Be-Ware of Dallas defense
12:39 AM, Nov. 10, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — It’s never a good time to have four new players on an injury-depleted offensive line like the Eagles do.
But it seems like really bad timing to be in that situation against the Dallas Cowboys and their pass rushing specialist DeMarcus Ware, who’s tied for second in the NFL in sacks with nine.
The Eagles shuffled around their line again this week after Todd Herremans was placed on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday with a dislocated cuboid bone in his foot, along with ligament damage, a strained tendon and cracked bones.
Rookie Dennis Kelly will start in place of Danny Watkins, who’s missing his third straight game with a sprained ankle. King Dunlap is moving from left tackle to right tackle to take Herreman’s spot. Demetress Bell, who lost the starting job to Dunlap before the season, will start at left tackle.
Rookie Dallas Reynolds continues to start at center in place of Jason Kelce, who’s out for the season after having knee surgery. That leaves left guard Evan Mathis as the only starter left from last season.
Ware, meanwhile, has 108.5 sacks in his first eight seasons. Only Reggie White had more through his first eight seasons.
“They keep telling us that he’s a great player for a reason,” Kelly said about Ware. “He plays really hard and he plays really well. We have to make sure we know where he is, be aggressive with him and take care of him.”
It was a struggle for the line even before Herremans was injured in the first quarter against the Saints. The Saints came into the game with just 13 sacks in seven games. They sacked Eagles quarterback Michael Vick seven times.
Eagles coach Andy Reid said the line will have to find a way to protect Vick long enough for him to throw the deep balls that the offense wants.
“We’ve got to buy him time no matter what,” Reid said. “That’s the goal here.”
It’ll be more difficult against Ware, who lines up in multiple positions. He had four sacks against the Eagles last Oct. 30, a 34-7 Eagles win — and that was with All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters playing, along with the other starting linemen.
“(Ware) impacts the game in so many ways,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told reporters Friday. “They give him so much attention that it helps other guys rush the passer. They have to do different things schematically.”
Perhaps that’s why Vick had this response when asked about how he has to change his game to adjust for the new offensive line facing Ware and the Cowboys:
“I think the thing to do is not even think about it,” Vick said. “And when you’re in the moment, just let it all go.”
• McCoy back: Running back LeSean McCoy returned to practice Friday after missing the previous two days with the flu. He said he’ll be ready to face the Cowboys on Sunday.
McCoy was a partial participant in practice. He admitted that he lost some weight and still is dealing with a cough.
“I was struggling the last couple days,” McCoy said. “But I feel a lot better now. Once I get rolling and get into it and start warming up, and my blood gets going, I’ll be fine.”
McCoy had his two best rushing totals against the Cowboys. He had 185 yards against them last Oct. 30 and 149 yards against them on Dec. 12, 2010.
• Wing tips: Reid said Watkins is progressing with his ankle injury but isn’t ready to play. RB Chris Polk (toe) and WR Mardy Gilyard (toe) have also been ruled out … The Eagles won their last six games against NFC East division opponents — one this season against the Giants and the final five divisional games in 2011.
Reach Martin Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Posted 10 November 2012 - 04:45 AM