Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What we're watching: Eagles-Cardinals

Here is our weekly look at what we'll be watching during the Eagles game ...

What we're watching: Eagles-Cardinals

Here is our weekly look at what we'll be watching during the Eagles game ...

1. Hitting Warner. The Giants only sacked Kurt Warner once last week, but they got several good licks on him and it affected both his comfort level in the pocket and his performance. His .615 completion percentage was his lowest since Week 3. His 6.75 yards-per-attempt average was his lowest since Week 5. Eagles need to put him on the ground early and often.

2. Slumping McNabb. Andy Reid is giving the ball back to Donovan McNabb this week; a ball he’s turned over seven times in his last six quarters. He’s not seeing open receivers and missing them by entire area codes when he does spot them. In the last five games, he has a .526 completion percentage and has averaged just 6.3 yards per attempt. Another first half like he had against Baltimore and he could be back on the bench.

3. Secondary Performance. The Eagles have held nine of 11 opponents to a sub-.570 completion percentage. But they haven’t faced a passing attack as lethal – or as deep -- as Arizona’s. It’s difficult to visualize the Eagles’ undersized corners being able to contain Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston and Jerheme Urban, particularly if Asante Samuel isn’t able to play. Eagles have just one interception in the last four games.

4. Third-Down Woes. The Eagles’ third-and-1 problems have spread to third-and-everything. In their last five games, they’ve converted just 18 of 70 (25.7 percent) third-down opportunities. They are 26th in the league in third-down conversions. Their pitiful 34.0 percent success mark is their lowest since ’05 (32.7) when they finished 6-10. If there’s any good news, it’s that the Cardinals are 23rd in third-down defense.

5. Many Happy Returns. Rookie return men Quintin Demps and DeSean Jackson both are take-it-the-house threats and they’re going up against a team whose coverage units have not performed well this season. The Cardinals are 28th in kickoff coverage (25.1) and 25th in punt coverage (10.7). Eagles’ struggling offense should at least have some short fields to work with.

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Some injury updates from Tuesday's practice: Defensive tackle Darren Howard did not practice after taking part on Monday. Howard suffered a neck injury during Sunday's game against Baltimore.

Brian Westbrook (knee, ankle) did not practice but said that he expects to play Thursday night. Asante Samuel (neck) did not practice and neither did Correll Buckhalter (knee), who has said he will not play.

Will you watch the Eagles-Cardinals game on Thanksgiving?
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Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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Eagletarian is your home for comprehensive coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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