Detailed Game Review – DAL 38, PHI 33

Posted: December 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 55 Comments »

I know I’m late. These SNF/MNF games are killing me when we’re also discussing coaches getting fired and star players getting cut.  Anyway, I once again focused on the key young players so this isn’t a typical review and should be less painful to read.  

* * * * *

I was a happy man at halftime on Sunday night. The score was 17-10. The offense had just driven down and kicked a FG. The defense was playing okay. Bryce Brown was doing his thing and Nick Foles was off to a solid start. Life was good. At the end of the 3rd Qtr, the Eagles led 24-17. With 9:51 left in the game the Eagles still held a 27-24 lead.

Then Dallas scored an offensive TD and a defensive TD and put the game away. Barf.

I know losing helps the Eagles get better draft position, but I really did want them to beat Dallas. Losing to the Cowboys is never a good thing.

The game was encouraging because of the way the offense played. The young guys scored 27 offensive points, a season high. They responded to Dallas scores 4 different times by scoring themselves. That’s a great sign. All of the scoring drives covered at least 50 yards. The points didn’t come off gimmicky plays or great field position from turnovers. These were legitimate scoring drives. That’s important because you can build off them. Seeing Foles hit Maclin for the long TD in the first Dallas game was fun, but you can’t count on wide open guys 40 yards downfield. The drives in this game were successful because of offensive execution, not defensive breakdowns.

The game was discouraging because the defense couldn’t even slow Dallas down in the 2nd half. Tony Romo was 10-10 with 3 TDs after halftime. No matter what the offense did, the defense couldn’t make it hold up. No sack. No big play. No takeaway.

There isn’t a lot to say about coaching. Marty put together a terrific gameplan for Foles, Brown, and the offense. Why couldn’t he have done this back in … Week 1? I was really mad after the opening drive. The coaches were trying to run wide and that’s dumb vs Ware & Spencer. They started going upfield after that and Brown had a great game. I had no issues with Bowles. The players just aren’t executing on defense.

OFFENSE

Players

QB 

FOLES - 22-34-251. TD, no INTs. Good game. Easily his best start yet. Played smarter. Better mechanically. Vastly improved footwork. Was more confident. Got the ball to his WRs and also hit them downfield.

Highlights

* Hit Celek up the middle early on. Took a big shot on the play by a blitzer that came free. Nick didn’t flinch. Good read, accurate pass.

* The best throw was a pass to Avant that set up the field goal late in the half. That pass required downfield accuracy and touch. Foles had to put the ball over the intermediate defenders and in front of the deep cover guys. The pass needed loft, but not too much or the deep defenders would be able to break on the ball. Foles also had to get the ball out on time so Avant could catch it before getting to the sideline. That play gained 29 yards. This was a real NFL throw.

* Foles other real standout pass was a touchdown to Riley Cooper. Foles was aggressive on the play and gave Cooper a chance to make a play. You must be wisely aggressive in the red zone. You can’t rely on wide open receivers. Foles threw the ball into coverage, but did so in a way that Cooper could make a play while the pass wasn’t likely to be picked off. The CB wasn’t looking back, but Cooper was. Cooper made the catch and Foles had his touchdown. I love the fact Nick wasn’t tentative. You must be confident in yourself and your receiver to take that chance.

* Foles showed the ability to throw from various platforms. QBs would love to be able to drop back and throw from a clean pocket, but that’s not reality. Foles was able to be creative when needed. There was a screen pass to Brown where Nick threw a push-pass. It wasn’t pretty, but was effective. Looked more like a game of hot potato than football. Foles scrambled left late in the game and was able to hit Avant for a good gain. There were several play-action passes where Foles threw wide to Celek. Nick used almost a side-arm motion on these passes and that play was effective all game long.

* RAC yards were a big part of the offense. Foles hit Cooper on a slant pass that went for 16 yards on 3rd/12. Maclin caught a pass on a crossing route that gained 21 yards and set up a score. Damaris Johnson got 13 yards on a WR screen. Avant got 9 yards on a WR screen. Foles hit his receivers on time and gave them a chance to gain yards.

* There was only one deep ball, a throw to Mac late in the half. The pass was a couple of yards off target, but I liked it. Foles made the read quickly and didn’t hang the ball up in the air. He got the pass out quickly and threw it more on a line. The accuracy with his receivers on deep balls definitely needs work. This was progress, though. In other games we’ve seen him hesitate before getting the ball out. Can’t do that in the NFL. Gives the S a chance to get over.

* There were some issues. Felt like the pressure of the game started to get to Nick in the 4th Qtr. He had Cooper wide open for a good gain and bounced the ball to him. Wasn’t a question of arm strength. Was all about confidence and mechanics. You could see that Nick was really mad at himself after that.

With the score tied at 24, the Eagles drove down the field. There was a 3rd/3 play from the DAL 24. Foles threw for Clay Harbor in the corner of the endzone. Celek was wide open down the middle of the field. Wide open. Easy 1st down and probably a TD. Can’t miss guys that open on such key plays.

On the 2-point conversion attempt at the end of the game, Nick made an easy play hard. He had Brown wide open just a couple of yards from him. He had another receiver at the back of the endzone. Nick should have thrown the ball to Brown. Instead he went for the other guy. Bad read. He compounded that mistake by making a bad throw. No points with 2 guys open, one for an easy pass.

The Eagles were down 38-27 with 3:50 left. Foles forced a pass into coverage and it should have been picked off. Easily could have been a pick-six as well. Tough situation, but you can’t make mistakes like that.

Later on that drive the Eagles faced 4th/13. Nick threw a short pass to Celek and hoped he could run for the 1st down. There was some room, but Celek only got 10 yards. You cannot throw short of the chains in that situation. You must get the ball to a receiver who is near the sticks or past the line to gain. Hoping for RAC yards on 4th/long is fool’s gold.

RB/FB

LEWIS - 2-14. Best run went for 11 yds. Ran through a tackle attempt by Ware. Impressive strength, balance.

B BROWN – 24-169-2. Long run of 39. Another amazing game. Once again it was Brown’s combination of size and speed that was so impressive. Cowboys safety Danny McCray came up quickly on a run play and expected to tackle Brown for a short gain. Oops. He didn’t take the correct angle and Brown got by him for the gain of 39 yards. Brown impressed in other ways. He once again showed good vision, finding holes and cutback lanes. He ran through initial contact, which is exactly what you want from a bigger back. Those guys need to play big. The one huge (and I do mean huge) negative was another fumble. Brown fumbled late and Dallas ran it back for a score. That put the game out of reach. He must work on this problem. Brown is extremely talented. He needs the ball, but the coaches must be able to trust him.

Misc

* There was an early run where Brown did a spin move and really extended the ball away from his body. Made me super-nervous. Nothing happened, but Brown simply can’t be reckless like that.

* Had a great run when Dallas got penetration and should have nailed him for a loss. Spun away from that guy, went wide and deep and had enough speed to get upfield for a good gain. Shocking to see that play from a 225-pound RB.

* First TD run used speed to get wide and into the endzone.

* Second TD run was supposed to go left, but Bryce saw a hole up the middle and hit it. Easy score. Good vision, burst.

* Did a good job of mixing his runs. Stuck with the play at times. Also cut back at times. Didn’t get greedy with cutback runs.

* Had one highly frustrating play. Got the ball on a short pass. Turned to go upfield. The replay from the endzone angle showed what Brown saw. There wasn’t any defender between the hash marks. Not a single one. Brown saw a LB to the right. He decided to go wide and try to get around the guy. Dumb. With his speed, he should have just gone straight up the field. Huge play right there and he over-complicated it.

HAVILI - Quiet game.

TE

CELEK - Good game. 7-73. Up and down as a blocker. Ware beat him to the inside on the first play and knocked the crap out of Foles. Brent did have some good blocks. Helped on Brown’s second TD.

HARBOR - Caught one pass for 3 yds. Only played 15 snaps.

WR

MACLIN - 3-38. Had one big play. Caught pass on a crossing route and got 21 yards on the play. Frustrating part is that he went to the ground too easily and made no effort to get by the tacklers. Did notice him giving better effort as a run blocker. That’s a step in the right direction. Was open for deep ball late in the half, but the pass was a bit off target.

AVANT - First game back and he played well. Forgot just how good he is in the slot. 4-79. Blocked well. Had key block on Brown’s second TD run.

COOPER - 2-31. Gains of 15, 16. Impressive TD grab. Wasn’t open per se, but was looking for the ball and got one arm around the CB. Was able to secure the ball with that arm. Looked like the ball may have hit the CB’s arm to slow down before Cooper got control. Targeted 5 times. With a couple of better throws, could have had 4 catches and an even better game.

D JOHNSON – Only 1-13 as a receiver. Quick screen. Did a good job moving through traffic and getting up the field.

OL

DUNLAP - LT. Solid game. Probably benefited from lenient officiating. Looked like he got away with hands to the face at least once. Ware was not happy. Got upfield on screen passes. Solid job in pass pro.

MATHIS – Good game. Had the key block on Brown’s first TD, a run to the left. Mathis sealed the edge. Had a good block on the second TD as well. Mathis got his hands on the outside of the LB. Some call that holding, this crew didn’t. Did a good job all game long.

REYNOLDS - Really improving player. Reynolds had a real good block on a run late in the half. He snapped the ball at the 17-yard line. He went and blocked a linebacker at the 25-yard line and sustained the block beyond the 30-yard line. That’s good mobility and excellent effort. Brown gained 20 yards on the run and jump-started a field goal drive. Didn’t have to face Jay Ratliff and that helped a lot. Regularly did a good job of blocking on the second level. Sold in pass pro.

SCOTT- Another good game. Has really stabilized the RG spot.

KELLY - Good game as a run blocker. Effective pass blocker. He doesn’t have great feet. He gets off balance at times. Spencer got the best of him with power moves a couple of plays. Kelly needs to do a better job of using his hands to get on the rusher aggressively. Initiate contact rather than catching the rusher. Kelly does play the angles well and uses his hands to keep rushers from getting by him. I’m really impressed with his run blocking. He can seal on runs to his side. He does a very good job on plays away from him, “washing” defensive linemen to the inside and creating potential cutback lanes for Brown. Kelly is very active. He’s big and has a physical style. He wants to pound on defenders. You see hints of Jon Runyan in him. With improved strength and experience, Kelly will become more confident and aggressive.

Kelly does get TE help on some pass plays. They aren’t afraid to leave him alone on the edge, but try not to do it too much.

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DEFENSE

PLAYERS

DL

COLE - Quiet game. Had 1/2 sack and a tackle. Got pressure on other plays, but not with any consistency.

LANDRI - 1 TFL, 1 tackle.

JENKINS - 1 TFL, 1 tackle. Cleanly beat the RG and had Romo for a sack, but couldn’t seal the deal.

TAPP - Had 2 tackles. Played both sides. For some crazy reason he was in the game for 24 snaps.

GRAHAM - Started at LDE. 1.5 sacks. Got the best of Doug Free on a regular basis. Graham loves to bull rush and that is Free’s biggest weakness so the matchup favored BG. Does have to do a better job of keeping contain. Dallas tried end around that should have gotten a big gain, but the WR dropped the ball. Graham flew down the LOS. Good hustle, but undisciplined. Was in on 6 tackles.

COX - Played only 20 snaps. Tailbone injury was bugging him.

HUNT - Got back on the field, but only for 8 snaps. He was productive. Tackled RB for minimal gain on his first play. Drew holding call on Free on the next snap. Later blew up a run by driving Free backward. Why the heck wasn’t he on the field more?

THORNTON - Pretty good game. Had a couple of tackles, but was disruptive. Hustled in pursuit of the ball.

CURRY - Backup RDE. Only credited with 1 tackle. Didn’t do much as a pass rusher.

LB

KENDRICKS - 6 solo tackles. Inconsistent player. Some run plays he will fire upfield and look terrific. Did a good job on the 4th/1 play. Very aggressive and did his best to stuff that. Other times he is slow in filling the hole or gets stuck on blocks. This isn’t a huge deal since he’s a rookie, but it would be nice to see him be more consistent with the good plays. Had a chance to blow up a RB after a catch over the middle. Mychal hit him and they sort of fell to the ground awkwardly. I was hoping Mychal would light the guy up. Didn’t happen.

RYANS - Pretty good game. Had 4 tackles, including a TFL. Solid vs the run. Did look lost a couple of times on pass plays. Cowboys WRs were so fast that Ryans was ineffective in trying to tackle them when they were on the move.

JORDAN - Typical. There were a couple of plays where he was in the wrong gap or got blocked too easy. Other plays he was good vs the run. Had a TFL. Made one huge mistake. Lost contain on 3rd/1 run that went for long gain. Needed to stay wide and play outside-in. Saw the RB go up the middle and moved in to help. RB bounced wide and Akeem wasn’t there to do anything. Huge moment in the game.

S

ALLEN - 6 tackles. Had some solid moments in man coverage, but was lost when playing off the ball. There were some plays when I wasn’t sure if Nate or Kurt was at fault. Dallas had success with lining Jason Witten on the right side and then having him run a deep cross. This resulted in a couple of big plays. Nate really struggled with tackling in space. Looked hesitant and sure played that way.

COLEMAN - 5 tackles. Some coverage issues are listed above. Tried to break up a pass to Dez Bryant down the right side, but was half a step slow in getting there and when he did, the contact had little affect. Got hurt when trying to tackle Witten late in the game.

CB

NNAMDI - Played a lot of press-bail. This is when the CB is up on the WR, but then bails deep at the snap to keep from getting beat deep. Nnamdi led the team with 7 solo tackles. That tells you the ball was coming that way, often on short throws. He struggled to stop guys. Nnamdi has a bad habit of planting his feet and letting the receiver run to him. Dumb. Must go attack. Did the same thing on a run play and let the RB come to him. If Chris Speilman saw these plays, his head might explode.

DRC - 3 tackles, 1 PD. Had some awful moments. Actually had excellent coverage on Bryant a couple of times, but didn’t play the ball and gave up big gains. Had a couple of bad plays where he was off the WR and then failed to make the tackle after the catch. This resulted in a couple of TDs. Gave poor, poor effort on both. No sense of urgency. The most embarrassing was a short play inside the 10 when he let Bryant run him over for easy TD.

BOYKIN - 1 tackle. Quiet game.

MARSH - Played 4 snaps on D.

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ST’s

MCBRIAR - 2-78. 1 inside the 20.

HENERY - 2 of 2 on FGs. Had 4 touchbacks. Good game. Came up a bit short on onside kick. Good height. Needed an extra couple of feet.

KOR – Boykin was 3-65 with a long of 22. Didn’t make great decisions on bringing the ball out.

PR – Damaris had a 98-yd PR. This is good and bad. You almost never want the returner fielding the ball that deep. It was okay in this situation since the Eagles were trailing by 11 points with less than a minute to go. That’s the time to take a risk and see if you can make a play. Johnson used a good juke move to get through a couple of defenders and then had room to run up the sideline. Casey Matthews blocked the Punter. DJ showed his lack of long speed as he was never able to pull away from the Punter. Did go all the way for the TD.

GAMEBOOK


  • T_S_O_P

    “Casey Matthews blocked the Punter. DJ showed his lack of long speed as he was never able to pull away from the Punter. Did go all the way for the TD.”

    Whereas Matthews was overtaken by him! Casey has all the speed the Mike Reichenbach once possessed.

    • TommyLawlor

      For the younger/newer fans…this is not a compliment.

      Good reference.

    • Ark87

      To be fair, Brian Moorman is an All-American Track and Fielder out of Pitt state and still holds the school hurtling record. That said, he is still 36 haha. But still, he’s not just some punter, he’s an athlete.

  • Iskar36

    I think it should be mentioned that Bobby April stated that they told Damaris to field the punt no matter what on the punt return, so it sounds like at least for this one, Damaris wasn’t just accidentally doing the right thing, but it was a conscious decision. Also another interesting note was that apparently they were going for the punt block. I don’t know STs extremely well, but I get the sense that if you are going for the punt block, it is usually harder to get the punt return.

    • eagles2zc

      Don’t understand the logic behind the instruction. It’s not like Johnson or the PR team had a track record of successfully returning punts from the deep, quite the opposite. It’s not a league wide delusion (like icing the kicker) because other teams aren’t doing it. April offered no explanation for it.

      • TommyLawlor

        With less than a minute and down 11…you need miracles to win. Punt returns are broken plays where you have a chance to make something happen. And that’s exactly what happened. Fielding the punt was the right thing for that situation. If the situation were different, that would have been a mistake.

        • eagles2zc

          Oh yea, I wasn’t commenting on this particular situation but rather the whole season. I remember an article a few weeks back where April was quoted as saying he told Johnson to field punts inside the 10 yards line, which I don’t get

    • TheRogerPodacter

      to me, it looked like dallas’s punter may have outkicked his coverage team, giving a ton of space for DJ to field the ball initially.
      if that is the case, i’m ok with him trying to return it. you have a decent chance to get SOME yards and once you get going, there is a chance you can break a long one.

  • jshort

    Was reading this before leaving for work. I know this has nothing to do with your break down, but how would Doug Peterson translate into a head coaching candidate? I know this is way out there, still it’s something to mull over. Curious to see what some of you think when I get back tonight.

    • TommyLawlor

      Doug has done some good things as QB coach. I’d like to see him get a shot as OC somewhere before we start talking about him as a HC.

      He’s been around good HCs. He played for Holmgren and Reid and now coached under Big Red. He’s been around some smart assistant coaches. That stuff can help you tremendously. Foles success does reflect well on Doug.

      • GermanEagle

        ‘Foles success’?! Can we please wait another couple of games before we call Nick a success in today’s NFL?!

        • Ark87

          Easy there. It’s a very vague and subjective phrase. From the standpoint of coaching, Foles has obviously been coached up. Footwork and mechanics have vastly improved since he was drafted, and even since he first stepped in for Mike Vick. Getting a 3rd round rookie prepared to compete in the NFL is no small feat. Good coaching is written all over this kid. Will Foles himself have a successful career? Too early to tell. But no doubt Doug has done a good job with the kid. Well maybe some do have doubt. But you can’t get upset that somebody thinks he has done a good job with Foles.

  • colin02

    Tommy. For your notes on this game, you might add something about Dallas Reynolds not only having a good game, but coming off an injury that kept him out of practice most of the week. Marty made a huge deal out of this at yesterday’s presser.

    • Ark87

      That’s good to hear. That will be his reality in the NFL though. As a back-up OL he absolutely must play through injury, and play well. His opportunities in this league are limited, and it doesn’t take much to land you on the street.

      Personally I think Dallas Texas is to Dallas Reynolds as The yellow sun is to Superman. He just gets those cosmic name-sake rays.

  • Mac

    I’ve seen teen boys @homecoming grind against their girlfriends harder than DRC hits and opposing WR.

    • GermanEagle

      Love that phrase. Sad but true…

  • Sean

    With the offensive line playing fairly well at this point, which of them do you think are potential starters next year (aside from Mathis)?

    I also have a question about the secondary. It seems that many of Nnamdi’s issues are due to poor technique. He looks like a player who relied on his pure athleticism earlier in his career and can’t handle the loss of quickness and speed that comes with age. Is this the case, or are his lapses in technique a new development since joining the eagles? I ask because I’m wondering if we want Bowles coaching the secondary next year. I know they’ve been terrible of late, but I am of the belief that with his DC responsibilities Bowles simply hasn’t had to time to provide Nnamdi and DRC with the coaching they need to be top level CBs. I mean think of how much time he probably has to spend with Kurt Coleman alone: re-explaining the concepts of Cover 2 and Cover 3, reminding him that sometimes the quarterback will pretend to hand the ball off to the running back, etc.

    • TommyLawlor

      Nnamdi is really good when used as we did in the DET game. Let him jam receivers and be physical at the LOS. When he plays off or tries to just turn and run…he is very iffy. Basically has to guess right.

      I don’t think it is technique so much as his athleticism has really started to go and he’s having trouble adjusting.

      • austinfan

        That’s the problem with Aso, he can ONLY play press coverage, and probably in a cover 2 shell with deep help because if the receiver beats the press it’s all over. If he could channel Al Harris (and the refs would grandfather him) he might be able to play a few more years, but Harris was physical against the run, Aso is the wimpiest former safety I’ve ever seen.

  • TheRogerPodacter

    hey guys,, just so i’m clear on this…
    trying to figure out why some DL are playing and others arent…
    was Wash still on the team for this game or was he fired before this?

    i realize this is a stupid question, but its been a long week…

    • Mac

      Dallas was the last Washburn game.

      Incidentally… I am wondering how/why Thornton and CuJo are the only D-line who are talking about Wash. I’d like to hear comments from Hunt and Cole because I think they might color things a bit different.

      • TheRogerPodacter

        thanks man. my theory is that Wash was still playing “his guys”. maybe next game we can expect to see a better rotation of everybody? *crossing fingers*

  • Mac

    Also I hope Nick had a chance to slap Marty upside the head for having Celek line up 1 on 1 on the first play of the game vs a D. Ware with fresh legs.

  • Iskar36

    Re: Foles’ aggressive TD throw to Cooper

    We got the TD on the play and when I watch QBs like Brees and Rodgers, you can tell they understand the difference between being aggressive and being stupid because they make those types of plays on a regular basis. For a guy like Foles though, who has thrown a few ill-advised throws (not knocking him really, just pointing out his rookie mistakes), how do you differentiate the throw to Cooper from being aggressive rather than unnecessarily risky without simply focusing on the outcome? To me the outcome is valuable, but it looked to me that the CB could have had a chance to turn around and pick off the ball and we would have been talking about that play completely differently.

    • Kevin_aka_RC

      Well, Carr’s back was turned when Foles threw it and Cooper has a height advantage.

      Keep in mind that the Eagles were in the red-zone: throwing it 1 on 1 is better than 99% of the other plays were ran there this year.

      • TommyLawlor

        As Kevin points out, the key is that the CB isn’t looking. If the CB turns around at the last second and picks that ball, you just have to give him credit.

        Iskar’s point about whether this was luck by Nick or a smart risk is fair. Nick doesn’t have a good NFL track record so far. He did make throws like this in college, though. He gave his receivers a chance to make plays. That helped Juron Criner become a star WR. We’ll see what Nick does in the coming weeks. For now, I do honestly think this was a good decision and not just luck.

        • Iskar36

          I guess I should clarify. I’m not intending to disagree with your assessment, just pointing out the difficulty in evaluating that throw. Generally speaking, I am not a fan of using the outcome (hindsight) to be the determining factor of whether a play is good or not. It certainly can give you a good indication, but a lot of the time, the outcome can be determined by luck/chance rather than quality decision making/athletic ability.

          In this particular case, the outcome was clearly positive. I can also see the argument that the CB was not looking at it would have taken a quality play to get the INT, and I think my view is probably leaning towards that evaluation, but I do think we would be saying “you can’t turn the ball over in the redzone, and Foles needs to learn that” had it gone the other way.

          • Ark87

            I had similar feelings on the Damaris Johnson punt return. I don’t have a problem with him fielding it at the 2 given the situation. But he went like 5-10 yards at like half pace waiting for something to open up. That style of returning has made our PR and KR units awful (because those units don’t open up holes, get N-S fast to get what you can).

            The result is he took it to the house. The result dictates that Damaris had good patience and vision.

            Had he gotten blown up at the 10, he would have been called hesitant. Again it was the situation, he was fielding it at the 2 and running slow waiting because he was looking for a homerun, which is the only outcome that gave the team a prayer. So it was acceptable in all.

            Follow-up, have you noticed that Henery is pretty bad (unlucky?) at the onside kick, he has a knack for kicking the ball to the most reliable and veteran hands on the team.

          • A_T_G

            Yeah, I was telling myself that April certainly must have told Damarius that all rules were off and he could try to create a punt return.

    • aceandson

      It’s ill-advised if it doesn’t work, it’s aggressive gunslinging when it does.

      • Iskar36

        Haha, nice.

  • austinfan

    Impressive performance by Foles, I don’t mind mistakes, he’s a rookie in his 3rd start, but he looked like a NFL QB.

    Great opportunity to get Lewis some rushes, oh well, it’s not like he can run or that we would want to see him on the field to evaluate him. Love Bryce, but with 4 games left, they also need to look at a few other guys.

    Cooper has been woefully neglected, last year he gets 3 starts, puts up 240 yards, then disappears. This year, has a great offseason, breaks his collar bone, then disappears when he returns until Djax goes down. See a pattern, it’s like Charlie Manuel is coaching the Eagles – young players need not apply for work. Hopefully, they’ll keep feeding him the ball, you don’t improve sitting on the bench.

    I’d make the same argument for Harbor except he’s kinda let his chances slip through his hands, though it would be nice if they actually utilized his speed once in a while, no disrespect to Mr. Celek, but Chad Lewis is the only Eagle TE (ok Bartrum) in the last decade that Brett could smoke in a foot race.

    Nice to see you’re agreeing with me on Kelly, I’ve seen a lot worse from young RTs, Barrett Brooks, et al. He needs work, not surprising since he’s moved from LT to OG in the pros and now to RT, where he belongs. But you can’t teach size and attitude, you can teach technique.

    To think we gave all that money to Bell and ignored Scott, Mathis could have done a better job at LT, of course, so could a traffic cone.

    Curry disappoints me, MIA when he’s been chafing for a shot, though to be fair, I never saw him as a wide 9 DE, interesting to see what Brasher does with him.

    Jordan should never start another game after this season, and it tells you why Matthews and Chaney need to be gone, if they can’t beat out a journeyman in their second season, and can’t excel on STs, they’re dead weight.

    Sims must have really screwed up his assignments to be buried behind Colt, or they’re rewarding Colt for a great job on STs.

    Why not play Marsh? Can he be worse than DRC? Could opposing QBs post a higher rating?

    • TommyLawlor

      I don’t get the lack of time for Marsh either.

    • Iskar36

      I’m not too disappointed with Curry yet, mostly for the fact that it seems Washburn played favorites specifically at the cost of a few players. It was obvious that Graham should have been playing more, but Washburn did not want to take snaps away from Babin. Same was true for Tapp. Even in this last game when there was no reason to play Tapp, he limited Graham/Curry/Hunt’s roles. So to me, Curry’s lack of snaps reflects Washburn more than it does Curry. Of course, I would like to see him show up in the last few games.

      As for Sims, the decision to put Colt over him bothers me. I guess you want to reward your STers, but Colt has been a liability on the field whenever he has been on the defense. If Sims screwed up, that’s a shame, but how is that so different from our other DBs? At least give the kid a chance to redeem himself, even if it means splitting snaps. It would be nice to have the opportunity to see if he is worth keeping as a backup for next year.

      I think the same logic applies to Marsh and Hughes. Get them on the field and let them gain some experience. I don’t need them to start by any means, but Nnamdi and DRC have not shown they deserve to be on the field every snap, so let the young guys come in for a few series here or there.

  • SteveH

    Here’s Sheils breakdown for how the DL did this week: http://www.phillymag.com/eagles/2012/12/07/dl-production-graham-getting-it-done/

  • Todd B.

    Tommy,

    I am very interested in Kelly’s development. How has he faired compaed to Herremans? And I mean this year’s version of Herremans. Herremans was up-and-down before he was injured.

    If both were healthy and if you can forget pre-2012 success, who has faired better as the RT?

  • iggles328

    I wish to thank you tommy. In this miserable season your blog and especially podcast with Jimmy K has provided some much needed amusement and enriching material. I honestly dont know where else I could go for indepth sports discussion that includes gems such as ‘Sounds like you’re raping a wookie.’

    • Mac

      I’ve been thinking its time for a T-law fundraising drive.

      • P_P_K

        I’m in, too.

  • Cal Setar

    “I had no issues with Bowles. The players just aren’t executing on defense.”

    The defense may be historically bad these days, but boy, do I feel for Todd Bowles. A good young coach put in an awful situation, with the position group that’s supposed to be his strength leading the way in failing miserably. I know there’s almost zero chance of him being back next year, but I truly hope he gets another shot as a DC somewhere. He’s been a class act and has put together a good game plan every week, only to have Nnamdi and Kurt Coleman end up looking at each other like dogs who can’t figure out where the tennis ball went.

  • aub32

    Hey Tommy I really don’t get this press bail stuff. Is it because our safeties are too inept to provide decent deep help. Also, with the DRC screen TD to Dez I don’t know how much I fault DRC. He could’ve given a better effort, but had he been in press coverage that screen pass gets knocked down at the LOS or better yet a pick. I thought we got rid of Asante in order to play more press in goal to go situations. In regards to our corners I find myself questioning how much blame goes to the coaches versus the players.

  • NYEAGLESFAN

    Tommy, is there any way to look at old tape on DRC and Nnamdi to see if they had these issues prior to joining the Eagles? All we heard was how awesome Nnamdi was in OAK and how no one ever threw his way. Was that because the person next to him was so bad or because he had different skills back then than he does now? On DRC, all we heard was what a great young shut-down corner he was in AZ.

    • dandynator

      i can only talk about Nam because i didn’t go back to see DRC in AZ. I wouldn’t say he had great altheticism in OAK from what I watched(2009), but it was good enough, Plus he played a whole bunch of press man and clearly was the best corner on the team at the time

  • BobSmith77

    Tommy – Do you think Watkins even gets back on the field this year at RG? If not, this team pretty much acknowledging he is a bust & moving on?

  • BobSmith77

    Always like how you don’t get too negative even after a horrible performance again by the secondary?

    It seems now that teams don’t hesitant in the least to challenge either one of the Eagles’ CB outside with regularity especially DRC the past 2-3 weeks. Nnamdi’s just too slow and I don’t think he is going to be in the league that much longer (say another 2 yrs) since he isn’t physical enough to play at a safety spot or have the build to play a slot CB position.

    No idea why DRC has played so badly and timidly. He was so assertive the before the bye and after it he has looked like an unsure rookie who is clutching & grabbing and not sure when to make a play on a ball. Now has 11? penalties that other teams have accepted (12/13 total) which leads the league, hasn’t had a INT since Week 4, and I would argue is coming off his worst game of the season last week.

    My nod right now for biggest disappointment on this team. Thought DRC was going to have a big year for this team with 5-6 INTs and either be a Pro-Bowl/Pro-Bowl caliber player.

  • BobSmith77

    Call me crazy too but I do think there is enough talent here for this team to contend even for a playoff spot even with mediocre Qb play. Need to draft a RT who starts right away and is at least average but they have the makings of a solid enough offense time next year under the right OC (not MM).

    Defense is the area that despite all of the picks and signings is a mess without a whole lot of building blocks. 3 definite guys (maybe 4 if you include Ryans) who I think might be back as starters. Cox, Kendricks, and Graham. Cole probably is but I do wonder if the Eagles don’t try to get him to take a salary reduction potentially. Hasn’t had a single good game all year. After that it is open season. Very strong possibility that they have 3 if not even 4 new starters in the secondary next year.

    Ever been an Eagles’ team that has 4 new starters in the secondary from one year to the next?

  • A_T_G

    In thinking about our secondary, (a) they started the season pretty solid, (b) Bowles is the big change, moving to DC, (c) you, and others, say Bowles is a good coach. Yet they look hesitant and out of position. Is it that Bowles is trying to change things on the fly? Are they not getting enough coaching during the week without a full time secondary coach to feel confident? Have they read too much of their own bad press? I can’t buy that they all just suddenly suck.

    Along with that, it is going to be difficult to get an accurate read on the young guys if they do get time. They will either exhibit the same systemic flaws, giving a (possibly) false negative, or look like saviors by playing at an average level, giving a (possibly) false positive.

  • westy36

    I just remembered that Bryce Brown was picked with the 7th round pick we got from Atlanta for Asante. If Brown ends up becoming a good back for us, that trade will look much better from the end result.

  • xeynon

    Any chance Dennis Kelly can be a starting caliber RT, as Reuben Frank speculates? He obviously doesn’t have elite athleticism but at RT it could be possible to get away with that with excellent technique and the proper style of offense (i.e. one that gives him a chance to pound on defenders and wear them down in the running game).

    Would be nice to not have to worry about drafting an OL in the first round since there are so many other needs.

  • SteveH

    Ryan Rau era starts this week!

  • izzylangfan

    I think it would be great if you could do a piece on how to select defensive backs, paying particular attention to the issue of getting guys that can both cover and tackle.

  • Jriv787

    The last man Johnson had to beat, Moorman,was a three-time NCAA Division 2 400-meter intermediate hurdles champion who happens to be one of the Cowboys’ fastest athletes.

  • Skeptic_Eagle

    I’m really hoping we see a little more decisiveness, consistency, and violence from Kendricks as a second year player. He’s making mistakes out there every week. He’s had his very good moments, as well, but I want stability at that spot. WLB or MLB might be more natural for him. Perhaps they look for a more traditonal (read: Taller) SAM next year, of course, scheme-dependent.

    I think balance has been Cole’s big loss. He was never a speed rusher, but the guy is losing the ability to bend and keep his balance around the edge. Hoping we see him return to form, because Curry is still almost completely unknown, and Trent was just extended this past offseason; too early to put him out to pasture.

    • ceteris_paribus1776

      Re: Kendricks.

      Agreed. He hasn’t been anything special for a guy who started day one. Doesn’t seem to be doing anything more than he did game 1. He hasn’t had the nose for making plays that other young star LBs possess, even in their rookie years. Wagner, David, and Brown are all having more productive seasons, and drafted later in the 2nd. I know, I know, they don’t play the same positions, but I’m certainly not wowed by anything Kendricks is doing right now. Hope he’s more of a slow developer and not “just another guy” playing LB for the birds.

      • Cal Setar

        Not saying getting rid of the wide-9 is going to have some world shattering effects, and Kendricks is absolutely a guy who could increase his consistency…but you’d be surprised how much easier it is to play positions like LB and safety when your d-ends actually play with discipline and don’t just heedlessly rush upfield snap after snap, essentially hanging you out to dry. I think Wagner especially benefits from playing behind Seattle’s crazy/heavy base 3-4/4-3 front, with 3 big guys down and Chris Clemons playing up on the line.