Eagles Game Plan Comes Together

The Eagles hoped for the healthy return of Donovan McNabb, Correll Buckhalter and their pass rush. All three appear healthy and ready to go as the Eagles head toward their final pre-season tune-up.

While Donovan McNabb and Correll Buckhalter haven't been dominating this pre-season, they've been healthy and they've been able to do their jobs. That's what the Eagles were looking to see, figuring that the dominating part will develop with time.

McNabb completed 7 of 9 passes for 79 yards in the Eagles' 16-7 win over the Steelers Friday night. It's likely that the start will be the last pre-season action that McNabb will see, if Andy Reid sticks to his pre-season game plan. A healthy McNabb completed 21-of-33 passes (74%) this pre-season for 283 yards.

Buckhalter, playing in just his second pre-season game, showed improvement over his first outing with an increased workload and increased production. While he basically had just one big play last week against Baltimore, Buckhalter was more involved in the overall offense against Pittsburgh, carrying the ball 7 times for 31 yards. He also caught 4 passes for 16 yards.

The Eagles' first team offense scored on six of their nine drives in the pre-season.

Defensively, the pass rush has officially returned to Philadelphia. While defensive end Darren Howard wasn't the most sought after free agent in the off-season, his signing may be just what the Eagles defense needed. Howard registered a sack of Ben Roethlisberger in Friday's game. In four pre-season games, the Eagles have recorded 18 sacks, five of them coming from the first team defense on 12 series. In those 12 series, the Eagles starters have allowed just one field goal and have kept opponents out of the end zone.

The Eagles end the pre-season Friday night at the Meadowlands with a game against the Jets. The starters are likely to see little, if any, action in that game. Reid said coming into the pre-season that he planned on resting his starters in that final game to keep them healthy heading into the season opener against Houston.

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