Nick Foles 23, Ronde Barber 21

Posted: December 9th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 92 Comments »

Finally.  Eagles won for the first time since the Magna Carta was signed.  I wanted the win.  Forget about draft position.  We needed to see the team win a game.  The players needed this.  The coaches needed this.  I sure as heck know that I needed it.

The big thing to take away from the game is that Nick Foles is making serious progress.  He now has played well for 2 weeks in a row.  He got his first career win today.  He led the team on an impressive comeback to get the victory.  Foles was 32-51-381.  He had 2 TDs and ran for a third.  No turnovers.  We need to keep the numbers in context.  Tampa is dead last in pass defense for a reason.

I loved the fact that Foles played with such poise.  The OL struggled in the first half and the offense could not get going.  Nick didn’t panic.  He didn’t get too frustrated.  Things finally started to click in the 2nd quarter.  Down 21-10 in the 4th quarter you saw Nick again staying focused.  He didn’t try to do the impossible.  He just ran the offense and moved the chains.  Comebacks happen one play at a time.

Foles didn’t prove that he’s the long term answer.  He did show that he’s got that kind of potential.  When facing a crappy defense, you want to post big numbers.  You want to play well.  I do think Nick is showing that he should be the QB in 2013.  That is a pretty important development.

The defense was up and down.  They played very well in the 1st half, but struggled in the 2nd.  They did come up big late in the game when they had to stop the Bucs and get the ball back for Foles and the offense.  It was very encouraging to see DRC have a good game.  There was only one bad effort play from him.  I’ll cover that later.  Nnamdi got torched in the 2nd half. I don’t know if his injury affected him or not, but the team was better when Curtis Marsh played in his place.

Bad day for the STs.  Gave up a long return, missed 2 FGs, and muffed a punt.

Bryce Brown and the running game were totally shut down.  The Bucs run defense is #1 for a reason.  I’ve picked on Jeremy Maclin quite a bit this year, but he had a good game and came up big today, as a receiver and blocker.  That was great to see.  Jason Avant had a great game.  He made a phenomenal one-handed catch that must be seen to be believed.

It was great to see the joy from the players and coaches.  I know this team as been miserable to watch, but many of these players and coaches are really good guys.  Losing games eats at them.  It makes life miserable.  Winning does mean something.  These guys do care.  Watching Reid and Mudd hug was a cool, weird moment.  Glad we got to see that.

It was also fun to spoil the Bucs 10th anniversary Super Bowl celebration.  Didn’t they know they were playing with fire by scheduling that against us?  You don’t taunt a long time Eagle like Jake Scott or Ryan Rau and get away with it.

The losing streak is over.  And so is the 120 QB rating streak.  Josh Freeman was held to just a rating of 79.2.  Sounds good, huh?  Depressing to think Romo was almost double that last week.

It is funny that we once again won the game at the end.  Nothing comes easy for the 2012 Eagles.  We’ve got 4 wins on the year…by a total of 6 points.  Crazy.

_


  • Steag209

    I’d like to see the lowest margin per win (makes sense right?) in the history of the NFL. Barring a team winning one game by a single point or something, this has to be a historic number

  • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

    It looked like (former Montana Grizzly) Colt Anderson made a lot of plays today. Did it seem like the Eagles played him closer to the LOS in a hybrid role a la Brian Dawkins in his last year in Philly? If so, smart move, since he’s obviously a weapon down there.

    • Sb2bowl

      Much better in tackling than in coverage- I wonder if us losing the wide 9 had anything to do with freeing they safties up to play to their strengths?

      • A_T_G

        I liked watching him. He played with a reckless abandon that has been missing. It cost us on one run where he let the RB get wide instead of forcing him back in, but overall a good showing for a guy I thought would be a liability.

        • Sb2bowl

          Concur- it was nice seeing a safety in the backfield making a play. He hit Martin on the thigh a few times- I bet that hurt like a son of a gun!

    • Skeptic_Eagle

      I think that was good coaching. If you’ve got a guy that’s probably very limited in coverage, like Anderson, moving him up near the line, blitzing him, or using him for run fits, is probably the way to expose him the least. Tip of the hat to Anderson, but I don’t think he’s going to be any kind of answer going forward.

      • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

        So you’re saying he’s NOT the new Dawkins??

        • Skeptic_Eagle

          Only if Bowles is the next Jim Johnson.

    • http://twitter.com/ashleyleask Ashley Leask

      Suspect the plan was to do that today as the Bucs offense is so heavily run oriented. Freeman really played pretty badly, heap of off target throws even without pressure. Anderson did do a good job, had an impact on a lot of run plays at/around the LOS.

  • SleepingDuck

    I think an underrated part of today’s win was that there was only 2 penalties for 13 yards.

    • TommyLawlor

      Good call. Didn’t even think of that.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      excellent point. they didnt shoot themselves in the foot on too many drives

  • Flyin

    Eagles post game show regarding Foles TD run… coined it…

    “The sundial touchdown run”

    brilliant!

    • TommyLawlor

      That is great.

    • Ark87

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen a defense bite THAT hard on a pump fake. The DB saw him sprinting to the pylon and thought he was just rolling right LOL! So he went to blanket maclin…who then engaged for a nice block. Was definitely an awkward 7 points.

  • nicolajNN

    I know a lot of people want the team to lose for better draft picks, but winning felt kinda good. Besides, right now draft picks are just numbers

    • shah8

      Deep draft. Unlikely we win past a really good upgrade on the OL. Good chance we get a difference maker still on the DL. Maybe nobody superbright, but we don’t need to be too high for someone good.

      • A_T_G

        And I remembered why I like watching football today. I’ll always take a win.

    • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

      Exactly. Draft has become a lot more predictable lately (as far as success rate is concerned), but a high pick can still disappoint. This win was huge for Nick Foles’ confidence, and could make it easier to attract a top coaching candidate, knowing that there is a QB in place who can lead his team to a win late in the game.

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    “We’ve got 4 wins on the year…by a total of 6 points”
    In a year full of wows and WTFs, that actually might just take the cake.

    • Baloophi

      So this win was kind of a blowout for us…

  • Flyin

    Tommy,

    When you do your review… can you touch on how the defensive scheme changed without wash and how Kendricks looked at WLB?

    • http://twitter.com/RIPworms RIP Worms

      Also, I’d love to know how Colt Anderson looks in the All-22. He looked like Bob Sanders blowing up a couple run plays in the TB backfield. If he can be a functional third/fourth safety that would be huge because he’s close to Steve Tasker-good on ST.

  • ACViking

    Re: Record for Lowest Margin of Victory

    Steag209 hopes the Eagles ’12 will clinch that title.

    The Eagles ’72 already have it.

    The Birds went 2-11-1 in 1972 — beating KC 21-20 and the old Houston Oilers 18-17.

    Can’t top that!

    • TheRogerPodacter

      i must thank our resident historian, ACViking for knowing all of this stuff!!!

    • TommyLawlor

      The ultimate tightrope team.

    • Steag209

      Damn, well at least we already hold the record

    • Arby1

      Wasn’t 1972 also the year we lost 10 or 11 in a row? I’m feeling so much better about 2012 remembering that.

    • Anders

      If they decide to make an Eagles Almanac for the 2013 season, they need to invite you to the party.

  • Baloophi

    Watching the highlights, it’s impressive the OL was able to race up after the Avant catch and be in the right position for Foles to clock it without being off-sides or not up on the line, etc. A moment of confusion or a penalty would’ve cost us the game…

  • Eric Weaver

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it before but this is the exact score the eagles lost to 6 years ago to Tampa on that ridiculous Matt Bryant FG.

  • Skeptic_Eagle

    At the risk of being a wet blanket, I’ll say my heart cheered for this victory, but my brain tells me it hurts the franchise. They absolutely do not need to reel off a bunch of meaningless wins to end this season. I’d like to see them them optimize draft position by losing games by way of the guys we already know are bad, like Nnamdi, and Allen, while having the younger guys flash positive play, in those losses.

    Speaking of which, Foles has made tremendous strides over the past couple of weeks. Still wish he could hit on some of those downfield throws, but he showed a lot in the way of poise. He also looked great when throwing on the move, something we’d seen a hint of in the last game. As John Lynch pointed out, the Sprint Draw was no friend to Bryce Brown; hey, at least he didn’t fumble it, though!

    Much better, more consistent, game from Kendricks, playing WIL. I know Chaney was on Jackson for their last TD, but I thought he did a fairly decent job at SAM, today. I think Kendricks can be a very good WIL, or MIKE…SAM…I dunno.

    • Cal Setar

      I don’t think you’re being a wet blanket necessarily. It’s a prudent way to look at things. That being said…while I share your feelings on the whole draft positioning thing, I was truly glad to be able to enjoy Eagles football for a day. Plus, according to Jimmy K, since the Panthers, Browns and Chargers all won today, the win doesn’t change our current positioning. It just makes it less likely for us to get the 1st overall pick. And since the draft is deep, and not top heavy, we probably won’t be missing out on any once in a lifetime players. Personally I’d love for us to trade back and pick up an extra second rounder.

      I do however disagree with the fact that we “know” Allen is bad. He’s still a young guy whose had 2 or 3 different secondary coaches and 2 different DC’s in his time in the NFL. Not to mention he’s had to play next to Kurt Coleman, who, after Colt Andersons performance today, may now be the back up he probably should be anyways. I know he’s been mediocre. But he flashed pretty darn good potential his first year before he got hurt. I’d say he’s still an unknown quantity at the least.

      • BobSmith77

        Allen played well the first month of the season his rookie year. He played well again this year early on but has been poor to horrendous since the bye. He’s not the answer but the Eagles may be stuck with him by default next year since upgrading SS is even a bigger need right now than FS.

        • Cal Setar

          He’s got the physical tools. He just plays with hesitance and a lack of consistency. And if you hadn’t noticed, the rest of the secondary has been pretty awful this year too. It’s not like he’s the broken cog in an otherwise well oiled machine. I agree that he hasn’t played well, and may not be the guy the Eagles want long term. But it’s just wrong at this point to say definitively that “He’s not the answer”.

          • Skeptic_Eagle

            Not to put too fine a point on it, but I’d say he’s been pretty consistent–just consistently bad. He’s a horrible tackler, with very little feel of where he should be on the field, a deadly combo for a safety. He got bailed out of a PI in the endzone today, matched up on a very underwhelming Luke Stocker. He also blew a tackle on Vincent Jackson at the 5, that might have saved a touchdown, and made a similar play in the travesty last week. I mean, which plays have you seen him actually make?

            I’m not sure why Allen deserves any more chances, other than the fact that he was drafted in the second round, and they might not be able to replace everyone in the secondary simultaneously. Realistically, we might just have to roll with him for 2013, but if you put aside the abstract of his physical tools, he’s shown as little as Coleman, to be honest. The last time he looked good was in the first few weeks of 2010.

          • Cal Setar

            You speak with such certainty about things that just aren’t certain.

            You’ve got a second round pick who was having a good to great rookie season when he got hurt (Halfway through the season Don Banks at SI did a mock re-draft and had Allen as a first round pick). Then he went and had a really bad second year, which he himself attributed to not trusting his knee (And as someone whose had two ACL surgeries, I’d say that’s fairly legit). That game against the Patriots last year when he got abused will forever be ingrained in my mind (and his psyche). But then, when whole team settled down and went on a run, and he started to trust his knee, he played better. And this season, when the whole defense was playing well early in the year, he played well too.

            And now after a secondary coach and defensive coordinator change, with things going really badly for the whole defense and especially the secondary, he’s not the answer and a guy we “know” is bad…

            Look, not every guy you draft is going to be elite. Yeah, of course you want and hope for them to be elite, but it’s unrealistic to expect them all to turn out that way. Sometimes guys are good or even great players, but not game changing ones, and they need other good to great guys around them. Football is the ultimate team sport after all. Hell, I’d say most of any NFL roster is made up of good to great guys, with several elite players peppered in (hopefully).

            I’m not saying that accepting mediocrity is ok, in any way shape or form. Or that we shouldn’t want or expect him to be elite. But on a 4-9 team with the whole squad playing poorly, to say with such certainty that he’s bad and must be replaced is…wrong. Just wrong. He’s got warts right now. Big ones. But sometimes players look hesitant because they don’t trust the guys around them. They don’t think they’re going to be where they should. Or they don’t think they’re physically capable.

            At this point, I think the only certainties about him are that he’s a guy whose played really well before and has the potential to play well again, but is playing poorly right now. But he may just need better guys around him to make that happen. I mean, do you really think Allen is worse at this point than Nnamdi or Kurt Coleman?

            He very could turn out to suck and not be the long term answer. But we just don’t know that yet.

          • Skeptic_Eagle

            I understand what you’re saying, and I’d be more inclined to agree if there wasn’t almost 3 season’s worth of game tape. Of course nothing is completely certain, but at some point, you have to form an opinion, rather than kicking the can down the road and saying “if only…”. As an organization, pretending the player is going to be the answer when you’ve got a good amount of evidence to show he’s probably not, is neglecting a responsibility to put the best product out on the field (like they did with Coleman this year). This “great rookie season” of Allen’s is becoming rather mythic. You remember that Allen was at least partially responsible for Kenny Britt destroying the Eagles secondary that year, right? He didn’t get hurt until late in 2010, and had seen a severe drop in form before it happened. He was also pretty bad down the stretch against the Bears and the Texans that year.

            You’re saying he needs to be more “consistent”, how is he not consistent? The guy has 2 pass deflections all year; again, what plays have you seen him make lately (besides bad ones)?

            A nice parallel is Graham. Drafted in the same year, he too, returned from serious injury. Though he hasn’t put up much in terms of numbers, he’s had a positive affect on games, and looks to be at least a solid starter for the Eagles going forward.

            I actually don’t think Allen looks any better than Nnamdi or Coleman. In fact, as a coverage safety, I think Kurt Coleman actually has a better feel for where he should be on the field, and where plays are going–he just can’t get there, most times. I find it odd that you’re saying I can’t possibly know that Allen is bad, while implying that those two guys are; why can’t those guys just turn it around with a new coordinator/scheme, etc.? Coleman had a game or two where he looked competent on their “run” against backup QB’s at the end of last year. Nnamdi, obviously, got paid for a reason, yet Allen is the only of those three that nothing can be ascertained about.

          • Anders

            The wide 9 alignment of the DEs gave the safeties double duties on every play. First they had respect the run because they have cap responsibility but at the same time they need to give safety help over the top

          • Cal Setar

            Well first off, I never said anything about “knowing” that Nnamdi and Kurt are bad, which is what you said about Nate and is what I take real issue with. But while I freely admit I implied that they’re playing poorly, I meant it in the sense of right now. I think we’d all agree they’re playing pretty darn poorly at this point. As for why I give Nate more credit than those two, and still hold out hope for his future, it’s because Nnamdi’s issues stem from him being in his 10th year and pretty obviously losing a step. Failing physical skills for a guy who doesn’t like to get his hands dirty are basically insurmountable. And Kurt Coleman doesn’t have a track record of playing really well, even if it was for a short time like Allen. There’s a reason his picks come in bunches against guys like Rex Grossman and Brandon Weeden (who was making his first NFL start). Plus Kurt is clearly just physically overmatched. He’s a small guy with mediocre speed. You can teach recognition and focus. You can’t teach physical capability.

            And that whole Kenny Briitt thing…he abused the entire secondary that day. Nate got beat for sure. But that was one of those games where, after the first half, everything went wrong for the Eagles and everything went right for the Titans. Basically, I don’t think it’s a legitimate sample for you to cite.

            Again, my problem is simply with you saying for certain that Nate is bad. You can’t know that. 3 years, one a half of which were affected by injury, is just not a big enough sample size.

            And you entirely missed my point on him being a good to great guy who probably needs other good to great guys around him to excel. I know he’s not making plays. But NO ONE is making plays. It’s fair a this point to say that he’s just not a game changer like Dawk who can cause Int’s or have a bunch of pass break ups all by his lonesome. He can do it, but it will be predicated on him doing his job and playing within the scheme.

          • Skeptic_Eagle

            Yeah, I didn’t so much miss your point of Allen being a “good to great guy” as I did dismiss it, because you have not furnished any evidence to support it, other than Allen’s physical skills, and citing a small stretch of games where he played well, from 2 years ago. The idea that he could be good if he was playing in a secondary full of good players strikes me as an argument from ignorance; a bit hypothetical, I’m talking about what he *is*, not what he might be under x, y, z conditions.

            I think you’re exaggerating the time Allen was “affected by injury”. He played 15 games as a rookie, until he was hurt against the Giants. If we give him all of 2011 season as a mulligan–which is extremely generous–that’s still almost 2 full years worth of game tape on which to form an opinion. I can’t “know” he’s bad like I can’t “know” the future, but I can look at a pretty lengthy sample size of the past, try to learn something from it, and deduce things about the future, right?

            The whole Kenny Britt thing was on 2 guys, primarily, who couldn’t contain Britt in the secondary–Ellis Hobbs and Nate Allen. I don’t agree with bailing out Allen by blaming the whole team–or putting the blame on McDermott for not switching Asante the RCB, as some did at the time. Allen had over the top coverage, and failed to make the plays he could have, to prevent it from happening. What kind of argument would I have, if I said, “I don’t think it’s legitimate for you to cite Allen’s (few) good games”? Or if I attributed the games where he played well to the entire defense, or overall attitude of the team? I thought we were trying to analyze Allen here, not the 2010 Eagles.

            As far as contrasting his play with Coleman, it’s not like Allen has made plays against a lineup of pro-bowl QB’s. Kurt Coleman’s 7 career INTs came against Rex Grossman, Donovan McNabb, Weeden & Matt Moore. Allen’s 5 career INTs came against Rex Grossman, Donovan McNabb, Shaun Hill, and Aaron Rodgers.

            The whole “physical tools” argument just doesn’t hold water for me. Look at a guy like Jairus Byrd; he’s undersized, with slow timed speed, but understands what’s happening as he’s seeing it, and can react quickly. His feel for angles and intuition on defense makes up for his foot speed. It’s certainly not fair to contrast Allen to Byrd, but I don’t think Nate Allen even has a bare minimum in the area of instinct to be effective. I certainly respect that you wish to remain optimistic about Allen’s future, but the evidence is that Allen has been a bad player, so far.

          • Cal Setar

            See, now you’re hedging your argument. Obviously we just disagree on this. But I’m not trying to speak with any certainty about Allen or his future. You are. And I don’t think it’s legitimate for you do so. As with all arguments, I’m sure the truth lies somewhere between our two viewpoints. But I’m not trying to say definitively that he’s either really good or really bad. Again, you are, and that’s what I have such an issue with. Dez Bryant has broken out this year…his 3rd year in the league. And he didn’t have any major injuries that ate up some of his playing time or make him doubt himself physically. Guys need time to adjust to the NFL. All I’m say is 3 years isn’t long enough, especially when you factor in his injury, which you choose to be flippant about.

            Allen “is” an NFL safety with measurable physical skills. You “are” a fan trying to speak with definitiveness about something that’s not definite.

          • Skeptic_Eagle

            I’m not hedging, he’s bad, and should be replaced, based on the evidence. Having “certainty about Allen or his future” are mutually exclusive. He’s bad now; I’m certain of that. He’s played badly for the majority of his NFL career, I’m certain of that. Will he always be bad? I think so, but I don’t know that certainly. Saying I can’t “know” he’ll always be bad is redundant; of course I can’t! But you’re saying I should dismiss all the evidence, and pretend Allen is a blank slate we know nothing about. That’s just not true. Going into the season pretending he’s somehow miraculously going to turn into a starting caliber safety is pretty much what the Eagles did with Kurt Coleman this year, right?

            Not sure I was being “flippant” about his injury, by saying that he played 15 games as a rookie, and saying that dismissing a full year of his play due to injury recovery was probably a little more than fair. I’m just arguing a point, not trying to insult your intelligence.

            By your reasoning, who can you actually say is “good” or “bad”? I mean, you must have opinions about players on the team, right? How many games does it take for you to form an opinion on a guy? Is it always the same, or does it relate to a player’s pre-draft scouting reports, round they were drafted and 40 time? Is Danny Watkins “bad”, or just another blank slate we shouldn’t draw any conclusions about?

          • Cal Setar

            Of course you can, and need to, form opinions on players. But you can’t do that without respecting the fact that each player is different, and has different circumstances to deal with. If Danny Watkins was in a run based offense with a more conventional offensive line scheme, he’d be a starter, and I’d bet, a pretty good one at that.

            You seem to want to focus solely on Allen’s bad play, (which I freely admit he’s playing badly right now), without taking into account the circumstances under which he’s playing poorly. He’s got at least two guys in the secondary with him in Nnamdi and Kurt who probably shouldn’t be starters at this point. Kurt for instance, is a BAD player. He’s not physically capable, and he doesn’t have the recognition skills to make up for it. Allen’s had a major injury, and every player responds differently to injuries. There is no blueprint for how something like that will effect a player, physically or mentally.

            I know Nate is playing bad. But you dismiss his good play and injury, and focus solely on his bad play, which is the case, but even you’ve got to admit he’s not even close to being the worst guy in his own secondary! It seems to you that the only evidence that matters is the evidence that shows when he plays poorly. But why is it so easy to overlook when he’s played well? Like you said, he played in 15 games his first year, and he played well in those games. Right now he’s got guys around him playing really, really badly. You’ve got to factor that, and his injury in. You keep saying there are 3 years of tape of him playing badly. That’s not true. And when he has played bad, there have been circumstances that you could point to as possibly having a serious effect on him.

            Half of this game, and evaluating players in this league, is projection. If you don’t think he can get better, that’s fine. I think he can.

          • Skeptic_Eagle

            I mean, considering I’m asserting that Allen is a “bad” player, wouldn’t it kind of follow that I’d want to focus on his bad play as evidence to support that assertion? I haven’t dismissed the small stretch of games where Nate Allen played well. I’d even go so far as to say that he looked good in that 2010 preseason. I remember them playing KC, and Allen was on a blitz, but recognized the HB was leaking out for a screen and reacted and made a TFL. I was impressed with that. What I won’t go so far to say, though, is that his entire rookie campaign was good. His form had dropped by the Atlanta game of 2010, 6 or 7 games into the season–missing tackles on Michael Turner, and allowing uncontested TDs.

            I’m also not saying that the injury shouldn’t be considered. Players respond to injury differently, which is why I’m not even considering all of 2011–and he’s still a bad player! Now if you want to say that he’s still suffering the effects of the recovery, which I don’t think you are, I think that kind of changes the game about what we can expect from him going forward.

            As far as evaluating him in the context of one of the worst secondaries in the NFL–yeah, that’s tough. You can try and isolate him, as best as you can. The long TD to Aldrick Robinson in the Redskins game, I think, is a fair isolation play. By Bowles’ account, they called a cover 3. Nnamdi was playing press bail on Robinson who ran a deep post, and the play called for the other receiver to run a shallower route to the middle of the field, to suck up Allen. Allen obliged like clockwork, and left Robinson WIDE OPEN. He wasn’t looking into the backfield for a run responsibility, he just bit on the shallow route. He also let Darrel Young leak out of the backfield, and walk into the endzone in that game (for the 1st TD, I believe). Or look at his non-tackle of Dez Bryant last week (one of a group of non-tackling knuckleheads), or Vincent Jackson on the play where Chaney was covering him this week.

            I think I said he’s not the worst player (above, somewhere in this novella of posts and replies) in the secondary. But I don’t think there is that much of a difference between him and Coleman, honestly.

            The guy has made some plays–like Coleman–but ultimately, he’s not serving his purpose, which is to prevent medium plays from turning into big plays.

          • Cal Setar

            “I mean, considering I’m asserting that Allen is a “bad” player, wouldn’t it kind of follow that I’d want to focus on his bad play as evidence to support that assertion?”

            This, to me, is the epitome of what’s wrong with your argument. Instead of starting with an open and unbiased mind and then viewing the presented facts of his play through the prism of context and circumstance, you’re essentially coming at it from the angle of “I don’t like Allen, how do I support this theory?”.

            Clearly, based on your posts you’re a smart guy and we’re all entitled to our opinion. But that statement isn’t far off from shah8′s repeated, and clearly biased, diatribes on the “clear” worthlessness of Foles, and the undervaluing of Vick.

          • Skeptic_Eagle

            Thanks for the kind words, and I hope I haven’t offended you with the discourse. Tommy’s Website has high quality posters.

            Shah8′s opinions on Foles are transparently preconceived, and it’s pretty obvious that the guy is reluctant to acknowledge anything positive from Foles because he’s a champion for Vick. I don’t think it’s fair to lump me in there. I let you know, above, that I was optimistic about Allen early on, and that, slowly, over time, through watching his performance, I began to view him as a bad player. Stating a conclusion such as “he’s bad”, and then following that up with evidence to support my conclusion is what a rational argument is all about. I mean, I’m providing specific examples here. What argument would I have if I didn’t have some argument statement, like “he’s bad”, “he’s unknown”? If we followed that convention, the Linc would sound a lot different on Sundays: “That player is a real unknown quantity!”, “Get off the field you inscrutable athlete of mysterious potential!” or “You guys stink! On the other hand, You might be good, given the right set of circumstances! NOTHING CAN BE ASCERTAINED AS OF NOW!”

            I certainly did not think Allen was bad when they drafted him, and didn’t have even a measure of the same skepticism I had for picks like Watkins or Jarrett–who I’ll admit, I have some bias against, based on what I thought of their college careers and circumstantial factors. I hadn’t actually watched Allen, but his physical tools were there, and he was pretty highly thought of by Mayock and others. My opinion of Allen is based on watching him play.

          • Cal Setar

            Nah, nah, not offended in the least. Far from it actually. I really appreciate a good back and forth, especially when it feels like it’s with someone who, though we may not share the same opinion, has given it as much thought and consideration as I have. It’s something I really love about this site, and the reason why IgglesBlitz is the only place I come to comment.

            Anyways, I completely get, and agree with, your viewpoint that conclusions must be made about players. It’s the fun part about fandom that you get to develop opinions about players and especially when you can just let go and yell at the TV. I found myself doing that a lot when Vick was still QB.

            These days things with the whole team are bad enough to the point where I don’t get upset and I simply watch the games to see who I hope stays in Midnight Green next year. And for me, Allen is one of those guys. He’s playing bad, no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. And there are plenty of guys playing as bad or worse than him, 2 of which are in the secondary, who I’d be glad to see gone next year. But I think Allen deserves at least another year as a starter, with hopefully a bit of improved talent around him. Obviously coaching continuity is a pipe dream, which is unfortunate because I think that definitely effects a players confidence.

            And I didn’t mean to lump you in with shah8. That would be unfair. I just meant it as a comparison in terms of arguing in “good faith” and the statement you made about your view of Allen and focusing on certain examples to back that up.

      • laeagle

        I’m curious to see how the move away from the wide-9 affects safety play from here on out. I don’t think that it was helping them, to be honest. Not giving Allen an excuse, but I agree that the jury is still out.

        • Cal Setar

          Yeah, I’m curious about that too. I said something about it in the DGR thread yesterday. You’ve got to think that when your ends actually maintain gap responsibility and worry as much about the run as they do the pass it takes a lot of strain off the LBs and safeties.

          • laeagle

            I say this in part because of something Collinsworth pointed out in last weeks game about where the safeties were facing during most plays, to the outside, and how unusual that was. That, in conjunction with everything else I’ve heard about how the wide-9 affects the rest of the defense, leads me to wonder about how much of the problems against the run last year, as well as the coverage problems this year, were caused by trying to deal with the wide-9.

    • TommyLawlor

      If we get hot and finish 7-9, that would hurt. Winning an extra game or even two isn’t going to kill us. The draft lacks elite talent. Not sure there will be a huge difference in drafting #4 vs #8 for example. Won’t know for sure for a couple of months, but that’s the way it looks now.

      • Skeptic_Eagle

        I know that the narrative is that this draft lacks elite talent–and that may end up being true–but I’m somewhat anxious to see which names emerge from the college ranks in the coming “down” pre-draft months. IIRC, Fletcher Cox was a bit of a late riser, in the minds of most media and fans. Back in early December 2011, I doubt many would have thought he & Poe would have been the first 2 linemen off the board. RG3 was still in the process of cementing his status as the #2 QB, behind Luck. Stephon Gilmore was also something of a late entry into the draft media frenzy, as well, and by most accounts, all of those players have a promising future.

      • DanJ3645

        While the talent level might not be a significant drop off I’d have thought it would be the lack of choice that would suffer.
        So if picks 3 to 9 have the same talent level then I’d rather pick at 4 than 8 to ensure the position & scheme fit is maximised , rather than have the issue of best talent vs scheme & position fit.
        But given that on Sundays I’ll still be desperate for the W. It was great to see the O get the spike off in time and then score walkoff TD.
        But F@#*!?g Marty and that roll out play.

      • Kevin_aka_RC

        I’d be shocked if THIS team wins another 3 in a row. We’re a dropped INT away from 3-10 and no one is talking about this. The Bengals/Skins/Giants are also all better than the Bucs.

        Hopefully we go 1-2 and pick in the top 6.

    • austinfan

      If they win because young players step up and make plays, then it doesn’t matter if they lose a few draft slots because they’ve answered questions by players already in the NFL. If Foles continues to improve, you don’t have to spend a high draft pick on a QB, if Brown improves, RB is set, if Cooper keeps making plays, WR, if Harbor starts catching the ball, etc.

      It’s not how many games they win, it’s how they win them.

      • ceteris_paribus1776

        This is only partially relevant. No one is using a 1st round pick on a #3 WR, backup TE, or most likely a back up RB. Foles is really the only guy that allows to re-evaluate your 1st round decision. If next years first rounder were decided by the a handful of role players, this team wouldn’t be 4-9. The first rounder should almost certainly be someone in the secondary or along the Oline if Foles pans out

        • austinfan

          A draft has 7 rounds, and more if you trade down, a big portion of your key players (the top 35 or so) come in the 2nd to 4th rounds – so every young player who steps up frees those picks, at least allows more flexibility going for BPA.

          People focus on 1st rd picks, but look at the Bengals, they’re a 4-12 team if not for Dalton (early 2nd), Boling (4th), Atkins (4th).

          • ceteris_paribus1776

            yes, but the argument for not winning down the stretch in favor of playing younger guys doesn’t really apply to anything beyond the 1st round, which was the original posters concern. The talent thins out so quickly that being a few slots down in any other round is largely immaterial.

            This team is going to need 1 interior lineman, probably an OT, at least 1 safety, and at least 1 CB no matter who is the new coach is. An aging Cujo/Cole combo will keep you looking at Dline. I’d guess SAM and future MIKE will be a priority at some point. My point is that there are plenty of needs on a 4-9 team that the play of almost everyone but Foles and the Graham/Curry combo shouldn’t make too much difference.

  • BobSmith77

    Wasn’t watching the entire game and only caught bits and parts of it on the radio. Were the 6 sacks largely the fault of Foles holding it too long or was the o-line that crummy again today? Said he was hit today 14 times on the recap though so I figure it was just a poor day of run and pass-blocking by the make shift line.

    • Baloophi

      They all seemed like first half breakdowns… Dunlap and Kelly getting turnstiled and Foles not having time to escape.

      • Baloophi

        Most were part of a punt parade we were having with the Bucs.

    • TommyLawlor

      Poor blocking was key issue.

    • http://www.facebook.com/brian.borkowski.71 Brian Borkowski

      Tommy’ll have to take another look, but it felt like TB was throwing everything at the OL. I kept hearing Barbers name as a blitzer, so I think they were throwing a lot of looks at us. That was my feeling, but there were a few 1 0n 1 losses too. I think Scott got beat (it happens) and Kelly gave up an almost disastrous sack at the 2 minute warning. Of course Dunlap gave up 1 or 2.

      One of the things that really impressed me about Foles was how he managed the pocket, even when he did take some early sacks. He had one or two plays where he very calmly stepped up when both Dunlap and Kelly were bested.

    • http://twitter.com/ashleyleask Ashley Leask

      Poor blocking was an issue, Dunlap and Kelly both had pretty poor games. The Bucs stunted a lot and McCoy especially could bust through before the interior guys could pick it up and adjust.

      At least two of them though, he held the ball a long time.

      ETA: mostly the inside 3 held up well, Foles stepped up quite a few times as the Ends got around King and Kelly.

  • Baloophi

    What do you all make of Foles “inventing” the penultimate pass play to Avant? According to MM Foles combined two plays and called for Avant to run a post rather than a crossing route…

    http://www.csnphilly.com/football-philadelphia-eagles/eagles-talk/Nick-Foles-invented-play-on-late-pass-to?blockID=811739&feedID=692

    • A_T_G

      That is incredibly impressive presence under pressure.

      Not nearly as impressive as a football blog where commenters use “penultimate” correctly, though.

    • http://twitter.com/ashleyleask Ashley Leask

      Shows he understood the D the Bucs were playing and correctly identified what the coverage would be before the play. It’s not like he scratched the whole thing out in the dirt, think all it really amounts to is he changed Avant’s route from a dig to a post.

      Good job though, good confidence in his own judgement.

  • SteveH

    Foles played great today, that throw to Jason Avant on 4th down late in the game… confident, on target, money throw. 2 scores in the final 2 drives to win the game. Foles era has begun.

  • BobSmith77

    Even thought this was kind of a meaningless game, I really enjoyed listening to Reese on radio especially the ending. Genuine excitement, even glee, in his voice that wasn’t forced or strained.

    Reese is a certified homer but isn’t afraid to be critical of the team when they put on a poor performance. What I really enjoy though is that he generally focuses on the game at hand without being overly negative or positive.

    I could listen to a 2-12 Eagles game as long as Reese was doing the play-by-play and Walters was his color guy.

    Really going to miss Merrill Reese when he is gone which probably isn’t in the very distant future considering he turned 70 this Sept. I figure he probably will do another 3-4 years max. It would be really nice if the Eagles could miraculously win a SB for he retires.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1514128048 Kristopher Cebula

      i think that merrill will announce into his 80′s, provided he lives that long. no reason he wouldn’t. it’s not like he has to retire to spend time with his family. he’s a football announcer. he probably has more off time than all of us. he probably works 2 days a week and is probably paid very well for it. Just saying, it’s probably the best job ever. don’t think merrill is going anywhere anytime soon

      • BobSmith77

        Into his 80s? That’s really a stretch for any broadcaster. More than 2 days/week & it is really a long season with a fair amount of travel.

  • shah8

    Vince Young begged Larry Fitzgerald for a shot “tell Coach”, indeed. While he is better than what Az has (other than healthy Kolb), I’m ashamed to be remotely associated with such lack of freaking public dignity.

    • BobSmith77

      Why? He’s desperate to get back into the league and Arizona is desperate for any help at QB.

      • shah8

        I think he was kinda half-joking half-serious. I’m being exaggerated in taking offense.

  • BobSmith77

    Most ridiculous play today I saw on the recap though had to be Foles’ 10-TD run. Bucs had an overload blitz on that side that easy should have forced either an in completion or a sack.

    Instead, Foles pump faked and the 2 Bucs’ blitzers gave up pursuit of Foles and started running to where they thought he had thrown it. Reminded me of something out of an early Madden game where the computer defenders could be easily tricked with minimal effort.

  • BobSmith77

    Re: Foles

    Good chance now that the final 3 games the Eagles play in will mean something to the opposing team including the season finale vs. Giants.

    Glad they will because it means the Eagles should continue to get a better look at what Foles can do against 1st-string defenders on 3 playoff contenders. This is by far and away the biggest reason to have continued interest in this season yet besides the Eagles’ playing the role of ‘spoiler.’

  • phillychuck

    Tommy,

    Re: Foles. Can you think of any other very young QB who could not throw the long ball and learned how to? I mean, it’s common for young QBs to learn to manage a game better, or read defenses better, or throw the ball away, but do they learn to throw the deep ball when it’s not a natural talent?

    • BobSmith77

      Unless they strengthen their arm and work on it in particular I haven’t ever heard of a young QB making notable strides.

      • shah8

        Well, Matt Ryan got better, and so did Schaub, a little (but Schaub wasn’t quite the liability). However, they cannot throw ad-hoc (second third read) deep balls accurately. They have to have the deep throw as the first read and throw almost a rainbow for the WR to run under. Someone like Kyle Orton has never improved his ability to throw the deep ball, and that ultimately doomed Orton in favor of an incompetent QB who could throw the deep ball if he couldn’t do anything else.

        Any QB in the NFL can throw 50, 60 yards. However, what a strong arm really means is that you can simply take yards on outs and sticks (like the one Foles didn’t throw well enough/Celek mishandles), and you have far more control on just where the ball lands, not to mention, with less of an arc that allows defensive reaction.

        Bree’s arm did get a little better as a result of his shoulder surgery.

        Even with AJ Green, Andrew Dalton is really doing well with what he has. And AJ Green helps out with the lack of deep accuracy from Dalton.

        • xeynon

          In addition to Schaub and Ryan, Tom Brady also quite improved his ability to throw the deep ball – he was drafted in the 6th round partially because he was thought to lack arm strength and when he took over as the Pats’ QB he was mostly a dink-and-dunker. Guys like Brees show that you don’t need a rocket arm to be an elite QB though.

          • bdbd20

            I seem to remember their 2001 offense based on screens and slants. He made himself into a good deep passer. Let’s hope Foles can do the same.

    • Neil

      He had a lot of pressure in his face on most if not all of the overthrows. This isn’t a question of arm strength as it is accuracy, and accuracy can improve.

    • http://twitter.com/ProtoTyler Ty-Philly

      Its not that he can’t throw it, its that his accuracy needs to be refined, and that will come with reps.

  • austinfan

    The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

    The Good – Foles is starting to look like a legitimate starting QB. Want to see the next three games, but he was under a lot of pressure and kept his cool. Has real nice zip out to about 25 yards, needs a lot of offseason work on his long ball, Cooper would have had two TDs with an accurate deep thrower.

    The Bad- Kelly let me down, really struggled with Bennett, has to be more aggressive with his hands instead of catching the DE.

    The Ugly – Dunlap and Reynolds, and Scott because he’s a veteran who should let McCoy and Teo blow by him in pass protection. What really stands out with Dunlap is he’s not a starting quality LT, with Reynolds is slow feet.

    Deion Lewis needs more touches.
    Harbor started poorly, then showed that he could be a threat as a receiver.

    The DL played very well given the circumstances, but Curry really looked like an inexperienced rookie, which of course, he is. Notice Cole looked more comfortable in a conventional DE set where he can use leverage on a LT.

    Also noticed the refs allowed the TB offensive line get away with murder, not just your usual OL holding, but some head locks and take downs on Cole and Anderson. Losing teams don’t get the calls.

  • jpt35

    Are Avant/Maclin fighting for jobs next year? How much do you think today’s game helped, or is it too little too late?

    Maclin seemed to be blocking much better today

    • Iskar36

      I doubt Maclin is fighting for a job. He has had a disappointing season for sure, but he still puts up numbers and the issue really becomes whether you extend him and view him as your long term answer at #2 WR or not. He will be here next year regardless though.

      For Avant, I don’t think anyone questions his ability. The problem is, the slot WR position has become more and more of a weapon in the better offenses, and while Avant is very reliable, he is not a dynamic player. He would be ideal as your #4 WR and a role player (#3 WR has gone from being a role player to a significant contributor). So I think Avant probably has a role on this team regardless of the coach, but ideally you would want him to be #4. I think that has less to do with Avant than it has to do with how dynamic offenses are now being built.

  • Anders

    Tommy, as you know, Im usually a very positive guy, but I actually fear that Nick Foles could pull a Bobby Hoying once AR and MM leaves unless we get a very good offensive minded coach next year.

  • Anders

    Another thing and correct me if im wrong, but it seemed to me the Bucs feared Cooper and used more ressources to cover him than Maclin and Avant.

    • Ark87

      Being a Gator, they should fear the Florida Mojo turning him into a superman. The kid has hands to make the big grabs, he’s got the size and power. He’s starting to use it. If he puts it together consistently he will be a real handful for defenses, and exactly what this offense has needed for a long time.

      • P_P_K

        Agreed. Foles and Cooper could be our future.

  • Shane

    Tommy – First time poster. Found your blog at the beginning of the season and now an avid reader. You have really provided me with a great new perspective on the game. Now the question….What do you think about the reports coming out about Foles decision making as well as ability to improvise / create new plays?

    He invented a play on the spot

    http://www.csnphilly.com/football-philadelphia-eagles/eagles-talk/Nick-Foles-invented-play-on-late-pass-to?blockID=811739&feedID=692

    In true The Replacements style, he basically said I want the
    ball and told the coaches what play to run

    http://www.phillymag.com/eagles/2012/12/09/reid-foles-made-the-call-on-final-touchdown/

    As a lover of the movie, “The Replacements” it gave me a end-of-movie, Shane Falco warm and fuzzy kind of feeling….although that might simply have been from their cheerleaders in the movie! :-)