The Day After

Posted: December 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 52 Comments »

I had weird feelings after the Eagles 34-13 loss to the Bengals.  I was very encouraged by what I saw in the 1st half.  The Eagles dominated the Bengals, outside the first 5 minutes.  The 2nd half was a huge slopfest.  Normally you dismiss that many turnovers as “one of those nights” that just happens from time to time.  Unfortunately, the 2012 season has been full of them.

There were some individual performances to be happy about.  There was still plenty to be upset with, especially the fact that the Bengals were more physical and stronger.  In a weird way, that can be encouraging.  Why?  The Eagles don’t lack talent.  One thing (among a few) that they do lack is toughness…sheer physical toughness.  That is something a new coach can correct.

In some ways, last night was pretty good:

* The Eagles showed how good they can be when they play well and cut out the mistakes (2nd Qtr).  Then they turned the ball over and lost.  That keeps the team in line for a Top 5 pick.

* Nick Foles didn’t have a good game, but he was pretty good in the 1st half, 12-24-145 with a TD and no INTs.  He did struggle after that.  If Nick played lights out it might have forced Lurie to think about bringing some member of the offensive coaching staff back to work with Nick.  After last night’s uneven showing, I don’t think anything short of a phenomenal performance in the last 2 games will cause Lurie to feel that way.  Andy and his staff have done a good job with Nick, but there isn’t some freaky connection between Foles and anyone that can’t be broken.  Nothing special is going on.

* The DL woke up and played well.  I wrote that Trent had a bad game last week.  He responded by playing well.  We need another one of those to feel completely comfortable with him being the RDE next year.  Brandon Graham played well and offered hope for his future (more on that later).  Fletcher Cox showed just how good he can be.  We needed some answers from this group and got them.

* Bryce Brown can now see that last week wasn’t a fluke.  He is incredibly talented, but this is the NFL.  O-T-S-S.  Only the strong survive.  You must constantly work to improve your game and fix your weaknesses.  All the Bo Jackson talk can go away and Bryce can focus on just getting better.  Those 160-yard games seem like a decade ago.  And hold onto the damn ball!!!

* Same principle somewhat applies to Foles.  He lit up a crappy Bucs secondary last week.  This time out he was up and down against a Bengals defense that has talent all over and can play.  Nick showed he can play well against them (1st half), but also that he must get better.  A lot better.  Too much success too fast can make a player believe he’s ahead of where he truly is.  Nick seems pretty humble and focused.  The Bengals just made sure of it.

Had the Eagles gone out and played really well and/or won…this team would start to feel good about itself.  We do not want that happening.  This group still has way too many issues to be feeling good.  I’m not saying I don’t want them to enjoy moments of success, but I don’t want them to lose sight of just how much of a failure the 2012 season has been.  There will be no 4-game winning streak this year.  I don’t know what will happen in the final 2 games, but the 21-point loss on Thursday night won’t be forgotten.

* * * * *

I mentioned that I went out with some Eagles fans to watch the game.  The feeling with several of them is that Reid will return.  They were less confident by the end of the game, but a few still leaned in that direction.  They don’t want him back, but felt the recent moves that were made would lead to his return.

I stringently argued that this would not happen.

I cannot see any realistic way that Jeff Lurie brings Reid back.  I love Big Red.  I’d love to shake his hand and thank him for the memories.  I just can’t imagine his return.

One of the keys is that this team isn’t just having an off-year.  This isn’t a dysfunctional bunch like the 2011 Eagles or the 2005 team.  This team is doing some amazingly bad things.

From Reuben Frank on Twitter last night:

* Eagles have only been outscored by more points in 2nd half at home 8 times in franchise history – twice in the 1940s, 4 times 1966-68, 1985, 1998.

* The Eagles’ 16 turnovers vs. AFC this year is most by a team vs. opposite conference since 1997 Saints committed 17 vs. AFC.

* Last time Eagles led at halftime and lost by 21 or more: Oct. 17, 1971 [led Raiders 10-0 in Oakland and lost to Daryle Lamonica 34-10]

* Last night was second home game in 44 years Eagles allowed 24+ points in the 2nd half and scored 0. Also happened in 1998 vs. Seattle [24-0 in 38-0 loss].

* Eagles have now lost 6 games by 13 or more points, matching the most since 1976, when they lost 8 games by 13+ points. Also lost 6 in 1998.

* Eagles are on pace for 38 giveaways & 13 takeaways. No NFL team has ever done that. Closest was the 2004 Rams [39 giveaways, 15 takeaways].

* This was the Bengals’ first prime-time road win since Oct. 22, 1995, when they beat the Steelers with future Eagle Jeff Blake at quarterback

* Longest rushing TD by a QB vs. the Eagles since Rick Mirer’s 12-yarder on Dec. 3, 1995.

And of course there are the other big “accomplishments”.

* 8-game losing streak.

* 4 wins only by 6 points.

* Opposing QBs having a rating of 120 or more in a record 5 straight games.

* Rookie RG3 going 14 of 15 with 4 TDs vs the Eagles.

* Eagles facing historically awful Saints defense and scoring just 13 points.

* Eagles leading the league in Red Zone turnovers (5).

* STs play has featured way too many mistakes.  Once an Eagles strength, now a weakness.

I do not see how on Earth Lurie could reward Reid by bringing him back after a season when the team has done some amazingly awful things.  There are some mitigating circumstances, but Reid burned through his goodwill last year.  This season he needs to be judged on…this season.

Now if you want to get weird, you could argue that the way to punish Reid for 2012 is to keep him as coach.  Unfortunately, that would be punishing all of Eagles Nation as well.

* * * * *

DE #1  - 6.5 sacks, 35 solo tackles, 6 TFLs, 5 PDs, 1 FF

DE#2 – 5.5 sacks, 22 solo tackles, 3 TFLs, 0 PDs, 2 FF

The top guy is JPP.  The bottom guy is Brandon Graham.

I am not saying Brandon is as good a player or anything insane like that.  Clearly JPP is a much better player.  JPP is a guy that teams have to gameplan for so his impact does go beyond the numbers.  Brandon is a guy that doesn’t require any special attention and isn’t going to face multiple blockers.

I do find it encouraging that Brandon is getting better.  He’s taking advantage of the increased playing time.  I hope his confidence does build as he starts to make plays.  Last year you could hear in his voice how much being a non-factor bothered him.  He hated the fact he was hurt and irrelevant while JPP was posting 16.5 sacks and dominating the league.

Brandon will never be JPP, but if he can become a good starting LDE…that’s a pretty good consolation prize.

* * * * *

Jimmy had some fun with Maclin’s early fumble last night.

_


  • Frank

    Well, at least it wasn’t a 13-13 tie?

    ……….

    And to think at halftime I was actually afraid we were going to win the game and drop a bunch of spots in the draft.

    At this point I think the only type of turnover we haven’t seen yet is a turnover by the defense(i.e. forcing a turnover, then fumbling it right back on the return). We’ve got interceptions on passes, fumbles on passes, fumbles on runs, fumbles on handoffs, strip sacks, fumbles on punts, fumbles on kickoffs, muffed punts, muffed kickoffs. Is the only thing left a fumble on a fumble/interception return, or did I miss something?

    I guess there’s always next week….

    • TommyLawlor

      Now we need a game where Bryce Brown throws an INT or where Maclin throws a pass to Brown and he’s running downfield with the ball only to have it punched out from behind, ala Maclin’s preferred fumbling style.

      • Frank

        Aha, the halfback/wr option interception. Definitely missed that one.

        There’s still time…there’s still time…

        • TommyLawlor

          The dream lives on.

      • BobSmith77

        Brown throwing a pick 6 while the Eagles are in the Red Zone. It would be the single most emblematic play of the season.

  • ACViking

    Re: Turnovers

    The Eagles, in the past 30 games, have 71 turnovers (38 in ’11, 34 so far this year).

    Through 14 games in 2012 alone, the Eagles have lost 21 fumbles — and presumably, by season’s end, that number will increase.

    Remarkably (or not), 21 lost fumbles is not the franchise record.

    In 1964, the Eagles lost 22 fumbles in 14 games.

    Nor are the 38 turnovers in ’11, or 67 in 2 seasons, even remotely close to the team record.

    In 1963, the Eagles had 47 turnovers . . . on the heels of a 44-turnover season in ’62. (So in 28 games, the Eagles had 91 turnovers — staggering.) Then, in 1964, the Eagles had another 40 turnovers.

    Another interesting tidbit. The Eagles record for *fewest* fumbles in a season is held by the ’98 team — Ray Rhodes disastrous last season — when the Birds lost only 8 fumbles. Next best was Buddy Ryan’s first season of 1986, when the Eagles lost only 9 fumbles.

    In the Andy Reid-era, we really were spoiled by how good his teams were at protecting the ball.

    Only 24 TOs in ’01 and ’02. Just 22 TOs in ’03 and ’04. 23 TOs in ’09. 25 TO’s in 2010.

    Dick Vermeil’s best years were 29 in ’79 and 28 in the 1980 SB season. Buddy Ryan’s best year was 1988 with 26 TOs.

    Turnovers have killed the Eagles the past two years. And they’ve killed Andy Reid’s job here.

    The bottom fell out last year.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      once again, thank you for being able to provide us all with such great info!

    • TommyLawlor

      Absolutely insane. That’s the turnover total and not you of course.

      Ball security has been at a minimum and I don’t understand how the issues keep happening. I know the coaches are working on it. The words just aren’t working for some reason. So, so frustrating.

      • ACViking

        T-Law:

        If history’s taught us anything, then — looking back to those terrible Eagles teams of the ’60s as comparators — the 2012 Eagles are just not very good. Not as a team. Not in its component parts.Not Not much more to say.

        • TommyLawlor

          Maybe. Something like 1/3 of the turnovers are from rookies (Nick, Bryce, Damaris). You have to take that into account when comparing the teams.

          You also have Vick with a ton of turnovers.

          Vick will be gone. The rookies will get a lot of coaching in the offseason. Those two factors should improve the turnover situation quite a bit. At least I think that is a reasonable assessment. Yes? No?

          • ACViking

            T-Law:

            I’m feeling so down on this team. Expectations were so high for all of us after the draft.

            So when I said the team isn’t good, I’m thinking beyond the turnover problem to all those games in the middle of the season when opposing receivers were traipsing throw the secondary with no one within 10 yards of them.

            With that off my chest, I think a new coach — and a new environment — could turn this team around quickly. Especially on defense, as we’re seeing the past couple weeks.

            But those games after Juan was fired . . . they broke my heart.

          • Anders

            As I have said before, I think AR have turned soft towards the players. I dont know if he can get his bad side back (like some of the stories you have told about cutting players for laughing after a lose etc.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/brandon.gleklen Brandon Gleklen

    How difficult do you think switching to a 3-4 would be?

    The way I look at it Cox and Jenkins could switch over, but the rest of our DL is a strange fit. In terms of LBs, Kendricks wastes his speed as an ILB and Ryans was no longer a plus player in Houston’s 3-4

    • TommyLawlor

      Talked about this a few times. The Eagles don’t have the ideal set of OLBs for that, but the DL are pretty good. Would likely need a NT, depending on which version of the 3-4 is run.

      Kendricks and Ryans could be fine in the 3-4.

  • Cal Setar

    Tommy, thoughts on the play calling? The shovel pass, the Matt Tenant pass, constantly running stretch plays with Bryce. Foles had a not so good game but it really felt like Marty was making it infinitely harder on him.

    • holeplug

      Marty is pretty terrible in the redzone. Thats probably his biggest flaw. They really miss Childress in this regard. In Chilly’s 3 years as OC they finished 7th,4th,12th in RZ TD%. Under Marty they have finished 12, 25, 25, 21, 16, 14, and a pathetic 27th this year so far.

      • Cal Setar

        Football is supposed to be a smash-mouth game. Too often it feels like Marty and Andy will do anything in their power to avoid just lining up and going straight at the other guy. Especially in the red zone. And at some point, it’s just gimmicky-ness for gimmicky-ness’ sake.

        • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

          The old “smartest guy in the house” routine has worn out its welcome. Also why I don’t want Chip Kelly as the next HC.

    • TommyLawlor

      Shovel pass was set to work. Bryce needs to catch the ball. Play to Tennant should have worked. He dropped it. You might not like the calls (I’m ambivalent), but they were set up correctly. It was drops that ruined them.

      Need to watch coaches tape on Bryce. Are all these runs designed to go that wide or his he bouncing them that wide? People sometimes confuse our draw play with a stretch play. Draw lines up wide, but gives RB options. Stretch is designed to go wide.

      We’re all tired of Martyball.

      • Cal Setar

        I know the Tennant pass should have worked. The shovel pass…I dunno about that. I guess I was curious as to whether or not Foles’ bad night was at least partially a result of poor play calling, or simply a rookie coming off a big comeback, on a short week.

      • SteveH

        I feel like a lot of the time penetration into our backfield causes Bryce to have to bounce some of those plays way out wide. They might be designed to go off tackle or something but Dunlap has been getting blown up repeatedly when we run to the left.

  • ACViking

    Re: The Bright Side of Things

    In five years, maybe less, we’re going to look back at Fletcher Cox and say — next to McNabb — he was the best 1st-Rd pick of the AR era. (Could have been Shawn Andrews but his was a case of two little too often.)

    Cox can be as good as Richard Seymour was in his prime at New England — as long as the front office and the next coach surround him with play-making LBs and C-Thornton continues to develop.

    Can the Birds go to a 3-4?

    How would B-Graham be used? T-Law’s concerned about Graham out in space on a TE.

    But maybe a very creative coach finds a way to make a 3-4 work for BG.

    For example, before being sidelined by cancer, Colts HC Chuck Pagano had moved the Colts to a 3-4, forcing two All Pro DEs — Freeney and Mathis — to adapt. Apparently, it seems to be working.

    • TommyLawlor

      Yes and no. Colts defense is 23rd in Pts, 22nd in Yds. They’re winning ugly.

      I do think Graham could play 3-4 if a coach embraced his limitations, but I think the coach would probably look for an upgrade over time.

  • A_T_G

    I noticed 1998 a few times in the recounting of all-time lows. I guess Reid is returning the team in the same state he found it.

    • ACViking

      Except for the fumbles.

  • KeithPetres

    I think I’m the opposite of your friends. I want Reid back, but I don’t expect him back. Maybe this is the best way to say it: I wouldn’t be surprised, and Reid deserves, both being fired (because 2011 and 2012 suck) and being kept around (because 1999-2010 were mostly pretty darn awesome, especially from where we came from).

    Either way, who ever the coach is next year will get a lot of credit for fixing their offense after 3 o-line starters come back, and, hopefully, they draft an RT with their 1st round pick – my dream 2013 o-line is Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans, 4th overall pick. Heck, I’d look like Emmitt Smith behind that line (though I’d probably fumble more than even Bryce Brown).

    • TommyLawlor

      Don’t take this the wrong way, Keith, but I’m cutting you the moment after your first fumble. Limited upside = zero tolerance policy.

      OL could be very good in 2013.

      • KeithPetres

        No worries. My John Kruk-like workout habits will keep me off the team.

        • TommyLawlor

          Me and you both.

    • A_T_G

      If I believed it was possible for Reid to return to his early form, I would be right there with you. I don’t believe that he can anymore, though, both because he doesn’t seem like the same person and because of not being able to assume the role of the tough new guy.

      • KeithPetres

        Yeah, I definitely see where you’re coming from and I can’t say you’re wrong. He seems to be tolerating B. Brown’s fumbles way more than they would have been tolerated back in the day. Not sure what that’s about.

        But I still would rather keep him around. As bad as 2012 was for the Eagles team, it was even worse for the Reid family. It’s not unreasonable to give Reid a mulligan on 2012 and let him have 2013 if he wants it (plus, Reid has an excellent history of developing young QBs, which is what the Eagles need now, be it with Foles or someone else).

  • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

    RE: Turnovers.
    Romeo Crennel said he was going to sit anyone who committed TOs to try to stop them in KC. Anyone know if he really did that / whether it worked?

  • quest4fire

    Reid aint going anywhere. His agent said that he has a job for life and I believe him–think about it–why would an agent say something so stupid unless it was true. If he is asked to step down as (resign not fired) he’s moving upstairs as an Executive and they will probably promote one of his assistants or former assistants. Brad Childress would be a good candidate.

  • Anders

    After reading this article http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/43197/stanford-shows-oregon-its-own-brand-of-old-school-football

    I just got a serious man crush on David Shaw and his defensive coordinator.

    • ACViking

      It would take at least a guaranteed $25 million to get Shaw to even think about leaving Stanford. And I don’t think that’s enough.

      He’s 4-year Stanford letterman in football. His wife’s from the area. They have 3 young kids — the youngest born about 4 years ago after he arrived at Stanford with Harbaugh. And by all accounts (as others have written on this blog), the Stanford job was his life’s goal. In fact, after the news conference announcing his accession to the HC job, Shaw’s quoted as saying that he never wants to interview for another job.

      I’d love to see him as the next coach.

      Lurie will have pester Shaw until he says “yes.” As Tose did to then-UCLA HC Dick Vermeil in January 1976 — after seeing him lead the Bruins to a route of the top-ranked OSU Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl.

      • Anders

        Yea, I have no dream of him ever leaving stanford to coach in the nfl. Also the pressure coaching in philly over stanford is infinity times higher. Right now my two realistic candidates are chip kelly and greg roman

  • dandynator

    After rewatching the game, Michyal Kendricks is going to be a stud, I think.. You can already see how much progress he has made since Pre-season. He already has the speed, the quickness and instincts and coverage abilities to be a sideline to sideline Lb. Give him 1 or 2 offseason to work on strenght and technique and I think he could excell. You can already see that when he uses good leverage and angles he can hang in there and he’s getting better with the hands too. Last week he attacked upfield and set the edges on some outside runs against TB and Doug Martin had no choice but to come back inside right the into the guys on the inside.

    As for the defense, yes we gave a 100 yards to BGE and doug Martin but I like that fact that some of those yards came in big chunks and that the last two games a lot of runs resulted in TFLs and no gain.

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