Who’s Your Daddy?

Posted: November 20th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 239 Comments »

The Eagles came out red hot and then went into a bit of a funk. They trailed 9-7 at the half. The coaches made some adjustments and the Eagles dominated the 2nd half. They ended up winning 37-9.

Things got so ugly that Dallas pulled Dak Prescott and just tried to run out the clock late in the game.

The Eagles won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

Rushing:  PHI 215, DAL 112

Sacks:  PHI 4, DAL 0

The 2nd half was just a total butt-kicking. The Eagles hadn’t run the ball much in the 1st half. They started feeding the ball to the backs and those guys produced. Jay Ajayi had the huge play with his 71-yard run. Dallas had to fight for every yard. It had to be soul-crushing to watch him run up the middle basically untouched for a gain like that.

The game was strange because PK Jake Elliott took a hit to the head and didn’t play the final three quarters. That meant the Eagles couldn’t kick FGs or extra points. They went for it on 4th downs inside the 40 and then went for two after TDs.

LB Kamu Grugier-Hill handled the KO duties and did an amazing job. He actually put the ball into the end zone a couple of times. He even had a touchback!!! This team has the Next Man Up vibe unlike any team I’ve ever seen.

There were a lot of heroes in this game.

  • Derek Barnett had 2 sacks and was disruptive throughout the game. His strip-sack led to a FR score by Nigel Bradham.
  • Ronald Darby came back for the first time since the opener and played well. He got away with an early PI in the end zone, but did a good job on Dez Bryant. Darby also picked off a pass.
  • Alshon Jeffery has been huge the last couple of games. He was 4-67-1 and some of those catches were tough grabs. He’s coming up big when this team needs it.
  • The RBs. Ajayi ran for 87 yards, Blount ran for 57 and Clement ran for 50, including a TD. Kenjon Barner had a huge catch early in the game and ran for a TD as well.

As for the marquee QB matchup…no contest. Carson Wentz was off tonight, but made clutch plays and ended up with 2 TD passes. Dak Prescott struggled all game long. He had to deal with a lot of pressure, but made some terrible mistakes. He threw 3 INTs and fumbled once. He also was just off target on some of his throws, both high and low. Dallas needed Dak to step up tonight and play like a star. Didn’t happen. 18-31-145 with no TDs and 3 picks.

The Eagles are now 9-1. They have a four-game lead in the division and have the best record in the league. This team has won three blowouts in a row and seems to be coming together at the right time.

Life is good.

*****

Man is it fun to go win down there.

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Gameday – PHI at DAL

Posted: November 19th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 939 Comments »

Less than an hour to go. The inactives are in.

No shockers for the Eagles. Beatty and Ellerbe are new and still learning the playbook. Smallwood has fallen behind Clement and Ajayi.

All the drama about Tyron Smith is over. He is out. Lee and Heath are defensive starters that will miss the game.

Advantage Eagles.

*****

I am curious to see how the Eagles defend Prescott the runner. He is good in short yardage, goal line and Red Zone situations. You have to account for him. The Eagles had some issues with Alex Smith and Cam Newton. They need to learn from that and play better against Dak.

*****

I re-watched most of the game from Dallas last year. It is amazing how different Nelson Agholor is. He looks physically different. We certainly know he’s playing a lot better.

I will not miss watching Leodis McKelvin try to shut down Dez Bryant. What a mismatch.

Bennie Logan missed that game due to injury. You had Graham-Cox-Allen-Barwin as the starters. Smith-Vaeao-Curry were the backups. The DL is better and deeper this year. The Dallas OL has a major challenge ahead of them.

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D-Day

Posted: November 19th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 34 Comments »

Only a few hours left.

This is a game the Eagles should win.

This is a game the Cowboys can win.

Let me repeat that last part…the Cowboys can win. Sure, they are missing some key parts, but they have a stud QB and other good players. This won’t be the Cleveland Browns out there.

Dak Prescott will need to play a great game on offense and then guys like David Irving and Demarcus Lawrence would need to make impact plays on defense. Those guys have combined for 17.5 sacks and 4 FFs this year. They can make big time plays.

In order for Prescott to play well, the OL has to play infinitely better than they did last week. Byron Bell will start at LT and that doesn’t bode well for Prescott. He’ll be better than Chaz Green, but Bell isn’t a natural LT.

Like I said, this is a game the Eagles should win.

I wrote more on the game for PE.com.

*****

Update on the historically good Eagles run defense.

If the Eagles shut down the Dallas run game and put the ball in Prescott’s hands, that will put even more pressure on him and the OL. Another advantage for the Eagles.

Sunset Shazz put together another outstanding piece on the Eagles, putting their run defense into context. They really are making teams one-dimensional and that has worked really well so far this year.

*****

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Whole Lotta Crazy

Posted: November 18th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 232 Comments »

It feels funny to say the Eagles are healthy when Jason Peters, Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, Chris Maragos and Caleb Sturgis are all on IR. But the NFL is weird when it comes to injuries. Guys on IR are in some kind of limbo. We know they exist, but they no longer matter. The guys who do matter are the ones who can play on Sunday.

Doug Pederson said Jeffery has had a nagging ankle issue. This is more of a nuisance than a major concern. That pales in comparison to what the Cowboys are dealing with.

S Jeff Heath is officially out. That means the defense will be missing a couple of key pieces from the middle of the field, with Sean Lee also out. It sounds like Tyron Smith is going to miss the game and we know Ezekiel Elliott won’t be playing.

Having a healthy team as you go hit the heart of the season is huge. This is when you want to start to peak. The Eagles are coming off a pair of blowout wins and do seem to be trending in the right direction. Winning is good, but playing at a high level is even better. The Giants went 11-5 last year, but had a lot of ugly, close wins in there. They got to the postseason and were blown out by the Packers. The postseason will tell you who is a good team and who isn’t.

The Eagles are no fraud. This team is legit, in part because they are healthy. They have moved past the injuries and the replacements have settled into their roles, some even thriving.

Big V is settling in as the LT. He’s no Jason Peters, but has proven to be an effective starter so far. Mychal Kendricks has replaced Hicks and is playing the best football of his career. Kendricks has been a force on the field. Jake Elliott is having an amazing season. He’s doing things we have never seen an Eagles kicker do.

No one man could replace Sproles. Kenjon Barner filled his shoes as the PR. Corey Clement has taken his spot as the 3rd down back. The Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi to add a veteran RB who can be more of a workhorse. Barner has been solid as a returner. Clement just had the two best games of his young career. Ajayi looks like he could be a huge addition to the offense.

Stability is huge for a football team. You don’t want players that are in and out of the lineup. That hurts continuity. We saw that last year as Big V took over at RT and then he got hurt. That meant another change. Then Brandon Brooks missed some time. That meant a change at RG. The line was moving guys around every week and that led to a lot of problems.

The replacements have stayed healthy and played well this year. Just look at the 8-1 record and you can see the difference that makes.

*****

Speaking of injuries…

The Seattle game in a few weeks is a bit less daunting now. Two-thirds of the Legion of Boom will be watching the game, with only Earl Thomas on the field.

I can’t recall a year when so many good players got hurt. Injuries are the worst part of football.

*****

The Dallas game is on Sunday night. The Seattle game is also SNF. There is speculation the Rams game could be flexed to SNF. The Raiders game on Christmas will also be SNF.

Your Sunday afternoons will be open a lot. This is about the only downside to your team having a great season. You now have to sit and wait for the primetime game to kickoff.

*****

Sad news from the world of music today. Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist for AC/DC, died.

I just happened to listen to several of their songs this week on the radio and remembered just how much I love that band. They were on my mind this week because of that. I would find myself randomly singing “Whole Lotta Rosie”.

Malcolm will be missed, but not forgotten.

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Big D

Posted: November 17th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 124 Comments »

D can stand for defense. It certainly has in Philadelphia over the years.

D can stand for Dallas.

On Sunday night, D will stand for desperate.

Dallas is 5-4. Should they lose to the Eagles, they would drop to 5-5 and trail the Eagles by four games. Really it would be five since the Eagles would hold the tiebreaker if they win on Sunday. There are only six games left after Sunday so trailing by four or five doesn’t make a huge difference. Either way, Dallas would be…DESPERATE.

The Cowboys aren’t assured of a wild card berth. They have a 4-3 record in NFC games. A loss on Sunday would drop them to .500 in those and that makes tiebreakers tough down the line. Carolina and Atlanta could be WC teams from the South. Seattle could be one from the West. Detroit and Green Bay are still alive in the North. Those teams will be competing for two spots.

Dallas knows the predicament they’re in. They will plan and play accordingly.

You saw them trying some different things last week. They forced the ball to Dez Bryant early in the game to try to get him going. They threw the ball to backup RB Rod Smith. Dak Prescott ran the ball nine times (only 23 the rest of the season). Dallas ran a fake punt.

It was almost as if Jason Garrett knew the team had to take chances and mix things up last week. They were going up against a 4-4 Falcons team that had given up 20 or more points for seven straight weeks.

It will be interesting to see what Dallas does this week. You could imagine Garrett coming up with some edgy gameplan and throwing the ball 40 times and doing something completely different. Or he could play very conservative and use six O-linemen on a regular basis.

Dallas might be wounded, but they are still dangerous. The pressure is going to be on Dak Prescott to carry this team. He couldn’t do that against Atlanta, but the coaches did a poor job of helping him. They didn’t use creative blocking to aid the LT. They left Chaz Green all on his own, as if this was just another game. That didn’t make any sense to me, especially coming from Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan, a couple of quality offensive minds.

Garrett and Linehan won’t repeat that mistake. They will use TEs and RBs to double-team or chip block on the RDE. They will use extra linemen in some sets. They will do a better job of protecting Prescott. They certainly can’t do much worse.

It will be fun to see the chess match between the Dallas staff and Jim Schwartz. He has talked about wanting to blitz mobile QBs in the past. He could come out and be very aggressive, but you also run the risk of letting Dallas beat you for a big play. Are they good enough to methodically march the ball down the field without Tyron Smith and Ezekiell Elliott? They weren’t last week.

Dallas will pull out all the stops to try and win this game. They know just how much this means. A win keeps their season very much alive. A loss is the first nail in their playoff coffin (or should I say the 5th?).

The fun aspect of this for the Eagles is that they don’t have to do anything special. They will win this game if they play good football and avoid major mistakes. Dallas is the team that has to come up with creative ways to get big plays on offense and defense. The Eagles have been that team in the past and it isn’t a whole lot of fun.

Life is a lot better when your team is playing well. I would say the Eagles are healthy, but that would be misleading. They’ll be missing some key guys, but have enough talent behind them to keep playing at a high level.

*****

Carson Wentz has a serious shot at NFL MVP. The last Eagle to do that was Derek Landri in 2011. I’m going off memory there, but I’m pretty sure that’s right.

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