Posted: August 21st, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 29 Comments »
It sure is a lot more fun when the Eagles play well, huh? They certainly did look good on Thursday night. That said, we cannot ignore just how bad the Steelers looked. Was Mike Tomlin coaching that team or Mike McMahon? Yikes.
Quick thoughts on the game
* Nick Foles was erratic early, but then seemed to get into rhythm. Played well overall.
* Welcome back, Jeremy Maclin. That was his best showing since the 2012 season. He didn’t do anything great, but had a good game. I was encouraged to see him block well and also work the middle of the field.
* Goodbye Jeremy Maclin. Or so it seemed for a moment. He went down awkwardly in the 1st quarter and all of us were scared. Luckily, Maclin was able to come back to the game and he’s just fine.
* The OL had another good outing. RT Allen Barbre struggled in pass pro early, but it looked like he settled down after that.
* The defense eliminated many of the mistakes they’ve been making and suddenly they look worlds better. Also helped to have Nolan Carroll in place of Curtis Marsh.
* Beau Allen got time with the starters and looked good.
* Mychal Kendricks was terrific. He flew around the field and made tackles. He blitzed on one play and forced an INT.
* I have no idea what to make of Chris Polk vs Matt Tucker vs Henry Josey. Polk has the most experience and is the most versatile. Tucker has looked the best this summer. Josey is the most explosive of the group.
* Travis Long played a lot of snaps at ILB. The Eagles want to know if he can handle both ILB and OLB. That would give him a boost in his quest to make the roster.
* Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham played well. Graham beat the LT for a strip sack.
* LT Andrew Gardner and LG Matt Tobin had another good game. Remember when OL depth was a major concern?
* WR B.J. Cunningham had a terrific TD catch wiped out by a penalty.
* TE Trey Burton flashed. Definite PS candidate.
* OG Michael Bamiro is playing like he’s ready to get on with his post-football life. Ugh.
* Alex Henery had better depth on his kickoffs. And then he missed a chip shot FG. Ugh.
* The Steelers were just 17-58 on the ground. The Eagles were 35-182-3. The Eagles were more talented, but also seemed like they were the more physical team.
* Mark Sanchez had another strong outing. There shouldn’t be any questions about backup QB.
All in all, it was a good night.
Posted: August 21st, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 156 Comments »
This is the Eagles team we’ve been waiting for. Productive offense, solid defense.
The Steelers look like a mess. Preseason road games tend to bring out the worst in teams (just see the previous 2 weeks).
Lots of interesting stuff to discuss after the game. Fingers crossed on staying healthy.
Posted: August 21st, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 334 Comments »
Stay healthy. Get the ball to the WRs. Keep the opponent under 40 points.
How are those for some goals?
Posted: August 21st, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 102 Comments »
Move over Alex Henery and Carey Spear. There is a new guy in town and his name is Cody Parkey. The Eagles dealt RB David Fluellen to the Colts for Parkey, a rookie PK from Auburn.
We don’t know a lot about Parkey. PE.com did have some details.
Undrafted out of Auburn, Parkey signed with the Colts following this spring’s NFL Draft. He went 2-for-2 on field goals with the Colts during the preseason, including a 45-yarder. At Auburn, Parkey finished his senior season 14-of-19 on field goals while ranking first in the nation with 69 touchbacks.
That last bit of info is key. Parkey has a strong leg and is very good on kickoffs. Even if Parkey isn’t good enough to win a roster spot now, he could be a practice squad candidate. It will be interesting to see how much work Parkey gets in the next 2 games.
As for Fluellen, he was impressive in the preseason opener, going 6-25 on the ground. I didn’t think he had NFL athletic ability based on college tape, but he was better than expected that day. Still, those numbers don’t jump out the way that Henry Josey’s did (8-56). Chip Kelly loves big plays. He’s going to side with the more explosive RB over the bigger guy in a lot of situations. He certainly did in this case. Fluellen’s health is also a factor. He missed the last game and UDFAs can’t afford to be hurt at this time of the year.
Good luck to Fluellen in Indy.
* * * * *
Is it fair for Chip (and other NFL coaches) to pressure players in the summer? Unfortunately, yes.
Football is a hard sport. Durability is generally the most underrated trait among players. We talk about guys being injury prone in regard to season-ending injuries (ACLs, shoulders, etc.), but we don’t always appreciate how hard it is for guys to make it through the daily grind and not have a sore back, hyperextended knee, sprained elbow, bum ankle, hamstring, etc.
Nolan Carroll was great in camp. But we have yet to see him in a preseason game. Curtis Marsh and Roc Carmichael haven’t exactly lit it up, but at least they’ve been on the field.
One of the key reasons David Fluellen was dealt is that he’s hurt. Chris Polk is under extreme pressure to get back on the field and show what he can do. The Eagles like him, but if he can’t go, he’s useless to the team. That’s the harsh, cruel reality of the NFL.
I really hope Polk and Tucker are able to go next week. Play well in the finale and a lot can be forgiven. Miss any more time and the Eagles might be looking for another RB.
* * * * *
A few of you had some questions you wanted answered.
Why didn’t the Eagles address ILB in the draft? Let’s focus on a couple of points here. First, let’s not make a mountain out of a mole hill. The Eagles have good starting ILBs. The question comes with the backups. And even that isn’t some crisis. Najee Goode played well off the bench last year. He might be just fine as the #3 ILB this year.
The disappointment is that Jason Phillips couldn’t make the full comeback from his ACL injury, Jake Knott hasn’t been healthy this summer and Emmanuel Acho looks so-so, but not nearly as good as he did last year.
All that said, the Eagles did want an ILB in the draft. The right guy wasn’t available at the right spot. ILB will be more of a priority position this year since DeMeco Ryans isn’t getting any younger.
What is the point of cross-training LBs? Is that hard? Chip Kelly has done this kind of stuff since he got here. Remember Clay Harbor at LB and Jason Avant at DB? Kelly wants to get the most out his gameday roster that he absolutely can. That means backups often need to know multiple positions.
I think Long can play ILB. He lacks the ideal speed and range, but he is tough and relentless. He’s not afraid to battle blockers so he can stay clean on the inside and then get to the ball. And remember that we’re not looking for someone to be good at this. The only way one of these guys plays is due to lots of injuries. The player just has to be good enough.
Barner as a RS. Kenjon Barner isn’t Devin Hester or Brian Mitchell, but he does have experience. He posted solid stats at Oregon. He returned both punts and kickoffs. He had a TD in each category. No one is trying to make the guy out to be some star, but that’s a successful college track record as a RS. He’s not here in Philly to be The Guy, but rather to add depth and challenge for a spot.
Posted: August 20th, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 126 Comments »
Jason Phillips is out. He had played okay through 2 games, but my guess is that the Eagles saw he no longer had the agility or athleticism to play in the NFL. He could attack downhill, but that’s just not enough in the NFL. ILBs must be able to cover a lot of space. They must be able to tackle athletes in tough one-on-one situations. That requires agility and body control.
The starting ILBs look just fine. That’s the good news.
Behind them is a bit of a mystery. Najee Goode is the #3 ILB. He played well last year. He played well in camp. But he has yet to stand out during the games. That’s not really a concern, but it would make you feel better if he had one game where you could go “Yep, that’s exactly what we wanted to see.”
After Goode, things are wide open. Jake Knott is the player the team hoped would have the #4 spot. Things are very complicated with him. Knott is suspended for the first 4 games of the year. Just as bad, he’s been hurt part of the summer. Knott hasn’t played yet in the preseason. The team would really love to get a feel for where he is. They need him to play in a game.
Emmanuel Acho looked like a combination of Byron Evans, Jeremiah Trotter and Chuck Bednarik last summer. He made a ton of plays in the preseaon. This year he’s been okay, but hasn’t stood out at all. He could be the #4 ILB for now, but that’s hardly written in stone.
Believe it or not, Casey Matthews can still make this team. He can be a good STer and he can play ILB or OLB. Chip Kelly loves versatility. Josh Kaddu is the forgotten man at ILB. He’s last into the games. Kaddu is the longest of long shots. Reportedly, Travis Long will get crosstrained. The Eagles like him as an OLB, but will also get him snaps at ILB.
You can bet the Eagles will be scanning the waiver wire to see who gets cut. Keep in mind, they don’t need a starter. They don’t need a veteran. The Eagles are looking for depth. There could be some player from recent drafts that gets cut who the Eagles had interest in. They don’t have to make a move, but if the right guy is available, they certainly could.
* * * * *
More on the RB situation.
Someone posed the question that “shouldn’t the Eagles have just kept Bryce Brown?”. No. The Eagles got really good value for him. And remember that Darren Sproles has taken his spot as the primary backup. Also, the Eagles want help in the return game. Brown got mixed in there a bit, but it wasn’t an area where he was much help. Barner has a track record of success from college. We’ll have to see how that translates to the NFL.
Should we be annoyed at adding another Oregon player? I’m not. Chip can add as many Oregon players as he wants, as long as they can fill the required role. If Chip names Barner the starting RB over Shady, I’ve got a problem. If he says Barner is here to compete for a spot in the RB rotation, I’m fine with that.
Chip isn’t over-drafting Oregon players. He’s not handing them deals that are out of line. He’s not giving them starting jobs for no reason. As of now, all of them are backups and role players.
Some of the guys are camp bodies. You have a 90-man roster. There aren’t always 90 guys available that you have a high grade on or think can definitely play in the league. Josh Kaddu and Will Murphy are camp bodies. They have virtually no chance of ever becoming NFL players. How many people remember WR McKay Jacobson or MLB Terence Thomas? They were camp bodies from late in the Reid era. I have no problem with Chip choosing some camp bodies from Oregon. Practice is critical for Kelly. He needs things done a certain way. If the 89th and 90th guys on the team already know how to practice, that saves the coaches having to spend time teaching guys that have no chance. Isn’t that actually a good thing?