Morning After Thoughts

Posted: August 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 101 Comments »

One of the big topics is the offense and the plays that were called in the 1st half.

Chip Kelly wasn’t trying to fool the Skins. He wasn’t trying to be deceptive. Kelly wanted the starting offense to work on the passing game. That’s why Vick threw 21 passes, was sacked twice and ran 7 times with RBs only having 9 carries. There was no balance. The Eagles have shown they can run the ball. The passing game is still a work in progress.

Kelly wanting to work on the passing game wasn’t likely geared toward one player, but rather the whole operation: blocking, passing, getting open and catching the ball. Vick had thrown 15 passes in the previous 2 games combined and things were very easy for him. The blocking was good. The plays were crisply executed. The front sevens of those teams weren’t very disruptive. That was great to watch.

The Jags front seven played at a high level. The team had done some gameplanning and they got creative with their DL. That led to some blocking breakdowns and suddenly Vick had pressure to deal with. He didn’t respond well. Vick’s pocket presence was great in the first 2 games. Last night he was all over the place. There were some plays when he was good, but on others his instinct to get on the move kicked in very quickly.

It wouldn’t shock me if Kelly called such an imbalanced set of plays because Vick was under pressure. The only way that Kelly can fix problems with a player is for him to see the problems first hand. Kelly gave every player here a clean slate when he arrived. This isn’t his way of pretending problems don’t exist, but rather making sure he knows everything about them.

There is nothing worse than yelling at a person for making what is a clear mistake to you only to find out they’re doing what they were told to do by someone else. Not all football coaches think alike. Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg are gifted offensive minds, but they might have given Vick instructions that Kelly would think are totally wrong. Kelly can only correct problems where he knows exactly what is wrong and how the player is performing in relation to the instruction he’s gotten and the specific demands of the play.

Kelly did see a different Vick last night. It is easy to go “Here we go again…” and flash back to last year, but that’s premature. Let’s see if Kelly can work with Vick to correct some of the issues. It also is key to understand that there won’t likely be many halves where Vick drops back 30 times and the RBs only have 9 carries. That’s not the Kelly offense.

One of the areas where Vick made things worse is his desire for bigger chunks of yards. I re-watched the 1st quarter last night and there were several chances for him to check the ball down. Vick instead threw the ball to intermediate targets. There is no question that Vick was holding onto the ball longer last night. Maybe Vick wanted to put on a show after being named the starter. I don’t know. He needs to back to the previous games and play within himself and within the offense. Keep the ball moving and the chunk plays will come.

The offense did look different with Nick Foles, in large part due to the fact that it was more balanced. There was no value to having Foles drop back a ton of times with a backup OL protecting him. And trying to develop precise timing with receivers who will be backups, on the practice squad or flat out cut isn’t critical. Foles was given a good situation and delivered terrific results. The offense was crisp. He led a pair of TD drives. He looked like a good player going against inferior competition.

We used to see this with AJ Feeley after he rejoined the team in 2006. The difference is that Feeley was a veteran QB. Foles is still learning. He’s just showing you that he’s a good player. Foles finished last night with a rating of 109.1. Kevin Kolb never had a rating of 100 or more in a preseason game. Foles worked against backups, but was only playing with backups. UDFAs, to be more specific.

LT Matt Tobin
RT Michael Bamiro
WR Russell Shepard
WR Damaris Johnson
TE Derek Carrier
RB Matt Tucker

To be fair, he did have former 1st round pick Danny Watkins at RG.

All Foles can do right now is take advantage of every snap he gets. That puts pressure on Vick and lets the coaches know they have an option if things do go wrong.

And let’s be clear on Vick. That wasn’t a bad game. There were some bad moments that brought up bad memories, but this wasn’t full on 2012 Mike Vick. He still completed 65 percent of his passes. He got out of bounds when he ran the ball. Vick led the offense to 16 points in the 1st half. He didn’t do that once last year. Even on a night when some things went wrong, the offense was still able to move the ball and make some good things happen. When things started bad last year, they went way bad.

There are going to be some ups and downs this year. Let’s not put Vick or Foles in the HOF after a good game and let’s not start shoveling dirt on them after a bad one. There’s a saying that goes something like…once is an event, twice is a trend and three times is a fact.

* * * * *

The offense and defense will look different in the season. The preseason involves a combination of practice and evaluation. It is almost like the Eagles are split into units: the 1’s, the 2’s and the 3’s. Next week, it will just be the Eagles. You’ll see James Casey become much more involved. You’ll see Damaris Johnson working with the offense more. And so on.

* * * * *

Quick defensive note…Fletcher Cox had a good 1st quarter. That dud performance in the opener can now safely be viewed as an anomaly.

Isaac Sopoaga was better than I gave him credit for.

* * * * *

Want to help out a school? Target has some deal where people can go to their website and vote for a school to help get money donated for them. I’ve got a relative who works there. Here is the link. If you feel like helping out, that’d be cool. It would make Earl Wolff happy since the school is in his hometown. To my knowledge though, he didn’t go there.

_


  • T_S_O_P

    Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg are gifted offensive minds, but they might have given Vick instructions that Kelly would think are totally wrong.
    No one in there right mind could think Marty is totally wrong. :-)

    • TommyLawlor

      There is one crazy dude over in the UK…

      • GermanEagle

        Here…here! :)

      • T_S_O_P

        Who appreciates each and every set up.

  • ICDogg

    ..

    • TommyLawlor

      I loved Kilborn. Hate that he’s so long gone.

      • ICDogg

        That’s a Craig Ferguson bit

        • TommyLawlor

          You’re right! I got big into his show right after they added Geoff Peterson, but haven’t watched much recently.

  • Sean Scheinfeld

    Clearly, you’ve reverted back to your anti-Vick ways, Tommy!!

    • TommyLawlor

      Exposed!!!

      • Eagles4Life

        Thank you for a level-headed analysis. Some of the stuff I’m reading from other Philly writers…SMH.

      • Michael Winter Cho

        Shah is totally going to think you changed your POV because of him!

  • Alex Karklins

    That’s an interesting take on Vick’s first half. So it’s like the run up to the Rumble in the Jungle, when Muhammad Ali worked on the weakest parts of his technique in his sparring sessions with Larry Holmes. Outside observers saw Ali struggle mightily and immediately wrote him off, stating that George Foreman would destroy him in short order. Oops.

    Gus Bradley = Larry Holmes, Chip Kelly = Ali.

    Yeah, I’ll go with that.

    • ICDogg

      So what is the equivalent of the rope-a-dope?

      • Alex Karklins

        Er, I’m not sure. Probably something to do with Kelly’s shifting speeds on offense. Defense gets used to “medium” speed then BAM! SUPERFAST.

        A more interesting question is: “who is Don King in all of this?”

  • ICDogg

    If this were a game that counted, I would be annoyed that we didn’t start running the ball more often earlier.

  • Daniel Norman Richwine

    I am totally.onboard with your analysis.

  • Joe Jones

    Tommy, thanks again for a balanced and measured analysis of last night. Unfortunately, most fans allow their preferences to dictate how they view the game.

    I was disappointed in Vick holding the ball as long as he did last night. But I recognized it as partially a function of play calling and the game plan…..I say partially….as you noted, there were opportunities to take shorter gains. As we are learning with Chip, “there’s a science behind it.” So, Vick running very little read option, the team not emphasizing the run wasnt happenstance but premeditated. Clearly, they were working on specific things last night.

    That back foot interception is totally unacceptable. But other than that, it was fine. I trust Chip to use this as a coaching opportunity and if Michael doesnt adjust or isnt capable of adjusting…..again, I trust Chip to bench him.

  • ICDogg

    I imagine we’ll start seeing some cuts as soon as today.

  • austinfan

    What did you see from Sopoaga? I saw a guy who wasn’t double teamed all night, who struggled to get off single blocking and make plays in the run game. Unfortunately, Logan isn’t strong enough and Dixon didn’t play with good leverage, so I’m not sure what the alternative is at NT in 2013, but I don’t think Sopoaga is the answer. There’s a reason SF let him walk after reducing his snaps in 2011 and 2012.

    I think Thorton and Logan at LDE, Cox and Curry at RDE, if you could find a true NT, this would be a solid group. That may be a priority in the 2014 draft.

    • ICDogg

      I think Logan is not strong enough right now, but I also think he’s going to get stronger. So while he may not be the answer now, he may very well be this time next year.

    • Adam

      I would proritize NT in the draft, not a high value position. You can get them late in the draft or off free agency. They may even find one after the cuts this week but I wouldn’t bank on it.

      • ICDogg

        With few exceptions it’s not really a young man’s position.

        • Adam

          I hate the position to be honest, such an archaic role in a game that’s changed so much. But a necessary evil I suppose.

          • ICDogg

            We used to call it “Nose Guard” or “Middle Guard” the last time the Eagles had a 3-4.

    • GEagle

      I actually watched the line this morning and saw Soap eat up quite a few double teams…he didn’t push them back, but he did occupy two blockers on a few occasions that I noticed

    • Anders

      Not many rookies succeed at NT in their rookie year because the strength needed is simply so much greater in the NFL. Logan just need he can be a functional NT this year and then next off season he has the possibility to gain weight (I think Kelly said he could carry 20 more pounds) and strength.

  • Jerry Goldstein

    Vick just needs a little more time to figure it out. Luckily he’s a young guy with room to grow.

  • GermanEagle

    Thanks Tommy for bringing back some neutral analysis re our QBs. I really hope last night’s reaction of the fans is not a sign of things to come where you only have two biased groups, the (*insert name here) lovers or the (*insert name here) haters.
    Despite the sloppy play I cannot wait for the new season to kick off. I know there will be up and downs, no matter who the QB (or the FS) will be. However I am sure that it will be a lot of fun.
    On that note, bring on the Skins!

    • ICDogg

      Speaking of Skins, I think Tommy meant to write “Jags” in the 2nd sentence in the above article

      • GermanEagle

        No, I think he meant the Skins, in reference to the general opinion that it was a pure stroke of Chip Kelly’s genius to fool our opponent in the regular season thanks to such an inbalanced playcallling.

      • TommyLawlor

        I did mean the Skins. Several people here and on Twitter thought Kelly was trying to fool the Skins by hiding our real offense.

    • ICDogg

      NFL is a copycat league. What the Jags did last night, the Eagles are going to see more of, until they demonstrate that they’ve got it figured out.

      • GermanEagle

        May be true. However I am still of the strong opinion that a more balanced playcalling will lead to a different outcome. Maybe not always, but it should give at least the opposing defenses ‘more to think about’.

        • Jack Waggoner

          Except that this is a game that doesn’t count, and the objectives are not necessarily the same as for a game that does count.

      • Anders

        Not sure you can copy cat that the Jags game planned and we didn’t

        • Jack Waggoner

          I think Chip kept calling for the same play to give the offense a chance to work on something that needed work.

  • Jerry Goldstein

    Tommy: after watching the game last night and seeing Vick exhibiting most of the bad habits he has shown in ’11 and ’12, do you think Chip ended the QB competition too early?

    • TommyLawlor

      No. Vick clearly outplayed Foles in the previous 2 weeks. Vick won. If the battle had carried over to last night, things would have been different. Plays would have been called differently.

      • GEagle

        Vick out played Foles the previous two weeks? True..

        However, when things go well, Vick has always been the greatest thing since sliced bread,,,.when has that even been in question? The measure of Vick was how he would handle the not so good times….and I don’t know how last night was anything other than a strike against him….

        • Arby1

          “A veteran of a Decade can NOT continue to make such horrendous mistakes trying to be superman when things get bad” So true.

      • Jerry Goldstein

        It will be nice when you can be honest about the QBs again. Seems like you’ve given in to the Vick fans claims that you were biased against Vick. I’ve followed you since the EMB days Tommy and seeing you try too hard to be impartial is not what made you interesting to read.

        • Lewwyn

          This is ridiculous. How is Tommy not being an interesting read?

  • ICDogg

    Here’s some notes from the Jags blogger Alfie Crow:
    ———————————————————
    Tyson Alualu did a nice job on the second drive holding up and disrupting the read-option plays the Eagles tried to run. He “stayed home” on one play, keeping Vick in front of him and forcing a throw away. Babin continued to beat Johnson a few times, while Andre Branch was stonewalled by Jason Peters. Jeremy Mincey got a lot of snaps on the inside as a pass rushing three-technique, and if he makes the roster that’s likely to be his primary role. He was disruptive against the Eagles.

    • Ark87

      Well at least JP was a stud

  • EaglesJRL

    What do you think of Bamiro’s NFL potential?

    • TommyLawlor

      If he can develop as a pass blocker, Bamiro can become a starting RT.

  • GermanEagle

    Tommy
    what’s your take on the non-showing of James Casey so far? Is it possible that Chipper wants to save our secret weapon for the regular season???

    • TommyLawlor

      Not a secret weapon. As I said above, he’s playing with the backups for now. Will get mixed into the offense in the season and be a key contributor.

  • ToastJenkins

    if Vick were new, i’d put away the shovel, however given this was consistent with…well his entire career to this point…at what point can we finally call it a fact that this is what Vick is?

    • TommyLawlor

      Kelly wants to see for himself. Kelly isn’t going on the past. I don’t think that is unreasonable.

      • ToastJenkins

        i would call it naive…to ignore the weight of evidence is not the intelligence Kelly is known for. Now if he just needed to see it a few times for confirmation i’m fine with that – but that wouldnt seem to jive with Kelly designating him starter so quickly would it?

      • Jerry Goldstein

        It would be unreasonable if Vick wasn’t exhibiting the EXACT same terrible tendencies that he always has. The fact that Chip is giving him a clean slate is extremely troubling because that slate was FILTHY.

  • Ark87

    Nice post Tommy, good perspective. Looking forward to the DGR. Was a lot of strange stuff going on in that game.

    Any thoughts on why the 1st string D was pulled after the half?

    • ICDogg

      my guess is they wanted to get a better look at the 2nd string D

  • Ark87

    Had to watch the game from the Jag’s announcer’s perspective annnd….it wasn’t bad really (Imagine hearing Baldy speak if you were NOT and Eagles fan!). The only maddening point was that they didn’t realize it was our 2nd string D getting cut up by their starters on the opening drive of the second half.

    Around the 3rd quarter they were getting pretty giddy, saying how important a win would be for the Jags, they really game planned for this one etc. And then it was Matt Flynn v Nick Foles. Lets just say Mark Brunnell REALLY likes Nick Foles.

    • ICDogg

      Well, here we had Brian Baldinger offer us not much better insight

    • BlindChow

      They had Bamiro listed as our starting DE opposite Cox. Does he share a number with Thornton or something?

  • xeynon

    I hear what you’re saying Tommy. But I think it needs to be acknowledged that as this defense is likely to give up a lot of points this year, and the offense will likely need to come from behind/compete in shootouts quite a bit if this is going to be anything close to a winning team, whether the quarterbacks/offensive line/backs with blitz pickup responsibilities/etc. can perform well with play calling heavily tilted toward the pass and while facing constant pass rush pressure is a highly pertinent question. The Jags do not have a particularly talented defense and were not running any particularly elaborate defensive schemes. If this offense had difficulty coping with Tyson Alualu and Jeremy Mincey running basic stunts, twists, and blitzes, it is likely they are going to struggle with Jason Pierre-Paul and DeMarcus Ware running regular season defensive game plans tailored to disrupt what they’re trying to do.

    • Lewwyn

      Why would Kelly continue to pass if he were behind? He is not AR or MM. He will run even if they are behind. And if we run, passing will open up. I’m still excited for the season.

    • Jernst

      Last years preseason proved that our dline was unstoppable, unblockable and a force to be reckoned with. That didn’t translate into the year. Vick looked awful last preseason and that did translate into the regular season. Some things are signs of things to come others aren’t. I’d be willing to bet that some mental errors on twists and stunts is something that will be worked out.

  • GEagle

    Tom, I didn’t know you made appearances on the Phil fom MT. Airy show…props for a great job!!

    My only question with what you said was you seemed to believe the Andy Riedish pass/run ratio was on Chip….well, when I just watched the game again, and it seemed to me that Vick and Foles were running the same basic plays. Vick had the same pass/hand off/Run options that Foles had, but IMO Vick decided to throw the ball 70% of the time. He could have kept the ball in the gut of the running back on the majority of his pass attempts, but he chose to throw the ball….So, I’m not Sure the play calling can be an excuse for Vicks play….your thoughts?

    • ICDogg

      I grew up on Washington Lane which is pretty much on the edge of Mt Airy, we called it West Oak Lane but the post office called it East Germantown. Guys like Phil… these were the kind of guys I grew up around. I’m slightly older than he is though.

  • jackpotsdad

    Thanks for the alternative take on what we saw yesterday. For a while, I thought Chip was trolling us for more two quarters by doing some sort of retro offense thing. With that said, our OLine looked pretty bad – not cohesive at all.

  • I Drink Weed and Smoke Beer

    I thought Vinny Curry looked good again. Hope he stays and has a defined role, id like to see him do well.

    • GEagle

      Hs first step is incredible…and he really times the snaps well making him really tough to stop…He had a sack, two back to back QB hits, and forced a fumble…..Get that man some more snaps!!!

      • Ben Hert

        Sounds like a broken record after last year.

  • SteveH

    Hopefully Vick can get that hurryup chugging once the regular season starts. It was deflating to see the Jaguars generally run it faster than we did in the first half.

    • Ark87

      In general going into halftime down by a point **against the jags** was pretty deflating. I’m wondering what Tommy’s take on that team is. Were we struggling against a bunch of scrubs? Difficult to figure that one out.

      • Jack Waggoner

        On the other hand, considering how many miscues we had, going into any game only a point down at halftime was probably a good sign.

  • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

    It is always interesting to see how Philly writers/media respond to games and how national media/writers respond to games. There’s almost always a stark difference. Similar to when the QB comp was happening. Never fails.

    • ICDogg

      Local writers’ perspective tends to be narrower than it should be, national media not narrow enough.

  • GEagle

    I just can’t wait for the defensive DGR

  • GEagle

    Replay of last nights game just started at 3pm on csn Philly for interestated fans

    • eagleyankfan

      Damn – I’m still out of market…

  • Weapon Y

    What do you make of Curry still playing on the third string? Has he really done worse than the guys ahead of him (Square, Logan, Geathers)? Do you think there’s a decent chance that either:
    a. Curry doesn’t make the 53 man roster
    b. He is inactive on gamedays. I’d be surprised if 7 D-linemen were active, and Curry is at best the 7th defensive lineman since he’s on the 3rd team defense.

    I’d be disappointed if this happened because he’s shown a lot of ability in the preseason.

    • GEagle

      NO WAY!!!! I would spazz out!!!

    • ICDogg

      I can’t imagine he won’t be around.

  • hotcakes33

    Tommy, you’re making me feel better about my fantasy team having Shady, Vick and DeSean after reading this post. I about threw in the jock strap last night. Hopefully Bama has recovered from his encounter.

    • Jack Waggoner

      I just grabbed my Eagles from the bottom of the draft, just so I’d have a couple. Riley Cooper and Alex Henery, to be exact

  • GEagle

    Bears cut safety Zibikowski…I don’t know how the kid played these past two years…would we have any interest?
    ..

    • Jack Waggoner

      Lots of teams are scrounging for safeties. The Giants just lost Stevie Brown last night. They’re saying sprained knee but some are saying it could be serious.

      • BreakinAnklez

        Torn ACL

    • BreakinAnklez

      Tough as nails..but haven’t watched him since Ravens. Followed Pagano to Indy…why’d he let him go- that’s an important question

  • Christopher Miller

    I know it was only preseason, but I would have liked to see Chip make an adjustment to the pressure every down just to see how they handled it. This is exactly what we will face every single week until Vick proves he can counter it effectively and even if it meant tipping our hand with countering the blitz, it would have been good practice.

    Not sure who said it here or elsewhere but liked the idea of shipping Harbor to the Pats for a DB with our depth thinning rapidly. What about a look at Streeter if he is getting dropped by the Ravens? I still think it is a mistake to run with Vick when we could have used this year to assess Foles and see if he is a viable long term solution or if we need to take a shot at Boyd or Bridgewater next year. I know it would never happen, but I would deal Vick to get something we can rebuild with (pick or player). Rex Ryan has to be desperate after last night’s disaster.

    • Jack Waggoner

      One advantage the Eagles have is a high position to make waiver claims.

  • Ben Hert

    I’m starting to think big, physical DL like the Jags are going to give our guys the most problems. Seemed every play we had someone on the line getting tossed around like a rag doll.

    • Jack Waggoner

      The rebuild of this team is going to take time. There’s a lot they have to learn, and a lot of coaches with a lot of tricks up their sleeves to show them.

  • Finlay Jones

    Vick was pretty bad last night. Lane Johnson and the playcalling didn’t help him.

  • Scott J610

    When are we going to stop waiting for Vick to change? This is what I was afraid of with him. There this constant need to teach him all the time. He’s not a young kid, he’s a 33 year old vet. I would have more patience with a rookie, but not a seasoned vet. This is SO tiring!

  • BreakinAnklez

    It will be interesting to watch the career trajectories of Gus and Chip. Defense vs. Offense…Is Gus really the defensive genius he’s made out too be or is Seattle’s D the result of Pete? Can Chips offense work in the NFL? Even greater interest by the fact they appeared to be the final two candidates.

    • BlindChow

      What’s really interesting is the Jags’ first team offense looked more like Chip’s quick-hitting no huddle than the Eagles’ first team. Gabbert looked like Tom Brady running it against the Jets last week.

  • xlGmanlx

    Or, since we know Kelly is more metric’s and math focused, they probably got a more pass based looks than run, knowing the igg’s want to run to setup the pass now. You can’t say that Kelly’s smart for taking what the defense gave them – 9 in the box more often – than crush him for throwing too much. This is a live scrimmage against another team, nothing more. If anything, this allows for tape to teach and get the OL better prepared for the opener. Also, Kelly didn’t really put anything on ‘tape’ that could really come back against him on opening day.

  • eagleyankfan

    And — there’s the crux — “let’s see if Kelly can work with Vick” — well, Kelly’s choice was to wait to name a QB. Now he has 2 weeks to “fix” Vick. Fix what we’ve been saying all along how Vick can be. This isn’t a “here we go again” — it’s a “it continues”. Given the history — to support your saying — I won’t be on the Vick band wagon until he does well for 3 games in a row. Than it can become a fact(or injury).

    That whole paragraph that started with “One of the areas where Vick made things worse” — aren’t those all the things he did wrong last year?
    Isn’t there an argument that says the first two preseason games the Eagles faced vanilla defenses? You know, the whole 1st time the d is playing together etc etc etc. Yet, those vanilla defenses were what Vick was graded on.
    I still hope Vick can do what people are praying he do. Something he hasn’t done in years but ok, I’ll keep my head up. IMHO – yesterday was Vick FIRST real action vs. a defense that was ready to play. 1st test is a fail. Now, he won’t face another defense for 2 weeks. 2 weeks to prepare to send a message.

  • eagleyankfan

    “I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it.” — All Chip had to do was look at any tape from last year and he wouldn’t have had to do what he did last night… just saying…

    • Lewwyn

      But Kelly doesn’t know what AR and MM were calling on the tape. Yeah he can look at it, but without knowing specifically Vick was told it doesn’t help him. Kelly is a scientific, fact oriented, details only type of guy. Of course he’s going to stick his head up the bull’s ass if it means the difference between possibility and certainty.

      • eagleyankfan

        So – you’re saying that Chip may think that AR told Vick to hold onto the ball too long and to throw interceptions? Interesting…

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