Chicken or the Egg?

Posted: November 29th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 63 Comments »

Prior to Week 8, the Cardinals had not scored more than 25 points in a game. Since then, the Cards has scored at least 27 points each game. Last week they had a season high 40 points in the win over the Colts. Arizona has had at least 332 yards of offense in each of the last 4 games. The Cards had fewer yards than that in 4 of the first 7 games.

So what gives?

Has the Cardinals offense gotten better? Or is this due to playing some struggling defenses?

I think you can argue both ways. The schedule in recent weeks has been soft. But you can also see changes. Rookie RB Andre Ellington didn’t have more than 7 carries in a game until the recent hot streak. In the past 4 games, he’s averaging more than 11 carries per game. WR Michael Floyd is playing his best football of the season. The offense isn’t turning the ball over. Carson Palmer has had 4 of his 5 highest QB rating games of the year in the recent stretch.

If the Cardinals offense is truly playing at a high level, the Eagles defense is in for a big challenge. Most of the talk in the past few days has been about the Cards defense going up against the Eagles offense. I trust Chip Kelly, Nick Foles, Shady McCoy, DeSean Jackson and the Biggies up front to find ways to move the ball and score some points.

The bigger concern for me is shutting down the Cards offense. Palmer is a veteran QB. The Eagles this year are 1-5 against veteran QBs.

vs Philip Rivers – L
vs Alex Smith – L
vs Peyton Manning – L
vs Eli Manning – W
vs Tony Romo – L
vs Eli Manning – L

The wins came against RG3, Mike Glennon, Eli, Terrelle Pryor, Scott Tolzien, and RG3.

The flip side of this is that Palmer isn’t as good a QB as the other veterans listed above. I know Eagles fans love to rip on Eli and Romo, but those guys are good QBs. Palmer has his moments, but he’s not at their level.

The Eagles defense has played better since the Denver debacle. No offense has scored more than 21 points in that stretch. The Cardinals might be the biggest challenge since they have 2 big, talented WRs, a good slot guy, an athletic TE, an explosive runner and a veteran QB. The one thing Arizona doesn’t have…a good O-line. They rank 29th in pass protection per MMQB. Palmer has been sacked 30 times. That is the 2nd highest total of his career (and we’ve still got 5 games to go!).

I hope Bill Davis looks back at the Dallas game. He challenged his CBs to come up big against Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. Davis was able to limit the Dallas run game and get pressure on Romo. I’d like to see that type of gameplan this week. I would rather see Davis be aggressive and take some chances than to sit back. If I’m Arizona, I’m throwing slants and fades left and right and challenging the Eagles corners.

The Eagles must get pressure on Palmer. He has thrown more than twice as many picks as all Eagles QBs combined (15 to 7). If you can get him to feel the heat, Palmer will take some chances. The front seven must come up big.

Dealing with the Cardinals receivers will be a challenge for the Eagles secondary. Last year that was a disaster, but this year the scheme is better and the players aren’t nearly as confused. Bradley Fletcher returns to action and that will help. Remember that he was on the Rams previously and faced Fitz and the Cards receivers twice a year. The scheme might have changed, but if Brad can offer any clues, it could help a lot.

A good game from the Eagles defense would be huge in the team beating the Cards and their hot offense.

* * * * *

The Eagles are coming off the bye week. Andy Reid was gold with the bye week. He did a good job of self-scouting and making some changes. The frustrating part is that he didn’t do that better from week to week.

Kelly has done a good job with making adjustments. The question for him is what will he do coming out of the bye. Will Kelly have some wrinkles for the offense? Will he just focus on cleaning up some existing issues? I’m not expecting anything too major, but we’ll see.

The one wrinkle that I am curious about is mixing in Michael Vick as a runner in some situations. I didn’t think that would happen, but Vick told the press he would do it and was coy when asked about whether anything had been planned. If he’s willing and the situation is right, maybe Vick could be a good role player. Those QB sweeps from the first Giants game were really cool plays.

We also might see more of Brad Smith in the offense. He only had one play vs WAS. I could see the coaches coming up with specific plays for Smith. Let’s see what the guy can do.

Will the bye week hurt the Eagles in terms of momentum? The Birds have won 3 straight games. The rest was nice, but you don’t want the team to lose any momentum. During the Reid era, the Eagles only had one winning streak heading into the bye week and that was in 2004, the Super Bowl year. I have no idea what to expect in this area.


  • Flyin

    I egged the chicken then I ate his leg

    • jshort

      Much rather egg the visiting teams bus. Think that broke the home losing streak!!!

    • TommyLawlor

      I am willing to eat chickens and eggs. And legs.

  • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

    what a biggame this is for us, everything we do well the cards have a good match up for us… desean vs peterson…. our OL vs their DL… lesean vs their front 7.. (didnt darly washington get suspended?)

    • TommyLawlor

      Daryl missed the first 4 games of the year.

      • http://iKillRats.com/ Charlie Kelly

        damn so hes back? hes a beast. hed be the guy spying on lesean.

        • GEAGLE

          Their Oline and run game IMO oppinion is at a disadvantage against the most under rated front 7 in the NFL..

          I watched Cox film against the skins…and it was flat out scary. If Cox,Barwin and Trent bring it like they did against Washington, I like our chances

  • jshort

    Such an easy question. On the fifth day god created every winged fowl, blessed them, saying be fruitful and multiply. (Genesis 1:21). ,,,presto!! Chicken ready to lay. Any heathen out there with a different view? :-) Next question please.

    • TommyLawlor

      Did he put them out as birds or eggs?

      • jshort

        Let’s just say, they are now available for all Eagle fans to use on visiting team buses.

        • TommyLawlor

          Ha.

          • Jamie Parker

            What those verses don’t tell you is that God created every winged fowl. Then he saw that they had all been eaten so he needed a way to make more, so he then created the egg, and told the fowl to be fruitful and multiply. Later, Adam grabbed an egg and threw it at a talking, walking serpent, and thus the Philly fan was born.

          • P_P_K

            I heard Adam threw that egg at Santa Claus.

    • ICDogg

      The answer is so obviously eggs I’m amazed the question is even asked.

    • mtn_green

      Lizard grew wings

      • jshort

        Figured there would be at least one heathen out there!!!

  • Flyin

    I think the Eagles will come back from the bye… fresh, energized and focused. The effort will be there, the home crowd will provide energy. The players’ confidence is higher due to fact they are understanding and executing the schemes. Chip will find a way to motimentum.

  • Anders

    People should really watch Fresno ST vs San Jose state

    Derek Carr is going nuts. He might actually end up as the no. 1 overall pick if he can keep this up and gets to play a BCS Bowl

    • TommyLawlor

      Great game so far. Carr’s run blew me away. Looked like Manziel.

      Fales is throwing the ball better than I’ve ever seen.

    • Insomniac

      Texans and Carr. Part II.

      • Anders

        He be a good fit no matter what offense they end up running (Kubiak will be fired).

        Carr throwing deep to Johnson+Hopkins and he is showing up some great mobility skills as well ( I thought he was mobile, but not that mobile as that great run)

        • Insomniac

          My god I just tuned in. iT’S ONLY HALF TIME….WOW.

    • GEAGLE

      What a crazy first half that was…both QBs went BONKERS!!!

  • Mike Flick

    With the bye week and thanksgiving (which feels like a weekend) It seems like we haven’t played a game in way too long.

    Lets get this game on already!

    • GEAGLE

      I feel your pain…once Bruce Arians ran his fat mouth, I was ready for some football!!!
      ..
      Kelce: We look forward to the test of facing two of the best interior linemen in the game and if we handle their exotic blitz packages, FOles will do some work!!
      ……
      Folesy wasn’t afraid to go after Revis so if Patterson thinks he will just show up and not get tested, he is in for a rude awakening,,,3catches,98yards,1TD

  • tdilla

    I would love to see a dual QB look…Foles under center, and Vick lined up as a RB or WR. If anybody could figure out a way to incorporate Vick in some creative ways, it’s gonna be coach Kelly. He’s still too talented to have sitting on the bench the rest of the season.

    • mtn_green

      Vick is really needed as healthy backup. “Only a chin strap away.”

      Regardless I’d love to see him come in for a wildcat, or veer play just to punk opposing DCs and make them teach a whole different scheme for blocking each week.

      • Flyin

        I think we will see Vick on the field with a healthy Foles in some role before the end of the season. Won’t be surprised if it is this week, but I agree with tdilla, Chip Kelly will find a way.

      • GEAGLE

        Yeah I think I have to agree…too valuable to screw around with, but put him on film once, just to have opponents spend time preparing for the possibility, “rent space in the minds of our next opponents” love that saying

    • GEAGLE

      I wouldn’t mind Vick lining up in the backfield then motion him out wide for a WR screen, with Lane and Celek lined up out wide…Desean will be on the opposite side commanding attention. good chance that a defense will piss themselves when they see it. Scramble to give Vick a ton of attention, where he can just be a decoy and let Desean do WORK!!!

      Imagine if our backup QB was the holder on FGs…lol the fake FGs you could run would be crazy

      Vick returning punts? Lol

      FOles n Vick in the backfield, direct snap to Vick

      Chip is an innovative unorthodox guy who seems like he wouldn’t leave a weapon on the shelf collecting dust, and he has the balls to not be able to rule anything out…but Vick has TREMENDOUS value as a backup QB for us,,,especially when you still have to face the cardinals front seven! and Dirty Ndomunkong Suh

    • ICDogg

      I’ve watched quite a few football games in my life – probably not as many as a lot of you, but still a lot – and the one thing that has never popped into my mind while watching one is “You know what would make this game better? Having a second quarterback in the game at the same time!”

    • jshort

      Might as well use him as one of the gunners on ST’s..He’s got the speed.

  • mtn_green

    If you’re az DC do you take away big pass play, 2 deep, or the run, 1 deep.

    If AZ plays 2 deep safeties, we will see a heavy dose of shady, and some underneath throws.

    Bruce Arians says he takes away the run first. Maybe we will see something closer to what KC and Dallas did, press man one safety deep. That was before Foles though who can look off the safety and hit on the deep balls.

    As is good at press man and that would take away the bubble screens too. Something I’ve seen that hasn’t really been mentioned is shady or DJ motioning out flat are really setting up a bubble screen three yards deep when there is press man, any situation where DJ or Shady have only one man to beat benefits the offense.

    Looks like AZ has Peterson stay on one side of field so when eagles move DJ around Kelly can pick which db he wants to cover him. Eagles do same though. Fun game.

  • GEAGLE

    I don’t buy this Carson love…Journeymen with 16TDs and 15INTs can get got!!! It’s even less impressive when you look at the two monsters he is throwing to…wth would FOles have done during this 6 game stretch with those Beasts?

    fact is that our defense is LEGIT against the run. We have taken out better RBs out of the game who were running behind better Olines than what the cardinals bring to the table making those teams one dimensional…and when you make Carson’s offense one dimensional, history shows he will unravel.

    last years pathetic defense couldn’t force a turnover if you handed them the ball. THIS years defense is making plays when they are there to be made. These RBs and This Oline will NOT be the team that finally penetrates our STOUT run defense. Carson will become one dimensional, our front 7 will wear down this average at best Oline and Carson will throw some bad balls up and give us some opportunities to make crucial plays. I say our boys are ready to capitalize on those opportunities that Carson provides.. If FOles can continue to take care of the rock and his supporting cast doesn’t lay it on the turf our defense will make enough plays to pull away with this game in the 2nd half…as long as we continue to play clean Discaplined football continuing to not shoot ourselves in the foot..If Cox,Barwin and Cole play like they did against Washington, the cardinals are in trouble

    The next GEAGLE prediction:
    Cary “Mr. December” Williams for the second year in a row steps up and has a fantastic December/January. This is Cary time!!!
    ..
    To get to the playoffs, FOles and our much maligned secondary has to overcome:
    1) Carson and Fitz/Floyd
    2) Stafford and Calvin/burleson
    3) Cutler and Marshall/Jeffries
    4) Romo and Dez/Terrance

    If we are getting to the playoffs that means FOles out dueled some serious veteran gunslingers and our CBs held their own against a murders row of explosive Big Body WRs….I say we answer the tall challenge!!!

  • SteveH

    I’m more excited and anxious about this game than any Eagles game in a long while. An actual late season game with playoff implications?! I’d forgotten what that felt like!

    • GEAGLE

      Ain’t that the truth. Chip has done a fantastic job

  • Joe Minx

    Was talking about this with a friend today & I thought I’d ask you Tommy. How does Chip’s offense compare to Art Briles & Baylor’s O in terms of play design? I haven’t really seen enough Baylor games this year to be able to draw any definitive conclusions. Obviously there are a lot of similarities in terms of pacing & spreading out the defense, but are a lot of the plays the same?

    • D3FB

      Conceptually they are fairly similar. Spread out the opposing team, use tempo, create easy throws for QBs with formations and routes. The Baylor WR’s have been criticized coming out the last few years due to the fact they run a very limited route tree. Don’t know if this was the case with Kelly at Oregon because he didn’t have a ton of receivers with above marginal talent. Maehl was the best of the bunch.

      Briles worked under Leach at Texas Tech while all the great current minds of the Air Raid were there (Sumlin, Holgerson, Sonny Dykes, Kingsbury). However his offense while often mistaken for the Air Raid due to the heavy WR sets, while certainly influenced by the Air Raid is not an evolution of it. Both run much more than other heavy spread teams (except probably Rich Rod). So in general. Similar concepts different execution.

      Hope this helps.

      • Anders

        Josh Gorgon, Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams are all doing well.

        • D3FB

          They are. All of them have been able to overcome the concerns. It really was more of a nitpicky concern rather than something ability based. Probably was overblown.

      • Joe Minx

        Yes, thank you.

    • Anders
  • Kristopher Cebula

    I’m curious to see the cards play. The national media has been talking them up pretty big this week. If you didn’t know better, you would expect a cards blow out. I think the birds take it to them. They haven’t traveled (for games) in almost three weeks and are coming off the bye, whereas the cards are traveling west to east for a 1 o’clock game. I think the eagles wear them down and win comfortably

    • Joe Minx

      Rarely has there ever been a comfortable win between the Eagles & Cards. And this may sound strange, but I’d actually prefer a close win in a way. If the Eagles blew them out they’d just dismiss Arizona as frauds & we still wouldn’t have a good handle on how this team looks against upper echelon competition.

      • jshort

        Would prefer a close win too. Would rather blow them out in the playoff, If Cards make it.

        • ICDogg

          I’d rather they just blow them out, but I’m always happy with any win.

          • A Roy

            I’m way too old to say ‘true dat’, so I’ll just concur.

  • ICDogg
  • GEAGLE

    I wanna talk about something that’s been overlooked…When the hell was the last time we had such peace and harmony during an eagles season? Kelly and our locker room has done a fantastic job eliminating all the distractions. in a city with our crazy fans and gossipy, trashy reality TV reporters who try to fabricate drama every chance they get, to have such peace and harmony is pretty much a foreign concept to us.our leadership from Chip to the veterans has been really impressive especially when you consider that delicate and dangerous situations we had to navigate thru: Riley-gate, and the 11 week QB drama…..it’s mind blowing when you look back at last years pathetic,dysfunctional, selfish, soft quitters to see how Chip has transformed us in less than a year. Is just incredible especially when it’s not Like he replaced a scab like Jim Schwartz…this “college coach” came in and cleaned up the mess of one of the most highly touted coaches in the NFL and he did it much faster than anyone thought.,,Chip should get a tone of praise, but so should leaders like Vick,Meco, barwin, Cary, and the veteran Oline

    if Chip Kelly means that we will be one of the healthier teams in December every year, and keeps our players from doing sit-ups in his driveway minimizing the drama that would be two giant steps in the right direction

    • Mitchell

      Ewwww Jim Schwartz. What a sleez ball!

  • theycallmerob

    Will the bye week hurt the Eagles in terms of momentum? The Birds have won 3 straight games. The rest was nice, but you don’t want the team to lose any momentum.

    Absolutely not, since it does not exist!
    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9580775/bill-barnwell-theory-momentum-football
    http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/71970/nomentum-in-sports-part-2
    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9402347/

    • BlindChow

      It seems like if the Eagles had had any “momentum,” they’d already lost it halfway through the Redskins game, when they couldn’t move the ball on offense, nor stop it on defense.

      We’re doomed!

      • theycallmerob

        on the plus side, their 4-game win streak is null and void as well. Palmer is due for a regression to the age mean. and Cox will be in his dreams for the next few weeks (giggle….)

  • ACViking

    Chicken or Egg?

    ANSWER:

    Go ask Alice . . . When she’s ten feet tall.

  • ACViking

    Re: Master Tommy Lawlor

    This last month has been seen some of the best posts and discussions in several years, going back to Derek’s Igglesblog.

    My thanks, during this holiday season, is to our host.

    Good health to Tommy. To the community.

    And especially to the new borns who’ve joined us the past couple of months.

  • ICDogg
  • shah8

    Quick notes:

    1) Vick is the backup QB, and coaches are typically hesitant about using the backup QB in QB run plays. What Tyrod Taylor did last Sunday was very unusual in the scheme of things. For example, Joe Webb was strictly a wildcat QB when he was in for a play, and those plays had no real chances for passes, or anything creative on runs. And I strongly suspect or believe that Reid never intended to stick with Kolb in ’10, and the sort of switcheroo plays then was about acclimation more than anything else. Smaller QBs like Vick, Taylor, Russell Wilson, do make much better designed rush QB than taller guys, unless they are as freakish as Cam Newton, so there is a bigger chance that Vick might do something, but it’s only a chance, and it will probably be pretty conservative.

    2) Given the patterns of defense under Bill Davis’ scheme, I estimate that the defense should be okay, and it’s the offense that would have to be worried about. This defense has gone up against the Chargers, and didn’t do that badly against an offense superior to the Cardinals, without Bradley Fletcher. It’s largely the offense that I’d be concerned about. The Oregon offense, as Foles runs it, is basically the triple option where the A back is a WR, and the screen takes the place of the wide toss. Putting aside the players, the scheme itself is vulnerable to sputtering out because in disadvantageous situations, when it’s out of its element, it really tends to be like a beached whale more than other tested schemes. In other words, it tends to make bad or undisciplined defenses look terrible, but against good defenses it needs the same amount of uplifting play by its components, same as any other style of offense.

  • GermanEagle

    Chaps

    I will be watching the Eagles game in Wogies Bar & Grill in NY on Sunday. Please give me a shout if everyone in the NYC area will be around!

    Fly Eagles Fly!

  • GEAGLE

    Petterson is a great CB and Desean can’t be counted on as our go to guy in important situations as long as Petterson is shadowing him! but the good news is Powers their number two CB is a pigeon who is having a horrible year in coverage. Chip likes his 3WR sets, but this will be the game where he has to use a heavy dose of multiple TE sets, because when you go with 3WRs, the playmaking Honeybadger comes down from safety to play Nickle…
    ..
    Riley Cooper abusing Powers and heavy dose of two TEs are the sweet spots to attack the best defense we will see the rest of the way. Hopefully Cooper,Celek and Ertz step up and do some damage to this defense