I’ll post defensive notes later tonight.
Quick non-DGR comment…Reuben Frank reported last night that the Eagles will likely add a CB off someone’s practice squad to fill the roster vacancy (after trading Sopoaga). Need CB depth so that’s smart.
* * * * *
No points. 201 total yards. I think that says it all.
Last week was a disaster primarily due to a nightmare performance by Nick Foles. This week was more of a team effort. QBs, skill players and linemen all had a hand in this debacle. Total offensive letdown. On the bright side, it is great to see the guys working together so well.
I totally agree with Chip Kelly that Sunday’s struggles were more about execution than scheme or talent. There were some simple mistakes and some critical mistakes. When you do have the 3rd string QB in, you need the supporting cast to pick up their level of play. Help the young guy out. That didn’t happen at all. Think about it…were there any highlight plays? Did anyone make a great catch? Did the runners do anything special? Players struggled to do the average, let alone anything more.
I think Michael Vick’s early INT and Matt Barkley’s fumble both really hurt the team beyond being turnovers. The Vick INT was deflating because it sent an immediate signal that we weren’t going to see good Vick. The offense then got a spark when Barkley came in, but his fumble was crushing. A TD there cuts the score to 12-7 and gives the Eagles a ton of momentum. Instead, it felt like Lucy pulling the football out as Charlie Brown went to kick it. Foiled again.
Circumstances didn’t help. The Eagles only had one drive start beyond the 40 yards line (Eagles 41). 8 drives started at the 21 or worse. A pair of drives started inside the 10-yard line. The offense wasn’t able to move the chains and sustain drives. 5 of 11 drives were 3 plays or less. There were no explosive plays to make up for that. The Eagles only had one play of more than 20 yards (Avant – 25). Think about this for a minute. LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson combined for 27 touches and they had just one play that gained more than 10 yards. I thought that was literally impossible.
Sadly, I was wrong.
Poor field position + only one sustained drive + only one big play = no offensive points. Ugh.
* 2nd/10. Maehl and Casey were out far left…with Lane Johnson. Vick fired the ball to Casey, who then had Maehl and Johnson block for him on a screen. Got 11 yds. We saw the OTs lining up out wide this summer. Don’t think we’ve seen it so far this year.
* 1st/GL. Kelly decided to throw for TD late in the half. Called a simple play with only 2 men out. Ertz runs a drag from the backside. DJax runs quick play on the front side. Play action goes right and QB moves left. Receivers didn’t appear to be open. Barkley hesitated rather than just throwing the ball away. Got strip-sacked and the Giants made a great recovery on the sideline, inches from being out of bounds. Disaster.
* 4th/10. Barkley got another errant snap. Couldn’t catch it. Had to bend down and grab it. Got the ball and re-set his feet. Threw the ball quickly. Had some pressure so he couldn’t make normal reads. Actually chose the right receiver, Avant, but the pass was over his head.
* 3rd/8. Late 3rd Qtr. DJax caught a pass over the middle. Was closing in on the 1st down line and a defender came up. DJax didn’t go for the line. Instead of going upfield, he flattened his angle and ran parallel to the LOS. Failed to get a 1st down and forced the team to punt. Critical mistake. Had an easy 1st down if he just stayed upfield. Really infuriated me.
* 0-1 in the Red Zone.
* Only 6 plays of 10 yds or more. Shocking.
* 3-12 on 3rd downs.
VICK – Bad game. Wasn’t right physically and that affected him mentally. You could see from the first pass play of the game that Vick was shaky. Wasn’t comfortable running. So he stood in the pocket and threw a ball over the middle, hoping for a completion. I literally don’t know what Vick was thinking. Celek had given no indication of turning back to the inside. The QB cannot hope a receiver just does something. You can’t throw that ball over the middle like that and hope. Vick had Casey wide open in the flat to start the 2nd series. Decided to look downfield instead and ended up taking a sack. Called for intentional grounding on the 3rd series. Vick got pressure up the middle. Had room to run, but his hammy had just gotten re-aggravated so Vick couldn’t run. Threw the ball away, but wasn’t outside the tackle box.
6-9-31. Completed 2 passes to DeSean, 1 to Casey, 2 to Shady and 1 to Brown. Made a good throw to Ertz on 3rd/5, but the Giants LB made a good play to break it up.
BARKLEY – Another week and another chance to come off the bench. Came into the game with 2:24 left in the half. First snap was off to the left. Barkley didn’t panic. Got control of the ball, looked up and found Celek for a 9-yd gain. Hit DJax on an out route for a gain of 13. Threw that from the far hash to the sideline. Wasn’t a rocket, but showed an NFL arm. Tried to hit Shady on a wheel route. Put some air under the ball so Shady could get to it. LB hit Shady as he went for the ball so there was a flag. Had interesting play late in the half. Dropped back. Clean pocket. For some reason, drifted to his right. That gave good rush angle to DE and he got to Barkley quickly. Matt stayed focused downfield and hit Avant with a good throw. Loved the focus and poise, but needs to stay in a clean pocket. Did a poor job on 3rd down on opening drive of the 2nd half. Had Riley wide open on drag route. Didn’t see him til late and took a sack. Had at least 4 seconds to throw the ball, but never got it out.
One issue that I noticed is that Barkley’s footwork can get sloppy when he’s pressured. That led to some off-target throws. Quarterbacks must be able to throw from a variety of platforms. They can’t count on a clean pocket. You want the quarterback to use proper mechanics most of the time, but there will be occasions when he needs to be able to make good throws while off-balance or leaning in one direction or twisting to avoid rushers. This is something for Barkley to work on. He missed open receivers with erratic throws in these situations. There was pressure, but good NFL QBs know how to deal with pressure and still get the ball to their guy.
More than a few reporters asked about Barkley and the read-option. Barkley didn’t run the ball and some have speculated that Barkley wasn’t making good reads. Chip Kelly said in his PC that there was only one mistake, on a play where Barkley was running the read-option with Bryce Brown. Kelly has said a few times that just because a play looks like the read-option doesn’t mean it is. Some are a straight hand-off. Others might involve the option to throw a quick screen.
Barkley finished 17-26-158 in the air. No TDs and one INT. I thought he showed some good things. Arm was once again solid. Generally dealt with pressure well. Read his progressions. Found the open guy most of the time, which shows good field vision. Made the one critical disaster late in the 1st half when he failed to throw the ball away. My biggest complaint with Matt is typical of young QBs. Sometimes is slow to find the right guy. Other times is just slow to get the ball out. Just throwing the ball away on the sack/fumble disaster would have made a huge difference. Sometimes giving up on a play is the smart decision.
Aside from the fumble, there was only one play from Barkley that upset me. He dropped back on a 3rd/5 play. Riley Cooper ran a shallow cross and was wide open. Barkley should have hit him for an easy first down. For some reason, Barkley didn’t see him in time and the offense wasn’t able to move the chains. Gotta pull that trigger and get the ball out.
I’m no closer to knowing what to make of his NFL future. Shows some good skills, but has played almost 3 Qtrs and has yet to produce one single point. That’s not good.
SHADY – Shut down by the Giants. And partially himself. 15-48 on the ground. 4-18 as a receiver. Made some poor decisions. The offensive struggles had Shady trying to hit home runs. Too often he ran into trouble when the team just needed him to get upfield and maximize his carries. That’s the heaven and hell of a runner like McCoy. You can’t totally change him. You must let him freelance. You just hope he shows good situational awareness and knows there are games when every yard is precious and moving the chains is more important than trying for big plays. Drove me nuts with run in the mid-3rd Qtr. Was 2nd/7. Took ball and headed left. Was able to turn upfield. Had room in front of him. Needed to run off Todd’s backside (was trying to block 2nd level defender). Easy 1st down. Instead, Shady stops and tries a cutback move, with defenders right in that area. Went right to them. 3rd down run got stuffed. Punt. Made good blitz pickup of Beason on 3rd/5 in the mid-2nd Qtr. Gave Vick a clean pocket.
B BROWN – Caught screen on 3rd series. Had defenders on him quickly so there was just a minimal gain. Quiet day as a runner, but did have one impressive run. Got the ball on 3rd/1. Outside zone play. Went wide and ran through arm tackle. Turned upfield and powered through 3 tacklers to get 1.5 yards. Very good effort. Finished with 3 carries for -1 yd.
CELEK – Pretty good game as a blocker. Only 2-17 as a receiver. Helped to seal the right side on 3rd/1 run where Shady got a couple of yards. Good block on 3rd Qtr run to the right side where Shady went for 9 yds. Did a good job of blocking DEs on 3rd Qtr runs.
ERTZ – Had early 3rd/5 pass come his way. Wasn’t able to make that grab because the LB trailing him reached around and hit the ball. That was good defense. Barkley tried to hit him on crossing route late in the half. DL tipped the ball and Ertz wasn’t able to get it after that. Still came close, but trajectory had changed and his hands were under the ball. Would have been a gain of 15 to 20 yds. Had solid in-line block of 94 on 3rd Qtr run play. Showing some progress in that area. Did have 1 catch for 5 yds.
CASEY – Got mixed into the offense on the 2nd and 3rd series. Would line up in the backfield mostly and then release into a pass route. Lined up out wide and caught a quick screen. Got upfield for a gain of 11. It was good to see Casey mixed in more than usual.
D JACKSON – Strange game. 8-63. Mostly short catches. One for 10, one for 13. Lots of screens. Did okay on those plays. Got RAC yds, but failed to break loose and jump-start the offense with a big play. Had good block of DB in early 3rd Qtr and let Shady get wide for solid run. As I covered earlier, failure to move the chains on 3rd Qtr catch and run really upset me. 1st down was right there and DeSean didn’t sell out to get it.
AVANT – Good numbers at 3-54 for the day. Had a good day as a blocker, on runs and screens. Had some very good blocks on WR screens. Caught 14-yd pass late in the half. That put the Eagles down at the 2. Caught pass over the middle on 2nd/19. Got 25 yds on the play. Made one critical mistake. Called for OPI in the mid-4th. Legit call. Used hand to push DB down the field so he could come back to the ball. That was on a 4th down and it turned a conversion into 4th/very long.
COOPER – Caught pass in the late 3rd Qtr. Circled back to get away from defenders. Ended up losing almost 2 yards on the play. This was not the game to give away yards and try for big plays. Caught another short pass. Ended 2-13. Solid as a blocker, but didn’t have any standout moments that I saw.
D JOHNSON – Caught short pass over the middle in the early 4th.
MAEHL – No passes came his way, but was effective as a blocker.
* Joseph got a sack when he split Todd and Lane Johnson. Both thought other guy had him. Not sure who was at fault.
PETERS – A bad omen on Sunday happened on the 2nd play of the game. Peters pulled to the inside and went to block the MLB. Jon Beason knocked Peters back. When 240 beats 340…not a good sign. Beason then tackled Shady and only gave up a yard. A better block and Shady gets at least 5 yds. Failed to get good block on JPP on 3rd Qtr run to his side. Let JPP go inside and that limited Brown to a yard. Peters did a good job in pass pro.
MATHIS – Pulled outside to the left on 3rd Qtr run and slammed Rolle to the ground. Loved seeing that. He and Kelce doubled the NT a lot and won that battle. Mathis had his usual impressive game.
KELCE – Strange game. Had several errant snaps. Low snap to Vick in the 2nd Qtr. Bad snap on Barkley’s first play. Got beat by Jenkins with a club move late in the half, but recovered and blocked him just enough to keep Matt clean. Called for false start in the early 3rd Qtr. I didn’t really see what drew the flag. Odd call. Pulled outside left on 3rd/1 in the 3rd Qtr and blocked Beason so Brown could move the chains. Did a good job as a blocker, but the errors hurt.
HERREMANS – Got driven back by Joseph on early pass play. That led to Vick’s grounding penalty. Got pushed back by Joseph a couple of times. Mostly Todd re-set his feet and anchored after giving up the initial ground. Also understand that Todd had him 1-on-1. Kelce and Mathis were doubling the NT. Picked up DE who was looping to the inside on a stunt. Gave Barkley a clean pocket. Pretty solid, with a few sloppy plays.
JOHNSON – Kiwanuka got free from his block to directly cause the grounding penalty, but Lane had done his job early on the play. As Vick drifted deeper in the pocket, Kiwi had an easy angle to get to him. Lane had blocked based on where he thought Vick would be and not where Vick drifted to. Beaten by Tuck for TFL on 2nd Qtr run play. Had some struggles with Tuck, who is a crafty veteran. Lined up way out right on screen pass to DJax late in the half. Wasn’t able to control JPP on 3rd/2 run to the right side. Shady got tackled for a loss. Not Johnson’s best day. Good news is that Tuck wasn’t physically overwhelming him. Tuck used some good moves and tricks to beat Johnson. As Lane gets experience, he’ll handle that stuff better. Also liked that Johnson didn’t panic when beaten. Came back ready to do his job on the next play. Some guys struggle with their confidence. Not Johnson.
BARBRE – DNP