When a team falls to 3-8 and plays the kind of crappy football the Eagles are, there is no reason to chart every game in great detail in the normal sense. There is a need to focus on the young and new players since they could be keys to the future. Obsessing on coaching decisions and veterans who might or might not return is somewhat pointless. With that in mind, here goes.
While I didn’t care about the outcome for any real reason, I did want the Eagles to win for the simple fact I wanted to enjoy watching the team for one night. When they got down 14-3 on a pair of embarrassing TD passes, I got really worried. Losing wasn’t going to kill me, but seeing the team fall apart would have been ugly. Reid might have been fired the next day and things might have really gotten wild.
Instead, the Eagles started making plays and the next thing you know it was 15-14, in our favor. That was very encouraging to see. You want the young guys and backups to show some professional pride, as well as showing us they can make some plays. The Eagles got the best of the 2nd and 3rd Qtrs, outscoring Carolina 19-7, but that wasn’t enough. It was a loss, but not an ugly won like the WAS, DAL, NO, and ATL games were. There were some positives in this game. I didn’t come away totally bummed.
Worth noting…the Eagles only had 16 plays in the 2nd half. There were 2 turnovers by Brown, a fumbled KOR, and a failed 4th down conversion. Drive killers/eliminators. Also, the defense could not stop the Panthers in the 4th Qtr. No punts. Ugh.
Does it matter? Reid stupidly went for 2 down 14-12 in the 1st half. He explained that on his chart that was the right move. If so, throw that chart away and get a new one.
I hated the call to run the ball on 4th/inches. QB sneak. Foles is 6-11, 375 pounds (approx). Why not let him fight for inches?
Other than that…nothing worth really discussing.
FOLES - Up and down game. 16-21-119. No TDs. No turnovers. But that was only due to the fact the Panthers had Edward Scissorhands playing in their secondary.
Nick didn’t make any “wow” throws. He did make a few very good passes. He got the ball to Jeremy Maclin on an out route. That ball was on time and accurate. Foles had good footwork and that helped him to deliver a strike. He threw a quick pass to Damaris Johnson on the right side. Nick didn’t have to read on the play, that’s where it was designed to go. He did get the ball out quickly and accurately. Johnson was able to get 8 yards on that play.
There were a couple of throws that worked, but could have been better. Nick hit Brent Celek down the seam for a good gain. That pass would have been even better if the ball got there half a second earlier. The DB hit Brent almost simultaneously as the ball arrived. I was surprised Brent held on. If the ball gets there just a nose quicker, Brent can turn and brace for the hit, which is what you’d prefer.
Foles threw mostly short stuff, but did launch one deep pass. He threw to Maclin about 50 yards downfield. Mac had a CB and S on him, but was open. Foles read the play and then fired the ball down toward Maclin. The pass fell incomplete, but PI was called on the Safety. Legit call, too. I think Foles threw the pass maybe a second or so late. The ball also hung up and Mac had to slow down for it. Foles must work on his deep accuracy and timing. He should have had a TD to Jackson last week. He should have had a TD to Mac this week. WRs don’t get open down the field every play. When they do and you have the protection, you must make the defense pay.
The bad side of Foles definitely showed on Monday night. He made some poor decisions. There were 2 in the Red Zone on the opening drive. Foles forced a ball on 1st down. Maclin was the receiver and was heavily covered. Foles made a dumb decision to force the ball into coverage. Just throw the ball away. On 2nd down Foles bobbled the snap. Looked like the play was going to be Flip 90 and Bryce Brown had room to run. Could have been a 1st down or TD if well executed. That wasn’t a mental error, unless he bobbled the snap because he was rattled by his 1st down pass. No way to know if that’s what happened. On 3rd down, Foles stared at his left and threw to the left slot. How bad was this? The CB broke in, the S broke in, and the CB covering the other WR to that side broke as well. You cannot lock onto a receiver like that. Good QBs will use their eyes to influence plays. Foles stared at a receiver and then threw him the ball. This is Rookie Ball 101…exactly what not to do.
Foles later threw across his body as he tried to get the ball to Bryce. That was almost picked off. Dumb decision. Foles also threw a short pass to Brent Celek that got him popped by the DE. That was another questionable decision. Celek didn’t know the defender was coming at him. The QB shouldn’t lead his receivers into big hits if he can help it.
Foles did make a good audible on a run play. CAR showed a double A-gap blitz. Foles checked into a different run and Brown was able to get upfield for the 1st down. Foles has the brain. He has the arm. He must work on handling the speed of the game. He needs to make better post-snap reads. He must trust his eyes. He must get the ball out quicker. These are standard rookie issues. They don’t mean Foles can’t play, but he must overcome them if he has a chance to be a successful starting QB. It would help to see progress this week, especially in the Red Zone and with the deep ball.
LEWIS - Backup RB. 5-24 with long run of 11. Solid showing. Hit the hole hard. Tough to bring down on one run. Elusive in traffic.
B BROWN – Huge game. 19-178-2. Had runs of 65, 24, 19, 19, and 11. Kinda decent, huh? Excellent combination of size, speed, and strength. His speed really stood out. Brown showed this in a few ways. He was able to get to the outside on edge runs. He was able to get to the second level when there was a hole at the line of scrimmage. He was also able to turn a good run into a long touchdown. Brown really showed an extra gear on that play. You don’t see 220-pound runners go 65 yards for a score very often. That was the Eagles’ longest run in a couple of years.
Brown showed good vision by being able to find the right hole to hit. I think vision is the most critical thing a RB needs. He must be able to read his blocks and find holes in the defense. On most plays, Brown stuck with the design. There was one run where he cut back all the way to the other side of the formation. Not only did Brown find the holes, he had the ability to get there. He ran hard, but stayed under control. He had good feet. Brown used his size and strength well. There were a couple of third down runs where he was stopped at the line, but ran through initial contact and got the first down.
I loved a run play that went to the outside left. Brown got a good block from King Dunlap and was out on the edge. He used his speed to get by a defender and then turned upfield. Brown had gained about 10 yards and had to deal with another defender. The easy move would have been to step out of bounds. Instead, Brown cut back to the inside and added almost another 10 yards to the run. That play went for a gain of 19. It drives me nuts when players voluntarily go out. The sideline doesn’t miss tackles. Always try to stay inbounds, especially if you aren’t a small guy.
I do want to stress that Brown wasn’t just getting lucky due to terrible defense. Both he and Shady had long runs in the Saints game due to their crappy D. The runs Brown had vs CAR were due to good blocking and skill. I did mention in my preview that Brown’s N-S style of running might do well with the current OL. Blocks don’t have to be perfect. They don’t need to be sustained as long. Shady’s style of running puts a lot of pressure on the OL. Brown’s actually is easier on them.
As exciting as it was to see Brown light it up and look like a star runner, he had a pair of very costly fumbles. Both came in the second half and hurt the Eagles’ chances to win the game. Brown must learn that fumbles won’t be tolerated. All those yards and big plays are no good if you can’t be trusted to keep the ball.
One interesting note…one successful play was the direct snap to Brown. Foles acted as if the ball was over his head, but he snap went to Brown. This worked well 3 times, but resulted in a TFL after that.
HAVILI - We did very little from the I-formation. There were a couple of good blocks, but we ran from the shotgun quite a bit.
CELEK - 2-19. Gain of 16 on seam route. Gain of 3 on dump pass. Took big hits on both. Very good game as a blocker. Did a good job of sealing the edge on outside runs. Got on LBs on runs up the field. Also helped Kelly in pass pro on several plays. Did a good job.
HARBOR - Didn’t play much.
MACLIN - 5-55. Ran good routes. Actually showed some effort as a blocker. That was encouraging.
D JACKSON – 1-9 as receiver. Got hurt running an end around. Only gained 2 yards when DE drove him into the ground and broke a couple of ribs.
COOPER - 1-7. Only had 2 passes come his way. Had a very good game as a blocker. Came in and got a S on 19-yd run to his side. Sealed defender on short TD run. You want big WRs to make an impact in the run game and Cooper did just that.
D JOHNSON – Only caught 2 passes for 13 yds. I do like the way he plays. Doesn’t look like a rookie. Runs good routes. Catches the ball naturally. No hesitation. Had a good block on Brown’s long TD run. If he doesn’t do his part, the play gains 5 yards, not 65.
DUNLAP - Had a solid game, believe it or not. Did give up a sack.
MATHIS – Good game.
REYNOLDS - An improving player. Has become very effective on fold blocks. That’s when the G down blocks and the C pulls around him to take out a LB. Those blocks led to good gains by Brown on a few runs. Did a good job on the 2nd level. I would say he had a flat out good game, but there were a couple of problems. Biggest issue was on 4th/inches. Got driven back by DT and that blew up the play. Reynolds has worked hard to move quickly at the snap. The problem is that by focusing on quickness, he’s not able to be as strong at the point of attack. Will occasionally get driven back off the ball.
SCOTT - Good game. Did have another false start.
KELLY - Got his 2nd start at RT. He showed good progress from last week. Kelly missed a few blocks, but had a solid night overall. He was comfortable in pass protection. He moved his feet well. There was one play where Charles Johnson fired off the ball. Kelly engaged him and sustained the block for a second. Johnson fought off the block, but Kelly stuck with it and rode him wide so that Foles still had a clean pocket. That’s what you want to see from a young tackle. Kelly was good initially, but then didn’t panic when the defender got loose. This is the NFL. Players don’t stay blocked. You must be able to stay with them.
Kelly’s pass pro skills are solid. He moves his feet pretty well. He is quick off the ball. Takes good angles. He isn’t a great athlete, but could become a Runyan-like pass blocker. When DEs start to get by him, Kelly will use his hands to ride the rusher wide/deep. Kelly did get plenty of help from Celek. The coaches tried to protect Kelly so he wasn’t 1-on-1 over and over.
Kelly did some good things in the run game. He had a key block on Brown’s long touchdown run. The defensive end on Kelly’s side dropped back at the snap (due to a zone blitz). Kelly made sure the guy stayed back. Then Kelly stepped upfield and sealed the linebacker. That gave Brown a clean alley to run through. Kelly stayed active on run plays that went away from him. He got linebackers on some. Other times he sealed a backside lineman. Kelly didn’t stop and watch. He found someone to block.
The bad blocks came in run and pass. Kelly failed to control Charles Johnson on a run to the right side. CJ got off the block and stripped the ball from Brown, who wasn’t expecting contact at that part of the run. CJ also drove Kelly back in pass pro on the play where Foles was sacked. The RDE got the sack, but Foles had nowhere to go since Kelly had been driven back to him.
At the least, Kelly is showing he could be a good backup OT. I think he’s shown starting potential.
COLE - Woke up. Had 2 TFLs. Just missed a sack. Got by the LT and hit Newton just after the ball was out (screen pass). Credited with 4 solo stops. Did lose contain on at least one play to his side.
BABIN - Very undisciplined, which I think helped cause his release. Lost contain on a handful of plays. Worst one was final 3rd down play. Took hard inside angle after play fake and let Newton roll out and have time/space to get the pass off cleanly. Worst part of that play is that CAR ran it at the end of the 1st half. Jason had seen it, but fell for it the 2nd time. Also had a dumb offside call late in the game. Did hustle. Chased the ball all over. Just didn’t do it within the framework of the scheme. 4 tackles. Credited with a sack.
LANDRI - Had a TFL.
JENKINS - Quiet game.
TAPP - Barely played, which was good.
GRAHAM - Backup LDE. Gave up contain on one play when he went inside and got close to sacking Newton. Mostly bull-rushed. Does that a lot normally, but I wondered if this was partially by design to try and box in Newton on pass plays. Credited with 1 tackle.
COX - Got hurt early and left the game. Only 5 snaps.
PATT - Had a nice sack. We ran a stunt where the LDE, LDT slanted inside and Patt looped around them. Newton tried to fake Patt out, but didn’t work and he went down. Led all DTs with 44 snaps.
THORNTON - Got push/penetration on a few plays, but didn’t make any plays.
CURRY - First NFL game. He was credited with 5 tackles. He didn’t get a sack, but came close. Unfortunately, Cam Newton showed how elusive he is and got away. Curry didn’t give up on the play and chased Newton down. Newton gained 3 yards, but you love to see a young player sticking with the play like that. Don’t give up.
Curry played at right end. He was quick off the ball, but not explosive. I thought he showed good strength when he used his bull rush. Curry gave excellent effort. He was effective against the run. With the release of Jason Babin, Curry should get regular playing time the rest of the way. I look forward to seeing what he can do. If he continues to bring that kind of energy to the field, I think he’ll get his first sack in the next few weeks.
KENDRICKS - Up and down game. Credited with 3 tackles. Did a good job in coverage. Highlight moment was when he covered Steve Smith on a crossing route near the goal line. Stuck right with him and broke up the pass. Didn’t look good in the 4th Qtr. Called for holding on 2nd/14 pass play. Pass was incomplete so it would have been 3rd/14 if not for the penalty. Dumb. Didn’t play the run well late. Needed to get off blocks and to the ball.
RYANS - Good game. Typical DeMeco…10 tackles, 1 TFL. I loved one pass play when he knocked a receiver to the ground as the guy was trying to run his route. Did it right at the LOS so it was legal.
JORDAN - 2 tackles, 1 TFL. Played CAR’s option well a couple of times.
ALLEN - Had 3 tackles. Covered well, man-to-man, on some plays.
COLEMAN - Not a good game. Involved in 2 easy TDs. Fell for a look-off by Newton and left the middle of the field wide open for long TD to TE. Blitzed on later play. So did slot guy on other side. One was at fault. Kurt’s blitz came from deep and he didn’t get anywhere near Newton. Tackling was erratic. Whiffed on Newton inside the RZ. Had some other coverage issues as well.
I’m not going to comment on the CBs as individuals. There were several blown coverages where it was very hard to tell who was at fault. Nobody had a good game. All of them gave up completions. None of them did much as tacklers. Other than that, great game.
MCBRIAR - 2-82. 1 punt inside the 20. Neither was returned.
HENERY - 3 of 3 on FGs. 1 touchback on 6 KOs.
PR – Damaris had his best night. 2-32. One PR got 18, the other 14. Elusive on both. Came close to breaking one, but didn’t have the speed to get loose.
KOR – Boykin had his best return of the year, going for 44 yards. Unfortunately, he fumbled on the play. That’s the 2012 Eagles in a nutshell.
* Colt Anderson had a couple of really good tackles on KOs. Both came inside the 20-yd line.
* Casey Matthews got blown up by a block on KOR. Drew a flag for illegal hit.