Great win for Eagles until Donovan McNabb breaks ribby Eric Schwartz
It was all going so well for the Eagles.
The defense was amazing, special teams outstanding, and the offense rolling. Then came the injury to quarterback Donovan McNabb — the one black spot on a glorious Sunday for Eagles fans. As it turns out the injury to McNabb’s ribs is something that should not keep him out for long, but the site of him grimacing in pain on the ground is all-to familiar.
Entering the season, I posted “Five keys to the Eagles season ending in a title.” Today, we will look back and see how the Eagles did in those five areas in their opener.
Sean McDermott replacing Jim Johnson: You have to believe Johnson would have been proud of McDermott for his performance on Sunday. The Eagles defense looked, well, like the Eagles defenses. Panther quarterbacks were under pressure all day and turnovers were the result. McDermott dialed up some great blitz calls and didn’t look any bit nervous in his debut.
Donovan McNabb overcoming pressure: We will have to stay tuned for this on. Thanks to the Eagles defense, the Philadelphia offense didn’t have a bit of pressure on it the entire game.
Eagles defense must remain stellar: Did anyone miss Brian Dawkins or Stewart Bradley on Sunday? The Eagles defense had a monster of a game, giving Jake Delhomme and the rest of the Panthers quarterbacks’ nightmares. The defense totaled five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and five sacks. After the Panthers first drive Pro Bowl running back DeAngelo Williams was a complete non-factor. It was an all-around great game for the Eagles defense.
Offensive line jelling: Midway through the first quarter I thought this one was heading for failure. Left tackle Jason Peters had been whistled for two false start penalties and Brian Westbrook hadn’t been given much in the way of running lanes. However, that was the last time the Eagles line looked jumbled.
McNabb had all kinds of time on his throws and eventually things opened up for the ground game. Aside from allowing one Julius Pepper sack and fumble, even Winston Justice held his own. It was a very strong start for the unit.
McNabb and Westbrook staying healthy: W made it so far down the list with everything going right and then the big one. McNabb suffered a broken rib after being hit after scoring a touchdown. Different people have different takes on how much – if any – time McNabb will miss. It could be two weeks, four weeks, or no weeks. With so much on the line this season I think the Eagles should be cautious with McNabb. They have an early bye week and they should take advantage of it.
While a McNabb-Brees matchup would be fun, it may not be worth sending an injured McNabb out there. Playing with a broken rib is all about playing with pain. While it can be done, it’s not always smart. This isn’t the playoffs, it’s Week 2. The Eagles face Kansas City the following week and then have a bye. McNabb would be fully healed by week five, so the safe bet is to leave him out until then. I am not a coach or a trainer, so the decision is hardly mine. I just think the safe way is the smart way this early in the season.
A great win for the Eagles. Hopefully it didn’t come with a bigger loss.