Can The Eagles Be Grounded?

The Philadelphia Eagles boast one of the most high-profile -- and highly productive -- offenses in the NFL. Quarterback Donovan McNabb is a first-tier superstar. Terrell Owens might be from another planet in terms of the way he carries himself (on and off the field), but he also is one of the premier wide receivers in recent NFL history.

And don't forget about Brian Westbrook, he might well be the most dangerous dual-threat (rushing and receiving) running back in the NFL.

But the Eagles also might well be the best example of the adage about how the offensive line dictates the successes and failures of the the skill positions. For the second week in a row, the Cowboys are facing one of the league's largest offensive lines: the starting Philly front five averages nearly 6-foot-5 and 331 pounds per man.

"They're very big, but it's a different style of line than the Raiders," head coach Bill Parcells said. "They're very diverse."

Perhaps the best example of the Eagle blockers' multi-faceted talents came last year in Texas Stadium. McNabb ran around behind the line of scrimmage for what seemed like an eternity before heaving an oft-shown bomb that Freddie Mitchell inexplicably caught.

"I see (that play) every day in my mind," veteran Dallas defensive end Greg Ellis said. "I was surprised he got it off in that fashoin. I thought it was just a wild pass when he threw it, but he got it on target. When he scrambled (on that play) last year, it was almost like they saw him running and just said 'here we go.' They knew exactly where to go. It's like they practice that scrambling drill."

Beyond the big guys up front, of course, Ellis sang the praises of McNabb and Westbrook.

"I put it like this: there's a reason certain people make a lot of money," Ellis said. "McNabb has a huge contract, because he can do a lot of things to hurt you. With McNabb, it's not so much a matter of getting pressure on him -- last year he scrambled around for like five hours when we put pressure on him. We got pressure, but we missed him. Once he scrambles around, the blockers act like he's a running back."

Ellis also said that the notion that Owens is Philadelphia's lone receiving threat is simply inaccurate.

"They have a lot of people to throw the football to," he said, "guys you (media) don't even know about. They've got a lot of guys who have made catches this year."

The wild card, Ellis said, is Westbrook. "He is probably the most underrated player in the league," he said. "He's a great runner, and he catches the ball well. He does everything you can ask a running back to do, and he does it well."

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