Gameday and Q&A

Posted: December 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 30 Comments »

Tonight the Eagles host the Bengals in a game that will have playoff implications…for the Bengals. Boy, that’s a sentence I didn’t anticipate writing back in August.

The big questions for the Eagles are: 1) can Nick Foles win his second start in a row 2) can the team build off Sunday’s win and play well for 60 minutes? The big question for Eagles fans is…do they want the team to win? The W here means nothing, but could affect draft position in a negative way. Maybe some fans want a home victory. Others just won’t care.

I don’t feel good about this matchup. The Eagles struggled with DT Gerald McCoy last week. This week they have to face Geno Atkins. He’s got 10.5 sacks, 6 TFLs, and 3 FFs this year. To put those numbers in perspective, for his career McCoy has 9 sacks, 12 TFLs, and 3 FFs. Atkins has really been a man on a mission this season. Evan Mathis, Dallas Reynolds, and Jake Scott had a tough time with McCoy’s quickness. Atkins will be a major challenge.

The good news is that Cincy has the #11 rush defense. Tampa is #1 overall, allowing almost 30 yards less a game than Cincy. That means Bryce Brown should be able to get going this week. Don’t schedule him for any 150-yard games, but I’m betting he gets out of single digits in the 1st quarter, if not the opening drive.

Cincy is 10th in pass D. That means Nick Foles will have more of a challenge. Frankly, I’m glad. I don’t want him putting up gaudy numbers against crappy teams. I want to know if he can be the real deal. Facing good teams is one way to find that out.

I don’t know what to say about the Eagles defense. The changes that have been made recently have led to mixed results. Since this is a short week I’m not sure how many good adjustments the defensive coaches have been able to make. They’ll have 10 days to work with after this game so that’s when you could see the coaches start to really fix things.

We do need to see a better showing from the DEs. The Eagles had 2 sacks last week, both by DTs. The DEs were simply not productive enough. I’m curious to see how DRC responds to facing AJ Green. Will that bring out the best in him? I sure hope so.

The Eagles are 2-1 vs the AFC North, with the games decided by 1, 1, and 2 points. Don’t expect a blowout.

* * * * *

New H2H show from Mr. Bama and myself.  2 actually.  Skype cut us off after about 30 mins and then we did a 10-min wrap up after that.  Game and coach talk.

* * * * *

Q&A

I didn’t get a chance to touch on some topics the other day so here goes.

* Young QBs having Sophomore Slumps.  This isn’t as bad as you think.  Cam Newton is red hot right now.  Andy Dalton got off to a slow start, but then picked things up.  There are other guys who are having down years.  Football is a game of adjustments.  Defenses adjust.  It is then up to the young QBs to show they can adjust.  Also, being a good NFL QB is just tough.  Handling success is a very underrated challenge.

* Foles not having batted balls at the LOS.   Height is the obvious difference.  Foles does move better in the pocket and that allows him to find passing lanes.  He generally has an over the top motion.  Vick loves to throw sidearm.  As a short QB already, that made his passes even easier to block.

* Cooper’s future … WR corps.  A lot of people have wondered about how to incorporate Riley more in 2013.  Can he play the slot?  How about DJax or Mac?  Riley can play inside, but he’s probably best on the outside.  DeSean is much better outside.  Slot receivers need to be quick, not fast.  Speed is wasted when running in heavy traffic.  Mac could be good in there.  He would just need to embrace the role.  For me the key is to study how the Saints and Packers use their WRs.  They do it by specific roles and packages.  The Eagles can do that instead of sticking with the starters on every single play.  Mix and match.

* DL coaches not being DC/HC candidates.   I mentioned the other day that DL coaches don’t always translate well to coordinators or HCs.  The DL attacks.  LB and DB coaches have to gameplan for the passing game.  They must understand how to teach attacking and covering.  They must work together in order to cover all the eligible receivers.  A good DL coach must motivate and teach technique.  That’s about it.

* Hidden assistants.  Are they any positional assistants that could be the next Andy Reid?  I’ll cover this in the future.

* Who is more disappointing Landri vs Cole?  I love them both.  It hurts to pick.  Why not ask me who I treasure more, Jimmy Bama or Megan Fox?  If forced, I’ll go with Cole.  Trent is an established star.  He’s playing hard, but the results aren’t there.  I think Landri had a minor knee injury that slowed him for a few weeks.

_


  • austinfan

    Don’t underestimate the impact of a short week, rookie QB, new defensive scheme against a team that’s been playing for 12 weeks, really huge disadvantage, a blow out would not shock me, nor would I change my opinion of Foles if he throws 3 interceptions. The last two games will be more important in evaluation this team than negative play in this game – positive play under these trying circumstances will have more resonance.

    I think Tampa Bay overall has a better DL than Cincy, the difference between Atkins and McCoy has been primarily health, as we saw, when healthy McCoy can be an elite DT. TB has physical DL who can cause real problems for a second rate OL. Cincy has a much quicker back seven, which will pose problems for Foles, under severe pressure the windows to throw will be tighter.

    The two key players to watch are Chaney and Kelly, their develop will make a big difference in the post-season, if Kelly can bounce back he’ll compete for RT, if Chaney continues to look comfortable at SLB then LB becomes a lower priority (still will need to bring in depth, but you can focus on STs and potential).

    Would like to see Marsh replace Aso, the worst that can happen is a WR gets two steps of separation, i.e., business as usual.

    • P_P_K

      I agree that tonight could be a blowout. Foles got sacked six times vs TB. That might seem like the good ol’ days after tonight. The important criteria will be if the kid can keep his wits about him during a difficult game without too many bad decisions. If things get too bad, give him a break before he gets the crap beat out of him and make Trent Edwards earn some of his salary.

      I’d also like to see Marsh on the field more. I haven’t been the slightest bit impressed, so I say give him a shot these last couple of games and determine if he has a future with the Eagles. More Colt, too.

      • shah8

        just doesn’t matter about the sacks for Foles. The OL simply has to do a better job. Nobody does well, longterm after being hit that much. Not Big Ben, not Mike Vick.

    • aub32

      I have to disagree. If Foles wants to prove that he is the QB going forward than a good showing tonight is necessary. Starters in this league face these challenges, and he gets no passes if he is going to be the starter. Giving him a pass due to the short week is too easy. This may be the best defense Foles will start against this year. It will absolutely mean something if he struggles mightily. He will not play the 32nd ranked secondary every week, and needs to prove he can do it against decent competition.

      • austinfan

        He will also not have the 2nd worst OL in the league next year.

        This is just a tough game for a veteran QB, much less a rookie in his 5th start. No time to prepare, a pass rushing defensive line, a DC who likes to blitz, and CBs who can actually cover.

        I don’t care who is at QB, if your OL can’t block, and the opposing pass coverage can take away your targets for 3 seconds, you’re gonna struggle.

        It’s not just who you play against, it’s what you have to play with.

  • Ark87

    Trent moves on to the next disappointment bracket. Trent Cole Vs. Brian Rolle

    • A_T_G

      The winner gets to face Nnamdi in the semis, followed by a block buster final against Vick.

      • Ark87

        Should we expand the bracket from 12 disappointing players to 16? Or does that water down the disappointment? Frankly I think the quality of the disappointment could hold up. May the biggest disappointment win.

        • Steag209

          BGN needs to do a March Madness bracket like this at the end of the season, I’d LOVE to see the outcome

          • A_T_G

            I like the March Madness model. We could have separate brackets for offense, defense, special teams, and coaching. Then they could all funnel into the marquee matchups.

  • nicolajNN

    Wait so did you pick Jimmy or Megan? And is Jimmy Landri or Cole in your comparison?

    • D3FB

      I agree, the people are dying to know Tommy.

  • quest4fire

    Bengals lead the league in sacks, our OL needs to give Foles time. We might see a lot more run than pass tonite.

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

    Tommy, I’ve got a quick draft question:

    If we sit in the top 5-8, knowing the draft aren’t packed with top tier talent like in the previous few years, is there a chance that we could move back a little? for instance, if Joeckel is on the board, I’ve been wondering wether moving back, maybe getting a 2nd in return, and then pick his body on the right side, Matthews. My thinking is that, like Tyron Smith, he is stuck on RT because of a stud LT Kalil/Joeckel, but might be just as good.

    I’m thinking that the new CBA is a positive for movement in the top of the draft, but the lack of top tier talent is a negative…

  • ACViking

    Re: Bryce Brown’s night

    T-Law:

    You’ve suggested that Bryce “Vincent ‘Bo'” Brown will pass the 10-yard mark in the 1st Q if not 1st drive.

    Are you being pollyanna-ish?

    Have you already forgotten that Nick Foles — against all odds (an ugly cliche, to be sure) — proved that he can win games for AR and MM throwing the ball more than 50 times.

    And you just know that AR & MM will will see opportunities downfield through the air tonight against the Bengals. So why run the ball.

    Or will common sense prevail?

  • Iskar36

    OT: What are your thoughts on the Patterson pay cut. On one hand, it seems it is a standard operating procedure move, but on the other, it is a clearly bad PR move, especially on one of the guys you would think doesn’t deserve the bad PR considering what he went through this past offseason. I don’t know how important the locker room is at this point of a terrible season, but this can not be good for locker room moral.

  • bridgecoach

    I’m pulling for a close competitive game where Cinci pulls out the win. A 5th win for us would be devastating to our draft position – remember our opponents strength of schedule improves each of our final games. Lions and Cards would move ahead of us, Bolts or Panthers would move ahead, Titans will move ahead, Cleveland and Saints could move ahead. We could drop 6 draft spots with a win. I’m a diehard fan and all, but some extra win morale isn’t worth the certain morale hit of undermining our future prospects and opportunities.

    I want to see Foles throw deep and Bryce run hard (NS). I’d like to see Foles continue his run of zero interceptions and Henery start a new FG streak complete with one from 50+. I want to see young players getting plenty of meaningful snaps. But mostly I want to enter the offseason in the strongest position possible.

  • Mac

    Repost from last thread:

    Tommy I’m disappointed in your recounting of our run game. It should have read something like this:

    St. Nick, our athletic freak of a quarterback, dazzled the audience
    with an astonishing amount of rushing yards. In addition to his record
    breaking 381 yards passing he produced 4.5 times the amount of rushing
    yards future HOF RB Bryce Jackson in Tampa including a touchdown run.
    Every coach in the league is kicking himself today wishing he had
    drafted a QB who is an effective passer and can average 9 yards per
    carry.

    • A_T_G

      Very true. The plays were so amazing, it felt like one of those moments where time slows down and everything happens in slow motion.

    • TommyLawlor

      Kudos.

      On Twitter I did raise the question of whether it is now clear that Nick is the best dual threat QB in the NFL. Seems like a legit question to me.

  • T_S_O_P

    May I ask everyone a question: How popular is Thursday Night Football? I don’t like any midweek games but understand them if there is a scheduling need, which in a 16 games season there is not.

    • Mac

      I am liking it… this is the first game I’m going to attend with my dad. We picked up seats 12 rows behind the bench for less than $70 each.

      • aerochrome2

        Funny what a losing season and a weeknight game does to prices.

    • goeagles55

      I like it when other teams are playing. Then, there is football when there otherwise wouldn’t be. I’d prefer the Eagles to play on Sunday though.

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

      I actually like it a lot. It gives me an excuse to watch even more football. And I even live in Denmark, so I will go to sleep in a minute, just so that I can get up at 2.30 am to watch the game.

    • A_T_G

      I like it more than Saturday night games. Three late nights in a row was too much. I am not sure I agree with the inherent advantage, though. Both teams have equal rest and prep coming into the game, so that is a wash, but teams that play Thursday have an extra few days going into the next week, giving them an advantage. And since they pick good games for prime time, each week two good teams (typically) are given an advantage over their opponent. It seems a bit unfair.

    • Steag209

      I hate it. I know people will say it’s just more football, but I would just watch the random college games that ESPN would have on Thursday nights if I wanted a football fix. When there is a game I genuinely want to watch, I usually don’t have the time to watch it. I have to schedule my weeks just so I can watch football all day on Sunday, so it irks me that I will miss a good game simply because the NFL wants more money and a way to promote their network. It screws with the dynamics of the football season and with injuries and travel and whatnot it can really give an advantage to one team over another that might not be there on a Sunday and it also gives those two teams an advantage over their next opponent, especially if your coach is Andy Reid (before the implosion). Maybe over time it’ll grow on me but as of now, I find it more of an inconvenience than as enjoyment.

    • iwanttowatchthegame

      how do I watch the game? I’d give comcast 20 but I bet they won’t do that

  • BobSmith77

    Do the Eagles double Green tonight with Nnamdi and constant safety help over the top like Megatron or do they just try to put him one-on-one with DRC as much as possible?

    If the Eagles can keep Green out of the end zone and under 100 yards, I like their chances to win this game. I don’t think they do either though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ndrauschak Noah Drauschak

    RE: WRs, the OL; the Draft

    In the middle of the season when
    Riley was activated, we saw him integrated as a regular in the ‘Posse’
    personnel set– Riley as the Split End, DeSean as the Flanker, and
    Maclin in the slot. There’s been a lot of cycling with injuries, but in
    the middle of the season I took this as a response to the stagnant year
    Maclin was having as the SE. Also, Avant had a bit of a statistical lull
    going on as well, and we’ve all seen his speed getting even worse, so
    it is pretty apparent that the coaches wanted to get a good look at
    Maclin inside as well, possibly moving forward; or, maybe, to get him to
    take a couple hits and grow some balls (or, ideally: both.)

    I
    think there’s a real chance we see more experimentation with Maclin. If
    he can’t gel with Foles, I think it’s a genuine possibility that he’s
    traded or relegated to a slot role for the last year of his contract.
    The Red Zone issues (which the team thought he was a resolution for,
    i.e. “He’s got a gift down there…like Chris Carter” –Marty, 2010),
    his pussy-fication, and general lack of production despite having great
    talent and a good head on his shoulders make him seem, to me, like a guy
    that a new head coach will regard as “part of the issue with the old
    regime”. This metaphor approach is a real thing (think of any hard-ass
    coach and the respective roster purges he’s carried out, ex. Sherman in
    Miami–purged top players Vontae Davis and Brandon Marshall; Schiano in
    Tampa–purged Aqib Talib, Amobi Okoye, Kellen Winslow; etc…)

    It’ll
    be a buyers market of WRs this year with Jennings, Bowe, Wallace, and
    others available. So that’s worth bearing in mind, along with the
    Eagles’ 40 million in projected cap space, along with the escalating
    salary floor.

    With the offensive line, the amount of flux is
    really troublesome with what we can do moving forward. First and
    foremost, whether or not Jason Peters is available and/or functioning at
    even remotely close to 100% determines a bunch of things. If he’s
    healthy, do you want to invest in a Luke Joeckel in the top 10?

    I
    don’t know, seems slippery to me. Also, bearing in mind the strength of
    this year’s DEs, you wonder if they go to the talent. Demontre Moore,
    Bjorn Werner, Keke Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Oregon’s Dion Jordan (who I’m
    calling right now goes in the top 15 b/c Aldon Smith) etc. Lot of good
    players there, and if the Cole concerns are valid…