damaged fenders duct-taped at the seams as it heads for the final lap of a qualifying race.
There’s no shame in duct tape in emergencies. Heck, I once used duct tape to bandage a nasty bleeding cut from a box cutter at work. It worked great.
What you don’t want is duct tape as the “new norm”…
That’s kinda where the Eagles are right now, especially since we now learn that Zach Ertz (TE/WR, favorite target) is suffering with a technically fractured rib—i.e., cracked but not displaced.
This is not the best Christmas news ever.
But that’s the duct tape reality.
My personal Christmas Tree history was once saved by duct tape. I was 29 years old and coming off an unwanted divorce. My finances were devastated, I was working but making poverty wages by today’s standards. I had a four-year-old daughter to support. A lovely and incredibly enthusiastic young woman somehow fell in love with me and bravely moved into my old farmhouse. She was determined there would be a real Christmas in my house of pain.
That meant I had to scrape up a Christmas tree. At the time my exact net worth was $10. Nice trees were retailing at $25 and up.
But I had a plan! I took my hand saw up into the woods which I technically still owned. I sawed off a bunch of pine branches which I felt would not permanently damage the trees. I carried the branches back down to the house and duct-taped them strategically to an old wooden stepladder.
Boom! Instant Christmas tree, Hollywood prop department-style…
That woman eventually dumped me, but even she said many years later that it was the best Christmas she could remember. See, it is possible to rally ’round duct tape!
So even with a duct-taped active roster, the Eagles are still in this thing with a chance to close out the qualifying race.
My DJ buddy “the bEAST” at Eaglemanical breaks down the system behind the duct tape which is really keeping the Birds alive:
“There are four (4) things the Eagles are doing and must keep doing to cover their injury woes.
1) Keep Bradham clean: Our D-Line not only kept LB Nigel Bradham from having to fight off Dallas’ offensive linemen, they made plays on the other side of the line of scrimmage! This was the deluxe version of what we needed here. (DONE)
2) Force them into their base defense: Apparently the Eagles coaches and I see things very similarly. According to a Next Gen stat that was put up on the television screen, deep into the 4th quarter, the Eagles had run 2TE formations, 56% of the game. That forced the Cowboys to play newcomer OLB Malcolm Smith (2 – 0 – 0 – 0) clearly more than they wanted to. So much so that at one point you could see that he was visibly winded. This allowed us to victimize him several times. Good show! (DONE)
3) Gut the middle: The idea was to keep them in their base, and make their LB’s play chase all day long. If they’re chasing, they aren’t dictating the action or making big plays. So we made them chase TE’s, and we forced them to follow Sanders all around the formation. We also threw 6 passes to RB Boston Scott (3 – 12 – 4.0 – 0 – 0 / 6 – 7 – 1.1) and he caught all of them. Almost all of them were routes towards the sideline to force LB’s into lateral coverage, or pull a Nickel out of position. We even ran Wentz a couple times on designed runs. Worked like a charm, and the Cowboys stayed off-balance all game. (DONE)
4) Don’t over-commit vs the run: Since the front seven played well enough on its own, there wasn’t much call for that. We showed some heavy fronts, but they never really brought the house aside from short yardage moments. We did a lot of “threaten and bail”, which forced Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (25/44 – 56.8% – 265 – 0 – 0) to read our coverages more often than film study would have suggested was necessary. We didn’t over-commit to the run, and made it harder for him to throw the ball against us. (DONE)
Going forward, the bEAST wants to see less duct tape and more acceleration on defense:
“If we’re going to affect games, dictate action and cause turnovers, we need our Defense to be more sudden. Our plodding pass rush of the last month has to improve if we intend to make any noise in January.”
Well, Christmas and Hanukah signify a belief in miracles…
The Great JB99 put out a “Game Wee-View” in a recent BGN post. It is a prescient commentary on what needs to trend better for the Eagles against the Giants this weekend:
“We got the ball with 8 mins left needing to wipe the clock with one of our notorious 14 play drives and we were snapping the ball with 10-15 secs left on play clock. What the hell? Even losing 10 secs would be dumb and could be costly but losing 10 secs every play just didn’t make sense.
“Free Lunches Douglas has to be one of the worst jam CBs in the NFL. He never even gets his hands on the guy and is repeatedly smoked. He was bad earlier in the season but now that Schwartz is pressing his CBs more Douglass is just awful.
“As I have stated repeatedly… our backup DEs are pretty damn good. Sweat is knocked off his feet too often but overall those guys have been coming up big. Seems like they have turned it up a notch after the Avery trade. Hmmm….
“For all our all-pro type OL guys starting…. we just aren’t that good up front.
“Our P had a shit game. Numerous chances to pin them deep and instead he line drives them out at the 20. Sheesh…”
So put that in your duct-taped pipe and smoke it. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah to all.