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News » Philadelphia Eagles Inside Slant 2008-12-26

Philadelphia Eagles Inside Slant 2008-12-26

Philadelphia Eagles Inside Slant 2008-12-26
After running the ball just 16 times in last week's 10-3 loss to the Washington Redskins, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was asked Thursday if his team will run the ball a little more this week against the Dallas Cowboys.

"We try to do what it will take to win that particular football game," Mornhinweg said. "There are a lot of things that happen, and that may happen during a football game, that many people on the outside don't quite know. Some little things that go into that situation as well."

It's not clear what Mornhinweg was referring to, although he later said there were "two significant injuries" that contributed to the fact that the Eagles threw the ball 46 times against the Redskins. One probably was the knee injury to wide receiver Hank Baskett. Baskett, the team's best blocking wideout, didn't play against Washington, but will play this week against Dallas.

The other likely is running back Brian Westbrook, who has been bothered most of the season by a sore knee. Westbrook had just 12 carries against Washington, but practiced Thursday, which would seem to indicate he's feeling pretty good.

"He hasn't practiced much the past, let's say, month, month-and-a-half," Mornhinweg said of Westbrook. "That he practiced today, that's a good thing, and hopefully, it'll pay off Sunday."

--When the Eagles kicked off to the Washington Redskins late Sunday afternoon, they held their playoff fortunes in their own hands.

The San Diego Chargers' win over the Tampa Bay Bucs earlier in the day had left the Eagles with a clear path to the post-season. All they had to do was beat the Redskins and then beat the Dallas Cowboys at home this week, and a team that not so long ago appeared dead, would be going to the playoffs.

But they didn't beat the Redskins. They lost to them, 10-3, and now, in all likelihood, the 8-6-1 Eagles will miss the playoffs for the third time in the past four years.

The Eagles still have a remote chance of making the playoffs. If they beat the Cowboys and the Bucs lose to 4-11 Oakland and either the Chicago Bears lose to Houston or the Minnesota Vikings lose to the Giants, then the Eagles would qualify for the postseason at 9-6-1. But that's an awful lot of ifs.

"There's still light at the end of the tunnel," coach Andy Reid said. "Obviously, everybody wants to get to the playoffs, and we still have that opportunity. We have a good football team coming in here."

After putting up 98 points and 1,186 yards in consecutive wins over Arizona, the New York Giants and Cleveland, which got them back into the thick of the playoff hunt after a 5-5-1 start, the Eagles' offense laid an egg against the Redskins.

The Eagles registered just 15 first downs, and seven of those came on their final possession. They are 3-for-14 on third down after going 33-for-50 in the previous three games. They rushed for just 62 yards on 16 carries.

Reid said his team was ready to play, yet the Eagles had the ball for just 21 snaps in the first half.

"Sometimes you can try too hard," he said. "You get yourself out of position and that can go on on both sides of the football. Sometimes you can amp it up too high to put yourselves in a bad position. So you have to maintain that part and make sure that you are balancing out."

The Eagles-Cowboys game is a 4:15 p.m. start. With the Bucs-Raiders, Bears-Texans and Vikings-Giants games going off at 1 p.m., the Eagles will know before they take the field whether they still have a shot at the playoffs.

Asked whether he would rather not know, Reid said, "Yeah, but that's probably not realistic in this day and age of technology. I said this before. You can't worry about all the different things that you can't control. You just have to go play. That's the important thing."

Even if the game is meaningless for the Eagles, it won't be for the Cowboys, who can earn a wild card spot by beating the Eagles. So, it's not likely Reid will bench a lot of his regulars, including quarterback Donovan McNabb.

SERIES HISTORY: 96th regular-season meeting. Cowboys lead the series, 53-42. The Cowboys have won four of the past five meetings, including a 41-37 verdict at Texas Stadium in Week 2.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 26, 2008

Hank Baskett Name: Hank Baskett
Position: WR
Age: 25
Experience: 3 years
College: New Mexico
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