Gameday – Panthers Edition

Posted: November 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 27 Comments »

In just 9 7 hours, the Eagles will be a taking the field on MNF and getting ready to beat the Carolina Panthers.  That is the first step in an unlikely journey to the Super Bowl.  You guys are with me, right?

Okay, maybe not so much.  I’m just desperate to see the 6-game losing streak end.  Forget about draft position and the future.  I need a win.  I need to be happy, whether for 3 hours or just 5 minutes.  All this losing isn’t good for my soul or my sanity.  I think Lindsay Lohan has a better state of mind right now than I do.

I wrote a preview of the game for PE.com.

Jimmy Bama covered the Panthers option attack the other day.

Here is a podcast with us previewing the game.

* * * * *

I look forward to seeing Nick Foles in action.  He played pretty well in the Dallas game, but struggled last week, especially as the game got out of hand.  Les Bowen spoke to QB coach Doug Pederson about Foles.  Pederson said some interesting things.  They focused this week on getting Foles to stay consistent with his footwork/mechanics and not to let the game get to him.  If you rush your drop, you’ll be off target.  If you’re too slow, you’ll be off target.  Just relax and play.

I was happy to hear that Foles was down on himself because he felt he let his teammates down.  This is the kind of mentality you want in a young QB.  He could talk about the backup OL or defense giving up big plays, but instead focuses on himself and what he can do better.  I don’t know if Nick will pan out as the long term QB, but he’s got the right approach.  He’s more mature than most rookie QBs I’ve seen over the years.

Carolina doesn’t have a great pass defense.  Their DBs are vulnerable.  Of course, we said the same thing last week about the Skins.  That didn’t exactly work out for us.  I do think Nick will have some chances.  He must take advantage of them.  His receivers have to catch the ball.  The bobble/INT by Celek last week set the tone for the whole game.  Can’t have that again.  Nick must get the ball to his guys and they must make plays.

Can the OL do their job?  Huge question mark.  The starting OTs will be the same for the second week in a row.  That should help with continuity.  Charles Johnson is a short DE and could give Dunlap, Kelly problems by staying under them.  They’ll need to bend well and use their hands to ride him wide.  I hope run blocking against a 4-3 helps the run game.  Assignments can be easier since there aren’t LBs on  the move.

I think we need 17 points to win this game.  The skill players must make plays.  Foles must remain poised and get them the ball on time.  The OL must win their share of battles.

The defense did some good things in each of the last 2 games.  The challenge now is to put together 60 good minutes.  Jason Babin was good last week.  Can he and Trent Cole play well in the same game?  Is that too much to ask?  We finally get to see Vinny Curry in action.  I hope that means Darryl Tapp sits.

Need the LBs to play the run well.  Interested to see if Kendricks covers Greg Olsen a lot.  Greg is tall and gets a lot of passes up high.

How will the Eagles cover Steve Smith?  You could put DRC on him straight up or you could double him with Nnamdi and a Safety.  Could put Nnamdi on Olsen and have Curtis Marsh take his place at CB.

I know a lot of people are really down on Todd Bowles.  He was put in a real tough situation.  I think we’ll see a breakthrough one of these weeks.  Could be tonight.  Could be the season finale.  Would love to see the D have a good game so we could then see if they build on it or if it is strictly an anomaly.

QB have 4 straight games with 70 percent completions and QB ratings of 120 or more.  That must stop tonight. Cam Newton only topped those numbers once…vs the Saints in Week 2.  If he lights up the secondary tonight…ugh.  Don’t want to even imagine that.

I am excited to see MLB Luke Kuechly in action.  He’s played well for Carolina since moving from WLB to the middle.  He was my favorite player in last year’s draft.  It will be bittersweet to watch Bryce Brown give him a stiff-arm on the way to a 69-yard TD run.  I’ll find a way to deal with those emotions.  Don’t worry about me.

* * * * *

Sorry for the delay in getting this out.  I’ve spent the past 2 hours on Twitter having a lengthy discussion with Seth Joyner about Mike Vick.  That’s sentence I never thought I’d type.

_


  • ACViking

    T-Law:

    What sort of game plan do you expect from AR & MM?

    And, on the other side, what do you expect from SMcD?

    My money is on everything he ever learned from JJ, plus a couple of those wrinkles he used to beat Peyton Manning in 2010.

    But if Foles can just get the Eagles into the RZ agst McD . . . .

    • TommyLawlor

      Expect AR/MM to throw the ball, short and deep. Carolina Safeties aren’t great. Can get behind them. CBs aren’t special either. Use double moves on rookie Josh Norman.

      Think McD will be aggressive vs Foles. Make him uncomfortable with the blitz. Get him in known passing situations, then just rush 4 and cover.

      Both teams have good Red Zone defenses, believe it or not. PHI is #5, CAR is #7.

      http://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/stat/opponent-red-zone-scoring-pct

      Asante Samuel was a big reason for RZ struggles.

      • Pitmanite

        We usually give up our TDs well before the team gets into the redzone. Usually a deep pass beating Nnamdi as he is 5 yards away immediately looking around for the Safeties, as if to say “hey guys, i know it looks like I just got beat but it’s definitely not my fault. i mean seriously, WHERE WAS MY HELP?!”

  • T_S_O_P

    I look forward to waking tomorrow to find I have something to look forward to watching if that makes any sense.

    Leeds had lost 4 straight (well it seemed that way) before knocking off the best team in the division Saturday afternoon. I find my teams fortunes echo each other (which of course is impossible), so here’s to a tight Eagles victory.

    • pkeagle

      You do realise they beat the ‘Eagles’ who are my team (Crystal Palace) – for me it’s the opposite – when Palace started winning, Philadelphia started losing

  • bdbd20

    I hope AR found some of his 2003 gameplans. I’d like to see him really use Brown and Lewis in the running game call more play-action. Obviously, this depends on the defense’s ability to stop Cam.

  • T_S_O_P

    Hey I notice Aaron Rodger has a mo, I also saw that Marshall Faulk was sporting one too. Is it Movember over there too? I have 5 days of mine left. It is driving me crazy and looks just as good on me as it doesn’t on Aaron

    • TommyLawlor

      It is Movember here. Jason Kelce shaved his beard and grew an awesome handlebar ‘stache for charity.

      If your ‘stache looks like Rodgers…I’m sorry for you. Of course, I can’t even grow one that bad.

      • T_S_O_P

        That guys hair grows hair, he is unreal.

        Don’t be sorry for me, my wife needs the sympathy… or a clean shaven man… or both :-)

  • austinfan

    Couldn’t care less about wins and losses at this point, in fact, from a 2013 perspective, losses and higher draft position are preferable, all things being equal.

    However, one thing isn’t equal, that I want to see a bunch of young players shine, because what you lose in draft position you gain in improvement by players on the roster – but Babin collecting 4 sacks in the wide 9 means nothing to me.

    So I’m focused on:
    Foles – has to show some real improvement
    Brown – especially his pass blocking, you know he can run
    Lewis – finally a chance for PT, now flash, baby
    Cooper – take advantage of your touches
    Harbor – your blocking has improved, but you can’t be dropping balls
    Kelly – the RT job is yours to take, step up
    Graham – show you’re bouncing back from that knee and make some plays
    Thornton – make a push for more PT
    Curry – make Washburn feel stupid by not playing you
    Cox – just keep on truckin like you’ve been doing the last few games
    Marsh, Sims, given them a shot, it’s not like Coleman and Aso are playing that great.

    If some of these guys can step it up the last six games, next season won’t look as dismal and these games will be worth watching.

    • pkeagle

      This – well put and exactly my thoughts too

    • ACViking

      AF:

      I really enjoy your posts.

  • ChaosOnion

    Aso was money against upper decent TEs last year. It would be interesting to see how he fairs against Olsen. Maybe put Aso on him in the RZ where speed is less of a factor. I am not really sure if Olsen is a RZ threat.

    I have a “meh” feeling about tonight. I anticipate the team will perform better, but I do not think it will be enough to break the losing streak.

  • A_T_G

    Against the smaller DE, maybe King can just shove his head to the ground, the body will follow… (Remembers 2 weeks ago)… oh boy, it might be a long night.

  • SleepingDuck

    Am I bad fan for wanting us to tank the rest of the reason?

    • pkeagle

      No – I wanted it last year and look what happened. No momentum was built (as some people predicted) and Washington were left in a position to be able to get RGIII

    • TommyLawlor

      I totally understand the logic. I just can’t think like that.

  • Ark87

    So I live far outside Eagles nation. NC, infact (which isn’t panther’s nation either, like even a little). For the most part the Eagles colossal disaster has gone under the radar in the national eye. They know the Eagles are bad, but it’s just a record. The can’t comprehend just how far this team has fallen. I’m a known (and lone) Eagles fan in these parts. Not looking forward to the primetime spotlight where I don’t get to just suffer alone, but I get everyone piling on afterwards.

    PLEASE EAGLES, SAVE YOUR FAN FROM THIS SUFFERING!!! Seriously I refuse to be the guy that cops out and tries to join in “yeah the Eagles are horrible, I’m looking at 2013″. Which is the truth, but i won’t let them see me say it haha.

  • Septhinox

    A 69-YD TD run huh? Funny you choose that number. lol

  • Tom33

    Tommy – just “twitter-dropped” on your conversation with Seth Joyner. Players (former and current) really love and defend Vick for some reason. I’ve never met the guy but he must be charismatic as hell. I’m with you – he is what he has always been. I don’t think Kolb would have been a better choice, but I think the die was cast when Andy went with Vick and the organization followed that with a big contract on the basis of 6 games in 2010.

  • ACViking

    Re: Tanking the Season / Bob LaMonte aka Agent of the Coaches

    Seems to me that only a team’s HC in his 1st or 2nd year — and with a 5-year contract, the owner’s enthusiastic backing, and an iron will (e.g., Dick Vermeil) — can afford to, and will, increase the playing time of young players at the expense of season-opening starters without worrying, too much, about the outcome.

    Back in ’76, Vermeil game-planned to win every game, but he knew (as did anyone watching that undertalented crew) that the Eagles needed to dump the under-achievers and go with a mix of young guys and vets — the players who later became the core of his SB team. Vermeil did that in TC, though. Because he knew the Eagles were not going to the SB anytime soon.

    But a coach on his last leg around the track after a failed season is not the kind of coach who’s thinking about helping his replacement. The out-going coach — whoever he is — is thinking about the 3% chance of making the playoffs, restoring his reputation, and proving his player-personnel and ass’t coaching choices really weren’t the disaster they appear. Head Coaches in that position are 1 of 32 in the universe, highly motivated, highly competitive, and used to success . . . or they’d never have gotten the job. I get it when Reid says there’s no quit in him.

    That’s why, I suppose, owners sometimes step in and make an in-season change. When all’s lost and a HC wants to go out with “his guys” — and win a couple more meaningless games rather than get tape on the young kids for next year — the owner must assert himself or herself.

    So, as luck would have it, Ray Didinger (at CSN) posed that very scenario if AR insists on re-inserting Vick into the starting lineup after he’s recovered from his concussion. Ray Diddy says Lurie would/should have to step in and either order Reid whom to play or fire him if Reid won’t do it. [Limited to Vick v. Foles.]

    Either way at this point in a bad season (as this looks to be), you’re looking at a car wreck.

    For Dick Vermeil, he was climbing out the wreckage caused by someone else — four someone elses actually.

    For Andy Reid, he’s trapped in the wreckage of his own making.
    __________________

    Re: Bob LaMonte

    T-Law:

    It seems LaMonte represents just about every HC and hot (and not so hot) ass’t coach in the USA. I don’t know.

    But I’d like your take on the conventional wisdom — which generally means lack of effort or lack of ideas by the reporter to think and investigate — that LaMonte has a lot of input into where coaches interview, who gets interviewed, and who lands where.

    Lurie didn’t bite this summer. But LaMonte seems like a Forest Gump-type when it comes to big coaching moves . . . always there.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    Tommy, I have two questions from the previous post, that I would love your opinion on…

    Question 1:
    What is your initial opinion to the top of the draft compared to the previous couple of years?

    I’m no expert, but I don’t see any elite/special prospects in this years draft. I see it as very similar to the draft in 2009 where, aside from Stafford, there were no
    sure fire picks in the top 10. The stars of that draft came later, and weren’t
    thought of as elite prospects at the time.

    As I see it, we picked the wrong year to suck. My hope is to go get a future franchise LT this year (Joeckel or Matthews) and then after sucking another year, we pick our franchise QB in 2014 (maybe A.J. McCarron or Johnny Football).

    Anyway, I find it hard to think that we’ll be a contender again anytime soon.

    Question 2:
    If we are in rebuilding mode the next few years, do you think it would be wise to take some mid to late round chances on injured players in the draft? I like OT Chris Faulk and with his ACL injury he could be available late. Also Tank Carradine and Michael Mauti comes to mind as a players, whose stock must fall because of injury.

    And if we are not going to be a contender anyway, I think it could be wise to
    pick up some talented yet injured players up, and stash them a year on IR.

  • eagles2zc

    Excited to see what Brown can do with a full work load. Maybe he’ll finally get it going after a few consecutive runs tonight

  • BobSmith77

    Heard that there hasn’t been a worse matchup in Monday Night Football history this late in the season (combined 5 wins for both teams through their first 10 games).

  • ACViking

    Re: Carolina’s Pass Rush

    NO player on the Carolina defense has a sack except the D-linemen.

    I’d hate to see them use their LBs in that double A-gap blitz and get numbers against the Eagles. Same with the corner blitzes.

    I’d like to see the Eagles’ o-line stop that damn A-gap blitz.

  • BobSmith77

    I can’t believe how cheap tickets are on Stub Hub for this game. Tickets between the 40s in the 100 level that are less than $60. Not many left though since it is a Monday Night game.

    Doubt that are many no-shows tonight but there will be tons for the last 2 home games (Bengals and Skins)

  • BobSmith77

    2003-04 NFC Championship Game seems like a million years ago at this point but I still hate Ricky Manning Jr.

    Hard to imagine this game tonight is as ugly and boring as that one was.