Behind Enemy Lines - Part 1

Warpath.com's John Kelm asked Chris Steuber five questions about the Eagles in preparation for this weekend's big game. Steuber discussed Donovan McNabb's health, Andy Reid's ability to get the Eagles back on track, and what the Eagles have to do to win.

John Keim: The Eagles have made strong second-half runs under Andy Reid on a few occasions. Do you think they can do it again? Why/why not?

Chris Steuber: No, I think this is a different team. I think what we’re seeing is a team that’s in transition. Transition from being a dominant team in the NFC East to a team that now has to rebuild certain parts of their team to reach the high level they once obtained. I think this is a year where the Eagles realize that their team isn’t as good as they thought when the season started.

Keim: Do you see signs of Donovan being his old self? Is he done in Philly after this year?

Steuber: McNabb shows glimpses, but he isn’t consistent. I don’t think we can say that the injury is still bothering him; this may be the player he is at this point in his career. I think the only way McNabb is back in Philadelphia next season is if the Eagles make it to the Super Bowl. Outside of that, he’s gone.


Shawn Andrews shows some emotion.
Getty Images/Chris McGrath

Keim: What area has held this team back the most?

Steuber: It’s a mixture of things. I can’t point to one position and say, “This is what held them back.” It’s obvious to say McNabb, because he controls the ball the entire time the offense is on the field. But I’ve been a little disappointed with the interior offensive line. Shawn Andrews, Todd Herremans and Jamaal Jackson have to step up their game. The coaching has to get better. Reid always says he has to get his players in the right position to make plays, well I think he has to show that ability. There are a lot of problems on this team right now, and if they wait one more week to answer it the season is over.

Keim: Trent Cole has 9 sacks. What makes him so good?

Steuber: He’s a tough player who plays with a high motor. He never stops. He’s so quick off the edge and plays close to the ground. He gets underneath the opposition and uses his strength to fight off blocks. He’s been the Eagles most consistent player all season. It’s nice to see that one player will represent Philadelphia in Hawaii this year.

Keim: What must the Eagles do Sunday to win -- and will they win?

Steuber: The Eagles have to show offensive consistency and play team football. It seems like it’s every man for themselves on the field. The defense has played well. I’m not worried about them, but I want to see McNabb play to his full potential. The injury is old news and it’s time that he showed Eagles fans that he can lead this team again and take them to the next level. If the Eagles don’t show consistency on offense, they will lose. My prediction is: Redskins 27, Eagles 17.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber is the Editor in Chief of WarNest.com and an NFL Analyst for Scout.com. Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. If you have any questions for Chris, email him at: csteuber@scout.com.



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