The Eagles are 7-5. They are 6-2 in the last 8 games. The defense hasn’t let anyone score more than 21 points in that stretch. The QB has the highest rating in the NFL. Life is pretty good.
There are still concerns.
But that’s okay. We knew all along this was a flawed football team. Chip Kelly wasn’t going to come in here and solve everything all at once. And let’s consider the problem right now…the Eagles are able to build big leads, but not sustain them. All in all, that’s a good problem for a first year coach.
The funny thing here is that part of what got Andy Reid fired is that his team was building leads and then losing them altogether. Kelly is still winning games. He’s just not making it very pretty at the end.
The Eagles had some chances to put today’s game away. There was a PR for TD that a penalty negated. There was a long run that got the team into FG range that a penalty negated. Dumb mistakes. You can bet that Kelly and the staff will be working to clean them up.
Part of being a good team is finding a way to win. Last week Brandon Boykin had the pick in the end zone. This week the D got the Cardinals to go 4 and out and then the offense did just enough to run out the clock. It wasn’t pretty, but it was winning football.
I’m curious to see what the ceiling is for this team. They had a 24-0 lead last week. They were up 24-7 on Sunday. The Eagles look pretty darn good in building up those leads. If this team can somehow start to play complete games, they’ll look pretty good. I don’t know if that will happen this year, but I’ll certainly keep my fingers crossed.
One thing that is encouraging is the play of the front seven. They had 5 sacks today and got regular pressure on Carson Palmer. I wrote on Saturday about Trent Cole and the LBs being on the rise. Cole had 2 sacks and a FF. Brandon Graham had 2 sacks. DeMeco Ryans had a sack and played the run well.
We know the DL is good. If the LBs start to turn it on, that will be another big piece to the puzzle. Cole now has 5 sacks in the last 4 games. He told Chris McPherson that he’d figured something out about playing in the 3-4. I had my doubts about that, but he was a force off the edge today. It would be great if Cole really did figure something out and he can play at a high level for the last month.
I need to watch the tape before saying too much about the OL giving up 5 sacks. That’s not good, but it helps to see why things happened to understand them. I know Lane Johnson gave up one sack to Abraham due to over-setting to the outside and leaving himself vulnerable to an inside move. I do know that Foles had good enough blocking to throw 3 TDs and finish with a rating of 112.o.
The one upside to all of this is that the Eagles can’t get complacent. Everybody will stay a bit on edge due to the tight finishes. That could serve Kelly well as he tries to keep his team focused and hungry down the stretch.