Game Preview – SD at PHI

Posted: September 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 40 Comments »

The Eagles home opener is Sunday at 1pm. Has there been this much hype for a home opener in recent years? I sure can’t recall a situation like this unless you go back to TO’s debut. Let’s set the excitement aside and talk football.

WHEN EAGLES HAVE THE BALL

Many analysts speculated this week about how the Chargers would defend the Eagles. Most feel SD will load the box and blitz. Better to be aggressive and try to dictate than to sit back and let the offense control you.

I do think the Chargers will do a lot of this. It does make sense. And WAS had their best results when attacking. There is a difference. The OL has now had a week to work together. They also won’t be on the road dealing with crowd noise. There will be music, but that’s different than 70,000 fans.

I think the Eagles will use 2 TEs more this week. The Chargers base defense has some holes. Better to deal with that than getting them in Nickel, Dime looks. Keep Dwight Freeney at OLB and run at him. Attack ILB Bront Bird as much as possible. He had a bunch of tackles last week, but many were downfield.

If the Chargers do plan to crowd the box and blitz, the Eagles will have to respond by throwing the ball vertically. Not one pass last week went more than 30 yards in the air. Expect that to change. DeSean Jackson caught several short passes in the opener. He’ll be asked to stretch the defense vs SD.

That’s obvious, though, so you know Kelly will have some other ideas. Maybe Zach Ertz is a downfield target. Riley Cooper? Kelly will have some smart wrinkles that will stretch the SD defense.

Kelly believes in moves and counter-moves. He won’t run the same stuff as last week. He knows the Chargers will have studied that tape thoroughly. Expect Kelly to run a different offense. There will be 2 TEs. Maybe Damaris Johnson gets touches.

And I’m fairly certain that the backup RBs will get touches. I’m excited to see what Bryce Brown can do.

The real key is for the OL to control the LOS. Jason Peters will have his hands full with Freeney on some plays. Dwight has moments when he’s exceptionally quick. There are other plays when he’s easily blocked. The Texans were 28-120 on the ground last week. Their OL was able to get movement on run plays.

The Eagles should be able to move the ball and score points.

WHEN THE CHARGERS HAVE THE BALL

Very different opponent. The Chargers look like more of a passing team. I’m interested to see how Bill Davis attacks them. With WAS, there was no question. You needed to crowd the line and stuff the run.

Davis may still focus on stopping the Chargers run game and then forcing them into known passing situations.

It will be very interesting to see if Vinny Curry is active. He is one of the Eagles best pass rushers. There was logic to not playing him vs a running team. This would seem to be the week to get him on the field, at DE, OLB and DT. I’m not saying you play him 40 snaps, but he can be a helpful role player if the game goes as expected.

The Chargers saw the Skins light up the Eagles for parts of the 2nd half. The defense was somewhat passive, since they were protecting a lead. There were also some backups on the field. The starters played good pass defense early on. Will the Chargers think passing the ball is the way to attack? Will they think back to the preseason, when the Eagles had some struggles with run defense?

CB Bradley Fletcher is out. Brandon Boykin will start in his place. Boykin is short at 5-9 and you can bet the Chargers will try to use WR Malcolm Floyd (6-5) against him. Boykin is a terrific slot corner, but we don’t know how he’ll play on the outside.

I’m excited to see what Mychal Kendricks will do. Chase Philip Rivers is a lot more fun than chasing RG3.

The Eagles front seven should have a major advantage on the Chargers OL. I will be very disappointed if Trent Cole doesn’t get the best of King Dunlap. Trent doesn’t have to get a sack, but he needs to be disruptive. I would expect Cole to use power rush moves and try to drive Dunlap straight back to Rivers.

Is asking for more takeaways just being greedy? The Eagles only had takeaways in consecutive games twice in 2012. Rivers threw an INT last week and 15 last year. It would be great to see Nate Allen make a play in the passing game.

MISC

I don’t have major STs thoughts. If the Eagles want to go for a FG block, expect them to attack the right side of the Chargers line. Rookie Ladarius Green (#89) is the wing there and isn’t overly keen on blocking. He could be beat with a hard rush off the edge.

I did have a dream last night that the Eagles blocked a free kick after a safety. Dave Fipp is a terrific coach, but that might be asking a lot even for him.

The one thing about this game that makes me the most uncomfortable is how confident everyone is. I agree that the Eagles are the better team. They should win this game.

The Eagles lost some games like this over the years. Arizona in recent years. The Raiders. The Bengals. And so on.

Chip Kelly always had his Oregon teams focused. If Kelly can keep the Eagles focused when the whole world is trying to blow sunshine up their collective skirt, that will be a great sign and the Eagles will likely win. If all the hype gets through to the players, then all bets are off and we won’t know what to expect.

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I’ve got a couple of great links up at ScoutsNotebook. Check them out.

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The Jags cut LB Chris McCoy. Would be great to see the Eagles add him to the practice squad.

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Jimmy Bama has some good stuff up on the Chargers game.

Sheil Kapadia wrote a couple of previews.

Eagles offense.

Eagles defense.

_


  • Corry

    The national media has the Eagles all figured out. This morning, Herm Edwards declared the Birds should take a look at other QBs (including Tebow) because we’ll be going through quarterbacks every 3 to 4 years due to all the hits they’re going to take. Also, because Vick didn’t go deep in the Washington game, we will therefore never go deep in the remaining 15 games. That is also a reason why they should be looking at Tebow because he’s accurate on short throws.

    That interview made my head hurt.

    As far as the Chargers game goes, I’m hoping Curry gets to see some action. Rivers isn’t the most mobile QB so you would think Curry is ideal for the nickel D. I also can’t tell you how good it would feel to actually win a damn home game.

    • BobSmith77

      Herm Edwards reminds me an awful lot of Ray Rhodes and that is in no way a complement. A cliche generating machine completely out of his depth as a head coach.

      • anon

        I actually really like Herm as a analyst but his analysis, like most others, of the ealges has been totally off. Pretty dissapointing but i think you’re right.

    • P_P_K

      I generally like Herm but, for crying out loud, is he out of his mind? Maybe Tim will end up with the Chiefs as another one of Andy’s projects, but keep him away from Philly. If I’m DeSean and Tebow comes anywhere near the locker room, I break out my old AC/DC and crank, “Highway to Hell.” Maybe scare him off before he ruins my career.

      Don’t worry, Herm, Nick Foles is in the wings. Of course we want Vick playing all year, but we have a perfectly good backup plan just in case, thank you very much.

      • BobSmith77

        Foles is a perfectly good backup? Yeah he got some much-needed PT last year and had a few good moments. He also struggled a ton too and this offense would be a lot different with him at QB. No defender is going to have to fear Foles holding on to an option and scrambling. Play Shady or the pass.

        • HipDaDip

          Were you disappointed with how the offense ran with him at QB this preseason? Sure, the offense looked different, but I don’t see how you can say he’s less than a perfectly good backup.

      • TommyLawlor

        Andy did like Tebow pre-draft. Don’t know about now.

    • Media Mike

      Michael Vick not protect himself DOES NOT EQUAL Chip Kelly putting every QB in a position to get killed. If you watched the play calling all game, Kelly clearly didn’t rely on the QB killing read-option QB runs that people pretend to have seen. He’s not that dumb. Vick is Vick is Vick, but Kelly is too smart to implement a body bag QB system in the NFL.

  • Vick or Nick

    I have a feeling Davis may prefer a 3-3-5 Nickle look over a 4-2-5. It still gives him more options as to who is rushing. Helps keep offenses off balance. This upcoming game will tell us a lot about what Davis wants to run and Curry’s future with the team.

    Versatility seems to be the theme for the entire Eagles team. If Davis wanted to go 4-2-5, Cole can just be a down lineman. Add this into Curry not contributing on teams and its not looking good. I really liked when Eagles drafted Curry, I thought he was the best player available at the time. I still think he can be a good player (8-10 sacks/season). I just don’t know if he is going to get those types of opportunities here. As Roseman said, some good players “fall by the wayside”.

    • Weapon Y

      Obviously I’m not Tommy (nor is my football IQ anywhere near as high as his is), but I’ll offer a guess myself. It would probably be another D-lineman. It’s hard to imagine the Eagles activating 7 defensive linemen on gameday. That rarely happens on a team that has a 3-4 defense. Clifton Geathers and Damion Square are the likely choices. Probably Geathers because Square is a little more versatile. In my opinion, Curry isn’t just a better pass rusher than these guys. He’s a better run defender too. It’s not like he’s bad against the run. Show me a clip of Geathers or Square doing something Curry hasn’t done against the run. There isn’t one. He’s just flat out better at everything than they are. I’ve heard the “he’s freelancing, he’s playing out of the system” arguments forever, and I’m not interested in addressing them again. My only explanation is that coaches will make mistakes, and misjudge guys. It happens all the time. Brett Favre was traded after his rookie year because Atlanta thought he stunk. Johnny Unitas was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers in training camp. Every team passed on drafting Tom Brady until pick 198. Coaches aren’t perfect. They make mistakes, and in the case of Curry, they’re making one right now if they don’t activate him.

      • mksp

        Hahaha. Right. Watch out Chip, random dude on the internet can evaluate talent better than you.

        Curry is clearly doing something wrong / playing out of scheme. If it gets corrected, he could be a force. But its no accident that two separate coaching regimes didn’t activate him.

        LOL at your Favre / Unitas comparison. Wow.

      • anon

        Like all except the poorly evaluating talent. But Vinny and Barwin hopefully will get some action this week.

      • Gary

        “I’ve heard the “he’s freelancing, he’s playing out of the system” arguments forever, and I’m not interested in addressing them again.”

        I don’t know where you’ve addressed them before, but I don’t think you can just gloss over that point. I think it’s a big deal and has gotta be at least part of the reason Vinny’s not playing.

      • HipDaDip

        I mostly agree. I’d like to see some evidence that Curry is a better run defender than Square or Geathers. If that’s the case and Curry is all around better, are there any other explanations for his benching that are possible? Just spitballing, because I don’t want to believe it’s a mistake in the coaches’ or our own evaluations:
        What if they think benching him will fire him up or somehow lead to better development in the long run?
        What if the other linemen don’t like playing with him for some reason? (very smelly?)

    • Anders

      I think you are right, we played a lot of 3-3-5 against the Skins by taking out the NT and asking Cole to play DE with Thornton or Logan at NT and Cox as the other DE (Cox’s sack came out of this formation where we only rushed 3). To be honest, I would prefer Curry over Cole in that situation as Curry is bigger and seems to have more pass rush ability.

  • Jamie Parker

    There are 3 games against SD that stick out in my head. The game in 1980 in SD where the Eagles came in 11-1 and riding an 8 game winning streak. Dan Fouts and the Chargers racked a 19-0 halftime lead. The eagles charged back, but ultimately fell, 22-21. The Game in ’98 also in SD, where Ryan Leaf beat us. And the ’05 game when we held LaDainian Tomlinson to 7 yards on 17 carries and still needed to return a blocked FG to win the game.

    • Michael Jorden

      Hopefully we have a strong defensive effort Sunday and really get after Rivers. More TO’s would be very nice.

    • ACViking

      That 1980 game was a killer. Heart breaker.

      Kellen Winslow caught a 17-yard TD that S Brenard Wilson actually made for him. The pass should have been broken up — easily. But Wilson somehow swatted the ball into Winslow’s grasp and helped him secure the ball as they came to the ground. I can still see the play in my mind’s eye from the EZ camera to the back of the Birds’ defense, with Winslow making the catch just below and to the right of the uprights — and Wilson is draped on his back with his right hand pressing the ball into Winslow’s chest.

      One thing about that game, it exposed the Eagles’ secondary. Air Coryell abused everyone, to be sure. But the Eagles were the best defense in football that year. Double moves though were a problem for rookie CB Roynell Young, and Chargers’ WR John Jefferson took full advantage.

      The Raiders used Branch on double moves against Young in the Eagles’ 10-7 regular season win (best regular season game I’ve ever seen — right, ICDogg?) . . . and in the Raiders’ SB win that year over the Birds.

  • awful waffle

    I forgot about the whole “playing music while on offense” thing for home games. That should be pretty interesting. I’m sure casual fans will be saying to each other “is the pause button broken?”

  • OregonDucker

    After several runs expect Shady to get passes in play action. Some of these could go for TDs. Chip loves this mix up.

    Would not be surprised if the zone read is on Freeney. Don’t try to block him, option the sucker.

    Finally, please mentally channel NO TURNOVERS to Vick and kick returners. If there are turnovers, observe how the Eagles respond. Last time they laughed and said lets get ‘em! Attitude is everything and I believe Chip has them prepared for adversity.

    Fly Eagles FLY!

    • Anders

      Actually read the NT. Peters should have no problem handling Freeney in the run game where Kelce most likely will have problems against a 330 pound NT.

      • HipDaDip

        Do teams ever read NTs? Seems like he’s so close to the action that an unblocked NT would blow up every play.

        • Anders

          We did it in the pre season and against the Redskins

        • deg0ey

          You can do it on a run to the outside – if the NT moves across for the RB then Vick takes it up the middle for a TD (like he did against WAS on Monday).

          I think they were also reading Wilfork in preseason because it’s much easier than trying to block him.

  • BobSmith77

    Home field disadvantage:

    Linc

    2003: 12-4 (5-3 at home)
    2004: 13-3 (7-1 at home)
    2005: 6-10 (4-4 at home)
    2006: 10-6 (5-3 at home)
    2007: 8-8 (3-5 at home)
    2008: 9-6-1 (6-2 at home)
    2009: 11-5 (6-2 at home)
    2010: 10-6 (4-4 at home)
    2011: 8-8 (3-5 at home)
    2012: 4-12 (2-6 at home)

    45-35 (.563 winning pct) Home
    91-68-1 (.569 winning pct) Overall

    Also includes a very unimpressive 4-6 in the home season opener since the Link opened.

    Vet

    1993: 8-8 (3-5 at home)
    1994: 7-9 (5-3 at home)
    1995: 10-6 (6-2 at home)
    1996: 10-6 (5-3 at home)
    1997: 6-9-1 (6-2 at home)
    1998: 3-13 (3-5 at home)
    1999: 5-11 (4-4 at home)
    2000: 11-5 (5-3 at home)
    2001: 11-5 (4-4 at home)
    2002: 12-4 (7-1 at home)

    48-32 (.600 winning pct) Home
    83-76-1 (.519 winning pct) Overall

    I am completely indifferent to the Linc. Architecturally there is nothing unique about it from either the inside or outside unless you count some of the ‘green energy’ renovations the Eagles made in the past 2 years. Doesn’t remotely have the pizazz of the new stadium in Dallas or at new Giants’ stadium in the Meadowlands.

    I have sat in a ton of locations there including right below Lurie’s box at the 50-yd line, in my cousin’s company box, both end zones, a couple of different places in the upper levels. Yeah the sight lines are better than the Vet but its a soulless place where way too often it seems the crowd gets completely taken out of the action if things go astray for the Eagles.

    Reminds me a lot of going to a UM football game at the Big House. If Michigan gets down 10 or 14 pts early, it is the quietest ~100k people you will ever hear. ~70k crowd at the Linc seem to react very much the same way too if the Eagles get down early.

    Not that I am nostalgiac about the Vet either. It was a dump and there were times my uncle had to remove me and my cousins from games while I was young due to the sheer level of nonsense & debauchery (fighting) going on around us in the 600 level.

    I just miss having a venue where the Eagles actually have some kind of home field advantage and the crowd doesn’t suck if the Eagles are struggling especially if they get down a bit early.

    • Flyin

      Not sure if you are being critical of the stands or the fans.

      • BobSmith77

        Fans more so than the stands. Site lines are definitely better and you aren’t quite as far away from the field in the upper levels as long as you aren’t in the end zone sections.

    • Gary

      I would agree that no one fears coming into the Linc like they do Seattle or Kansas City, that’s for sure.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      only real conclusion i can come to is that when the eagles are a good team, they have a good home record. if they are a bad team, they have a bad home record.

  • BobSmith77

    Paging Bryce Brown:

    In his 5 G since his 2 monster performances, Brown has put up some very pedestrian numbers:

    41 carries, 91 yards (2.2 yds/carry); 4 catches, 21 yards

    The only good thing he has done in those 5 G is not put the ball on the ground. Eagles desperately need one of their backup RBs to show up and start producing before you don’t want to see McCoy get 30+ carries every game. Prefer to see him in the 22-25 range with Brown getting 10-13 carries.

  • GermanEagle

    Question for y’all:

    Who’s gonna reach 1000 yards faster, Desean or Lesean?!

    • Anders

      Lesean

    • A_T_G

      LeSean could be half way there in less than a week.

    • deg0ey

      I think the real question is who’s gonna reach 2000 yards faster: TheSeans or the Cowboys offense.

      NFL.com has the Cowboys on 331 yards after one game, while Shady and DJax combined for 288. I think it’s gonna be a close one.

  • Conor Mc Namara

    Any chance that shady I’d taking the 45 yard runs now that he knows he will get the carries, where as with AR he was trying to force Reid not to use him? Would feed into him being happier in the offence as well

    • A_T_G

      I thought the same thing. When he knows he is going to get plenty of chances, no need to swing for the fences like you are a pinch hitter trying to show something.

  • Media Mike

    Not that the matchup will be easy, but;
    Jason Peters = best lineman in football. Dwight Freeney = not the best rush OLB in football.
    I’m not as worried as Tommy.
    Also, I’m preparing a ton of anti Eric Weddle @ $8 / mil year comments for game time!

  • eagleyankfan

    ok — watched just about all the early pre-game shows(except ANY show that includes: Sapp and/or Lewis). Here’s my take away…
    Who am I? — Excuse me — can you move over? Can you squish over a little bit?
    Any guesses? I am — any “pro” broadcaster on just about every network asking to get on the Eagles train. You know, the same ones that were waiving and laughing to us last week as we pulled out of the station.
    One is even saying the Eagles will win by at least 3 td’s.
    My expectations are the same as in week 1…keep moving forward.

    • BlindChow

      I don’t mind making room for people who want to root for and enjoy Eagles football. The team was so awful last year it deserved all the skepticism it got this offseason. Now that these broadcasters have some actual football to look at, it makes sense that their opinions are changing.

  • A_T_G

    My prediction: a few early, over-amped jitters cause some errors, and a garbage time score makes it look closer that it was, Eagles 38-20.