Detailed Game Review – PHI 24, ARZ 21

Posted: December 5th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 122 Comments »

Big win for the Eagles. The Cards came to town with a 4-game win streak and lots of confidence. They had a top shelf defense and a hot offense. They had a veteran QB. The Eagles were going to have to earn this victory.

That’s just what they did.

The Eagles totally outplayed the Cards in building a 24-7 lead. The Eagles were better on offense, defense and STs. From that point on, things got a bit sloppy and the Cardinals started playing with some pep in their step. They made the game close at the end, but the Eagles were able to do just enough to hold on for the win.

Were the Cardinals exposed by playing their first tough competition in a while? To a certain extent, yes. But this is still a tough Cardinals team. Bruce Arians has them headed in the right direction. They need OL help in a big way, but having Palmer gives them a functional veteran QB and that is a huge improvement over the slop they’ve put on the field since Kurt Warner retired. Another huge point for them is the development of WR Michael Floyd. The Eagles focused on limiting Larry Fitzgerald. They did a good job of that, but Floyd was able to make plays and keep the offense going. The Cards won’t sink or swim based on Fitz anymore.

I don’t think this was any kind of statement game from the Eagles. They didn’t play with a chip on their shoulders. They didn’t do anything special. This was a tough, methodical win. It should impress you that the Eagles were able to play solid football and beat a 7-4 team. Even when the Eagles were up 24-7, they hadn’t played great. For every good thing they did, there was something sloppy. The Eagles still have yet to play one game where they hit on all cylinders. That’s good news. You’d rather have that happen later in the season. It would be ideal for that to happen in the final month. There are no guarantees the Eagles will play a great game. They certainly didn’t in 2012.

One of the big topics coming out of this game was the officiating. Bruce Arians sent 15 plays to the league that he wanted addressed. He wanted the calls/non-calls explained to him. After re-watching the game, I do think the Eagles got the better of the officiating. But I still don’t think Arians handled the situation well. There were bad moments for each team. Mychal Kendricks was clearly held by the C when he blitzed up the middle on a play. That happened to be the 43-yard TD pass to Fitzgerald. That was a huge, huge non-call. The Cards should have been facing 3rd/30. Now, you can argue that with the Eagles defense, they’d have still gotten the 1st down and sadly…I can’t strongly dispute that. The point is that both teams benefited from missed calls.

There was a lot of discussion about the officiating late in the game. The Eagles DBs got away with contact, while the Cards drew a penalty that ended the game. A lot of people are missing the key angle to this. The officials allowed contact downfield for both teams. The Eagles did get away with illegal contact. The Cards were flagged for holding. That is completely different from illegal contact. When Roc Carmichael grabbed a TE’s jersey and had his hands all over the guy, that got called. That went beyond contact. That absolutely affected the play and drew the flag. The questionable plays on the Cards final drive involved contact, but not holding or grabbing receivers down the field. Even Darryl Johnston, who had one of his worst games as an announcer, said on the air that the officials have let contact go the whole game. And frankly, that’s what we want. Let the players play. Don’t over-officiate. If there is no clear advantage gained, let it go. The penalty on Carmichael was a good call. He took away the receiver’s chance to catch the ball. I’m fine with the non-calls. Those receivers still had a legit chance to make catches. And the holding call on the Cards was absolutely the right call. The OLB didn’t let the TE release into his route. He had a hanful of jersey, clear as day. That’s the very definition of holding.

The Eagles are now 1-0 in December. They have a 2-game winning streak at The Linc. And they are tied for the 1st place in the NFC East with a 7-5 record. God, what a difference a year makes. Thank you Chip Kelly.   

COACHING

The first question many of us had was how the bye week would affect the Eagles. I didn’t see any issues. The team never looked lost or flat. They got sloppy in the 2nd half, but they did that in the game before the bye as well.

Kelly challenged a 1st down spot in the 1st half. I wondered at the time if he would challenge. I felt he was almost certain to win, but wondered if the situation was worth it. I felt sure the Cards would go for it on 4th and a foot. Kelly did challenge. The Eagles did win. And the Cards did go for it. They got their 1st down. So maybe one thing Kelly did work on in the bye week was challenging calls.

Many people were upset when Brad Smith came in for a snap at QB on a Red Zone play. I had no problem with it. The Eagles had the ball at the 6-yard line, 1st and Goal. That’s too far to expect Shady to run it in. Using Smith at QB throws a curveball at the defense and gives you a better chance to make a longer TD. The problem is that Smith bobbled the snap and was then tackled for a loss. Smith is a veteran player. He was a star QB in college. He has played some QB in the NFL. He generally has good hands and is the kind of player you can trust. Smith made a mistake. Running the play wasn’t a bad idea. It just wasn’t well-executed.

One of Moose Johnston’s dumb moments came late in the 1st half. He questioned the way Chip Kelly managed the clock between 3rd and 4th down. Kelly actually handled the situation perfectly. The Eagles faced 4th/2 from the Cards 34. There was about 1:25 on the clock. Kelly let it run down to :43 and called a timeout. Johnston was sure this was dumb. Why let all that time run off? Kelly did that in case the Eagles didn’t get the 1st down. He didn’t want to leave the Cards with 1:15 and a chance to score. Kelly hoped Shady would get the 1st down, but he had to plan for the other scenario. Going down to :43 with 2 timeouts left and being already in Cards territory was not dumb or risky. The Eagles had plenty of time to work with if they did get the 1st down. The Eagles did and then scored a TD.

OFFENSE

Nick Foles faced his toughest defense of the year and he shredded them for 2 1/2 quarters. The Eagles had a good offensive plan. They knew the Cards had good DBs so they decided to get the ball to TEs. The first 5 passes of the game went to TEs. This wasn’t a case of the Eagles forcing the ball to one guy. The plays were all very different. The TEs were used creatively. They weren’t even the primary targets on all the throws. I assume one of the coaches got it into Foles head that if the primary is covered, look to the TE quickly and you should have a favorable matchup.

I liked the fact the Eagles didn’t shy away from throwing at Patrick Peterson, but also didn’t force the ball to DeSean. He finished with 3 catches for 36 yards, which is quiet for him. But all the Eagles WRs only totaled 7 grabs. The plan here was to get the ball to the TEs and RBs in space. They totaled 14 catches and 3 TDs. Good plan.

The offense had a turnover-free game. That’s a big deal against the Cards. Arizona had a takeaway or more in each of the first 11 games this year, but they got nothing on Sunday.

The offense did stall for a lot of the 2nd half. One of the big problems is that the team got sloppy. I don’t know if the players loosen up after getting a big lead or if they try too hard. This absolutely wasn’t a case of the offense getting conservative. In the Eagles final 5 possessions (not counting the final one that was all about the clock), Foles threw 7 passes and was sacked 3 times. That is 10 pass plays. He might have scrambled a time or two as well. Some of the passes were downfield throws. Unfortunately, the pass game wasn’t working. There was good coverage by the Cards, pass deflections by the Cards and some erratic passes by Foles.

I wish I could point to one thing and say “Fix that.” The Eagles just need to find a way to make plays after building big leads. They don’t need explosive plays. They just need to keep the chains moving.

Plays

* 1st/GL. Eagles lined up with 2 WRs to the left and 2 TEs to the right. Foles faked a toss play to Shady going left and then wheeled around and rolled to the right. Ertz ran deep route, Casey short route. Foles had his choice of targets. Wisely, threw to Ertz for the TD. Cards actually had decent coverage on the play, but not good enough. Good throw, good catch. TD.

* 1st/GL. “Wildcat”. Snap when through Smith’s hands. Lost yards. I already discussed the play above.

* 4th/2. Late in the 1st half. Lane Johnson lined out out wide to the left side with Coop and Avant. DeSean lined up to the right, but then motioned left. The Cards were light in the box and looking outside. Shady then got the hand-off and went straight up the field for 5 yards. Good blocking by all 4 OL and Celek.

MISC

* 5 for 16 on 3rd downs.

* 2 for 4 in the RZ. To be fair, the final RZ series was kneel downs. Essentially 2 for 3.

* Continued to mix-in Foles under Center. This was true on runs and play-action passes.

* Ran up the middle on 3rd/7 late in the 1st Qtr. I have no problem with doing this. You’re not going to make that consistently, but it keeps defenses honest and you never know when Shady will break off a good run.

* Had to burn a timeout in the early 3rd. Confusion before 3rd/11. We haven’t seen much of that this year, but the timeout must have worked since the Eagles converted the 3rd down.

Players

QB 

FOLES - Another good game. Sloppy at times, but made some sharp throws and mostly good decisions. Finished 21-34-237. Threw for 3 TDs. Was sacked 5 times. Some of those were good decisions. The Cards thrive on turnovers so you are better off taking the sack rather than throwing the ball into traffic. Foles didn’t have any INTs…kind of. Made a terrible decision late in the game and threw the ball into traffic over the middle of the field. Peterson picked it off. But the play was wiped out due to a penalty. Whew, that was close. Ran the ball 9 times for 22 yards, but if you take away the kneel downs it was 6 for 26. That’s solid for Nick. Just enough to keep the defense honest.

In a way it was good to see Nick play sloppy and still finish with a mostly good game. He bounced back from poor throws or plays that didn’t work. And he did this against a good defense. The sacks and hits didn’t overwhelm him. Nick took his shots and got right back up and focused on the next play. Give the Cards some credit. They were very good in coverage at times. This wasn’t a case of Nick missing open guys.

- Misc Plays -

Opened the 2nd series at mid-field. The Cards blitzed. Nick felt the pressure but still wanted to get the pass off. He kept his eyes downfield, but wisely gave up and took the sack rather than forcing things and taking a dumb chance.

Ran on 3rd/long a couple of plays later. Had time, but no one open. Ended the play awkwardly. Some made fun of him for a bad slide. I’m not sure Nick was trying to slide. Looked like he was trying to put on a move and just fell to the ground. Either way, wasn’t pretty.

Took a big hit just after he threw a screen pass to Shady in the mid-2nd. Sold the play well and it worked for a 19-yard gain.

Underthrew pass to Avant in the mid-2nd. Looked downfield and didn’t see anyone open so he went to Avant. Changed his motion and the ball was low. Avant made a sliding catch. A better throw would have allowed for RAC yards. Probably 10, maybe more.

Put great touch on pass to DeSean down the right sideline in the late 2nd Qtr. Had DJax line up at RB and looked like we ran the same play from last week when Shady had his big play. Great design. Perfect throw.

Tried to run a quick screen late in the half, but the Cards jumped it. Nick then ran to the other side. He then got the ball to Shady, who weaved through traffic for a gain of 5. They called that a pass play. Sorta like an extended hand-off.

Forced a deep ball to DeSean late in the half. DJax was able to break up the pass. Wasn’t a dumb decision, but was risky. Missed an open Celek on the next play when he threw to Avant and Peterson was able to break it up.

Scrambled to his right and hit Cooper late in the half. Good elusiveness, but the pass was a duck.

Made an odd throw to Cooper late in the half for the PI. Looked like Riley was open on a deep post route. Nick held the ball and threw late. He didn’t keep the ball over the middle, but bent it more straight up the field. Riley adjusted to it and drew the contact. Did Nick adjust the throw intentionally? TD pass to Celek right after that was easy. Had crossing routes designed to make it tough on DBs. Celek’s guy got lost in traffic. TD.

Ran for 10 yards to open the 3rd Qtr. Kept the ball on a zone-read play. His slide was a combination of Lou Brock and Lou Costello. Hit Cooper with a good pass on 3rd/11 in the early 3rd Qtr. Delivered a strike. Had Cooper open for a big TD in the early 3rd, but Todd couldn’t hold a block and Foles got hit as he tried to get the ball to an intermediate receiver. Incomplete. Tried to hit Cooper with quick screen in the early 3rd. Ball was off target and the refs ruled it a lateral that lost yds. Pass was so wobbly that it started backward and then went forward at the very end. Knuckler.

3rd Qtr TD to Ertz was a thing of beauty. Had a clean pocket. Read the play and made a terrific throw. Pass had good velocity. Accuracy was perfect. Hit Ertz on the move 24 yds downfield. Ball was right there where Ertz could pluck it cleanly. Didn’t give the DBs a chance to play the ball. Didn’t put air on it so they could get there and hit Ertz. That was an NFL throw.

Had pass batted down in the 3rd. DJax was wide open on crossing route. Would have gained 10 or 15 yds.

Tried to hit Celek down the field after an INT in the late 3rd, but coverage was too good. Put the ball close, but didn’t want to force it too tightly and let the DB play it. Overthrew Shady on pass into the right flat. Too bad. Play had a chance if Shady could get by the first LB. Wasn’t an easy throw because of the angle, but was clearly off target.

Tried to hit Ertz down the left sideline in the early 4th. Good throw, but he was well covered. Ertz couldn’t make the grab. Had a funny pass play later on that drive. Tried to go out wide, but that was covered. Then acted like he was going to run. Stopped and Celek was wide open for a short gain over the middle.

I don’t know what happened on the “INT” play. No one blocked the backside OLB. He came free and got on Nick in a hurry. Nick made things infinitely worse by throwing the ball. You don’t force the ball into coverage…over the middle…while on one foot and being hit. That is dumb to infinity. Thankfully, Nick got a reprieve from the Football Gods.

RB

SHADY - Pretty good game. 19-79 as a runner. 5-36 as a receiver. His long run and his long catch were both 19 yds. The Cards did a good job of keeping Shady under control. He had his moments, but never took over the game. Missed blitz pickup to open 2nd series. That led to sack and killed the drive. Caught pass in the right flat to open the 2nd Qtr and moved the Eagles off the goal line. Got 19 yards on a screen pass in the mid-2nd. Moved well in space and had room to run. Almost broke through for a big run on the next play, but Dockett reached out and got a handful of jersey. Still got 9 yds on the play. Caught pass in the right flat and got upfield for 5 yds on 3rd/5 late in the half. Needed every bit of quickness to get beyond the sticks before going out of bounds. Most impressive run came in the early 3rd Qtr and lost a foot. Got hit several yards in the backfield and had to fight through traffic to get back close to the LOS. Great effort. Had a terrific run in the early 3rd. Started to the right, then made a hard lateral cut to the left and exploded upfield. Got by the ILB and gained 12 yds. Terrific run in the early 4th. Toss play to the right, but Shady cutback almost immediately and headed left, across the field. Found a seam and got loose for a gain of 35. Illegal block by Avant reduced it to 9 yds. Ugh. Made a poor decision on 4th Qtr. run. Had room to the right, but cut back to the left and only got a minimal gain.

B BROWN - Finished with 5 carries for 4 yds. Don’t blame Bryce for this. Penetration blew up 2 of his runs and cost him yards. This wasn’t a case of him running too much E-W and not enough N-S. First run came in the early 2nd Qtr. Outside zone run. Kelce/Mathis couldn’t block the DL to the play-side and that penetration killed the play. Brown went wide and got what he could, but lost several yards. Many fans getting on Brown for this. Don’t. Wasn’t his fault. Play was designed to go wide. Penetration killed the play. Good blitz pickup of Washington in the mid-2nd. Had to block Calais Campbell on 3rd down pass play in the early 3rd Qtr. Got in his way, but wasn’t a strong block. Let Campbell get a hand on Foles, but pass still got thrown. Next play was a run up the middle. Got 5 yds. Simple cutback. Stayed N-S and didn’t go down easy. Got stuffed for a loss in the 4th when the DE just fired into the backfield and got him right after the hand-off. Poor pass block of Campbell in the mid-4th. Campbell slanted to the inside and came free. Brown was there to block him and just hesitated. Can’t have that.

POLK - Saw some snaps late in the 1st half. No touches.

TE

CELEK - First 3 passes of the game came his way. The first play was a rollout where Celek was a designated option. The next play was a checkdown due to the blitz. Caught the first pass. Unable to hold onto the second. LB hit him as the ball got there. The other pass came on 3rd/7. Celek was wide open over the middle. Todd Bowles must have learned that coverage from Juan Castillo. Celek caught the ball at the 15 and dragged/pushed defenders down to the 6-yard line. Love his effort. Tough as nails. Real good block in the early 2nd Qtr. Took on 91 and sealed him so Shady could get to the outside. Good block on the next play, a quick screen to Shady. Again sealed 91 to the inside. Caught short TD late in the half. Ran simple drag route and his DB got lost in traffic. Easy pitch and catch. Finished 4-29-1.

ERTZ - 5-68-2. Big impact on the game. Caught a TD on the opening series. Was open in the end zone with a DB trailing him. Pretty easy. Lined up out wide several times. Kelly wanted Ertz vs a LB and got that a few times. Beat Washington to the inside and plucked a pass for a gain of 22. Very impressive catch. Caught screen pass on 3rd/long and the Cards played it well. No gain on the play. Good catch over the middle in the early 3rd. Used a good release to get by Washington and to the inside. Does need Celek to teach him how to drag multiple tacklers 10 yards down the field. Zach goes down with the first big hit. Had a nice TD catch in the early 3rd. Lined up to the left, a bit wide. Got a clean release. Once upfield, he bent his route outside, then cut back inside. Wide open. Subtle, but effective move. Nick got him the ball. 24-yd TD. Was okay as a blocker.

CASEY - Played early and late in the game. No touches. Was the underneath target on the first Ertz TD. Was the underneath target late in the game on the holding call. Blocked 91 initially and then tried to release into the flat. This is a common play. 91 grabbed his jersey for just a second, but it totally changed the play since Casey couldn’t get open and he was a key target.

WR

D JACKSON - Somewhat quiet game. 3-36. Caught quick screen on the right side and flew upfield for a gain of 15. Best play of the day came in the late 2nd Qtr when he lined up in the backfield. Ran kind of a wheel route and got Peterson on his back hip down the sideline. Foles threw a perfect touch pass and DeSean made a terrific catch. Great concentration on the play. Did a terrific job on pass play late in the half. Foles threw deep ball to the right side. Peterson had inside position on the ball. DJax stayed right there and broke it up. Took a big hit on a quick screen in the early 3rd Qtr. Honey Badger read the play and exploded upfield. DJax held onto the ball. Just got up slowly.

AVANT - Good block on Shady run to his side in the early 2nd Qtr. Sealed the DB and gave Shady the edge. Made an impressive sliding catch in the mid-2nd. Wide open, but Foles was off target and underthrew him. Had a pass come his way near the left sideline. Might have gotten held by the Honey Badger on the play, but there was no flag and the ball landed a couple of steps away. Had a pass come his way late in the half when going up against Peterson, but PP was able to recover and break it up. Really dumb block in the back on 4th Qtr run. Shady was already about to be by that defender. No need for any contact, let alone shoving the guy in the back. Costly penalty. Was held on 4th Qtr pass play where Foles was picked off. Drew the flag and saved the day.

COOPER - Made a sensational 1-hand leaping grab in the mid-2nd. Quick pass. Foles just put it way too high. Coop extended and somehow caught it. He then came down and added almost 20 RAC yards. Great effort. Drew PI call on Powers on deep ball late in the half. Contact came in the end zone so it set the Eagles up at the 1-yard line. Foles threw a pass to him in the early 4th down the left sideline. 1-on-1 coverage. Coop went up, but couldn’t make the grab. DB grabbed his inside arm/hand down the field to keep him from being able to cleanly play the ball. No flag. Naturally, I assume that was one of the 15 plays Bruce Arians complained to the NFL about. Finished with 3 catches for 48 yds.

D JOHNSON - Didn’t see him on offense.

MAEHL - Got concussion early in the game.

SMITH - Had the one snap at QB. Played some WR, but didn’t see him on the field much on offense.

OL

PETERS - Solid game. Mostly gave Foles good protection, but had some bad moments as well. Good job on 3rd/long early in the game. ARZ ran stunt. Peters blocked the DE, then handed him off to Mathis. Peters then got the looping LB and rode him behind the pocket. His OLB hit Nick in the mid-2nd, but was impressive job by the LB. Jason got off the ball and hit the guy, knocking him off balance. Hit the guy again and had the LB almost on the ground, but the guy stayed up and got by Jason to hit the QB. Great effort. Got thrown to the ground in pass pro in the late 2nd on 3rd/GL. 91 got him off balance and shoved Jason to the ground. Wow. Didn’t affect play since Abraham already had Foles sacked. Failed to cleanly get his hands on rusher on pass play late in the half and Abraham pressured Foles.

MATHIS - Had a terrific block of Campbell on inside run. Moved him a couple of yards off the ball. Had a really good but subtle block of Campbell on a screen to Shady. Didn’t get a big hit, but made enough contact to keep Campbell from going for Shady. I love little things like that. DT beat him to the inside late in the half and pressured Foles on the bizarre play with the ball going to Shady late. Campbell beat him with a good swim move late in the half. That forced Foles to move to the right. Good seal block in the early 3rd on inside run. Walled off his DL and gave Shady a clean running lane. Aggressive pass block on the 3rd Qtr TD pass. Fired off the ball and got control of his DL. Stoned him. Tried to pull and block Dockett on the backside on 3rd Qtr run. Didn’t work. Dockett exploded upfield and hit Shady. Nothing you can do on that. Got beat by stunt in the early 4th and gave up a sack. If he was able to really block Dansby, had a chance for big run in the early 4th. Got on him and was effective, but couldn’t control him. Dansby limited Brown to a 5-yd gain. Lots of room behind him if Brown had gotten by.

KELCE - Good block of ILB on outside run play to the left side. Cut him down in space. Got driven straight back to Foles on 3rd/GL by Ta’Amu. Put Kelce on roller skates. Happened in the late 2nd when Abraham got sack. Real good block of the NT on run in the early 3rd. Got him moved to the right so Shady could cut back to the left. Foles got sacked in the mid-3rd Qtr. Coverage sack. The line gave him several seconds, but no one was open. Eventually 91 broke free from a cluster of players and got the sack. Kelce had him blocked initially, but then saw a defender coming free to the inside so Jason peeled off to get that guy. Foles move to 91′s area and got sacked. I would not blame this on Kelce, though. Excellent block of DT on 4th Qtr run by Brown. Move him out, created big hole. Ta’Amu drove Jason straight back on 4th Qtr run and disrupted the play.

HERREMANS - Got pushed back on 3rd Qtr pass play, which forced Nick to make an errant throw. Wasn’t able to sustain a pass block on deep pass play. Nick got hit and the ball was incomplete. Had chance for big play. Good pass block in the 3rd. Dockett slanted hard to the inside. Todd was able to get his hands on him and not let Dockett get upfield. Good block of Dockett on 4th Qtr run allowed Shady to cut back to the right and get upfield for 7 yds. Good run blocker throughout the game. Pass pro was up and down.

JOHNSON - Gave up a sack on 3rd/GL in the late 2nd Qtr. Over-set to the outside and Abraham beat him to the inside for the sack. Got beat by Abraham late in the half, but was able to keep enough contact to keep him from getting to Foles. Good down block of DL on Brown run play to his side in the early 3rd. Good 2nd level block on 4th Qtr run. Mostly played pretty well.

BARBRE - DNP

TOBIN - DNP

VANDERVELDE - DNP

KELLY - DNP

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DEFENSE

The Eagles had a pretty good day on defense. They allowed their 2nd fewest yards in a game, 350, for the season. The Cards had scored 27 or more points in 4 straight games and they were held to 21. The Cards had gone 2 games without a turnover, but the Eagles came up with 3. The pass rush looked the best it has all season. The Eagles got 5 sacks and kept pretty good pressure on Palmer. The 5 sacks all came by LBs. Some came on base rush scenarios, others on blitzes.

The Eagles did some creative things vs Fitzgerald. They used LBs to jam him on a regular basis. They had LBs and Safeties cover him on some plays. Other times it would be a CB and S. They tried not to let him run free very much. Fitz did have the 43-yd TD, but only 4 catches for 29 yds aside from that. I like the philosophy of taking away the star player and making other guys beat you. If Michael Floyd plays the game of his life, so be it. Don’t let the star run wild and beat you. He’s capable of that. Force the other guys to play at a high level.

Arizona used bunch sets to try and get receivers open on pass plays. They did have some success with this. The Eagles DBs did a good job of communicating for the most part, but there were a few plays when guys were wide open. The bunch sets also created pick plays that hurt the Eagles a time or two, including the long TD pass to Floyd.

The Cardinals used a lot of 2 TE sets to run from. Derek Sarley has complained about the Eagles lining up well vs 2-TE sets since this summer and the Cards best runs came from these formations. I don’t know if there is confusion by the Eagles or if Bill Davis just has some different theories on how he wants his guys lined up.

PLAYS

* 3rd/5. Eagles were in a 3-3-5 look. Cox, Logan and Cole were the DL. Barwin, Kendricks and Ryan were the LBs. Barwin lined up by the NT and rushed up the middle. Cole came off the edge and cleanly beat the LT. He knocked the ball out of Palmer’s hand and Logan recovered. Great play. The rush was helped by tight coverage, which kept Palmer from getting rid of the ball quickly.

* 3rd/20. The Eagles were in a 4-2-5 look and blitzed. The blitz didn’t get there. Fitz caught the ball on a deep cross. Chung took a poor angle and hit Boykin more than Fitz. Larry was able to shrug off any contact and run the ball in for a 43-yd TD.

* 3rd/9. Trips bunch to the right. Bill Davis said the DBs got aligned correctly vs the set and everyone knew who to cover. The problem is that Boykin turned and ran with Floyd and hit Fletcher as he was doing this. That gave Floyd separation and left him wide open for the 23-yd TD. Davis said this was simply a physical mistake. The players knew what to do. They were sloppy as they moved and that led to the collision. Nate Allen was on that side as well, but his attention was on Fitz, who ran a short route. That left the deep area open. I don’t know if Nate was told to focus on Fitz or just did it, but I don’t fault that at all. Cover Fitz. Make Floyd beat you.

* 2nd/GL. Arizona ran a simple play-action pass to the right flat. Fitz motioned before the snap. Nate immediately started signaling for someone to come that way, but there was confusion on the backside. The TE was wide open for easy TD.

PLAYERS

DL

COX - Somewhat of a quiet game. No tackles. One pass deflection. Great job on 2nd Qtr pass play. Just exploded off the ball and shoved the LG to the ground. Then flew into the backfield and forced Palmer to throw the ball away. Good pressure on pass in the mid-3rd. Beat the LT and got a hand in Palmer’s face as he threw.

LOGAN - Helped make the tackle on the opening play. Shed block, moved laterally and stuffed the RB. Good play vs the run in the mid-1st. Took on the C and RG. Shed the C and moved to the right and stuffed the RB. Only gave up a yard. Got hit on Palmer as Graham was sacking him. Had looped wide on the play. Got held by the RG on 3rd/1 run play in the 3rd Qtr. Drew the flag. Disrupted 4th/GL run play in the late 4th Qtr. Pushed the RG back and he hit the TE who was trying to act as a lead blocker. Ryans got TFL on the play. Was in on 3 tackles.

THORNTON - Played the run well, as usual. Had 4 total tackles. Didn’t get much of a pass rush. Great job vs run on 2nd series. Took on the RT and shed him. Fought off the RG and stuffed the RB for minimal gain. 2-gap defense at its finest. Ate up 2 blockers on the next play, which allowed MK to make the tackle. Able to shed block of RT and get to the RB in the mid-1st Qtr. Clogged running lanes on 3rd Qtr run play and let Allen make play at the LOS. Got called for hands to the face in the mid-3rd. Good call. Great job on 3rd Qtr run. RT tried to reach block him. Ced fired off the ball and made that impossible. RB went wide to the other side. Ced chased the play down from the backside and made the tackle.

CURRY - Quiet on the stat sheet, but impacted the game. No tackles. Was disruptive at times. Used hard slant to the inside and almost got sack in the late 1st Qtr. Drove the LG back, shed him and got a hand on Palmer. Ryans came from the other side for the sack. Beat the RT with a good inside move in the 2nd Qtr and almost got to Palmer on 3rd down. Used rip move to get by the RT and get a bit of pressure on Palmer on 3rd Qtr INT. Beat the LG in the early 4th and hit Palmer, along with Ryans who blitzed from the outside.

GEATHERS - Lined up at DE and NT. Used spin move to get off block and into the backfield in the late 3rd. Disrupted run play, but couldn’t make the tackle.

SQUARE - Backup NT. Great hustle on 3rd Qtr run. Chase the RB out wide and made the stop for minimal gain.

OLB

COLE - Best game of the year, and not just because of the sacks. Did have 2 sacks. Also had a TFL and FF. First sack came on the first series. Used his hands well and beat the LT cleanly. Stripped the ball from Palmer. Used spin move to get by the LT in the mid-1st. Got pressure on that play. Beat the LT late in the 1st Qtr and hit Palmer. Pursued run play downfield and tackled RB from behind in the late 1st. Beat the LT in the 2nd Qtr and came close to knocking the ball away from Palmer again. Just missed. Dropped into coverage on 3rd Qtr pass play. Got into the passing lane and might have helped a PBU on pass to Fitz by being in the way. Dropped into the flat vs TE on the next play. Didn’t affect that play. Looked okay out there, but only a gifted athlete would have been able to cover on that play. Lined up out wide on 3rd Qtr pass play…over Fitz. Jammed him at the snap and covered him downfield. Had a S over the top. Trent was very physical. Lots of contact. Ball went elsewhere. Got triple-teamed on a 3rd Qtr TD pass. TE chipped him as he released. Then the LT and RB blocked Trent. His 2nd sack came in the early 4th. Good coverage. Trent beat the LT and got behind Palmer. Kendricks blitzed from the outside and gave Palmer nowhere to go so Trent got him from behind. Beat the LT and got good pressure on Palmer on a 3rd down pass play. Beat the LT with an inside move in the mid-4th and got a solid shot on Palmer. Lined up over the RG on 4th Qtr pass play. Beat him with a good inside move and got a big hit on Palmer. Unfortunately he got the pass off just before that for a big gain. Still, that was very impressive to see Trent so good inside.

BARWIN - Who knew he would be such a weapon vs Fitz? Jammed him on a regular basis. That meant lining up out wide and away from the action. Still got in on 3 tackles. Used hard inside move to get pressure on Palmer on early 3rd down. Palmer still got the pass off cleanly. Tackled TE downfield after catch and run. Shed block of the TE and helped Ryans hold a RB to a short gain. Rushed up the middle a couple of times. Good game vs the run.

GRAHAM - Got pressure on pass play in the early 2nd Qtr. Used hard inside move and got partially by the LT. Split the TE and LT and stuffed a run in the mid-2nd. Then had a sack when he used a hard inside move and got to Palmer. Got his 2nd sack late in the 3rd Qtr. Chung blitzed off the edge so Graham slanted hard to the inside and got by the LT. Good coverage on the play also helped. Used power rush to get some pressure on Palmer on 3rd/long in the late 3rd. Wasn’t enough, unfortunately. I love the 2 sacks, but they did come on plays where there were blitzes and Graham slanted inside.

ILB

KENDRICKS - Got the start after missing almost 2 full games. Looked good. I wasn’t overly impressed watching live, but MK really jumped out when watching the tape. Slipped block on the first play and stuffed the RB headed up the middle. Next play was a WR screen. Flew out wide and made the stop, limiting the play to a short gain. Got off a block, moved laterally and made the tackle of RB on run play to open the 2nd series. Stuff another run on the 2nd series. Played off the LOS, read the play and got to the RB. Thornton kept him clean. Hustled out wide and tackled Fitz on WR screen. Made good tackle of WR after short catch over the middle. Kept the guy from getting the 1st down. Made the tackle vs 2nd/long draw play in the late 3rd Qtr. Flew out wide in the early 4th to help Williams tackle Fitz on quick screen. Blitzed off the edge and got a good hit on Palmer in the early 4th. Curry also got in on the hit from up the middle. Had tight coverage of RB on 3rd down pass play in the early 4th. Forced Palmer to err on the side of caution and put the ball too far out front. Shoved Floyd after he went out of bounds on 4th Qtr pass play. Wasn’t dirty or over the top, but just dumb. Refs have a hair-trigger for stuff like that. Got lucky that no call was made. Finished with 8 tackles.

RYANS - Leading tackler, again. Had some good moments, but also was sloppy at times. Helped to create INT for Allen in the 1st Qtr. Came on green dog (delayed blitz) and kept Palmer from stepping into his throw. The pass had enough air under it that Allen could make the play. Was a bit slow to get to his right and stuff the RB on an inside run. Gave up 5 yds on that and he wasn’t blocked. Got burned by cutback run in the late 1st. Was in the correct gap, but the RB cut to the other side and Ryans couldn’t make the stop. Run went for 14 yds. Got a sack in the late 1st. Another delayed blitz. Curry pressured Palmer and Ryans was able to clean up with the sack. Made bad read on 2nd Qtr run. Got in the wrong gap and gave up 12 yd run. Strong tackle of TE after short catch over the middle. Terrific play vs the run in the mid-3rd. Read the run was going outside. Got out wide and forced the runner to cut back, where pursuit got him. Did a poor job in coverage on 4th Qtr pass play. Floyd caught a pass on crossing route. Ryans should have tackled him for a short gain, but took a poor angle and let Floyd go right by him for a good gain. Got a TFL late in the game. Logan disrupted 1st/GL run and Ryans was able to penetrate and make the tackle. Finished with 9 tackles and a sack.

MATTHEWS - Didn’t see him on defense.

KNOTT - Didn’t see him on defense.

GOODE - Got hurt early in the game.

S

ALLEN - Pretty good game. Was 2nd on the team, with 8 tackles. Got his first INT of the year. Showed good range and hands on the play. Picked the ball off downfield. Caught it up above his head. Clean pick. Got it at the 3 and then returned it to midfield. Bad job on 2nd Qtr run play. Dove for Mendenhall on inside run and made minimal contact. Stuffed a 3rd Qtr run play right at the LOS. Thornton clogged the running lanes and Nate made the stop. Had man coverage of the TE in the mid-3rd. Gave up short completion. Wrapped him up and went to slam him, but then remembered the earlier flag and let up on the play. Made solid tackle of Fitz on 3rd Qtr quick screen after Fitz kinda got by Fletcher. Solid wrap up tackle of Fitz after 11-yd catch in the mid-4th. Had solid downfield coverage on Floyd on 4th Qtr pass play, but missed the ball by inches. Gain of 34.

CHUNG - Not his best game, to put it mildly. Wasn’t credited with any tackles. Did break up one pass. Blitzed quite a bit. Covered slot receiver in empty set on downfield route. Had mostly good coverage, but got away with contact as the ball got there. Could have easily been PI. Missed tackle of RB in the flat in early 3rd Qtr. Gave up an additional 24 RAC yds because of that. Out of control on the play. His lowlight was the missed tackle of Fitz that led to the long TD. Chung needed to aim better so he’d be in the right spot even if he failed to make the play. Put his head on the wrong side of Fitz. Missed. Left Fitz an open field to run in. Ugh.

WOLFF - DNP. Get well soon.

COLEMAN - Didn’t see him on defense.

CB

FLETCHER - Up and down game. Had 5 solo stops and broke up 2 passes, but got burned a few times as well. Gave up 3rd down completion on an early drive. Was playing off and the ball came to his guy. Easy 1st down. Compounded the problem by slamming the WR to the ground. That gave the Cards 15 free yards. Missed tackle of Fitz in the late 1st on a WR screen. Sloppy. Had good downfield coverage of Roberts on 3rd/long pass play to open the 2nd Qtr. Broke up a 2nd Qtr pass to Roberts. Made partial tackle of Fitz on 3rd Qtr quick screen. Nate cleaned up the mistake. Had tight downfield coverage of Fitz on 3rd Qtr pass play and Palmer had to put the ball out of bounds. Beaten by Floyd for gain of 34 in the mid-4th. Never saw the ball or made a play on it. Had tight coverage on pass late in the game. He and Roberts were both looking at the ball. There was contact, but no flag. All over the receiver on the Cards final play. No call. Pass was incomplete.

WILLIAMS - Started quietly, but played well in the 2nd half. Gave up a few completions in the 1st half. Was always a step late or just too far away in zone coverage. Broke up a 3rd Qtr pass to Fitz. Good coverage on that play. Had good coverage in the mid-3rd. Played off Roberts. Read the route well. Saw the move to the outside and then turn up the field. Was able to get in Roberts hip pocket and stay there. Had inside position and kept Roberts from being able to catch the ball. Got pushed by WR in the late 3rd on 3rd/long. Guy came back to the ball and made the grab to move the chains. Beautiful INT in the late 3rd. Undercut the WR and made a good catch. You can see he’s got excellent ball skills. Made solid tackle of Fitz on quick screen. Only gave up a couple of yards.

BOYKIN - Had tight coverage of the TE on a 4th Qtr pass play. Ball was incomplete. Had a chance for another RZ pick. Covered Fitz in the mid-4th. Had underneath position. Ball came his way, but was off-target and would have been hard to snatch. Boykin tried, but couldn’t make the grab. Wasn’t credited with any tackles. Covered well at times. Just didn’t have much action come his way. Gave up TD in the 2nd half, but that was a pick play and Brandon bumped into Brad Fletcher. Not his fault.

CARMICHAEL - Played in some Dime sets. Covered the TE on RZ pass play late in the game. Called for holding. Had a handful of jersey. Set up 1st/GL and a TD run. Tried to cover Roberts from slot on 3rd down late in the game. Roberts used a good move to create tons of room. Wide open. Bad throw led to incompletion.

=============================================================

ST’s

JONES - Another great game. NFC ST’er of the Week. Downed 7 punts inside the 20. No touchbacks. The Cards only got 3 PR yards all game long. Did a great job with hang time and ball control.

HENERY - 1 of 1 on FGs. Short kick. Only 1 of his 5 KOs was a touchback. That hasn’t been the case most of the year. Something to keep an eye on going forward.

KOR – Boyking returned 2 KOs. Long went for 32 yds. Brad Smith was the KOR early in the 2nd half. Ran one out for 31 yards in the 3rd Qtr. Good return.

PR – DeSean was the PR. 3-11. Not inspiring numbers. But…had a TD called back due to penalty. Looked great on that. Had another return where he moved back and then sideways. Took a big hit on that. Must go N-S.

- MISC -

* Punt bounced off Cards player in the early 2nd Qtr. Carmichael was there to recover it, but couldn’t secure the ball. A Cardinal finally did get it and ran 15 yards. Kurt Coleman chased him and knocked the ball loose, but replay showed the guy’s knee was down so the ball stayed with Arizona.

* The penalty on DJax’s return had to be on Colt Anderson. He got tangled up with #37 and the guy hit the field. Looked like a tackle at first. Good call. That guy would have had a chance to make the play.

* Colt did a good job of covering punts.

* Kurt Coleman had a pair of coverage tackles and was active all day.

GAMEBOOK

_


  • Mitchell

    Love the fact that there wasn’t much action Boykin’s way. Teams are starting to notice his skill.

  • SteveH

    Looking at a couple of throws Foles made this week, the peterson pick in particular, I wonder if Foles is starting to get too confident, if you know what I mean. Like nothing bad is ever going to happen when I throw the ball confident. Could be an issue, or just a young QB learning not to force things. IDK.

    Tommy, you still haven’t revealed what black magics foretold the Nate Allen interception. We’re all waiting to win the lottery here.

    • Michael Jorden

      He sounds pretty grounded so I wouldn’t think he’s the type to feel invincible. I thought it was more that he was facing a really difficult DEF and was hurrying things and forcing things somewhat. Good DEF’s push QB’s into making bad decisions. That’s what I thought anyway. Fortunately we won and he can learn from it.

  • Anders

    Nice reading good things about Kendricks and Allen. Seems Kendricks is playing more under control instead of just running around headless (called Ernie Sims syndrome)

  • Flyin

    Tommy,

    I was expecting 3 shitty posts before this one, and then catching us by surprise with this post showing your real content.

    • ICDogg

      That’s too smart for me. But if you make 3 shitty posts in a row, I will assume it’s intentional.

      • Flyin

        When I make my 4th shitty post in a row, you won’t know what to think.

    • TommyLawlor

      I had no idea what this meant initially. That’s hilarious.

  • BlindChow

    Tonight on the NFL Network: The Bridgewater Bowl!

  • Ark87

    Excellent DGR as always Tommy. I also re-watched the game (not to the level you do, noting every play for every player), but we talk a lot about “passing the eye test”, particularly about QB’s, but also in general.

    In this game i felt a little funny re-watching it, sort of knowing the outcomes of all the drives/ plays. In the first 2 and 1/2 quarters (you have a typo of 2 2/1 in the offense just a heads up) we certainly dominated the score board. But there seemed to be a lot of 3 and outs and negative/neutral plays. It didn’t look like our usual steady selves (credit to their D). We hit a few big plays and it translated to points. Then on D, they were just gashing us, marching down the field with ease, didn’t seem to get to 3rd down very often. And I would find myself thinking, jeez it’s a wonder we got points/ kept them from getting points on this drive, a lot. It didn’t feel like the first 2 1/2 quarters and second 1 1/2 quarters were different games as many described, just the same dynamics with different outcomes.

    I guess I’m wondering, have you run into this situation when the “eye test” isn’t quite matching the stats/ scoreboard (in regards to this team in it’s winning streak)?

    • TommyLawlor

      You can’t always focus on results. Seeing how things happen can be critical to appreciating when a team truly played well or didn’t. The Eagles didn’t have their A-game on Sunday. Part of that was due to the Cardinals, a flawed but tough team.

      The old saying in football is that when you re-watch games you’ll rarely think the team looks as good after a win or as bad after a loss.

    • CampDracula

      My first thought when reading your post was Big Ben. That guy never passed the eye test to me, no matter the results.

  • ACViking

    Re: A Down for Brad Smith

    T-Law:

    I remember during the game you answered my objection to the Smith RZ play with a more concise version of your DGR comment.

    On reflection, a couple of observations that I hope invite your response.

    ______________

    First, here’s why I still don’t like the decision to put in Smith.

    * Foles had taken the Eagles — who’d just given up the 43 yard TD to Fitz — from their own 20 to the Cards’ 6 yard line in 5 plays. This was the Eagles’ 2nd RZ trip of the day.

    * Foles converted on the Eagles first RZ trip, with a 6-yard TD pass to Ertz.

    * Foles has been very consistent in the past few games as a decision maker.

    * If McCoy’s not going to run the Eagles in from the 6, neither is Brad Smith.

    * If Smith going to throw the ball, why would you put him in instead of Foles — who’s actually the QB.

    * If the play was a “package call,” then, again, it’s a long shot Smith runs it in off a fake and why not just let Foles make that pass

    * In a bit of hindsight, on the Eagles’ third RZ trip, Foles converted for a TD on his 1-yard pass to Celek.

    * And, just outside the RZ, Foles hits Ertz for a 24 yard TD.

    Bottom line, if you don’t think the Eagles can run it in from 6 yards out, then putting Brad Smith in is strictly a gimmick . . . . If Smith keeps and runs for 3 yards, McCoy could have done it. If Smith throws — in the clogged RZ — then I’d rather have Foles do it.

    This is just my view. I understand yours.

    _______________

    But Kelly’s decision to use Smith could also be revealing. (“COULD”)

    Kelly’s not struck me as a “gimmick” guy all year. Yes, he’s moved OTs around. But it’s not like we get end-arounds and flea-flickers every couple weeks. So the Smith play strikes as the first gimmick-play I remember this season (I’m using “gimmick” as a synonym for unconventional personnel or play).

    Why put in Smith if Kelly has 100% confidence in Foles to convert inside the RZ? You won’t see that with Brady or PManning, right.

    So I’m reading Kelly’s decision as reflecting his continued hesitancy to commit — heart and soul — to Foles.

    On the other hand, Kelly’s insertion of Smith makes me think back to Dick Vermeil — who openly tied his success to Jaworski’s in 1977, when Jaws arrived.

    Vermeil would occasionally use his former UCLA QB John Sciarra to run the veer-option at the goal line starting in 1978 after acquiring his rights from the Bears (Sciarra went to Canada in ’76). Vermeil tried Sciarra at the goal line and in short yardage about a dozen times in ’78. Sciarra rushed 8 times for 11 yards but 2 TDs. Again, strictly a short yardage guy. And Vermeil never turned from Jaworski.

    POINT: I’m wondering if Brad Smith’s RZ presence reflects just the doubt that may be creeping around Kelly’s mind about Foles.

    Just wondering.

    • BlindChow

      Hey, it’s your weekly Kelly and Mobile QB’s post!

      • ACViking

        I never used the word mobile anywhere in my post. And I wasn’t alluding to it specifically.

        When I spoke of Kelly’s possible doubt, it wasn’t about having a mobile QB. Just that Foles, for all the numbers he posted, has had a few head-scratching moments. And he’s had less than a season of starts.

        I’ve said before, I’m a big Foles fan. I nevered favored bringing MV back. Not for his locker room qualities or his speed.

        And I did not like the “competition” this past summer between the QBs . . . because, with vanilla defenses and so many practices at less than full speed, I think Vick would beat out Foles 99/100 times.

        So . . . to paraphrase former Bills HC Lou Saban (in one of the great NFL Film moments), “You’re killin’ me, BC, you’re killin’ me.”
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PYJ_7Wngck

        • BlindChow

          Well, could you further elaborate the non-mobility-related doubts Kelly would have about Foles–who has a solid RZ conversion rate and, while occasionally lucky, a great TD to Turnover rate–that would be ameliorated by sticking in Brad Smith, a non-QB who has taken maybe 3 snaps on offense, who would at that point had barely even touched a ball in an actual game in almost a year?

          • ACViking

            BC:

            The short version is Kelly still sees a young kid with less than 15 starts. He’s missed time last year and this year. The promise is there. But Kelly’s a guy whose always looking around the corner for a better edge.

            Foles will have to fight off the competition at least next training camp. Maybe even another.

            That’s my theory at least. I love how Foles is playing. But in Kelly’s world there are no promises.

            By the way, I agree with your description of Foles. I just think Kelly demands more.

            And if Foles keeps producing the job’s his. But that’s down the road.

          • BlindChow

            Sure, but hasn’t that been the popular narrative for the last few weeks? “Foles has been good, but the sample size is small, so now he’s got the rest of the season to show he deserves a shot to be ‘the guy’ next year?” I’m guessing pretty much everyone here would agree with that.

            Tommy even had a post about it. None of that is anything new.

            However, in your post above you specifically hypothesized playing Brad Smith in that situation was evidence of Kelly’s “doubt” about Foles. So I’m wondering, what edge do you think Smith offered that, in Kelly’s mind, Foles wasn’t able to live up to? Foles RZ numbers have been good; certainly better than Vick’s 26% completion rate. If Kelly didn’t pull an underperforming Vick in the red zone, why would you conclude Foles’ performance was the reason he called this play the way he did? Foles is turning in one of the best statistical seasons ever as a passer; do you believe that’s not good enough for Kelly?

            Yes, Chip’s always looking for an “edge,” and I agree that’s exactly why he called this play. So my question is this: what was it, other than mobility, that Smith offered here that Foles could not?

          • ACViking

            BC:

            I think you and I are saying the same thing. I thought the decision to put Smith in was terrible. But my comment in the second half was not about Smith per se. More a big picture view of where Chip Kelly is on Foles. All I am saying is, at this point in Foles’s Career as Kelly’s quarterback, Kelly is not ready to sign over the house to Foles. I think Kelly just needs to see more of Foles. When he was interviewed earlier this week or last week, and was asked about Foles as his future QB Kelly danced around it. My comment isn’t about a single play. It’s about Where Kelly is in his view of Foles. Smith is a metaphor for my point. At the end of the day I agree with you. I think Chip Kelly does not agree with you and me, however. And his choice to use Smith reflects at some level a question about committing without reservation to Foles.

          • BlindChow

            I had no problem with the call. I think he wanted to throw off the defense by putting in a fast, mobile guy to run the read option at the goal line, something the defense probably hadn’t prepared for.

            My comments were just a joke about how you bring up Chip liking Mobile Quarterbacks every week, and then calling you out on it when you (for some reason) denied it.

            I think the only thing Smith offered over Foles was mobility. Kelly certainly wasn’t questioning Foles’ arm or decision-making with the move.

            So if you think Kelly putting him in was a reflection of his thoughts on Foles, how you can pretend it was about something other than mobility?

          • Andy124

            I absolutely hated the call. Foles has been outstanding in the redzone, leading us to TDs on something like 10-14 legitimate attempts going in to the game, then converting both legitimate attempts against Arizona when he wasn’t removed from the QB position for a play. I don’t think for a second that Brad Smith give you a better than 12 in 16 odds of scoring a touchdown.

            Nor do I think it was an indication the Kelly isn’t sold on Foles. Just a matter of a human getting too cute and outsmarting himself.

          • Andy124

            I see what you see with Chip Re: Foles. When asked to commit he makes a smart alec response about 1,000 years. I think we’d all be more comfortable if Chip stopped dancing and just put his weight behind Foles with no qualifiers.

            But at this point, I don’t think Chip is a stupid man, and I think he’d have to be stupid to not be settled on Nick right now. I think his dancing is more a matter of us not being used to Chip, than Chip truly hedging his bet on Foles.

            So while he’s not going to provide the comfort we seek, I still think this is more a matter of out own paranoia than any true indication of Chip having reservations.

            Thing about paranoia, acknowledging it doesn’t make it go away. Damnit.

          • BlindChow

            I think what Viking is trying to say is that Kelly is like a commitment-phobe at a bachelor party, so terrified of settling down for the rest of his life with a woman who’s reliable but not flashy, who has a one night stand with a stripper but swears–SWEARS–it was just cold feet and had nothing to do with the fact she had superior mobility.

          • bill

            I actually agree that Kelly isn’t sold on Foles yet, and I think that’s because there are certainly things Nick can work on to improve, and probably needs to improve to be “the answer.” I’m not sure the Smith play says anything more than Chip is a tinkerer. And based on the Chipwagon article, it looks like Chip is tinkering with ways to get his outside runs working, or at least force the defense to honor them.

    • ICDogg

      I thought it was a stupid play call at the time, and still do. I’ll bet it worked every time they tried it in practice, though.

    • TommyLawlor

      I’ll try to respond to this in the next post I do.

  • ACViking

    Re: The Growth of Foles in the Last 25 Minutes v. The Cards

    T-Law:

    Halftime, so the conventional wisdom goes, is when the great coaches make adjustments.

    What about the most important player on offense who has to execute those adjustments . . . the QB?

    Foles is just a 2nd year kid, with less than a season full of starts to date.

    I wonder how much of what’s happening in the 2nd half is about Foles learning to adjust to the adjustments he’s been given and that he’s seeing from the opposition.

    Only time will tell. But I’d like to think that with more experience, Foles will look across the LOS in the 4th Q at some point and think in a split second, “there’s a blitz coming that I recognize from 4 seasons back against the Cardinals” . . . and then exploit it.

    • GEAGLE

      He is one of the very best young QBs presnap at the LOS…this will only improve!!

  • Joe Minx

    Tommy,

    You mentioned Moose having a bad game in the booth. Was a large part of this his seemingly unending obsession over TOP? That started to really annoy me after about the third time he made a point of bringing it up.

    • Igglez

      It’s hard to believe Kenny, Moose, and Goose are the #2 FOX team. Then again, it’s hard to believe Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are the #1 FOX team.

  • Insomniac
    • Anders

      lol, what a terrible list.

      Honeybadger is a safety. Sam Shields and Tramon Williams got burned by Riley Cooper when we played them.

      I would have Fletcher and Williams in the solid starter and Sam Shield and Tramon Williams should be in the best of the rest.

      • Insomniac

        Same. I want to see how Verner stacks up against the Broncos receivers. Still want him in FA if the Titans don’t tag/re-sign him.

        I’m not surprised to hear about the rookie CBs since only a few of them played well in the past few years. CB and QB are probably the positions to take the longest to develop. Milliner/Claiborne struggling doesn’t make me want a first round CB but then you have Trufant/Rhodes doing pretty well.

        • Anders

          Rookie WRs often also struggle. See Dez Bryant or D Thomas.

          I thought Millner was overrated coming into the draft. I also think Claiborne is been undone by terrible coaching.

          • Insomniac

            True but I think D.Thomas was hurt by having unstable QB situation before he got Manning. Dez wasn’t even the #1 receiver until Miles Austin dropped off a cliff (remember him being good?) plus Dez is..Dez.

          • GEAGLE

            You know I though Millner was trash!

      • GEAGLE

        When you consider how bad the other Cbs on last years FA market are playing, Brad and Mr. December aka Cary CDub Williams are HOMERUNS by Howie…Dereck Cox is aweful this year, and Sean smith is playing like the worst CB In the NFL, KCs line was able to cover for him, but with the injuries to their pass rushers, smith is exposed as hot garbage!

  • ACViking

    Re: On Safeties

    I assume that Roseman struck Tyrann Mathieu from the Eagles’ 2013 draft board based on off-field incidents.

    Though maybe not.

    So . . . I wonder, given his size, whether Kelly’s size/position preferences would have kept TM off the Eagles board anyway . . . or pushed lower than Rd 3 (where he was drafted) — well below.

    TM’s listed at 5’9″ 186lbs. Whereas Earl Wolff’s listed at 5’11″ 210 lbs.

    Anyone? Anyone?

    • ACViking

      Meant to say, TM would look good in Kelly green.

      • Anders

        Honey Badger would look great in green moving all over the place. Davis and Kelly loves versatile players and he plays both FS and cb for them.

        That is one reason why I would love if we drafted Lamarcus Joyner, he is same size as TM and he is just as good at forcing turnovers and he also plays both FS and CB for FSU.

        • ACViking

          A –

          Love the breakdown.

          Besides Joyner, tips on other versatile players . . . including ILB and OLB.

          _______

          Unrelated . . . but your thoughts on Bryce Brown. The coaches must like his pass protection since seems to get a lot of snaps on 3rd-and-long. And out of I-formation, I think he’d be very good.

          At the same time, despite his measurables, his lack of carries in college seems to be translating into an inability to connect what he sees to what his legs need to do.

          Anyway, thoughts?

          • Anders

            Another versatile player is Telvin Smith, OLB for FSU.

            He is 6-2 220 and has some of the most fluid hips of any player entering the draft. The guy is the perfect S/LB tweener that many teams actually want.
            He reminds me of Keenan Clayton, but Smith can actually tackle.

            I think we all remember how Clayton was a big part of the 2010 defensive game plan against the Colts where he played that hybrid safety/LB role.

            He might fit better in a 4-3 scheme or maybe Davis think he can be the next Adrian Wilson or Kam Chancellor.

          • Anders
          • theycallmerob

            Also, a mid-round prospect ILB with some OLB talent/experience is Barrow from LSU. Cleaned up with Minter- and Logan!- last year. I was sold at “long arms”

          • Anders

            Yea Barrow would be a good mid round ILB who can learn from Ryans and challenge Kendricks

          • theycallmerob

            He’s this year’s #18 on that defense. We’ve had good luck with that so far.

            http://www.nola.com/lsu/index.ssf/2013/08/lsu_players_tab_lamin_barrow_t.html

          • Anders

            Didnt knew that. That will be a huge plus for Howie.

          • D3FB

            Take a peek at Zumwalt from UCLA. Currently the running mate of Kendricks little brother (who can ball in his own right) and Myles Jack. He’s 6’4, 235 can scoot all over the field. Willingness to take on OL even if he’s a tad light in the ass. Could be a very interesting day 3 target to keep in mind. Fits Kelly’s ideals of size and speed.

          • Anders

            Regarding Brown.

            I think his instincts are what they are. Either a RB has the ability to be effective in the OZR scheme or not. That is why a guy like Alfred Morris is so effective in the Skins OZR scheme, but a guy like Brown or a McFadden struggles with it.

            Brown showed last year and in spurts this year that he can be very effective on IZR or power runs.

          • anon

            Chip Wagon did a really great breakdown of this. BB mainly gets in on outside runs, we’re terrible at blocking those runs — not just this game but generally during the year. BB is my fav RB which is why i’m making this statement. I’m not sure why the big difference since he had a lot of success going outside last year, but they just aren’t blocking well for him (or well generally according to PFF).

          • Anders

            http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000101401/Bryce-Brown-65-yard-TD

            yep, he had no problems last year, but that crappy OL actually blocked it well.

          • BlindChow

            You misread the ChipWagon article. Brown’s ratio of inside to outside runs is about 2:1. So he mainly gets in on INSIDE runs.

            The article also said it looks like out of 58 runs, he saw only 3 where Brown ignored obvious holes and bounced it outside instead.

          • Anders

            I loved it. This is what I have been saying all along and people wouldnt listen!

          • Cafone

            Yeah, the piece on Brown turned into an indictment of the linemen.

          • theycallmerob

            AC, I know this may seem counter-intuitive given the current state of the team’s strengths/weaknesses, but one of my favorite players on that side of the ball is Hageman (Min). 6’6″ dancing bear, reminds me a lot of Cox’s evals coming out of college (but taller!). Biggest freak NT/DT I’ve seen since Ngata. I love the development of Logan, but if we’re talking BPA….

            The biggest Freak in the Big Ten, Hageman is a 6-6, 312-pound converted tight end who can still do 360 dunks and vertical jump 36 inches. That athleticism causes all sorts of problems for offenses. This season, Hageman has 8.5 TFLs, blocked two blocked kicks and even picked off a pass.

            http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1664241/rashede-hageman

          • Anders

            Yea Hageman wouldnt be a bad pick, even with all the youth. Sometimes you just have to pick the best talent.

          • GEAGLE

            Cox,Thornton,Logan!Curry, and the 6’6 Hagemen and Kruger could form a terrorist of a line!

          • Joe Minx

            Hadn’t heard of this guy before. Thanks for the knowledge. I love big physical freaks.

          • GEAGLE

            Rob….I am a BIGTIME fan of Shede Hagemen. I know we have a good line, but I would add him in a heartbeat and make it a devestating Dline…the kid can be the next Caleus Cambell…..one of my favorites in this draft? I’d take him all day. monster year for minnesota

    • Anders

      I doubt personal stuff pushed him down.

      Remember this is a team with several head cases.

      I know they value size in CBs, but I do wonder if they value size the same in safeties consider they took Wolff over a guy like Cooper Taylor.

    • GEAGLE

      I’m a fan, but I wouldn’t want him instead of Bennie Logan! especially since we really don’t play a dime! the badger would be a safety for us

  • GermanEagle

    In case you missed it. GermanEagle just moved to NYC. And I’m loving it. Apart from the Giants.
    Go Eagles! Kick some ass!

    • TommyLawlor

      Very cool. Permanent move?

      • GermanEagle

        Yes buddy. For 2 years. Any chance I can get a season ticket for the Eagles?!

        • ICDogg

          I am on the season ticket waiting list, and I get e-mails almost every week from the team to buy seats that were returned from the opposing team’s allotment. This came in this morning’s e-mail.

          Dear …,

          As a loyal member of our Waiting List, we want to make a special offer to you in appreciation of your support of the team. Each game, the Eagles are required to make tickets available to the opposing team for their players and coaches. As teams sometimes do, the Lions returned a portion of those tickets to the Eagles today. This season, we are making these tickets available to you first, before the general public. There is limited availability so act now if you are interested.

          Click Here and enter the offer code LOYAL to purchase these tickets

          Fly Eagles Fly!

          (the link for tix is http://www.ticketmaster.com/philadelphia-eagles-vs-detroit-lions-philadelphia-pennsylvania-12-08-2013/event/02004A8FE2E9AE5D?artistid=805999&majorcatid=10004&minorcatid=8&tm_link=search_msg-1_02004A8FE2E9AE5D&camefrom=EMCL_184657_9634926 )

          • GermanEagle

            Thanks for the heads up. However I got tickets for the Lions game already.
            In fact we will be in the Chrysler Box C40, which happens to be almost at the 50 yard line, one box below Lurie’s owner box! Happy days.

          • ICDogg

            Yes, that would be much better. I watched a couple of games from Chrysler’s old box at the Vet, as Chrysler’s regional advertising group was one of my father’s accounting clients. That was a great place to watch a game from.

          • Flyin

            Was that a Penthouse suite where a few cheerleaders would come around with calenders during the game and would sign them?

          • ICDogg

            It was a Penthouse suite, though I don’t remember cheerleaders with calendars when I was there. But it was probably before they did that.

          • Flyin

            I was up there for a few games ’88-’91 ish. I remember the cheerleaders :)

          • P_P_K

            Congrats on the move. I hear Lurie is telling people that he is sitting one box above GE.

          • GermanEagle

            lol. My goal is to pull his new girl’s number.

          • P_P_K

            Dear Mrs GE, your hubbie doesn’t really mean this.

          • GEAGLE

            Lol thought Yous were talking about me…I was about to say, y’all wouldn’t want to put up with my crazy Italian GF

          • P_P_K

            Yo, dude, I’m from Philly. I know not to mess with Italian gfs.

          • Cafone

            Fancy!

        • GEAGLE

          When I can’t make it to a game I will make sure to let you know and give you first dips on tickets, every fan should get to see the birds live…but seriously, you can go to any game you want. it’s literally impossible to go to a game, and not be able to find a scalper selling Tix. You couldn’t miss a scalper if you tried down at the linc

    • http://www.aceandson.com/blog Richard O’Connor

      Damn, I was just looking for a guy with a German accent too!

      • GermanEagle

        Here I am!

    • Homer Frizzell

      Welcome to town!

  • SteveH

    Jags up 17-7 over the Texans going into the 2nd half. What in the holy hell has happened to the Texans?!

    • TommyLawlor

      They’re awful.

    • anon

      And here i thought Andre Johnson would be a good fantasy play this week after Gordon put 250 on them last week.

      • eagleyankfan

        150 yards?

  • Insomniac

    So I compiled a small list of day 2-3 prospects (that I like) for positions that we could use depth in.

    QBs

    Stephen Morris
    Aaron Murray
    David Fales

    WRs

    Brandon Coleman
    Kasen Williams
    Donte Moncrief
    Devante Parker

    OTs

    Morgan Moses
    JuWuan James
    Cornelius Lucas

    OGs

    Anthony Steen
    Xavier Su’a-’Filo
    Gabe Jackson
    Brandon Thomas

    CBs

    Andre Hal
    EJ Gaines
    Pierre Desir
    Antone Exum
    Jaylen Watkins

    Safeties

    Ty Zimmerman
    Tre Boston
    Craig Loston

    ILBs

    Christian Jones
    Lamin Barrow

    OLBs/Pass Rushers

    Jeremiah Attaochu
    Jackson Jeffcoat
    Adrian Hubbard
    Dee Ford
    Carl Bradford

    • D3FB

      I’m not a big Coleman fan. Size, speed, talent, and chronic under performance. There are a handful of these type of players in every draft. I’d rather avoid him.

      Anthony Steen, I know he played for Stout at Bama. He’s probably shorter than chip likes in his linemen, he doesn’t look terrible well put together. Tape study wasn’t overly impressive. Just doesn’t have the athleticism that our blocking scheme requires.
      I do really like Andre Hal. Could be a solid late day two/day three day pickup. Won’t light the world on fire but could be a solid consistent corner. I encourage you to check out his running mate Kenny Ladler. Huge man crush on the kid. Takes good angles. Solid combination of wrapup tackling w/ ability to blow people up when opportunity is there. Good coverage skill. Has 5 picks on the season as well.

    • GEAGLE

      People are talking about the WR from Fresno as the 2nd WR to Come off the board, top 15

  • Mike Flick

    I think Patrick Chung is the new Ernie Sims of the safety position.

    There is a shark in the secondary and no one is safe!

    • dropscience

      Well, no one in the same jersey is safe.

    • BlindChow

      I hear the defense is practicing in Lions jerseys so Chung will hit the right guys on Sunday.

  • jshort

    Been thinking about Chip and challenges, especially the one he threw the flag on in this last game. If that was our O and got spotted a half yd short, would he give the opposing D time to rest, or just line up and go. I.m thinking, he doesn’t mind giving our D the break but does not want to slow down the O. Just a thought.

    • A_T_G

      That observation rings true to me.

  • GEAGLE

    I’m assuming that Barwin will be used this week to get physical with Calvin at the LOSS and then release him to a CB…
    .,.
    We aren’t Losing THIS GAME!

    When two closely matched teams face off, the better coached team often wins. we show all the signs of a well coached team, and I just don’t see us losing to an Undiscaplined Detroit team that will commit more penalties and turnovers then us..
    ..
    Chip is a master at using a Dlines aggression against them.
    ..
    Frustrating to see people still not believe in the rainmaker..some say he is just a product of a Chip Kelly offense, how can that be if the same people say he can’t play QB in a Chip Kelly offense? So first it doesn’t suit him, but now it suits him so well that it makes him look better then he is? Lol I ask the haters, which is it?
    ..
    The kid got thrust into the game as a rookie, in the most dysfunction situation imaginable, and with NO Oline and an antiquated playbook he threw 60% completions…365 days later, in drastically different offense he is still throwing 60% and setting the league on fire. Doing all that with minimal experience. I remember when Vick had a bad year the talk was, you have to let him get a full offseason as the guy, you have to see what he can do in his second season in this offense…it’s scary to see what FOles is doing so soon. A year from now he should be significantly better..

  • eagleyankfan

    “This was a tough, methodical win. It should impress you that the Eagles were able to play solid football and beat a 7-4 team.”
    EXACTLY. That right there is progress. When was the last time you were able to type those words about an Eagles win vs. a good(well, record wise) team?
    Great read.

  • bill

    To be honest, this week’s matchup is really starting to worry me. Herremans seems to be really in decline, and Kelce tends to really struggle against physical DTs. Ansah *might* really test Johnson with the speed rush from the wide 9. I think the right side of the Eagles OLine is going to be the biggest factor in who wins this game. If Foles’s pocket is constantly collapsing on him quickly, the offense is going to have to dink and dunk with screens and other quick hitters. Given that Megatron and Co. are going to put up points (not necessarily more than 21, but I’ll be surprised if they don’t score in at least that range), it will be very interesting to see whether Foles & co. can dink and dunk to 21+ points. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that this is the week that Foles throws the INT – pressure up the middle is going to have him throwing off his back foot too much.
    Hopefully, I’m wrong.

    • A Roy

      Gonna happen sooner or later. Just hope it happens when we’re up a couple TDs.

      • BlindChow

        That way, Foles would have already broken Manning’s record!

        • Andy124

          But if he doesn’t break the record, I don’t see how we can trust him to be the man going in to next season.

  • knighn

    Great DGR and all… but where is the latest Eagles Cartoon on EaglesBlog.net ?!

  • Dominik

    “I like the philosophy of taking away the star player and making other
    guys beat you. If Michael Floyd plays the game of his life, so be it.
    Don’t let the star run wild and beat you. He’s capable of that. Force
    the other guys to play at a high level.”

    Always love it when a guy who knows way more about football than I do thinks the same way I do. :) Then again, Belichick does it all the time and he knows even more about Football than Tommy (no offense ;)) and I don’t even want to start comparing him to me.

    Hopefully Davis will give Megatron the same treatment on sunday. Also you have to say that Larry Legend wouldn’t even got the TD if Chung wouldn’t be our Safety at the moment. Hopefully he isn’t next season (or even sooner, if Wolff comes back).

    • Anders

      I think Davis will use the same triple and double coverage. I think Barwin will often be used to jam him at the los because of his size.

    • BlindChow

      It was definitely nice to see scheming around players on the opposing offense. We didn’t see much of that in the Castillo era.

      • Anders

        We actually did last year against the Lions, before he choice to change the scheme and let Johnson go ham.

  • Anders

    http://vimeo.com/81201191

    This one is great

    • SteveH

      You can never knock them for creativity.

      • Anders

        I thought some of them was lame, but this one is really well made. Also nice that they use backups as the main focus from time to time.

        • Iskar36

          This year, I haven’t seen one up until this weeks that I have been impressed with/thought was funny. This week’s one though was awesome.

          • Cafone

            Even a broken clock is right twice a day and I guess even the Eagles cartoonists can put something out that isn’t embarrassingly amateurish once every couple of seasons.

            But I’m just going by your opinion. I gave up cringing through those things a long time ago.

    • ICDogg

      One of their better efforts lately.

    • knighn

      Thank you! Was looking for this!!

  • livingonapear

    Thank you for differentiating between holding and contact. I think the key difference between the two is that holding (in the secondary), especially as it was called on the last key play, involves taking a receiver out of his route.

    Casey was clearly trying to run a route, and Foles clearly was waiting for him to come open, but the jersey pull kept him from running his route, and Foles had to go to another option.

    As for the int callback, I’m going to assume that it looked a lot different on the field for whoever threw the flag. It was a bad call, but I can kind of see where it came from….if I squint.

    I think what bugs me about Arians sending in that many plays, is that he’s basically unofficially protesting the game’s outcome. He’s not going to come out and say “we lost because of the refs” because coaches really can’t do that, but he does actually believe that they had a W stolen.

  • BobSmith77

    Over/under on number of times Chung bounces off/deflected/simply misses on tackles vs Lions’ offense especially with Bush and Megatron.

    I say 1.5 and take the ‘Over’

  • ICDogg

  • Tumtum

    On B. Brown: ” Had to block Calais Campbell on 3rd down pass play in the early 3rd Qtr.”. When I saw that in game I think my quote was “oh shit”.

  • Tumtum

    Is it crazy to say that Nate might actually be a good safety? What about just good tackler?

    Chung is what Nate was last year…just not quite as bad. You didn’t even mention when Cary and someone else were making a play on a WR and he came in and blew Williams up. Williams and the other guy were draped over the guy, Chung would of had to be a surgeon to get a clean piece on the receiver but true to form on the rest of his blundered tackle attempts he runs in with his head down, launches, and throws his right shoulder at the situation. Cary Williams was not pleased, and let him know about it. That was 3rd or so time I noticed him do that during the game, and it was the last.

    Your words cut deep Cary Williams…

    • Anders

      I would say Allen is beginning to be a top 20 safety in the NFL.

      To be honest I would actually have a hard time naming 20 safeties in the NFL.

    • Cafone

      I never stopped liking Nate and was willing to make excuses for his poor play. I hate when people call “bust” on guys that are still feeling the effects of injuries and, let’s face it, nobody in the defensive backfield managed to look decent last year with that coaching/system.

      But let’s not take him from the dog house to the pro bowl. I think “competent NFL starter” is his ceiling and we should all be satisfied if he is consistent enough to be called that.

  • Cafone

    “combination of Lou Brock and Lou Costello” – good stuff :)

    Foles trying to make something out of nothing is an issue that I hope he is able to get over. You can even see it when you look at his college film on youtube so it’s not something new. That play Chip Kelly spoke of when Foles threw a pass left handed against Oregon? Cool, yeah, but it was a dumb play that was very risky and Foles should have just taken the sack.

    But I love the attitude. And if right now Foles’ refusal to give up on plays is one of his biggest issues then he’s doing pretty damn good.

  • Jason

    Did Tommy watch the Oakland game? I’m not sure the Eagles can play much better then that