The Eagles played a great game on Sunday night when they destroyed the Bears, 54-11. In other times, I’d enjoy that game and understand that it was an anomaly. Things may be different under Chip Kelly.
Kelly expects greatness. He pushes his teams to perform at the highest level. He’s not going to let good enough be good enough. And that’s a good thing.
There is no reason the Eagles can’t play at a high level each week. They have enough firepower to do it. Sure, the defense needs some work, but there is enough talent that they should play at a solid level. When they eliminate missed tackles and coverage breakdowns, that group can be pretty good.
A big part of being great is the mentality of the players and coaches. You must expect it. You must demand it. Players need to learn that being great isn’t like winning the lottery. It isn’t about luck. It isn’t random. Greatness is about preparation and execution.
Kelly was able to get his Oregon teams to play great football. He knew how to get his kids to stay focused on and off the field. They were talented and well-coached, but they also worked hard and played hard. One of the things that stood out to coaches who would study Oregon tape is the blocking of the wide receivers. There’s nothing glamorous about that. But Kelly sold his guys on the importance of it. And the players did it well.
The Eagles have embraced Kelly’s ideas and his message. They have bought in to Chipball. From sleeping more to smoothies to practicing on Tuedsays, the Eagles players are doing it all and doing it with a smile on their face.
Now the challenge is for Kelly to get the players to embrace greatness.
The Eagles have had great stretches in a lot of games. Sunday was their first taste of a complete game. Can they build on that? We’ll find out on Sunday night.
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Want to feel good about the defense? Check out this piece by Greg Bedard of MMQB.
Defensive coordinator Bill Davis has worked wonders transforming his unit from a 4-3, wide-nine defense in Andy Reid’s final seasons, to a multiple 3-4 defense in just a year. As always, change takes time, and it has for the Eagles. Once near the bottom of the league in scoring defense (27.5 points per game allowed in the first four games), the Eagles have been near the top of late (19.2 in the last 11). Toss out the one outlier since Sept. 29—a 48-30 loss at Minnesota—and the Eagles have given up an average of 17.4 points without surrendering more than 21 points in that span. The Eagles are tied for second with the Seahawks in holding opponents under 21 points in 12 games this season. Only the Panthers (13) are better.
The Eagles have improved on the ground (holding opponents under 100 yards in nine of the past 11 games), and against the pass (after allowing a 107.2 passer rating in the season’s first month; they’ve held quarterbacks to 75.3 since).
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Here is a great video from Matt Bowen on the Eagles offense and some of their schematic ideas. He explains how he thinks the Eagles will attack the Dallas defense.
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Geoff Mosher shares his take on Kyle Orton and the Dallas offense. He makes one very good point.
The rapport Romo has developed over the years with Witten, his best friend, and more recently with slot receiver Cole Beasley can’t be duplicated by Orton with just one week of practice reps. Romo knows their routes and tendencies inside-out and had a great feel for how much time he had before he needed to get rid of the ball, especially against pressure. Romo also had tremendous pocket presence and an innate ability to dodge the pass rush with simple sidesteps.
Chemistry is important between QB and receivers. Orton has only thrown 15 passes in the last 2 years. And he also didn’t get a ton of reps in the preseason, which I don’t really understand.
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Mike Kaye wrote a very cool piece for BGN, tracking the guys the Eagles cut last summer. Great work. A few of my favorites.
Eddie McClam, DE: The former Lions practice squad player was cut shortly after signing. He has yet to be heard from anywhere else.
Dallas Reynolds, OL: The BYU product and Andy Reid’s sole heir to his Neil Diamond eight-track collection, was cut in August. He spent a few weeks on the street before playing the roster dance with the Giants for several weeks. He has appeared in the last two games for New York. He is the third member of the 2012 Eagles to play for the 2013 Giants…
Clay Harbor, TE: The three-year Eagles tight end was released during final cuts but was picked up off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Harbor has played well for Jacksonville, appearing in 15 games with seven starts. This season, Harbor has 22 catches for 281 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also got to take a trip to London, which is pretty cool.
The Eagles haven’t made many, if any, bad personnel decisions since mid-August, despite all my whining about Chris McCoy and Emmanuel Acho getting cut. They were right. I was wrrrrr…not as right.