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Bag the wildcat

It's time to put the tricks away.

The Eagles will be about a 3-point favorite this Sunday afternoon in Washington. This would not have been true a couple of weeks ago. It speaks to the turnaround, the opposite-directions turnaround, of both teams. Talks about ships passing in the night...

That said, this is the most serious of business now for the Eagles. They're limping a little bit in the red zone, which happens to them sometime, but this Wildcat formation, with its direct snap to wide receiver DeSean Jackson and the hilarity that ensues, is not the answer. They really should put it away at this point.

It's not revolutionary because everybody does it in the NFL anymore -- well, almost everybody. The Eagles have shown it plenty of times on film now. Nobody will be shocked if they line up that way. And if it might have made some sense early on, especially when Brian Westbrook was limping some and Donovan McNabb was misfiring some and this offense was craving big plays to paper over its problems, well, that isn't the case anymore. Westbrook and McNabb look like themselves again. There is no need to fool around anymore.

Or, rather, put it this way: if you're going to do, don't do it near the goal line. Middle of the field, knock yourself out -- as long as Jackson doesn't get to throw the ball anymore (which Reid promised would be the case last night after Jackson threw an end zone interception). Direct snap, let him run it on a play where you want to give Westbrook a blow, fine. But that's it.

For anybody -- that is, everybody -- who pays attention to the Eagles' run-pass ratio, they threw it 63 percent of the time while McNabb was in the game against the Browns, which is their typical deal. McNabb is in a nice groove here. He still doesn't throw the fade pass very well but he made a lot of nice throws against Cleveland. The key words, of course: against Cleveland.

But the point is, physically and mentally, they look ready to throw their best punch -- especially backed by a defense that is playing as well as it has all year.

So throw the punch. Put the Wildcat in the kennel, or wherever.