Behind Enemy Lines Part 2

Patriots Insiders Jon Scott asked Warnest Editor in Chief Chris Steuber questions regarding tonight's Eagles/Patriots game. Steuber discussed Donovan McNabb's future, how the Eagles will defend the Patriots receivers, and if the Eagles can overcome the odds and defeat New England. All of that and much more inside...

Jon Scott: Is Donovan McNabb playing at the same level he has played at in the past, or are there concerns his time may be coming to end in Philadelphia?

Chris Steuber: McNabb’s time in Philly appears to be over. I think he knows that his time is up and it’s only a matter of time until he’s benched and no longer an important part of the team.

Scott: Jevon Kearse was reportedly benched for poor performance this season.  What is the story with Kearse and what do you expect out of him down the road?

Steuber: Just like McNabb, Kearse has worn out his welcome in Philadelphia. Kearse has been a major disappointment since he signed his eight-year, $66 million contract in 2004. Kearse's benching against Miami was the first step in the Eagles deciding to give the former "Freak" his out right release. I don’t expect much from Kearse the rest of the season.

Scott: Brian Westbrook seems to have been a big part of the Eagles offense for a long time.  How important is having Westbrook on the team and what type of impact do you think he has on the Patriots game?

Steuber: Westbrook is the entire Eagles offense at this point. If he’s not in the lineup, the Eagles don’t score points. It’s as simple as that. If the Patriots take away Westbrook then they take away the Eagles offense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a spy on Westbrook all game. The only way the Eagles have a chance to keep this game competitive is for Westbrook to have a breakout game.

Scott: Why are struggling in the NFC East division?  Is it the competition or is there something affecting the Eagles’ performance?

Steuber: Obviously the Cowboys are very good, but I think the Eagles over evaluated their talent and they’re not as good as they thought. You can’t point the finger at one person for the Eagles struggles this season, because it’s a team effort in a win or a loss, but Andy Reid’s off the field problems, along with McNabb’s injury situation hasn’t helped matters this season. There is too much controversy surrounding this team and it has definitely hurt their performance on the field this year.


Takeo Spikes
Al Bello/Getty Images

Scott: How has the loss of players from last season affected the team’s makeup this year? (pros, cons…)

Steuber: I don’t think the loss of any player has hurt the Eagles this season, I just don’t think the players they have are playing up to their full potential. There are a handful of players that are playing up to their talents: Trent Cole, Juqua Thomas, Takeo Spikes, Kevin Curtis and Westbrook. Everyone else is struggling, battling injuries, or not pulling their own weight.

Scott: Donovan McNabb weighed in on “spygate” saying he wanted his Super Bowl ring back.  What is the sentiment regarding the Patriots Super Bowl 39 victory and how much has “spygate” impacted the impression down there of this year’s Patriots?

Steuber: I think it was a topic for about a week, when the investigation took place, but besides that it has been very quite on that front. For McNabb to say he wants his ring back, that’s a ridiculous statement, especially since he never had it in the first place and his play in the Super Bowl didn’t warrant a championship ring.

Scott: How will the Eagles contain Randy Moss, Wes Welker and the Patriots high powered passing attack?

Steuber: That’s a great question, considering nobody else in the league has been able too. That’s a tough assignment for any secondary, let alone a defensive backfield that’s been battling injuries all season long. I think Reid has faith in his corners and safeties, but I don’t think you can contain those guys; you just have to try to keep them in front of you.

Scott: Much has been made of Andy Reid’s kids’ troubles.  How much do you think that has impacted the team?

Steuber: He says it hasn’t affected his team, but it’s obvious something has stalled their growth. Reid won’t comment on the situation, but anytime you have family problems it’s going to impact some portion of your everyday life. And it appears his personal life has interfered with his professional focus.

Scott: Bill Belichick is well known for taking away the opponent’s best weapons on offense and challenging the other team to beat the Patriots using plan B.  What do you think Belichick will try to take away, and what is Philadelphia’s plan B?

Steuber: Westbrook has to be his primary target to take away. If Belichick is successful taking Westbrook out of the Eagles offense, you won’t see any offensive flow. So to answer your question, if Westbrook is out of the picture, the Eagles don’t have a plan B, especially if McNabb is sidelined with his injuries.

Scott: The Eagles were 23 point underdogs at one point this week – the highest ever for a non-expansion team.  It’s a pretty sizable point spread for any team. Do you think Vegas is disrespecting the Eagles, or do you see that much trouble for Philadelphia this weekend?

Steuber: How can argue with it? The Patriots are as dominant a team as I’ve ever seen. I don’t think Vegas is disrespecting the Eagles in anyway with the point spread, it’s just the nature of the beast. The Eagles have been inconsistent all season and they haven’t given anyone an indication that this week will be any different.

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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