Making Sense of the Eagles

Posted: November 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 136 Comments »

Just how good are the Eagles?

A 6-5 record isn’t very compelling. They haven’t played a great schedule or beaten any top flight teams. You can easily make the case that this Eagles team is basically a step above mediocre.

But…

This team also is doing some unusual things. Some really impressive things.

* The Eagles are the only team in the league to hold the last 7 opponents to 21 points or less. In that stretch, teams are averaging just 17.4 points per game.

* The Eagles lead the league in plays of 20 yards or more. They had 61 heading into Sunday. The next closest team had 45. That’s a huge discrepancy.

* Brian Billick, who apparently is much better as a writer than TV analyst, wrote an interesting piece about “toxic differential”. You add takeaway differential and explosive play differential. Seattle comes up first at +31. The Eagles are next in the league at +20. This doesn’t guarantee anything, but it shows you the Eagles can be special at times.

* Nick Foles leads the NFL in QB rating.

* LeSean McCoy is the league’s leading rusher.

* DeSean Jackson is 3rd in the league in receiving yards. He does lead the league in receptions of 20 or more yards.

* The Eagles are 6th in the NFL in Red Zone defense. They’ve only allowed 2 TDs in the last 12 RZ trips by opponents.

* The Eagles have 9 games with 400 or more yards. The only NFL team to have more (10) in the first 11 games is the 2007 Patriots. That also happens to be the highest scoring offense in NFL history.

* The Eagles are only the 8th team in NFL history with 2,800 yards passing and 1,600 yards rushing after 11 games.

What we’ve got here is an offense that is doing some historically good things and a defense that is keeping people out of the end zone. The defense shows glimpses of being a good unit, but still gives up way too many yards.

The Eagles seem to be an improving team. That begs the question…just how good can they be this year?

A lot of this question falls on the shoulders of Nick Foles. Is he on a hot streak or is he just a perfect fit for this system? Every game that Foles plays gives us another clue about who he really is. He leads the league in QB rating and yards per attempt. Foles hasn’t thrown an INT yet. He’s also run for a couple of TDs. The numbers are crazy.

Foles is 4-1 as a starter. He also played more than half of the first Giants game, which the Eagles won. The Eagles average 26.8 points per Foles start, and that included the Dallas disaster. Take that game away and the Eagles average 32.8 points per game. That’s crazy. Can you sustain this?

I don’t think Foles is excessively lucky. He’s playing good football. But it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll stay at a QB rating of 128. That would break Aaron Rodgers record of 122.5. Foles is good, but NFL record for a season good? That seems a bit much.

I know I’m asking a lot of questions in this post, but I kinda think you have to do that. None of us knows the answers for sure. The fun of this team is not knowing what to make of it. While I think it is smart to remain a bit skeptical of this team, I can’t totally dismiss the possibility that the Eagles could be tough to deal with down the stretch.

I don’t think the Eagles are a Super Bowl contender at this point, but  this team can win the NFC East and it wouldn’t surprise me for them to win a playoff game or even two. I cannot see this team winning 3 or 4 straight games in the postseason. Improving or not, that’s a bit much for this group.

We do have to acknowledge that things can also go the other way. The remaining schedule has 3 teams with winning records (ARZ, DET, CHI) and one at .500 (DAL). The only losing team is the Vikings. None of these teams scare me, but the Eagles could lose to any of them. The Eagles aren’t anywhere close to a lock to win the East and get to the postseason.

I am cautiously optimistic. The Eagles are playing their best football of the year. The players say that they are in really good shape. Apparently Kelly’s sports science ideas are working well. The team has the bye week to get rested and refreshed for the final 5 games.

One thing I do know…this isn’t your typical 6-5 team. The stretch run ought to be pretty interesting.

_


  • tball_man

    Well said. Thanks for the blogging.
    It’s been a fun ride this year with certainly more good things to come (thanks St. Nick).

    • Michael Winter Cho

      Yep, thanks to Chip and Shady and the guys–it’s been a lot more fun than expected.

  • ICDogg

    I think at this point we have to see how it plays out with Foles. He might just be the franchise QB we need.

    • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

      This. Give him the reins in 2014, for better or for worse.

      It’s not like we’re going to pick high enough to nab a stud QB at this point, anyway.

      • ICDogg

        I would think if he continues playing even close to this strong for the rest of the season, there is no way you would want to do otherwise.

        I mentioned in the Eagles Blog thread about how San Diego already had Brees, but he wasn’t their prototype of the QB they really wanted.

        • Anders

          As I said over there. I would only take a QB early if a guy drops that im high on (similar situation with Rodgers).

          Else I still want a true development QB in the later rounds like Morris, Logan Thomas or Braxton Miller.

          • deg0ey

            I’m curious how late you think Miller will go – if he came out this year and I was a team that needed a QB, I’d be all over him in the second round.

          • Anders

            I have no clue. Miller might go pretty high, at least top 3 rounds, but I have heard people say the same for Thomas.

            If Miller came out and we took him in the 2nd round, I wouldnt complain 1 bit. I know he is raw as a passer, but that can be developed (guys like Hundley, Mariota and Manziel is the same).

          • deg0ey

            I agree – I’m hoping he stays in school this year and then drafting him can be our Plan B in case Foles doesn’t work out.

          • Stormbringer

            I see when you pick the development QBs you are always picking someone with ‘measurables’ (as in if everyone ‘developed’ it is always the better athlete or 5-tool guy – regardless on whether it is likely or even possible they can be developed or what they did in the past). Morris flashes in a pro system and might not take much refinement but Thomas is hugely erratic (pun intended) and Miller is like Tebow with a better arm throwing to wide open pro recievers.

            My question is, where do you draw the line on picking the athlete vs. someone who actually does it? For example, Ohio State has a 3rd string pro style QB on their roster, Cardale Jones. He’s 6’5″, about 230 now and has a rocket launcher for an arm. Physically, he can match up with Jameis Winston in every way. Read local press here in Columbus and you’ll see he’s considered to have an arm well beyond Braxton’s and he is about as fast (not elusive though). But he’s not as well suited to the offense here and is not known for making good decisions (he is the one who Twittered, more or less, “why should they care about classes when everyone knows they are there for football”).

            My point here is that, if you are going for ‘raw’ talent, he arguably has more than any of the guys above. Put him on VT and he could easily have beat out Logan. I’m sure other football powerhouses have someone like him on the team (unbelievable athlete for QB, or another position, who never quite pans out for whatever reason).

            Morris might be worth a 2nd round pick, maybe even Miller. It is hard to tell how good he really is as his WRs are often completely open. Thomas looks awful but has ‘measurables’. Why waste a low round pick on him when you can get someone like Jones (or someone similiar) with even better ‘measurables’ as a UFA? Similiar to us picking Bryce Brown. Why not always draft the best ‘measurables’ guy then? Is the #1 guy at the combine always the guys who are the best pros? How does one factor in all the refinement that helps make one a good QB. Fales might be a lousy athlete but he is putting up pretty good numbers and he has a pretty good arm too.

    • Ben Hert

      But is he the franchise QB we deserve?

      • bubqr

        Nice!

  • Corry

    I’m eager to see how the defense plays against some decent offenses. While Foles is a major piece of the puzzle as Tommy said, we do need the defense to at least be competent. In the past 7 games we haven’t played a really good offense and I’m thinking the lack of talent on that side of the ball is going to catch up with us.

    I will say that the D seems to be much improved though. Bill Davis deserves some credit for that.

    • makarov123

      counterpoint – Dallas is 5th in ppg at 27.4 and the Eagles held them to 17. If the defense can do similar to the Bears (3rd in ppg) and Lions (6th), this team has a good shot in those games.

      • ICDogg

        What I see is a defense that seems to be improving every week. They were horrendous at first, then got up to the mediocre level, now they’re starting to look half decent.

        • A Roy

          It sure is a rare treat to see the Defense coming up with RZ fumble recoveries and INTs, along with the odd three-and-out here and there. They’re far better than what we’ve seen the last few years. With a couple upgrades in the offseason, they could become a top 5 defense next year.

          • Stephen Stempo

            After last year getting any turnovers is huge. Also getting those TO’s and having a QB NOT throw them is even better. That’s how you win in today’s NFL.

      • Corry

        Counter-counterpoint: Dallas’s offense can run hot and cold. They’ve been held to 21 or fewer points in 4 games. When they’re on, they’re going to score a lot. When they’re off…yech.

        Obviously, the point can be made that they’re a good offense, but still that’s 1 out of 7 games.

        • anon

          what offense doesn’t? i think you could say that abut anyone but NE or Denver.

          • Corry

            Sure, teams have off days. Dallas just has…issues, especially when they voluntarily come off the run game. They also had injury concerns coming into the Philly game. I believe they were missing their top 2 running backs.

            But like I said, when Dallas is on, they are a very good offense. I just think they’re more uneven than most teams in the leagues.

        • deg0ey

          Counter-counter-counterpoint: The other three teams were the Chiefs, Saints and Chargers. The first two of those defenses are top-5 in ppg and the other is 11th.

          I certainly don’t mind the Eagles D joining the conversation with those guys.

      • TheRogerPodacter

        wasn’t Washington’s offense fairly good as well? the 16 pts was their season low i hear.

        • ICDogg

          13th. But really, it’s the Broncos 1st at 39.8 and everyone else way behind.

        • Anders

          They was 5th in yards

  • makarov123

    We have a saying in the field of mental health where I work:

    “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

    It’s not something you say to a client, because you want to be positive about recovery. However, it’s often accurate in the aggregate.

    In football, too, you have to admit that the best predictor of future performance is past performance. Looking at Foles in 2013, we should be optimistic about his performance moving forward.

    I think many people really underrate the 7 TD performance. “It was against the Raiders.” So what? 16 teams played the 2008 Lions and won. The Lions gave up an average of over 32 points per game over that entire season. They never gave up 7 passing TDs. Only 3 QBs have thrown 7 TDs in a game in the super bowl era. Joe Kapp (1969), Peyton Manning this season, and Nick Foles.

    We could write that game off (think Matt Flynn’s 6 TD game a couple years ago) except Foles has 5 starts and 4 of those games with a > 100 passer rating this season. He’s done that throwing to Riley freaking Cooper.

    The Eagles don’t play again until December 1st, so now is the perfect time to talk up Foles as league MVP.

    I’m going to relish in Foles’ performance until he proves me wrong.

    • ICDogg

      On the other hand I don’t think you can really know what you have until a guy has like 20 starts. You need to know how defenses adjust to him, and how he adjusts to the adjustments.

      • fran35

        Foles believer, since last year. However, I am so scared of bobby hoying happening that I am scared to hope. The kid seems to have off the charts intangibles. If he can play close to a performance like this past weekend and our defense continues to gel, I think we could sneak up on some teams come playoffs.

        • ICDogg

          This is not a Hoying or Kolb situation. Foles is legit, but is he a “franchise QB”? I think he just might be, but it is too early to tell.

      • makarov123

        I’ve heard that saying but look at Andy Dalton. His first 5-6 starts basically give you very comparable stats to his career, which is now over 40 games.

        Cards game going to be interesting though. Probably best defense Eagles have or will face this season.

        • ICDogg

          That would certainly be the case for some QBs, but until you have a big enough sample size you can’t have much certainty about it. Also, and I hate to mention it, when Foles starts getting some hard hits, how is that going to affect his play?

          • makarov123

            He’s taken some hits already – got creamed on one pass in the 3rd q I think on Sunday. Difference between Foles and Vick is Foles doesn’t hold the ball 6-8 seconds every other drop back, and when he does run he has no problem “sliding” down. Not that Foles will ever get style points for the way he slides.

            Plus, go back and look at some Arizona tape. His OL his senior year was just horrible. I don’t think he’s going to show durability problems the way Vick and Kolb have.

          • Stephen Stempo

            While that’s true it’s nice to know that his Ceiling is pretty ‘frickin high. The higher the Ceiling the higher the floor(generally speaking. He’s quickly making us forget about the dallas game. Plus even being bad against Dallas in that game he still didn’t throw an int. I mean what’s worse playing badly and losing or putting up 3 TD’s 350 yds but throwing 4 picks and losing (the Brett Favre effect). If Foles keeps protecting the ball and putting up 60+% comp.. well I’m not sure what more a guy can do.

  • nutmegel

    I would not want to be the Cardinals. Chip be schemin’ for two weeks.

  • SteveH

    I will NOT be deterred, Eagles take the Lombardi home this year, you heard it here first! All aboard the Chip ship or get left behind!!

    • ICDogg

      Never say never…

      • Stephen Stempo

        If Eli #FutureHOFER Manning can go 9-7 and win the Superbowl against a 18-0 juggernaut Patriots team then I’m not willing to say no. I’m not willing to say it’s likely. But If you asked me which one of those things I thought at the time had a better chance of happening I’d go with the Eagles of today vs the Giants 11 games into 2008.

  • mksp

    Foles and the 21st pick of the 2014 NFL draft for the 1st pick, owned by the Jaguars. Who says no?

    Jags get a franchise QB plus another pick to help their rebuild.

    Eagles get to draft Chip’s guy, the perfect fit for his system.

    Assume Eagles go 9-7, win the division, plus a playoff game. Foles ends year with a 105 rating.

    • ICDogg

      “Who says no?”

      Most probably, the Jags.

      • eagleyankfan

        and the Eagles and everybody else in the nation….

    • anon

      bird in hand is better than 2 in the bush

    • JJ_Cake

      Chip’s got his guy. He’s just being careful to help Foles keep his ego in check. Dude is still a young guy who needs to stay humble, yet confident in his abilities.

      Foles and this Eagle offense looks pretty legit.

    • Stephen Stempo

      I say no. That’s fleecing the Eagles. We give up an starting caliber NFL QB AND a 1st round pick to get a “Rookie” unproven, high potential QB who probably need at least some time to develop. If you had asked 3 weeks ago I might say yes. But every game Foles posts a 100+ QB rating and doesn’t throw a pick keeps upping his value.

      Also I’m going to need documented evidence that chip has a “guy.” You’re listening to too much Missanelli. That man uses Logic like Hippies use deodorant.

      • fran35

        Hear, hear. I can’t stand hearing Missanelli speak. Foles has shown that there is a decent chance that he might special. I am willing to wait it out and see if he can stay consistent. Too many young QBs taken high in the draft flop.
        Plus, I think too many people are talking about Chip’s guy at QB. Foles runs his offense exactly the way he wants it run and succeeds famously. I think that qualifies Foles as Chip’s “type”.

      • mksp

        I don’t even know who Missanelli is. Assume a local radio guy. I don’t even live in Philly.

        Bottom line is Mariota knows Chip’s system, has a stronger arm, and is faster. I like Foles, but its delusional to think that Mariota couldn’t be the perfect fit in this offense.

    • eagleyankfan

      That’s just silly question..

    • Andy124

      Me. I say no.

  • mksp

    From Jeff McLane’s game review:

    “Jackson, like Kelly a month earlier, thought that McCoy was doing too much dancing in the backfield and let his teammate know it. The fiery tailback responded. Cooper then jump in, backing up his fellow receiver, and McCoy shot back at him. Running backs coach Duce Staley looked like he was trying to separate the two, but McCoy kept talking. The dustup eventually subsided, calmer heads prevailed, the Eagles won and all was forgotten.”

    ( http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-eagles/McLanes-Game-Review-Eagles-vs-Redskins.html#hF3tMuQXiio7efBu.99 )

    If this is true, I suddenly have more respect for DJax, as well as this team and Chip. For some reason I never though DJax would ever call Shady out for anything. Says a lot about this teams attitude and mindset IMO.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      it really does take balls to call out your star player. even if its another star player doing so.

      • BlindChow

        Quite a change from last year, when it sounded like no one wanted to call anyone else out for anything.

    • Stephen Stempo

      I like Djax. I can’t stand that some Eagles fans still label him as soft as if it’s 2011. That guy is straight up ballin’ this year.

      Good for Djax if this is the case. I mean hopefully it wasn’t just him mouthing off.

      • fran35

        I have never thought of Desean as soft. Maclin is soft. But Desean is just selfish and immature. That’s my beef with him. But the kid has heart.

        • Michael Jorden

          It sounds like he’s taking on a bit of a leadership role. I like that he’s willing to tell Shady (the NFL rushing leader) that he thinks he could do better and do more. So long as he’s applying that to himself as well – I’m all for it. Take what’s very good and make it great. Shady is going to need his A game against most of the opponents remaining on the schedule.

  • ICDogg

    Gronk totally trucked Quinton Mikell

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Is NFC East as bad as people say? Take Division games out (7-7) the NFC East is 11-9 against teams not named Broncos or Chiefs. (0-7) Outside of those two teams, division is holding their own. Worst team is Washington at 3-3 in those games. Seems bad early schedule has really put the Division in a terrible light

    • Anders

      I think its also more about style points.

      But us facing the AFCW when it is at it best didnt help.

    • ICDogg

      It’s only subjective, I guess, but I don’t think any of the NFCE teams are in the top 10 quality-wise in the league right now. These teams would all be considered better than anyone in the NFCE: DEN, SEA, CAR, NO, CHI, SF, NE, KC, CIN, DET.

      • Anders

        Is SF really better than us? That offense is terrible, same with DET, they are just like us, great offense, terrible defense

      • Anders

        Is SF really better than us? That offense is terrible, same with DET, they are just like us, great offense, terrible defense

    • Duracell

      I certainly think there’s an argument at the AFC South is the weakest division.

  • Canadian_Eagle

    Hey Tommy…..this has nothing to do with this post. :) Me and a buddy are driving down to Minneapolis (from Canada) to watch our 1st ever Eagles game. We are both die-hard Eagles fans that met at a job a few years ago. Quite excited to see them live.

    • TommyLawlor

      Have a blast. Nothing beats going to a game at The Linc, but hopefully you’ll run into some other Eagles fans in Minny and have a good time.

  • JJ_Cake

    Seahawks look like a scary team right now. I would not like our chances playing them in their stadium for the NFC championship.

    Aside from them, if all facets of the Eagles are clicking we can compete with anyone. The cardinal defense will be a good challenge for our team. Looking forward to see them play.

    I think Chip is handling all the press real well. Praise the team and keep them humble and prepared. I’m liking the chemistry with this team.

    • Anders

      If we can beat Arizona with 7+ points, I think we can beat any team. I think they are the 2nd most complete team in the NFL right now.

      They have a better defense than the Hawks and that offense is beginning the click.

      • anon

        eh they need a coach and a qb.

        • Anders

          Palmer while streaky, is heating up.

      • GermanEagle

        I would take the Seahawks defense over the Cardinals any day of the week.

        • Anders

          The Zona defense is good. Very underrated defense.

          FO actually has them better than the Hawks http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef

          • GermanEagle

            If you start a poll, I am positive that 90% would prefer the Seahawks defense.
            I agree that the Cardinals defense is very underrated and good indeed.

          • Anders

            Only reason for that is that the Hawks defense is hyped up, where nobody talks about the Cardinals defense

          • Michael Winter Cho

            And the Seahawks have a murderous home field advantage.

          • TheRogerPodacter

            and i’ll bet that teams like baltimore and pittsburg would get lots of votes too, not because they are doing well, but because they are traditionally good defenses. Seattle is the big name on defense right now and of course everyone is going to vote for them. its just like the pro bowl voting

    • anon

      seattle is beatable. we can stop the run and i dont think rw can beat us w his arm (harvin is the wild card). The D gives up a lot of run yds and we can play the underneath game.

  • Anders

    I got a question. If the Raiders pick Manziel in the draft, would you guys send a 4th round pick to the Raiders for Pryor?

    • GENETiC-FREAK

      4th bit high.. 5th or 6th yeah maybe

    • deshawnbentley

      No. I rather take the QB who plays efficiently. Doesn’t turn the ball over, makes smart reads and is a much more refined passer. What we would gain in the run game would be negated by what we lost in the pass game.
      Foles has proven, to this point, that he can run the offense at a high level. I rather invest in him than keep having QB controversys etc

      • GENETiC-FREAK

        Ahh dont think Anders meant as a starter but possibly as a backup developmental QB.. Needs to refine his passing for sure though

        • Anders

          yea 100% a development QB. If I thought he was starter material, a 4th would be way to low.

    • Cafone

      I’d give up a second round pick for Pryor. He’s young, extremely talented, and would seem perfect for Kelly’s system. Any pick is a gamble; Pryor is already a proven commodity.

    • Corry

      No, not for a 4th. I don’t think he’s progressed at all as a passer since his Ohio State days. He’s fast as hell, but I don’t trust his arm at all.

      • Anders

        Pryor has progressed a lot since his OSU days, problem is, he was so raw that it can be hard to see. His problem right now is that he has regressed since the start of the season because the Raiders OL is terrible and he has no WR or TE worth anything.

        • jshort

          The un-drafted FA out of Penn State seemed to do ok with the same group, may be we should give up someone on the practice squad for him.

          • Anders

            Pryor also looked good until teams had some film on him.
            Also the Texans are terrible right now.

        • BlindChow

          Yes, Pryor has been way better this year than last year.

    • anon

      watching MNF i couldn’t help but thinking what CAM could be like in the system. He’d have to study a lot — work on his accuracy / ability to make reads. But then who cares Nick is playing great i don’t really see the need to what if, I think he has the skills to run the offense.

      • Anders

        I love Foles, but Pryor would of course be a development type QB.

      • RobNE

        I was thinking this too. But I thought (same as watching RGIII) that his accuracy was not impressive.

        • Anders

          RG3 was really affected by the rush. He often had to throw from his back foot instead of stepping into his throws.

          RG3 still also needs to develop as a passer as he is still a 1-2 read QB (see his game ending int where we took away his top two reads), instead of going trough his progression. Of course some of that is one the Shanahans for been terrible.

  • Anders

    For Tommy, ACViking and other older Eagles fans.

    From what I have seen and read about Jerome Brown, there is striking similarities in playing style with Fletcher Cox and they both have/had a passion for driving fast (Fletcher Cox drag races in the off season). Is it just me there is totally off?

    Edited for more clarity

    • BlindChow

      I hear Jason Peters drag races in the offseason, too…

    • TheRogerPodacter

      lets just hope he keeps the racing on the track.

  • Mike Roman

    I think you’re absolutely right. As much as this team is improving, they are still young and have some questions in the secondary. The rest of the season can go either way. I’m afraid that people are overlooking the Cardinals. They have a great defense, Larry Fitzgerald and a couple of talented young receivers, a veteran QB who is still capable of some big games and a solid head coach.

    I think we need two win one of two against Arizona and Detroit. I have nightmares thinking about who is going to cover Calvin Johnson. With that being said, I don’t think the Lions are a very disciplined team so it wouldn’t shock me if the Eagles layed a spanking on them when they come in here. Really, if the Birds beat Arizona, it wouldn’t shock me if they ran the table. Minnesota is bad, Chicago’s defense is too old and injured to keep up with this offense, and Dallas .. well, it depends on which Tony Romo shows up. They’re a pretty good team at choking.

    The more I type, the more I think that Arizona game is the key. Win that and we could continue the run. Lose and then all bets are off. Getting Bradely Fletcher back will be huge. Cary Williams just can’t cover anyone and I don’t want to rely on Roc Carmichael over the long haul. If this young DL can keep it going the pass rush should continue to improve and that could make the defense scary down the stretch.

    As for the offense … keep doing what we are doing. I would like to see the TEs more involved. Any chance that Kelly hasn’t shown all of his cards yet?

    • Anders

      Nobody on here is overlooking the Cardinals. I have been talking them up for a few weeks.

      Actually the WR who scares me is Malcom Floyd from the Cardinals. He is much more dynamic than Fitzgerald (who looks awful slow).

      • iceberg584

        I think you mean Michael Floyd. Malcolm Floyd is the San Diego WR who took a season-ending neck injury in Week 2 against us.
        Floyd had the long touchdown on Sunday, but that was more a result of some comically-inept tackling by the Jacksonville defense. Nevertheless, I agree that Arizona game is not one to look past. They’ve pretty much owned us since the 2008 NFCCG. The game is going to come down to the DL continuing to get pressure. That was the real key to shutting down a surprisingly good Washington offense.
        Any word on if they are actually going to flex the game to Sunday night. I have tickets, and a night game is slightly problematic for me (not that I wouldn’t still go).

  • Rage114

    Looking at the season is quarters, the Eagles are:
    1-3
    2-2
    3-0
    Results show improvement. The eye test indicates improvement. The question I have is when will they level out?

    • Lateraleye

      That’s an amazing perspective. It actually shows steady improvement over the whole season.

      “We are what our record says we are”, etc. But if you really dive into those losses and the circumstances behind them and compare those team snapshots to this team snapshot as of week 12, there’s definitely some realistic optimism to be had.

  • RobNE

    Watching the game last night I was thinking Cam would be the perfect QB for Chip (not that we could get him), but his accuracy was not impressive. Made me wonder if Cam could hit McCoy in stride on that wheel route like Foles did. Cam’s running game is off the charts, he has a cannon, but I just thought there were quite a few throws that were off. Given how much you have to give up to get “your guy” in the draft, then you still don’t know how that person will develop, I am very cautious about dreaming how great some other QB could be. (ok, I would still love Cam on the Eagles)

  • BobSmith77

    Offense is going to score points as long as they don’t have an injury to McCoy/Jackson/Foles. Just don’t know if the defense can continue to force a few turnovers a game & get so many timely red-zone stops. Defense plays hard but teams have been pretty successful at moving the ball up and down the field.

    I could see 8-7 going into the final game with the Boys. Just a question of what the ‘Boys record is including their divisional record. Hoping the Giants beat them this coming Sunday. Love to see an NFC East title game though the last week of the season in Dallas.

    • Anders

      If we go into the Boys game with an 8-7 record and the Boys already has 9 wins, we cant win the division.

      • BobSmith77

        Understood. I can see both teams though going into that final week at 8-7 even if the Boys lose this weekend to the Giants.

      • A Roy

        Dallas still has to play GB (probably with Daable Check), Chi (at Chi) and a Raiders team capable of beating them in addition to the 3 NFC rivals. If they lose to the Giants this week, they’ll undoubtedly have 8 losses goling in to week 17.

        New York has to play Seahawks and @ Detroit, plus @ SD in addition to Boys, Skins, Skins. Even beating Dallas, they should also have 8 losses. 9-7 is golden this year.

        Bottom line is we need 3 wins. Ariz, Det or Chi, and Minn would ice it before Dallas. Wonder how we’ll be coming off a bye…

        • TheRogerPodacter

          NYG still has to play washington twice? crazy.

        • TheRogerPodacter

          also, nice work on the research side.

          • A Roy

            Thanks. Simple in the modern era…as long as you don’t pick up a Russian virus along the way. I’m still blaming Jimmy for that.

      • bentheimmigrant

        Pretty close, but I’m not convinced it’s entirely over… If their other loss is to the Giants or Skins, then we’d have the same divisional record, and it would come down to common opponents. One of our two losses would have to be to Ari, which would leave us both 4-4 in common games…

        In this situation, we’ll now tie the next tiebreaker with a win: conference record. Then we move onto strength of victory… which isn’t in yet (currently ours is .350 and theirs it .373). Hopefully our other loss would be to Min (did I really just write that? Blegh!) and we beat Det, which will give us a bit of a boost, especially if they finish strong… and since Dallas lost to NO and STL are middling, they don’t get much of a boost from that, so it’ll be close.

        In the unlikely event that we have the same strength of victory, it goes to strength of schedule, which they would win because they faced NO and STL (unless they both collapse and Ari and TB both go on a streak). So basically it’ll be ridiculously close if the wins work out that way.

        And in the end none of this means anything if we beat Arizona.

        • bentheimmigrant

          And as unlikely as having the same strength of schedule is, I’ll also point out that our points for and against are almost the same, so by season’s end we may well be close in those tiebreakers too… So who knows, maybe we’ll miss the playoffs on a coin toss.

    • eagleyankfan

      You can almost add Cooper to that list of “please don’t get hurt”.

      • Michael Jorden

        Or Kelce or most of the OL (although Barbre looked good in place of JP briefly). I don’t know that we could get through if DeMeco were injured either. He’s been playing his tail off.

  • eagleyankfan

    It’s nice to play a soft schedule and pad stats. Play against teams that don’t have their starting qb/te/wr. Or play terrible teams like Wash. It’s fun to get caught up in all the wins and get excited. Try to hold onto that feeling as they face teams like Detroit. Eagles are a team on the rise .. not a now team … bumps(like the Dallas game) will still happen — and that’s ok. Foles still has a ton to learn.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      washington is the #6 ranked offense overall by yards.

      “thats just because our defense sucks and gave up so many yards”

      when we played oakland, they had a top 10 defense at the time. I believe the buccaneers were right there as well.
      “well now they are not which just proves that their defenses were a fraud.”

      i understand trying to be cautious with the optimism for this team. but why discount everything they have done?

      • Michael Winter Cho

        Some people are optimistic, others pessimistic. The pessimists are more often right, but the optimists have more fun!

  • TheRogerPodacter

    regarding punting…

    http://www.csnphilly.com/football-philadelphia-eagles/donnie-jones-finishes-record-day-bang

    Jones’ net punting average this season (40.9) is tops in team history, and his gross (45.4) is third. The 10-year vet entered the day tied for fifth in league history in net yards per punt (39.1) and seventh in gross punting average (45.5). He finished the day with a net of 50.7, a franchise single-game record (since the stat became official in 1976).

  • ztom6

    “Winning a playoff game or two” here will probably mean winning a home game against the Panthers and then going on the road to play either the Saints or Seahawks. I’m loving how far the Eagles have come along this season but if they make the playoffs (still a big if) I think they are one and done. They aren’t at that level yet.

    • Michael Jorden

      That would be so amazingly beyond my expectations if they even won the NFCE, let alone made some kind of noise in the post season. I’m very high on the coach, his program, his coaching staff, Davis, Foles, the 3-4 and our team based off what I’ve seen this season.

      I expected way more pitfalls and gaping holes in the scheme and on the roster while they figured all these things out. But it hasn’t really been that way. Pretty much every facet has steadily improved.

      No reason to doubt they will build off this. I haven’t been this hopeful about the Eagles in a long time. And some of the things they have done along the way, in just this first season have been sort of eye opening – almost shocking.

  • mksp

    Regarding Foles, this is the type of throw I *personally* want to see him make before I label him the Franchise guy. He didn’t take the chance on Sunday, does he have the arm to fit the ball on a rope between the CB and Safety?

    From Chip Wagon:

    “Foles is going to go to the top for his progession where Desean is one-on-one with deep safety help. Sure looks to be open here and Foles getting ready to unload. But he pulls the ball down and gets sacked”

    http://chipwagon.typepad.com/eagles/2013/11/what-happened-to-the-4th-quarter-offense.html

    • ztom6

      I’m personally sick of the label “franchise QB”. Foles is a “QB we can win with”, let’s move on.

      • mksp

        Its a useful term for deciding whether or not you try to upgrade the position in the future. Thats what we’re talking about.

        • ztom6

          You mean use a high draft pick on a QB? Pretty silly thing to do at this point IMO. The “franchise” guy you draft is going to be a roll of the dice and may take years to develop. Foles you know by now is pretty good, and is still young enough as a player that he still has room to get better. Other needs to fill, fill those instead.

      • Andy124

        Franchise Quarterback. Definition: A quarterback whom ESPN deems it profitable to praise endlessly, regardless of actual on-field performance.

    • Tumtum

      The depth between QB and safety is pretty darn ambiguous.

      • mksp

        Would have been a tough throw. I guess thats sort of the point.

        • Tumtum

          I meant in general because you made sort of a general statement about it before being specific.

          In that specific case, I think (which is dangerous) most NFL QBs would of liked to have had the ball out by the time that snap shot was taken. Good decision imo.

          • mksp

            Agreed. Could be he was a split second late on the read and decided to play it safe. As Foles matures would be nice to see him start hitting these types of plays though. This would have been a big boy throw.

        • Michael Jorden

          That might be a throw he isn’t ready to commit to right now, although he has thrown WR’s open and has been releasing his throws while they are still covered a significant amount of the time. He’s being awfully careful with the ball even given a few that could’ve been picked.

          I think if Nick were to play within his limitations today, he still wins us a lot of games. And it isn’t to say that he doesn’t grow into that throw with another season or two under his belt..

          I guess it comes down to – do you allow him the time to improve based on what we’re seeing today. How many seasons in do you see good QB’s stop improving and settle into who they’re going to be.

  • Tumtum

    I feel the exact same way about the remaining slew of game TL.

    As far as answering questions about this team, they are a tough nut to crack. I think two questions have been answered for me though as recently as this week. Chip Kelly was the right man for the job and he made the right choice in Billy Davis. The team struggled to find consistency at the start of the season, on both sides. As the season has gone on the team is starting to look like what the coaches wanted. Thats not to say they are the best on either side. Each side of the ball is taking care of the primary things their respective leader is asking. Chip wants to move the ball quickly and not make turnovers. Billy Davis wants to limit big plays and keep teams out of the endzone. Check and check. As simple as these things are it is still still impressive to see an Eagles team set out to accomplish the primary goal set for them as far as execution.

    Juan Castillo wanted to play fundamentally sound football, as well as to out physical opponents. Nope. In recent years I don’t even know that Marty even set specific goals or bench marks. Maybe to run it as few times as possible… I guess he accomplished that.

    I just love seeing the team, as limited as they may be, go out and do what is asked of them. It sure doesn’t hurt that it has payed off with wins recently.

  • Neil

    I heard somebody on ESPN call Riley Cooper a deep threat.

    Enough said about Foles.

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