Great Expectations

Posted: December 16th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 162 Comments »

Great Expectations is the name of a KISS song. I think it also might be a Chuck Dickens story. And they are a point of discussion in relation to this Eagles team.

I’ve said all year that this is a flawed, but talented team. That was the case at 1-0, 3-5 and 8-5. Any time you have a new coach, there are going to be some weak spots. He won’t have the personnel just the way he wants them. Players will still be adapting to his way of doing things, as well as the new schemes. And in this case, the coach is learning about life in the NFL.

The Eagles offense is good enough to score on anyone. The defense is bad enough to give up points to anyone. I don’t know what the ceiling for this team is since they haven’t been tested by a top team in a long time. Clearly the Eagles can lose to anyone that has a functional QB.

If the Eagles played in another division, they might be out of the race or would be needing substantial help. Since the NFC East is down, the Eagles are able to sit atop the standings despite being a flawed team. The Carolina Panthers are 10-4 and in 2nd place. That’s just bad luck. In 1991, the 10-6 Eagles sat at home in the playoffs while the 8-8 Jets went to the postseason.

I hope most Eagles fans can see this team has its issues and they keep expectations realistic. The Eagles can still end up with the #3 seed in the NFC, but I don’t think many people would argue the Eagles are the #3 team in the conference. SEA, SF, NO and CAR all look better.

Let’s enjoy this team for what it is…a talented and flawed group.

That’s not to say we should ignore the team playing like crap as they did on Sunday, but let’s also not act like this is such a good team that we can expect them to play at a high level each week. Heck, few teams do that. Look across the NFL landscape yesterday. Upsets galore.

I’ve got 2 more games to watch this team. I think they’ll win the division. We’ll assess the playoffs when that rolls around, but my mindset will be to enjoy them rather that talking myself into an Eagles Super Bowl run and building up crazy expectations. If something more happens, great. Just don’t count on it.

* * * * *

Let’s also talk about expectations with Nick Foles. Some of you didn’t like my criticism of him after yesterday.

I don’t expect Foles to be perfect. I’m judging him according to his skills and his performance. If he’s got a clean pocket and an open receiver, I expect him to make that throw. So does Chip Kelly. And Pat Shurmur. And Bill Lazor. And Nick himself.

There are good incompletions in a game. There are times when it is smart to take a sack. I give Foles credit when he does these things.

I praise him when he makes great plays.

I’m also going to be hard on him when he doesn’t play well enough. Foles put up big numbers on Sunday, but he made too many mistakes to call it a good game. He might have gotten away with yesterday’s performance if his opponent, Matt Cassel, didn’t play so well. Cassel had a great game. That put extra pressure on Foles and the Eagles offense. They didn’t deliver.

Nick still leads the NFL in QB rating. He’s still having a terrific season. He’s playing well. But part of the challenge for a guy like him is trying to be great. I think Nick understands this. I’m sure he’s watched off-target passes to Cooper and Avant from yesterday more than he has his big plays to DeSean. Part of what makes Nick such a good player is that he does want to be great. He’s going to be hard on himself.

I’m keeping my expectations for Foles high, but reasonable. I’ll never hold him accountable for something he can’t physically do. Yesterday’s mistakes are the kind he can correct. Nick needs to do that with a couple of more porous defenses coming up.

_


  • Andy124

    Some of you didn’t like my criticism of him after yesterday.

    he made too many mistakes to call it a good game.

    T-Law, the second quote leaves a lot left unsaid. It says what yesterday wasn’t, but not what you think it was. I’m guessing any displeasure taken with your evaluation may have had a lot to do with how they filled in that blank. Many might see “not a good game” and assume the opposite of that is a “bad game”, which isn’t necessarily what you mean. Just my 2 cents.

    Keep up the great work.

    • TommyLawlor

      I want to praise the guy for what he did right, while also holding him accountable for reasonable mistakes. Note very sack or incompletion is on him.

      Part of the issue here is that his mistakes were big. They cost us TDs.

      • RIP Worms

        I think a great example of what you’re referring to is the 12-yard sack that he took on 2nd and 4. I didn’t time it, but he had around 4-5 seconds before he was sacked; an eternity by NFL standards. He needed to throw that away and didn’t. That’s the sort of poor decision that we rarely saw him make in previous games.

        • RIP Worms

          On the other hand, this was one of those games where he got off to a poor start, but didn’t compound the problem by making a whole bunch of risky throws. He and the offense played more than well enough to win the game in the second half if we had replacement-level defense and special teams.

          • shah8

            No.

            Not being willing to make *risky* throws was what compounded the situation, and left staff electing to have him try bombs on third down later in the game.

          • shah8

            Look at the play-by-play. Foles was sacked or held to no yards on four separate third and shorts. Add that boneheaded penalty on the fourth-down would-be TD. All of these negative plays were at critical points in the game. A QB who can make a play by evading pass rush and running for a first down in these situation would have helped tremendously. A QB who can make a play be fitting in a ball in tight windows would have helped tremendously. And make no mistake about it, Minnesota was fielding a college level secondary. There was basically no chance there wasn’t two people NFL open on most plays.

            This is not counting his actual attempts to pass, with a number of poorly placed balls that gave people no chance at all to make a play, and which prompted Riley Cooper to signal Foles to “buckle up!”.

          • jesse

            you are a bozo who needs to stop holding Vick’s jock he aint comin back…. as far as holding the ball to long, yes on a couple plays ,but that can be chalked up to the fact he is only in his second year. and more like first as a starter.. then take into account that he knows the break-out possibilities of this squad that they can take it to the house on any play if given that extra split second so he may tend to hold it on occasion a split second to long, that will work itself out with time and experience .. Funny when the season started he was branded captain check-down now it’s he goes all or nothing this guy is having the best second season in N.F.L. history

      • Anders

        This is like people complaining that Kelly said McCoy wasnt perfect against the Lions because he took some wrong cuts.
        Kelly can look at all the positive, but he (like us) wants perfection (tho he knows that it is impossible, but you can still thrive after it)

      • Andy124

        Yup. Absolutley no issue with the specific criticisms. To be clear, I don’t count myself among those to had any problem with your Foles comments. Of course, I’m also not interpretting “not a good game” as “bad game”. :)

      • Mike Roman

        The illegal block penalty is the one mistake that I don’t necessarily fault him for. Most QBs aren’t in that position to throw a block and I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t know he couldn’t go low like that. With that being said, if they worked on that play in practice the coaches should have made sure he knew the rules.

        Foles definitely needs to be held accountable for the sacks, poor throws and the INT. When I originally watched the play I was upset that DJax didn’t make an effort to play defense. When I saw the replay I realized that Foles was just way late with the ball and should never have thrown it. There must have been a 15 yard window where Jackson was open and Foles didn’t pull the trigger until it was too late.

        • shah8

          Strong arm, and the decision isn’t late.

          • shah8

            And frankly, just a reasonable throw with low arc would have mean DJax had a chance to fight for the ball with the CB in mind and not the S with the better angle.

          • jesse

            a cannon like Vicks is unique that doesn’t make Fole’s weak armed and I’d rather have a guy with an avaerage arm that makes good decisions 98.9% of the times then a guy with a rocket for an arm who has difficulty reading a defense and makes to many poor decisions. Man believe me I watch Vick hilights not just running but throwing it 60+ yards in a tight spiral with the flick of his wrist and develop an instant man crush but history shows time and again over a extended period of play the good only breaks even or less with the poor with Vick

        • jesse

          interceptions will happen can’t get upset with a QB that gives up an occasional INT. come on man …this is a second year guy in a new system with a back up 2 receiver that never flourished till Fole’s started throwing it to him.what is it 23 -2 TD/INT ratio that is unreal from any bonafide “ELITE” QB let alone a second year guy

        • ICDogg

          You know, that block is one thing I don’t hold too much against him. Although if he ever does it again, I would.

      • Michael Jorden

        I agree with all of that Tommy. He did make mistakes that cost us points and missed some throws he should have made – that needs to be corrected and I’m sure CK and Nick would be the first to acknowledge it. That’s part of the team not performing at the level it could achieve.

        To say this was a total team loss is also accurate. Well documented short fields from STs, the OFF misfires.

        Not many teams though are going to be able to allow the opponent to put up greater than 40 points and still pull out a win. This season we’ve seen it twice from the Skins over CHI and Peyton Manning over Dallas.

    • mksp

      I think at this point I’m willing to give Foles an offseason to get stronger + better and go into 2014 with him as “the guy.” I don’t think he’s played particularly well these past three games, but we’ve seen enough to give him a chance to get better.

      He can improve his arm strength a bit (it improved from his rookie year to this year). Plus he’ll obviously have more experience.

      But the sheer number of poor throws and slow decision making on Sunday was maddening. He has to be better.

      As far as his INT goes, It was obviously a bad decision – it was a good coverage scheme by MIN, as there was always help overtop. If the play called for DeSean to pull his route and sit in the hole vacated by his CB, we would’ve had a nice little gain, guess that wasn’t an option there.

  • ACViking

    Re: Young Foles v. Young Brees, Young PManning, Young Brady [reposted]

    So speaking of expectations: Just for the sake of comparison . . .
    ________________

    From 2002-03, Drew Brees had his first 25 starts. (Brees rode the bench his rookie season of 2001.)

    In those first 25 starts, Brees posted 28 TDs agst 31 INTs.

    And that was in a conservative Marty Schottenheimer offense with All Pro LaDainian Tomlinson at HB.
    _________________

    In Peyton Manning’s first 14 starts, he had 24 TDs and 25 INTs.
    _________________

    In Tom Brady’s first 14 starts, he threw 18 TDs and 12 INTs.
    _________________

    Nick Foles, in his second NFL season, has started a total of 14 games.

    He’s posted 28 TDs and 7 INTs in those 14 career starts.
    _________________

    What Foles is doing is damned impressive — whatever the reason.

    Has he been as good as the Brees, Manning, and Brady we’ve been watching for the past 5 years?

    Of course not. Why would he? Those guys are now in their 13th, 16th, and 14th seasons as NFL QBs. So 5 years ago, they were hitting their professional peaks.

    Isn’t the bar being set unreasonably high for Foles — just a bit?
    _________________

    My apologies to those who read this comment in the prior post.

    • Anders

      One thing too keep in mind is the rule changes over the last decade like the 5 yard rule or all those targeting rules.

      Better is to compare him with similar drafted QBs over the last 4-5 years.

      Only Russell Wilson are posting similar numbers to Foles.

      • ACViking

        A —

        What is the 5-yard rule that’s changed in the past few years?

        As for the middle of the field, I’m not sure that’s a difference maker in terms of explaining Foles performance, personally.

        INTs in 2013 are on course to just about equal or exceed 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

        Also, INTs in the early ’00s ranged from 524-545 ['01-'04]. That’s only about 1 more INT per QB.

        So I think the comparison to Young Brees/Manning/Brady’s not an unreasonable one.

        • Anders

          after 2003 they changed it so contact after 5 yards on a WR is illegal contact as long as the ball is not in the air (do you remember how Panthers DBs abused the Eagles WRs in the NFCCG?)

          • ACViking

            I think the chuck rule — the “Mel Blount Rule” — went on the books in 1979.

            In 2004, what was supposed to change, per this Baltimore Sun article from 8/04, was enforcement:

            “The NFL is not modifying its 5-yard ‘chuck’ rule that prohibits defenders from making contact with eligible receivers beyond 5 yards from the line of scrimmage, but there will be heavy emphasis on its enforcement this year.”
            http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2004-08-06/sports/0408060179_1_ravens-chris-mcalister-contact

            Has enforcement changed? Probably depends on the officiating crew. And in the playoffs, I still think the refs let the players play.

          • Anders

            I was 100% positive they changed the rule. Might only have been the enforcement, because they 100% didnt enforce it in that NFCCG.

          • ACViking

            That was an outrageous performance by the refs. And I think the NFL let the Super Bowl crew know that the crap Carolina pulled was off limits (against the Pats).

            I’m not sure that Carolina violated the 5-yard zone.

            But the DBs were tossing Thrash and Pinkston around like rag dolls — which struck me as holding.

            You can’t throw a ball unless you hold it before winding up. And those DBs were winding up!

          • ztom6

            Wasn’t 2003 Brees’s second year? Anyway, they stopped calling that years ago… when was the last time you saw an illegal contact penalty?

          • Anders

            They still call illegal contact, but you dont see any DBs abuse WRs like back then either (because they know it gets called)

            Also 2003 was Brees 3rd year.

          • ztom6

            I don’t recall seeing a single illegal contact penalty all year. Not sure I saw one last year either. I looked it up and the Eagles did commit 1 and were the beneficiaries of 1. But it’s not anything like it was in a few years ago.

    • pkeagle

      [reposted from previous thread]

      I’ve counted 6 occasions (2 which have counted) this season where the ball should’ve been intercepted. That still gives him an excellent ratio so even if he’s been ‘lucky’ to some extent, the kid can play.
      ACViking’s stats obviously don’t factor those other QBs’ opponents dropping easy INTs or ones that were called back due to penalties too.

      In addition, he is not just dinking and dunking the ball – there are plenty of downfield throws.

      p.s. Maybe it’s time to change your handle to something else – say ACEagle maybe ;-)

      • ACViking

        pkeagle . . .

        great comments all.

    • JJ_Cake

      Plus Nick handles himself well at the press conferences, he is quick to praise his team mates… offense and defense when he can. He is a team player, and shows that he is truly grateful to be the QB for the Philadelphia Eagles. (the only Pro team to have believed in him per the story about how we were the only team to go to AZ and have him throw for us).

      Outside of the Dallas debacle, the main neg’s I see are that our defense and ST’s need to be more consistently good. If that happens we have a team that can match up against anyone.

  • Anders

    Question re: Vinny Curry (I posted this in the old tread, but think it will get seen more here)

    What to do with him this off season? Should we trade or keep him?

    Reasons to keep him:

    Clearly one of our best pass rusher on the team even tho he hasnt gotten a sack in 4 games.
    He is still very young and cost controlled for next 2 years and the only quality backup we have.

    Reasons to trade him
    He isnt a perfect fit in Chip Kelly’s version of a defense, as Kelly clearly wants a 3-4 2 gap defense (he implemented the same at Oregon when he become HC)
    A lot of teams around the NFL might be interested in a guy with Curry’s skill set (his draft position is irrelevant now that he has showed he can play both 3-4 and 4-3)

    Curry seems better fitted to play an attacking 3-4 scheme (like Houston or Saints) or a traditional 4-3. There is added bonus in that he can be a 3-4 DE, 4-3 DE and even play DT/NT in nickle looks.

    Im not going to give a list of teams, but what kind of compensation would you guys prefer if we are going to trade him?
    I doubt we can get a 1st round for him, but I do think fair price would be 2nd+4th.

    I would do a deal like that. I much rather get some good compensation now than try to fit him into this defense when it is clear we will keep running 3-4 2 gap and his snaps will never come over 40% on a regular basis.

    • ACViking

      A–

      Great question.

      And I think the answer is, as a lawyer would say, “it depends.”

      Depends on the off-season acquisitions vs. any offer a team may make to acquire Curry’s rights.

      If, for example, nothing changes in terms of D-line personnel, then I think Curry stays.

      If the Eagles somehow land a college OLB whose pass-rushing bona fides are firmly established (and I don’t know of one, but you may), then Curry may stay as a DL with a specialized job of rushing w/ his hand down to complements the new OLB.

      On the other hand, if the Eagles feel like a the right offer — it’ll be market driven — is too hard to pass up AND Curry’s contribution doesn’t outweigh keeping him in light of the offer, then he’s gone.

      And I’m assuming his performance over the remainder of 2013 is reflective of what he’s done the past 6-8 weeks.

    • Mike Roman

      I’m okay, although won’t be thrilled, if they move Curry provided they can adequately replace him. Even though Kelly and Davis don’t see him as an ideal fit, they can’t ignore his production when given the opportunities.

      • Anders

        But is it worth it to have a player who only plays 30% of the snaps and isnt an ideal fit if you are offered good compensation and can get a better scheme fit player?

        • Cafone

          Yes, a young player who plays productively in 30% of the snaps has far more value than the mid round draft pick the Eagles could get for him.

          • Anders

            I wouldnt trade him for a mid round draft pick. I wouldnt go lower than a 2nd, so the questions:

            1) do you think we can get a 2nd for him?
            2) if yes, is it then worth it to move him?

          • ACViking

            Inside NovaCare, shouldn’t the questions be:

            1. Does Vinny Curry fit what we want to do?

            2a. If “yes,” how big does the offer have to be?

            2b. If “no,” how little does the offer have to be?

            I think the big question is whether Kelly sees Curry as part of the team’s future.

          • Anders

            Well said.

          • deg0ey

            And, if we’re trying to answer these questions for the sake of discussion, then we’d need to start by figuring out what they might want him to do.

            I kinda think that they’re comfortable with carrying a pass rush specialist to use sparingly given the other players they’ve got available. With Cox and Thornton as starters, they’ve got some quality 2-gap players starting and it’s not like Curry is completely incapable of playing 2-gap.

            From my perspective, Curry’s worth keeping hold of because he offers something a bit different without being incapable of playing the base scheme.

            I think the real question is whether Graham gets traded (a scenario for which the same questions would apply).

          • Anders

            I think Graham might get traded, but again, it depends on the compensation vs how much do the Eagles value him

          • Cafone

            1) no
            2) probably, but it depends on how much Kelly and Davis value depth on the defensive line. I could completely envision them thinking that Curry is valuable enough, even in limited role, to keep.

          • Anders

            I 100% agree with the last part. but as ACViking wrote down below, if they think he is valuable, how much do another team has to offer before you trade him?

      • JJ_Cake

        I hope we keep Curry. Yeah, I’m a “homer”, I pick Eagle players for my fantasy football teams etc (although this is the first year I didn’t pick the D… I said I’m a homer, not stupid :) )

        But seriously, the fact that Curry has talent, and grew up as an Eagles fan. That means something. That’s Vince Papali inspirational. This is a man who puts on the green and silver wings and plays with passion. There is no need to trade Curry, he will play his butt off for us, and give us good play. His level of play is NOT what ails this defense.

    • Cafone

      I say keep him because you aren’t going to get much for him.

      • Anders

        What do you think we could get for him?

        • Cafone

          probably a fourth round pick.

    • fran35

      No way we get anywhere close to a 2 and 4 in the draft. Maybe a late 3 or 4.

      • jesse

        yeah footballs different then any other sport this way a unproven draftee is considered more valuable then a proven commodity even one that is as young as and with as little wear as Curry or BG

    • Neil

      I think you have to get at least a second, maybe an early one. I wouldn’t count out Curry being able to become a good 2gap player, and I don’t think the front office is either. I think he’s really motivated to make it work here since he was drafted by his team, not that he wouldn’t work as hard as he could for anyone else.

      • Anders

        yea that is my thought. I love Curry on the field and thought he was a great pick, but with us clearly been a primary 2 gap front, he just isnt a fit.

        I say an early 2nd (like 5th pick in the 2nd) is the least I would give up for him and I honestly think we can get that for him.

        Looking around the NFL, there is a lot of 4-3 or 3-4 1 gapping teams who could use a versatile pass rusher.

        • Cafone

          I usually like your posting, but you are out of your mind if you think someone is going to give us an early second round pick for Vinny Curry.

          • Anders

            care to explain why? I have no problems with disagreement, but I hate it if people do not give a reason (and just saying because I think so does not count and is an argument for 5 year olds)

          • Cafone

            Because teams value their picks and they are not going to trade them away to take a chance that a guy who is not a star in Philadelphia will be a star in their city because he will adapt better to the system.

            You know who the Eagles could get an early second round pick for? Fletcher Cox. Because if a team is going to trade away an early second round pick they want a guy who has proven he can be great.

          • Neil

            Woah, man. It seems to me like 31 teams would give up a second for Cox. Also everybody in the second half of the first round. No brainer.

            It’s true teams overvalue their own guys, but if you just look at the skillsets as if they were fresh prospects, Curry is at least a 2nd. Cox is a 5-15 type guy.

          • Anders

            Cox is worth more than a 1st now.

            Curry is worth a 2nd at least, he has produced despite not been a fit. A team running a 4-3 can see he would be a perfect fit and they know he has already produced against NFL level talent.

            We know teams are coveting Curry consider how much trade talk there was for him (we do not know what was offered, but trade rumors only gets leaked if compensation is high enough for any interest)

          • Neil

            Yeah, I wouldn’t give up Cox for a first unless it was like top 5. I was just being conservative by discounting the fact that he’s produced at this level.

            The key here is we’re not talking about driving a car off the lot. Teams are reticent to trade draft picks for sure, but you don’t fall from 2nd to 4th value by producing in the league.

          • ACViking

            A 2nd Rd pick to whom?

            Curry’s worth what the market offers.

            Maybe the NovaCare folks insist on nothing less than a 2nd Rd pick — in which case, he may not get moved.

            But if Kelly doesn’t see Curry as an essential piece of the future, he’ll be auctioned to the highest bidder.

            Who in the NFL would — as of today — pay a 2nd?

          • Anders

            Teams who lack pass rush help and might be willing(I have no clue on how those teams situations are in terms of possible picks):

            Falcons (tho they might get Clowney)
            Vikings (they lose Allen after this season)
            Bears (Peppers is not getting it done and Curry+Melton on passing downs would be deadly)
            Tampa (need an outside guy to complement McCoy and McCoy+Curry would also be deadly inside on passing downs)
            Bills (seen a lot of pass rushers mocked too them)
            Cleveland (tho they are bad fit as they also runs a 2 gap 3-4)
            Jags (they run the 4-3 under where we all thought Curry was a good fit)
            Chargers (need just about everything on defense)
            Raiders

          • ACViking

            A–

            That’s a pretty good list.

          • Cafone

            Maybe a GM from one of those teams has the balls to make a trade like that, but he better hope that Curry produces quickly because the fans will be ready to hang him for trading a 2nd round pick for a former 2nd round pass rush specialist from a small school that has four sacks in two years.

            “fans in philly think he has a lot of potential” will be small consolation.

          • Anders

            Maybe a smart GM knows that stats isnt everything?

            Also Im 99% sure Curry would produce well in a 4-3 or 3-4 under defense.

          • Cafone

            DeMeco Ryans was another player who some felt was out of position in a new system and would have more success somewhere else. He was only two years older than Curry is now. Like Curry, he was a former 2nd round pick, but was picked 26 spots sooner than Curry. Unlike Curry, he had been in the pro bowl twice and was defensive rookie of the year. The Eagles got him for a 4th round pick.

            I like Curry. I just think you guys have an unrealistic idea of the value you get in trade picks when trading a player.

          • ACViking

            Ryans, though, may have been as much a salary casualty as anything. He was a 2-down ILB making 3-down money.

            Curry’s not in that situation. He’s an occasional-down player making 2nd Rd rookie salary-cap money

          • Anders

            yea Ryans was a salary dump (just Samuel was for us) who was only playing 2 downs because Cushing had emerged as the better 3 down player.

          • Cafone

            There were 30 other teams that could have offered more than the Eagles offered. They didn’t

          • ACViking

            Maybe the Eagles offered more than everyone else and could have had Ryans for a 5th.

          • Cafone

            Maybe, but I don’t see how that supports the view that Curry, a player that has not only not been to two pro bowls, but has barely been on the field, is going to fetch a second round pick.

            Maybe on the strength of his college tape going up against powerhouses like Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State?

          • Anders

            Because Ryans was a salary dump off? Eagles and other teams knew the Texans was in tight spot so they could offer less (also Ryans been injured and not as productive played a part). On top of that Ryans contract is a top ILB contract in the NFL where Curry is on a rookie deal.

          • Anders

            Most likely there wasnt 30 other teams trying to get him.

          • Neil

            Having to dump salary changes the calculation quite a bit. The Texans aren’t perennially 20mil under like us. Ryans had a fat contract. Curry doesn’t.

          • Neil

            I don’t see why Curry doesn’t have more value as a situational player for the next 2-3 years than a 3rd or (heaven forbid) a 4th.

            Bennie Logan has been a revelation from the 3rd, but that’s kinda the point. We didn’t expect him to play this well. And I wouldn’t say he’s been more important than Curry.

          • Anders

            I think Curry is worth more than a single 3rd.

          • Neil

            Who knows, man. I won’t say it’s likely, but Curry has displayed way more than any college prospect. He’s been productive at this level.

        • Neil

          Well, I would qualify him not being a fit. He’s not a perfect fit or an obvious fit. But if he could become a good player versus the run, he’s already a great interior pass rusher. He would be fine as an everydown guy and a presence rushing the passer. Sounds like the kind of guy you want playing for your team for a long time.

          • Anders

            yea, the question is of course if the coaching staff and Howie think he can become an every down guy in this defense. If not we should really think about trading him

          • Neil

            Yeah, for sure. Just not for peanuts. A situational pass rusher as effective as him for the duration of his rookie contract is probably worth more than a 3rd.

      • ztom6

        I think he already is a pretty good 2 gap player. The 2 players ahead of him are just better all around players than he is, that’s all. I don’t see any obvious problems against the run when Vinny’s in the game.

    • bill

      I have a question for you, Anders (and any other draft type junkie): How many 2-gap DEs have been drafted in the 1st round over the last 10 years? Obviously, I’m wondering about Fletcher Cox; did the switch to 3-4 2 gap essentially turn him into the equivalent of a first round center?

      • Anders

        well not many 3-4 DEs have been selected in the first round because teams for many years focused only on the NT and thought the DEs was just complements to the scheme.

        But guys like Muhamed Wilkerson or Sheldon Richardson plays both 2 gap and 1 gap (just like Cox). Richard Seymour was picked early and he was a huge part of the Pats 3-4 scheme in their super bowl years

        • ACViking

          One thing Rex Ryan can do is coach defense!

          • Anders

            Not this year. They are 13th in yards and 23rd in points/g.

            Still if he was available, I would still can Davis and hire him as DC (and I like Davis and think he has done a lot with very little)

        • bill

          Thanks.

  • Mike Roman

    It’s funny how I have been so high on this team for weeks and now I’m nervous as hell. I told friends that I thought we would run the table if we beat Arizona. Then I felt even more sure about that proclamation after the win over Detroit. Now after yesterday, I’m not sure that we really beat Dallas.

    If Matt Cassel and Greg Jennings can play pitch and catch against this defense, imagine what Tony Romo and Dez Bryant can do. Yes, we held Dallas to 17 points the last time we played them but I feel like that was an anomaly; just like I think Foles’ game against them was an anomaly.

    The Eagles certaintly showed some flaws yesterday. Hell, they didn’t just show their flaws, they flaunted them. Now I’m trying to decide if the Eagles are as flawed as Dallas or just differently flawed. On any given week, I think the defense can lay an egg like yesterday. On the otherhand, we find ways to win games that are close. Dallas is great at finding ways to lose.

    I guess anyway I break it down in my head, that last game is going to come down to Foles outplaying Romo. I think both teams are going to score. Just gotta keep it close and wait for a Romo blunder. Oh, and I know I’m skipping over Chicago. I can see that game going either way and it ultimately doesn’t matter. It isn’t the make or break game — especially if Dallas beats Washington.

    So what is the point of my rambling? I have absolutely no idea.

    • TommyLawlor

      Great last line. We all feel that way.

      • Mike Roman

        That you don’t understand the point of my rambling? Lol.

  • TheRogerPodacter

    Great Expectations is the name of a KISS song. I think it also might be a Chuck Dickens story. And they are a point of discussion in relation to this Eagles team.

    amazing start to an article. thats all i have to contribute here.

    • shah8

      I prefer the Living Color take.

  • SteveH

    One positive I took away from Foles yesterday was that he kept battling. There was a point in the 3rd quarter where he had just made a couple bad throws in a row (around the time the cameras showed Riley Cooper trying to pump Foles up after an incompletion) and it looked like the wheels might be coming off for that game. But Foles found Avant to convert the 3rd down and then took the team right down the field for the TD. I thought that was an important moment, because things weren’t going well, I’m sure Nick knew they weren’t going well but he composed himself and got things back on track.

    That being said I think criticism of his game yesterday is absolutely legit. But then again a 2nd year player with less than a full seasons worth of starts under his belt is going to have some rocky games, the important thing is he going to learn from the experience and apply that moving forward.

    • Mike Roman

      I think you are right on. The bottom line is that he is still relatively inexperienced and a young QB is going to make some of those mistakes. I think Nick has shown that he learns from his mistakes, which is encouraging. He did pass for over 400 yards and 3 TDs so he did a lot of good things too. Yes, the pick was a bad throw. Yes, he took a couple sacks when he should have gotten rid of the ball. The thing is, none of those things are going to make Patrick Chung disappear.

    • Phyxius

      It made me happy seeing Riley having Nick’s back, wish DeSean would do the same ha.

  • Cafone

    Let’s lay off Foles for a bit and talk about how Riley Cooper has reverted to his normal form (crap) since those few weeks of fool’s gold convinced many of us that he actually had the talent to be a mediocre NFL starter.

    • ACViking

      Evidence?

      • Cafone

        Be more specific. Evidence that he’s crap, or evidence that some people actually thought he might be a mediocre NFL starter?

        • ACViking

          C —

          You wrote:

          “Riley Cooper has reverted to his normal form (crap) since those few weeks of fool’s gold convinced many of us that he actually had the talent to be a mediocre NFL starter.”

          I’m asking for examples that “Cooper has reverted . . . .” — as you linked “crap” to “mediocre NFL starter” in your comment. Didn’t seem like an either-or statement.

          • Cafone

            By linking “crap” and “mediocre NFL starter” I was linking Cooper’s norm, and his highest potential upside. I wasn’t accusing anyone of thinking that he actually had the potential to be a “good NFL starter”.

            How about 30 yards with a 7 yard average against one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL? I’d say that’s a pretty good example of him reverting to his norm of “crap”.

            In the end, Cooper is what he has always been: A #4 receiver that you would really like to upgrade with a more talented player.

          • ACViking

            Not contesting. Just asking.

      • shah8

        Eh, that’s pretty easy. They don’t really ask Cooper to run complex routes and get open, and they don’t ask Cooper to make good contested catches a la Anquan Bolden. They *had* been asking Cooper to catch floating underthrown deep balls that are dangerous precisely because it doesn’t require people to have good hands to catch those, but Cooper does a stand up job bullying DBs and shielding the ball coming from above, rather than from the sides. Playing center fielder instead of WR on a football team.

        • Anders

          What is a complex route?

          • shah8

            Well, I could have said, “run a good route, such that he has a reasonable chance of being open.”

            Beyond that, outside of Tampa, how many times have you seen Cooper fake a double-move on the way down the sideline as a fly route?

          • Cafone

            To take it a step further, how many times have you seen Riley Cooper actually get open?

            “Vick didn’t throw to Cooper because Vick wasn’t willing to throw to guys who weren’t open” was used as a criticism of Vick, but it doesn’t say a hell of a lot about Cooper’s ability either.

          • Anders

            Not every WR in the NFL is fast. Been open in the NFL is about running good routes and the QB throwing with anticipation. Cooper runs good routes and Foles throws with anticipation, that is why Cooper is producing.

            If speed was the only thing, guys like Tedd Ginn or DHB would be super stars while Jerry Rice or Boldin would be crap.

          • shah8

            No.

            Foles does not throw with anticipation. Just because you say it doesn’t mean it’s true.

          • Anders

            Then why is just about every body saying it? or are we all just mind less sheep?

          • shah8

            /me rolls eyes.

            Whatever.

            If Foles was capable of making anticipation throws, that would have meant that he’d have gone through his reads, make a downfield throw, on time, properly placed, giving the WR a chance to keep going after catch. How many deep passes have you ever seen Foles make give the receiver a chance to make a bigger play?

            I’m down on the man because he keeps his WR spending their talents to help him out rather than spending their talents to beat the guys on the other side.

          • Neil

            Wait, so are you talking about throwing with anticipation or with ideal ball placement to allow RAC? Isn’t it weird how you just switched like that?

          • Anders

            yea those are two different things. Foles throws with great anticipatient, but sometimes lack ideal ball placement

          • Neil

            Yeah, his accuracy hasn’t been consistent enough. Not just ball placement but completely missing easy throws.

          • Neil

            Foles has been documented making anticipation throws as early as his rookie year. The pass to Avant that Avant slipped on and the ball hit him in the face. Etc. It just takes one black dove.

          • Anders

            What about his post corner route against GB?

            What about his stop and go against the Raiders?

            Also Coopers good routes, but isnt fast so most CBs can keep up with him. Also Cooper has made several contested catches this year and also did last year

          • shah8

            Now, out of those routes you remember…do you actually remember Cooper being downfield, being especially open on a routine basis? I’m not watching Cooper when I watch the games, but why do you think it’s Ertz, for example, instead of Cooper, attracting most of the normalish downfield passing attempts? That’s because Ertz will reliably beat not-especially-compentent coverage LBs. Cooper has been on some really bad DBs, you know. Got lots of points because of that, but whenever the S *isn’t* incompetent, well…

          • Anders

            Not sure what you are trying to say.

            Cooper has been open down field several times where Foles just misfired (40 yards down the sideline is the lowest comp% throw in the NFL)

          • theycallmerob
          • Neil

            When a WR runs a route with Vick or Barkley in the game?

            Ba-dum-tish.

        • ICDogg

          “Playing center fielder instead of WR on a football team.”

          Whatever works!

  • Sean Stott

    My eye test tells me the Eagles are better than the 9ers, and data back it up.

    http://www.advancednflstats.com/2013/12/team-efficiency-rankings-week-14.html

    • ACViking

      On defense?

      In the past 10 games, the 49ers have the No. 1 NFL defense in the NFL in points-allowed at 11 pg. With a schedule that wasn’t a whole different from the Eagles (which, before yesterday, were 3rd at 18.1 pg).

      • Sean Stott

        Overall. 49ers have laid a few turds of their own.

        • ACViking

          Yes, early in the season SF was not playing well.

          Since week 4, the 49ers are 8-2 with losses only to Carolina 10-9 and on the road in New Orleans 23-20.

          Not bad.

  • Bob Brewer

    Foles or Cousins?

    • Anders

      Foles by a land mile. Cousins is very careless with the ball (he same amount of turnovers 1 one game as Foles has all year).

      • Cafone

        I agree, but I also think Cousins doesn’t look too bad. I think he’s at least good enough to have people in DC calling for him every time RGIII messes up, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
        sort-of-trivia: Cousins was the next QB taken after Foles.

  • Lord Foles

    Let’s all pray and hope that Chip doesn’t decide to kick short against Hester. With the secondary against Jeffery, Marshall, and Forte, BBC (Big Balls Chip) may as well onside kick each time. At least we’d have a shot to get the ball back…

    Also, at risk of sounding like the bloated and bloviated Reuben Frank…I primarily came in to say that KISS are a bunch of hacks. The only “Great Expectations” that counts is this one by The Gaslight Anthem.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVABxFsXx9o

    • TommyLawlor

      KISS was a great band in the 1970s. Not so much anymore.

      Gaslight Anthem is new to me. Interesting.

      • Lord Foles

        Yeah, I respect the success they’ve had. But their music isn’t for me and Gene Simmonds is an unbearable human being. To each their own!

        Gaslight is a great NJ band, relatively new.

        Anyway, long-time reader of your tremendous site, and new commenter. Thanks for the constant insight and for keeping us relatively displaced Eagles fans entertained and in the know!

      • Cafone

        Well, now you’ve heard their entire catalog because every one of their songs sounds the same. They are most famous for knocking Nickleback off the top of the suck charts.

        • Lord Foles

          Really hope you’re making a Nickelback reference to KISS. Nickelback, Hinder, and Creed are the Holy Trinity of Generic Shit Rock to me. I think the same group of (mouth-breathing) people buy all their records. But what do I know, those guys made millions off of music I abhor.

          Not saying Gaslight is the end all, be all, but they’re not remotely close to Nickelback.

  • Tumtum

    One thing you have to give Nick credit for is really stepping his game up in the second half. This bad game is better than his last bad game.

    As long as that trend continues he should be playing nothing but perfect and semi-perfect games by week 5 next year.

  • Weapon Y

    A lot of my fellow Foles supporters are probably too hard on you. After finally being vindicated for claiming Foles was the best quarterback on the team, we’re just reflexive to assume that anyone who criticizes Foles wants him benched or replaced next year. The reason we fear that is because we know he’s a really good quarterback who could become a great quarterback, and would hate to lose him. We just want to make sure you aren’t saying you’d prefer a free agent quarterback like Jay Cutler, or a rookie quarterback like Bridgewater or Manziel. As long as its just, “He’s clearly our guy next year, but these are some things he needs to improve on….” that’s perfectly legitimate and I agree. I just wanted to help bridge the misunderstandings.

    • shah8

      Well no, that’s EXACTLY why I hate these situations. The fanbase goes totally teenaged girls with furious jealousy. And everybody is miserable until the boys being fought over are gone…If Tommy thinks Jay Cutler is a good idea, more power to him. He might have good reasons to think that would be a good idea. They might be bad, but then we all just chatter and argue about it, and it stays fun.

    • Cafone

      I think an important thing to remember is that if Foles really isn’t that great, it’s a very good thing because it means that Chip Kelly’s offense is not dependent on a pro-bowl caliber QB to put up huge numbers.

    • ACViking

      People who criticize Foles, DJax, Cox, Barwin or Chip Kelly do it because they want to make sense of out of something they’ve seen and don’t like.

      We still don’t — and will never — know what Kelly thinks of Foles when he’s alone with his staff and the front office.

      By all accounts, Kelly wants to get better at every position always. I assume that includes at QB.

      So we won’t know what Kelly thinks until the day comes that Foles is replaced, if that day should ever come. Then we’ll know.

      • Weapon Y

        It just feels like so many people are out there wanting Foles to fail because they have a preconceived idea of what a Chip Kelly quarterback looks like. Hey, maybe he doesn’t pan out. But Nick Foles at his best is THE Chip Kelly quarterback. He isn’t the placeholder for the “real” Kelly-style quarterback like Johnny Manziel. Let’s keep in mind that it is excruciatingly hard to find a franchise quarterback. Who’s to say that Manziel or someone else can play as good or better than Foles? Foles has played so well I doubt that’s possible for anyone outside of Peyton Manning/Brady/Rodgers/Brees/Russell Wilson. Too many people are taking Foles for granted and just think good quarterbacks grow on trees.

        • ACViking

          W-Y:

          I don’t know about other places, but here, there seems to be a respectful debate going on about Foles. Who, after all, is young and been up and down at times.

          Foles may be the crowned prince of the Kelly QB throne. And, I agree, the grass isn’t always greener.

          It’s early still in the Foles story. But at present, it’s hard to see any challengers on the horizon until 2015 at the earliest.

          • Weapon Y

            Agreed. Criticism of Foles is fine. I have plenty myself and he does too. I’m not going to overreact like some talking heads who have their heads up their butt and think Chip is just waiting to get his hands on a young scrambler (ie Manziel) and can’t wait to get rid of Foles.

        • ICDogg

          I am in no way trying to replace Foles and would certainly ride him out through next year. He’s earned that. But there are still some questions about him that need to be resolved over time. Foles left a lot of plays on the field this last game and I don’t think it is unfair to point that out. I think his stats belie the problems he had in his game yesterday.

    • Vick or Nick

      Considering everything.

      Foles should be the QB in 2014-15.

      1. We will not have a pick in the range for the top QB’s in 2014 draft.

      2. We should not reach for a lesser QB when we have to fill holes on Defense for OLB pass rusher, Cornerbacks, and Safeties and there will be prospects on the board.

      3. Marcus Mariota won’t be available til 2015 Draft at the earliest.

  • ACViking

    Re: Foles’ Sacks

    The sacks are frustrating, for sure.

    The Eagles have yielded 39 on the year — 21 in Foles’ 8 starts, or about 36 over a 14-game period. Look at these other teams:

    NE’s given up 37 sacks , with Tom Brady at QB.

    Seattle’s at 36, with the mobile Russell Wilson.

    The 49ers have allowed 34, with (future HOF high hurdler) Kaepy at QB.

    Sacks happen when you’re trying to get the ball downfield.

    Foles needs to do a better job with sacks. But it’s not like he’s doing much worse than Tom Brady.

    Just saying.

    • Anders

      Im surprised Brady has taken that many sacks.

      • ACViking

        A —

        I had the same reaction.

        Phillip Rivers . . . 26 sacks.

        • pkeagle

          Well McCoy’s strategy is definitely to get the ball out quickly which is a departure from Norv’s teams

          • ACViking

            Yes, good point.

            Interestingly, though, when Turner was the Cowboys’ OC back during their SB run of the early ’90s, the ‘Boys had one of the lowest sack-per-pass-attempt ratios in the NFL.

            In San Diego, Turners’ offenses were more erratic. Last year, among the worst. In 2011, among the best. And 2010 just north of the middle.

          • pkeagle

            I guess I was comparing like-for-like re personnel from last year and this year but you’re right about Dallas OL (boy if only we’d had that one in the late 80s/early 90s)

          • ACViking

            You’re so right.

            For reasons that seem so irrational, Buddy just didn’t put the energy into building a stable offense.

      • theycallmerob

        Besides gronk, their biggest loss of the year may have been Vollmer

    • Ark87

      I’m wondering how/if this number will change as he develops. I believe his high number of being sacked is linked to his low rate of interceptions. Seems to me he is opting to take a sack rather than rush a throw. the trick to reducing this number the right way will be getting the ball out faster rather than hastier, else we may see an uptick in picks.

  • Mitchell

    So here is my question since we have some more tape on Foles, but perhaps it should wait till the end of the season: Can he be a top 10/5 in the future? His numbers would indicate that this year but do we think he can become the player we want him to be going forward?

    • Vick or Nick

      The problem with Nick is that he doesn’t have a physical attribute that really stands out. The best part of his game is he makes the right throws at the right time (decision making). Last week against the Vikings he was very erratic. Accuracy was also an issue.

      The O-Line didn’t play well against a good Vikings front. He was pressured and hit more than normal. Maybe that took a toll on him. Then again he has responded well to pressure in the past.

      For me, I think Nick played well enough for us to win as a QB. The offense as a whole took way to long to get started. Nick was the culprit on DeSeans end around TD. Which, in hindsight, really hurt the team.

      For Eagles to make the playoffs, the defense has to get more pressure on the QB and cover tighter. Or else they will continue to give up points to QB’s playing solid football. Last Sunday was an opportunity to beat a functional QB and offense considering all the circumstances.

      As it stands, the Defense remains the Wild Card going forward.

      • ztom6

        To be fair, neither Brees nor Brady could be said to have had a “physical attribute that really stands out” when they were 2nd year players. The physical aspect of the position is what makes (merely) good QBs. The cerebral aspect is what makes GREAT QBs. Foles is well-advanced in the latter, needs to work on the former.

        • Vick or Nick

          I agree.

          Thing is there are some attributes you can’t teach.

          Brady’s ability to see the field is second to none, he rarely misses an open receiver.

          Brees is about as pin point accurate as there is in the NFL.

          Nick won’t significantly improve in arm strength or speed. But he can get to great with more experience.

          I said it after the Giants game when he first came in, Nick Foles is our franchise QB. I’m sticking with that. He’s not going to be perfect. But he can get the job done. Last week he just needed more help from the Defense. He never had an opportunity to tie the game/get the lead in the 4th with us always being down 2 scores.

  • Vick or Nick

    If you haven’t seen this yet…watch now

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfQUwXG2s8s

    • GENETiC-FREAK

      Nice! First time seeing this

  • Ark87

    I mentioned this in the preseason, one interesting aspect of chip’s philosophy and schemes is that the defense controls the run:pass ratio. The defense does get to pick their poison.

    They opted to make Nick Foles beat them, load the box and bring the heat. Nick was “not good”, but listen, the Vikings identified him as the weak link and he still put up 30 points. I mentioned in previous posts, no he isn’t the guy that can put the team on his back and just win (yet at least), like a Peyton Manning,Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Drew Brees. But Nick is working for peanuts, we need to use those resources to get a defense that makes 30 points good enough to win.

    • JJ_Cake

      It’s interesting to note that all those guys you mentioned also lost their games on Sunday (exception of Aaron Rodgers). But sometimes even Manning, Brady, and Brees can’t put the team on their back and win either :)

  • Ark87

    Separate thought: Fear of the Outlier (come on spell check, that’s a word)

    Teams have always been terrified of the Outlier. When a team feels like they have possession of a win (before it is won), they always get scared. Suddenly the method used for getting into a position to win is not good enough. We must protect ourselves from an unlikely event that may take the win away. Some freak occurrence like a pick six, or heavens forbid a dropped pass that stops the clock! Fear of losing something you believe is yours. I believe we came into this game believing the win was ours to lose. I think the coaches and players believed that outside an outlier event, like Cordarelle Patterson giving the Vikings some return TD’s, we had this game. We are a healthier more talented team after all, just don’t lose. I think that’s why we lost.

    • ICDogg

      Well said… and I agree.

  • John Galt

    Tommy – with the wild card all but gone, if the cowboys beat the skins, any chance Chip rests the guys at all? I know he won’t sit them the whole game, but maybe Vick in the second half or no Shady late? The game is basically meaningless if the cowboys win.

  • ICDogg

    pic.twitter.com/S5Kp8YR4w7

  • jesse

    as horrendous as the D played have to put some factors into it. the first obviously is the terrible field position they were put in by the most ridicules GP i have seen of rather kicking to a good rookie return man and taking your chances concede half the field.. then their is the early woe’s of the offense with 3 and outs’s the whole first half along with the uptempo so they were probably gassed also the long term effect of the uptempo wearing on them at this point in the season . but still a poor performance regardless especially by safeties .

    this team has been living with the bend don’t break mentality all season. Keeping the plays in front of them letting the short yardage down the field, believing the more plays in a drive the more chances for a mistake, and this team has capitalized on timely turnovers on several occasions this season and buckling down in the red zone that plan wasn’t used in this game DB’s let receivers get past them. safeties seemed late breaking to their deep responsibilities and taking poor angles and sloppy tackling. The D-line and LB’s played well for the most part played the run great. especially T.Cole and Cedric Thorton . not great pressure but seems Casale was a part of that with quick release and moving in pocket to avoid the sack and connect on big plays. sad truth is this is what we have a ok D that can be beaten if it doesn’t force TO’s or stand in the RZ.we are lacking a true 1 CB a good cover S and a young dominant OLB we adress these concerns in the offseason and we will have a above average to good Defense to go along with what will become an unstopable O

  • ICDogg

    pic.twitter.com/aZuqCoyknT