Fun is fun, and the Rams are the Rams, and this is pretty simple: if the Eagles can't force a couple of turnovers against the Cowboys on Monday night at Texas Stadium, they cannot win.
It was the story of last season, when the Eagles forced fewer turnovers than any NFL team. It has been the mantra of Jim Johnson and his defense since March. Yet there were no takeaways against the Rams in the opener, which wasn't a big deal considering how lopsided the game turned out to be but which still kind of winked at you from the final stat sheet.
When the Eagles beat the Cowboys last December by a 10-6 score, they sacked Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo four times, ran him around a lot more than that, and intercepted him three times -- once by Lito Sheppard, once by Quintin Mikell and once by Brian Dawkins. Now, you can argue about which of these two stats was more important -- holding the Cowboys to 1-for-13 on third downs, or the three picks. I don't want to get into that argument, because the Eagles really did come up big on third down, big when it really mattered. But they could not have won without the interceptions. They cannot beat a team of this caliber without turning them over a couple of times.
Anyway, Brian Dawkins was talking about some of this stuff on Thursday afternoon.
"Down there, we didn’t make a lot of mental mistakes," he said. "That being said, we made more plays than they made. I’m pretty sure if you talk to them, they’ll say they should have made some plays they didn’t make. I’m not going to say we have to take the fight to them this time. We are going to go in and play our game, and our game is an attacking-style defense. Get after the quarterback and force the offense to do something they don’t want to do. That’s how we’ve always been. It’s not just against Dallas; that’s who we are."
“We just go out and do what [defensive coordinator] Jim [Johnson] asks us to do," Dawkins said. "We have enough confidence that if Jim is calling a specific defense, if he’s calling a specific coverage or a specific blitz, and we understand the reasons why, we trust that we will be able to do what we have to do against that offense. They are going to make plays because they have that many weapons over there and they have big-play potential. Our biggest thing it to make more plays than they make and to not allow them to hit the homerun ball against us."
And get some turnovers. There is no way around it this week.