The Moment

Posted: January 1st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 97 Comments »

Chip Kelly is trying to get the Eagles to treat every game the same. This is tough because it goes against history and human nature. Ask anyone who has ever played in the NFL and they will tell you the games are different in December than in September. They will also tell you the games go up a notch in January. Playoff football is a whole other animal.

How will the 2013 Eagles handle the pressure of the playoffs? Will they respond well to the big moment?

We can’t tell much from the past couple of seasons. The Eagles were 1-4 in December last year, but that team was awful for most of the year. The 2011 Eagles were 4-1 in December, but they weren’t playing pressure games since the team was 4-7 when that stretch started. You can point out that those were all “must win” games to even get in the playoff hunt, but that’s still different. There isn’t the same kind of pressure when you’ve had a disappointing season.

The 2010 Eagles lost their last couple of regular season games and then the Wild Card game to the Packers. The 2009 Eagles lost the season finale to Dallas and the Wild Card game, a rematch with Dallas. You have to go all the way back to 2008 to find an Eagles team that finished well in the regular season and then played well in the postseason. That was a whole different team…McNabb, Westy, Tra, Runyan, Dawk, Disco Stu, and Patt/Bunk.

The 2013 Eagles got a taste of the playoffs on Sunday night when they played the Cowboys. The Eagles got out to a 17-7 lead and looked to be in good shape. Things got shaky after that, but they did come up big down the stretch to win the game. Say what you want about Dallas, but they did play with postseason desperation. That’s the biggest thing. There is no tomorrow. You live and die with that game. That can bring out a different side of players and coaches.

I think the Eagles have handled pressure situations pretty well this year. Coming out of the bye week, the Eagles hosted a tough Cardinals team. The Eagles managed to win that game. The next week the Lions came to town, along with a major snowstorm. The Eagles got down 14-0, but came back to win 34-20. The Bears game wasn’t a pressure situation, but it was interesting to see how the Eagles responded to Dallas last second win from earlier in the day. The Eagles could have mailed that game in, knowing it wouldn’t affect the division race. Instead, they played their best game of the season and destroyed the Bears.

The Eagles have had to deal with tight moments in the 4th quarter. They had the lead in most of these games so we haven’t seen much in the way of comebacks, but the team still had to make key plays to win those games. They have dealt with pressure situations. Let’s make a trip to Cliche City and say the Eagles are…battle tested.

I don’t think you need playoff experience to win in the postseason. You need to play well. You need to deal well with pressure. I don’t know if the Eagles will beat the Saints, but I do think they’ll handle the moment just fine.

* * * * *

Since more than a few of you are Penn State fans, let’s talk about the Bill O’Brien news. He is going to be the new coach of the Houston Texans.

This is a good and bad thing. O’Brien was a terrific coach. He did an amazing job at Penn State. He kept that program together through some really dark days. He got kids to want to stay there. He got other kids to want to come there. O’Brien did a great job of developing talent. Who realistically thought Matt McGloin would ever play in the NFL, let alone start? How many people saw Zach Zwinak running for almost 2,000 yards in the last 2 years? Did anyone project Allen Robinson to be an elite WR?

It hurts to lose a coach as good as O’Brien. There is absolutely no denying that.

At the same time, it was abundantly clear that O’Brien viewed Penn State as a stop, not a destination. He has mostly a college background, but fell in love with the NFL during his time with the Patriots. No recruiting. No academics. Just football. I bet O’Brien would have left last year if he truly listened to his heart. I’m guessing he decided that jumping ship after just a year wouldn’t have been right.

O’Brien can leave Penn State with a clear head. He is leaving the program better than he found it. I am not mad at O’Brien for leaving. PSU needed him when they hired him. The school was rejected by coach after coach. No one wanted to touch that situation. O’Brien was willing to because he wanted to be a head coach so that it would help him to get to run an NFL team. Both sides needed each other. The situation worked well for 2 years.

Now Penn State needs someone who will view the school as a place to settle. They need stability. Here are my thoughts on some candidates.

* Al Golden – He’s my number one target. Golden built a program at Temple. He has a PSU background so he understands the school and the culture. I don’t know if he’d have any interest in leaving Miami.

* Greg Schiano – I am not Schiano’s biggest fan, but you can’t ignore the fact he build Rutgers into a good program. They were basically irrelevant forever until he got there. It seemed to me that Schiano got arrogant in his final years at Rutgers and that followed him to Tampa, but he got a big piece of humble pie this year. My perception is that he changed a bit when things got so ugly in the middle of the season. If you can get the Schiano who build the Rutgers program, you’ve got a good coach. He also has a PSU background and understands the situation.

* Pete Lembo – He’s coached at Lehigh, Elon and Ball State. Has a career record of 104-48. He’s 43 years old. Lembo does a great job with academics and his teams score plenty of points. I know he’s not a sexy name, but there is something to be said for hiring a guy like him rather than going for a big name. Remember that Bill O’Brien was considered a disappointing hire when he took the job.

* James Franklin – He’s currently the coach at Vanderbilt. Franklin has done an amazing job with that program. He’s a PA native who played at East Stroudsburg. You can argue that Franklin should be the number one target. My only hesitation is that I wonder if he’d view Penn State as a long term destination. He spent one year in the NFL. Would he be tempted by that, or to go to an elite program? I’m really hoping PSU can find someone to stay for a decade.

* Kevin Wilson – This would be an interesting hire. He knows the spread offense and the up-tempo attack as well as anyone. Indiana finished 9th in the nation in total offense this year. They moved the ball on PSU with ease. They did okay vs Ohio State. Wilson is a former OL coach. Think of him as the college version of Andy Reid. Spent a lot of time under Bob Stoops so he’s been part of an elite program.

* Greg Roman – Currently the Niner’s OC. Great offensive mind. Has a terrific background. Was reportedly a finalist for the PSU job a couple of years ago. The only knock on Roman is if he has the personality to lead a team. He might not be the right guy for an NFL team (53 men), but his personality could be just fine for college.

* Mike Munchak – Former PSU star OL is now the coach of the Titans. There is some question about whether they will keep him or let him go. There are rumors that Munchak has put his name into consideration for the PSU job. Would he leave the NFL, where he’s on the hot seat, to go back to his alma mater? Would he be the right guy?

It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out.

_


  • OregonDucker

    Happy New Year Tommy and Eagles Fans!

    A new year for Chip to bring the MAGIC. The Eagles are a scary team now. The Playoffs will be very exciting for such young players (eg. Ertz, Foles, Logan etc.) who have quality veterans to help lead the way to wins.

    What a fun time to be an Eagles Fan!

  • bdbd20

    Hey Tommy,

    Do you think Boykin gets moved outside next season? He seems like the kind of playmaker we’re looking for there.

    Or is he just too valuable in the slot?

    • TommyLawlor

      My guess is that he stays in the slot next year. 2015 might be a time for him to move outside. Let him master one spot before having him do both.

      • Donald Kalinowski

        If the Eagles draft a CB in the first round or signs someone who is really good, what you do you think will happen to Cary Williams?

        • CTAZPA

          The Eagles try to fix weaknesses through free agency, then use the draft for best player available. I hope they find a CB for depth at the least. When Fletcher missed a game, we had no answer. I don’t think anyone knows what will happen to Williams, Chip will make him work and compete to keep his position. While the secondary is clearly a weakness, he brings physicality and toughness that bodes well for the playoffs.

          • Maggie

            I’ve thought for a while now that quality backups will probably be an important consideration for 204.

          • Dominik

            We can’t worry about the mood of Williams or Fletcher, we need depth at that position. Draft or sign a solid-good CB and let those three battle the spots 1-4 (Boykin in the slot) out.

            I don’t want Carmichael, Coleman, Chung or Matthews anywhere near playing time next year. At ILB, Roseman needs to look carefully at Knott and if he would be ready if Ryans goes down. Goode already showed he can get the job done if Kendricks goes down.

            On Offense, Maehl und Johnson just aren’t good enough. Replace them (with Maclin and Smith, maybe? You could add a middle or late pick for the 6th spot). We need a QB back-up if Vick wants to have a possibility to start (McCown could be too expensive for the Bears since they re-signed Cutler).

            We need depth, first and foremost, and that’s a great situation to be in! We need to get better in the return game, at safety and OLB, but other than that, it’s depth.

        • A_T_G

          Would he be a possible safety convert?

        • Mitchell

          Second round Justin Gilbert perhaps?

      • Mac

        Guess he’s not a candy bar anymore…

    • Neil

      I think if we ever do move him, he’ll play the slot in the nickel package.

    • planetx1971

      While I certainly see why with all his talent why that would be a question. But IMO he has become so good in the slot & that is SUCH a specific skill set, I mean SIX picks in the slot playing roughly 50% of defensive snaps? Amazing. He may not like it but that’s just incredible production to try & replace. I’m so hoping that in this draft we really focus on DB’s in general, draft a a playmaking ROLB & KEEP Cole as well as he’s playing to bring the rook along.Plus I admit I HATE the idea of Cole leaving. He & Dawkins are two of my very favorite Eagles of all time. Just a GREAT human being as well as player.

  • @FlyEaglesNation

    I always thought Robinson could be a star one day. just based on his recruiting rank.

    • babapsu

      have to disagree. robinson’s recruiting rank was very low. psu only offered him to get his high school qb – bolden. fortunately, the guy who stayed is damn good and probably nfl bound as a junior.

  • makarov123

    You left out one, potentially, glaring negative about Schiano – the Josh Freeman situation. Right now, we don’t know who leaked Josh Freeman’s private, medical information. There are four possibilities:

    Freeman, himself, leaked it to try to make Tampa Bay look bad. This doesn’t hold a lot of water, in that I don’t think many (or any) reporters would promote that story given it was obviously intended to make it look like the team did it. Also, Freeman appeared to want released or traded at the time above all else. You don’t leak potentially bad things about yourself to boost your value to another team.

    Tampa Bay front office did it, in order to…make Freeman look bad, I guess. The story, certainly, didn’t help the player’s trade value, since Freeman was ultimately released a week or so after the leak. If it was the GM that did it, he was cutting off his own nose to spite his face

    Someone in the NFL league office, with access to this information, leaked it. I don’t have a good theory as to why they would, which makes this the least likely possibility.

    Schiano is a fourth possibility. Maybe he never liked Freeman, or they didn’t get along. Maybe he wanted payback for something. Maybe he’s just an asshole. I’m guessing at possible motivations.

    Whoever did leak the info, and we’ll probably never know, had some twisted, possibly irrational motivation. The problem with Schiano is this twisted person might be him.

    I’m not supportive of Schiano taking over the Penn State program.

    • babapsu

      not a fan of schiano at all. at this point, franklin or bust in my mind.

      • Andy124

        Franklin seems like a good choice to me as well. I really like that he’s doing what he’s doing at a strong academic university. As for Tommy’s concern, pretty sure that will be a consideration so if they do hire Franklin, I will think there’s good reason to believe he’ll stick around for a while.

        I don’t know about Golden. His team has been blown out in 4 of their last 6 games this year. He did do a heckuva job at Temple though.

    • TommyLawlor

      That wasn’t an in-depth look at anyone. I just wanted to give some quick thoughts. There is plenty to discuss with Schiano.

  • NinjaP

    I actually have a good feeling about this team. Wouldn’t be shocked if they beat both NFC South teams.

  • Donald Kalinowski

    Schiano would have to be unemployed for another year for me to have the faith that he had enough humble pie to be a successful coach. The Bucs were talented yet so abysmal, I just can’t trust hiring Schiano.

    As for Houston- what a great signing. I’m happy Bill O’Brien is in the AFC. Minnesota and Tampa Bay could be dangerous teams with the right coaching set in place.

  • Corry

    I’m irritated that O’Brien left. I wanted him to stay at least until Hackenburg graduated, I can’t blame him for it, but dammit PSU could have had something special when they came out of the shit storm that is the NCAA sanctions.

    I’m hoping for Franklin and I don’t think I want anymore former/current NFL guys. Schiano is a dirtbag to me and I really hope he doesn’t land in Happy Valley.

  • Donald Kalinowski

    Some teams just have great luck. Indianapolis went from Payton Manning to Andrew Luck. Houston just hired Bill O’Brien and will be drafting Terry Bridgewater. Philly went from And Reid to Chip Kelly. Green Bay went from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers,

    Some teams like Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Buffalo are going to suck forever.

    • D3FB

      My favorite part of the whole Cleveland debacle was one of the beat writers asking Haslam: “Can you please comment on fans concerns that this organization is being run by the three stooges?”

  • knighn

    When you talk about “The Moment” I can’t help but think of the game 7 years ago, when the Eagles last faced the Saints in the playoffs.

    In the 2006 season, the Eagles starting QB (McNabb) went down with a leg injury and the Eagles rode their backup (Jeff Garcia) to the post-season. The Eagles showed up for the Divisional Playoff game in the New Orleans Superdome to be welcomed by the Saints’ rowdy fans and one somewhat attractive fan wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words “F*** The Eagles”. Sheldon Brown leveled Reggie Bush and it looked like it was going to be a good game. Only to turn into a game where the Eagles couldn’t stop the run… and a false start by Scott Young negated a Jeff Garcia conversion on 4th and 10. Andy Reid was afraid the Eagles couldn’t convert 4th and 15 and had the Eagles punt. Then the Eagles couldn’t stop the run, again, and the Saints got their 1st down and ran the clock… the Eagles lost by 3.

    In many ways the 2006 season was the beginning of the end for the Andy Reid Eagles. 2006 showed the Eagles that they could win with someone other than McNabb. In 2007, the Eagles drafted Kolb, and mistakenly believed he was the future. In 2010, Kolb was intended to be starter but showed clearly that he wasn’t starter quality. Vick came in and played far beyond what he had ever done before. 2011 and 2012, for reasons beyond Vick, but also including him, ultimately spelled the end of the Reid era.

    So… we’re now in the current moment. Reid is gone. Chip Kelly took over. The starting QB went down with a leg injury this season and the backup QB has come in and led the Eagles to the playoffs. But it’s so much of a different situation. This Eagles team has a commitment to running the ball that no Reid team ever had. This Eagles team, while it struggles against the pass, can actually stiffen up and stop the run. Though, I have to say: as well as Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams has played, I still miss Sheldon Brown! Still, the Saints have to come and play the Eagles on our home turf this time. I will be disappointed if their isn’t at least one hot Eagles fan with the words “F*** The Saints” on her shirt / sweater. And while I hope the Eagles stomp the Saints in a similar way to what they did to the Bears a couple of weeks ago, there are two truths that will come out of this game, win or lose:
    1) This is only the beginning for Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles
    2) F*** the Saints!!

    • RobNE

      I remember that fan!

    • fran35

      Ditto the Sheldon Brown love.

    • teltschikfakeout88

      I remember after the false start penalty the camera flashed to Big Red and the look on his face was classic…..Scott youngs days as an eagle were numbered after that….

  • Vick or Nick

    Regarding the PSU opening:

    I would not be surprised if the eventual head coach is not someone Tommy has listed. I think they are looking for stability. I’m not sure PSU is the destination for these guys.

    Regarding Eagles vs Saints:

    I really hope for all of our sakes we have a comfortable lead. I don’t think I can handle any more tight playoff games with the Saints.

    People made this point before: Overall, we lost the line of scrimmage battle against Dallas last week. That cannot happen this weak.

    • A_T_G

      The scary part about this game is that I can’t imagine what a comfortable lead would be against that offense.

      • Insomniac

        Over 40 with 2 minutes left.

        • D3FB

          With Brees out for the remainder of the game.

        • Donald Kalinowski

          That would be the only scenario in which I would feel comfortable about the game. 17 point lead in the 4th quarter? I’ll still be on the edge of my seat.

    • Buge Halls

      I agree re: the Penn State job. They are a lot like the Steelers – they don’t want to ever change coaches. They will be looking for a COLLEGE coach, not an NFL coach. Someone that will stay for 10, 15, 20 years (as long as the winning continues).

  • Weapon Y

    I’m a little uneasy about Schiano for how his last few years at Rutgers and his TB tenure ended, but moreso because he wouldn’t categorically deny he knew about what Sandusky was doing when he was an assistant in the 1990s. Two other assistants, Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden, did deny they knew about it. In itself, this shouldn’t completely rule out Schiano from the job, but it is a pretty big red flag. I would interview him and question him about this in great detail. If I don’t get a straight answer out of him, he doesn’t get the job. If he does deny it, I want to do some digging first to be confident that he was truthful.

    My only issue with O’Brien is that he told one recruit, Thomas Holley, that he was definitely staying at PSU. I am bothered by him lying to college and high school kids. Otherwise, I had no problem with him leaving. I think he kept Penn St from collapsing like SMU did and made them a relevant program. He’s a great X’s and O’s guy and should do well in the pros.

    I have a couple of different names that haven’t been discussed. I’m curious to hear what you think.

    Mike Pettine- Bills defensive coordinator, former Head Coach of North Penn High School in Lansdale, PA
    Mike Yurcich- Oklahoma State University offensive coordinator, former offensive coordinator of Shippensburg University, led NCAA in points scored there
    George O’Leary- Central Florida Head Coach
    Chris Ault- Chiefs assistant, former Nevada head coach, innovator of Pistol offense, developed Colin Kaepernick

    • fran35

      George O’Leary was one hell of a player for University of New Hampshire. Also, his educational background is second to none. Didnt he earn his Masters from SUNY Stony Brook University? Which is impressive since the school doesn’t exist.

      • Jamie Parker

        Does it really matter, given his success as a coach?

        • fran35

          It comes down to what the University desires. I personally believe that for a school to preach integrity and adherence to NCAA rules to these kids effectively, the school must make a hire that does not reek of hypocrisy. The guy is a good coach, no doubt, but his mistakes were very public and it sends a fuzzy message to young kids who are required to follow archaic rules and already see the schools/NCAA as unfair.

    • teltschikfakeout88

      Doubtful Oleary ever gets another look at a big time job after the debacle of his resume (noted below by Fran). His dismissal by ND was embarrassing beyond belief…..

    • D3FB

      Wouldn’t mind Pettine. The big problem with Yurrich is while I’m sure his time in the PSAC would help him in recruiting, he’s only had one year at a major program. I don’t know that he’s ready to take over a big program as the head man.I’d expect him to go to C-USA or the MAC after next year and show he can run a program before he starts drawing interest from the bigger schools.

  • SleepingDuck

    The top guys I want at PSU are Franklin, Roman, and Golden. I would literally feel sick if Schiano got hired.

  • Cliff

    Talking about the PSU job reminds me of a topic on the Colin Cowherd show today. I tuned in right as they were discussing Chip Kelly. There are STILL people out there who think Kelly won’t stick in the NFL. I don’t want to use just one season as an example, but Kelly can obviously coach in the NFL. That isn’t debatable anymore.

    • BobSmith77

      Agree & Disagree. Kelly was able to work with Vick/Foles as his QB and have an offense that put up very impressive overall stats. Yeah the Eagles surprised people by going 10-6 this year and winning the NFC East too but this was the worst division the NFL. Kelly’s in-game decision-making still leaves me a bit puzzled at times too.

      If the Eagles come back next year and they are solid again making the playoffs, then yeah I think the question has been put to rest.

      • P_P_K

        Fair enough. I also think it takes more than one year to evaluate a guy who has just jumped from college to the pros. Still, you’ve got to give Chip props for taking a 4-12 team in disarray to the playoffs. He’s directed a remarkable turnaround in performance, motivation, and culture. I don’t have the gumption to do the research but I’d bet compared to his peers, other guys who’ve made the switch, this first season is an enormous success. The question may not be put to bed, but I’d say it’s in its pajamas, with teeth brushed and lights just about off.

      • Buge Halls

        Those in-game decisions will work themselves out. He’s still a rookie too. The problem is, the handful of “bad” decisions get more press than the vastly larger number of “good” decisions. We don’t hear about the good ones, because the game flow continues on and all is well. The bad ones stick out and are easy to spot. Kind of like a lineman playing great all game, but lets one sack happen at a critical time and suddenly, he’s had a bad game.

      • RobNE

        To me there are always 20% or so of coaches who just aren’t very good, so I’m not sure how you can say Chip doesn’t at least belong. Your argument seems to be well the division was weak and he made some in-game decisions I didn’t like. In that case, Belicheck stinks.

        Sorry but if we could trade coaches, who would you trade him for? Belicheck, Harbough brothers, Payton in NO, those guys maybe. That’s only 4 guys. Unless your list is something like 25 coaches long, then Kelly can obviously coach in the NFL.

        • BobSmith77

          It is a single season and to anoint any coach a success/failure is ridiculously premature.

          If a coach is deemed a ‘failure’ and fired after just a single year especially with the same management in place, that was the fault of management for not making the correct hire in the first place.

          Everyone in Philly was in love with Rhodes after his first year too. He basically was the ‘Anti-Kotite’ during his press conferences, demeanor, and his personality.

          Rhodes was a terrible head coach. I know Tommy would disagree but he was in over his head & out of his element.

          Remains to be seen what happens with Kelly over a longer period. Would Kelly get be getting such positive praise if say McCoy has missed a decent chunk of the season and the team had gone say 6-10 or 7-9 instead because they didn’t have the prolific offense?

          • RobNE

            I agree about Rhodes and I wasn’t dong success/failure as much as “can coach in the NFL which to me is beneath success. But yeah I am likely over killing it because of all the “I expect bottom 5 offense” comments and articles, which isn’t what you are saying.

            but anyway, I am on the Chipwagon.

            I do wish he would stop beating defenses down to a pulp between the 20’s only to get cutesy when on the 5 by bringing in the trick plays.

  • Maggie

    In regard to James Franklin, I have heard him being touted as a possibility for an NFL head coaching position, as well. Wonder which he would find more desirable?

    • D3FB

      HIs name is being tossed around for the Texas job too.

  • BobSmith77

    It’s going to be hard for the PSU alumni to realize that the program is going to be a second-tier one for a while.

    • truthchief

      It will take a decade to overcome the Sandusky scandal. Lets start with the Gov. He knew Sandusky was a ped far longer than anyone else as the GA. Next PSU needs to rids themselves of the BOT. Then they need a new President. Then an AD. Anyone who thinks football will right itself in the next 3 years is delusional. OB should have been more direct with the Team, Recruits, and Alums rather than bad mouth to some hack named Jones at the H-Burg Patriot. So lets find someone who can lead through all of that crap, OB didnt want to deal with non football stuff and thats half the job.

    • Cafone

      On the other hand, one conference championship every 20 years shouldn’t be that tough to duplicate.

  • Dominik

    Re: Kurt Coleman to get some PT?

    http://eaglesblog.net/2014/01/kurt-coleman-to-get-some-pt/

    Davis knows what he’s doing, but if you have one safety active who can play in this league, why play 3-safety sets? Doesn’t make any sense to me in terms of playing to the strenght of the team.

    • ICDogg

      They’re not likely thinking of 3-safety sets, they’re just going to rotate.

      • Dominik

        Still, I don’t like the idea. Chung is a 1/10, I think Coleman is 0/10. As bad as the 1/10 is, I take it over the 0/10.

        • A_T_G

          But, if you line them up next to each other, they are a 10, as long as Chung is on the left.

          • Dominik

            You’re an dialectician, are you? ;)

          • A_T_G

            Probably not, because although I see the root, I don’t know what that is.

  • SleepingDuck

    What do you guys think about Pat Narduzzi as a candidate?

  • ICDogg
  • Lewwyn

    You know I think I’m more scared of the Saints than I am of the Panthers or Seahawks.

    • Ark87

      The D has held out pretty well, but it always feels like just barely, elite QB’s are scary. But the homefield advantage should be huge this week.

    • Donald Kalinowski

      Yup. The Saints can pretty much outscore any opponent on any given Sunday. They also have a pretty solid defense.
      An announcer said something the other day during a broadcast that I thought was pretty interesting. Something a long the lines of – “Defense keeps you in games but the offense is what wins them”

      • GEAGLE

        Meh…defensive numbers are inflated by first half of the season.. No one can say they played their best ball down the stretch…while we are peaking at the right time,..they have 11 games with a turnover, 6 games with multiple turnovers…if FOles plays a clean game, our offense will force a fumble or two…saint abandon run quickly…you need to be able to run the ball outdoor in January..
        ..
        In the last 12 games, saints only scored once on the opening drive, If we can get out to a lead and then pound the rock, we can win this game.
        ..
        Everyone talks about how dangerous Sproles and Jimmy Graham are…but with Vaccaro out Roman Harper and Curtis Lofton can’t cover anyone…I wouldn’t be surprised if Celek and Ertz combine for more stats then Jimmy Graham…
        ..
        Dallas was very well prepared, but I think teams that see us for the first time will struggle. Saints blitz a lot and Chip is a master at taking a dvantage of aggression…I find it hard to believe that we won’t catch them in a blitz and burn them with a screen….similar gameplan to how we attacked the cardinals taking advantage of the safeties and LBs with our TEs and backs…only we can run all over the saints, where the cardinals were much tougher

        Home teams that are plus one in the turnover battle win 82% of the time. We are 3rd in the NFL I’m takeaways behind only Seattle and KC…While we lead the league in NOT committing turnovers…

        Win the turnover battle
        Pound the rock all game long, play action to whoever Roman Harper and Curtis Lofton(he is getting burned with a wheel route this week) are matched up with…..Defense continues to play bend but don’t break, sell out to not give up the big play…and eventually our time will come.

        Saints average 18pts a game on the road. We don’t give up more then 22…..Hold them to 24, and it won’t be enough to keep up with our offense…
        ..l
        Very tough test…not unsurmountable…would not want to play them in NO….Noise effects them, and the cold favors the better running game

    • Tumtum

      I think I can get on board with that notion.

  • Joe Minx

    Rod Marinelli set to become Lovie Smith’s DC in Tampa. Great news for the rest of the NFCE.

    • Dominik

      Thought exactly the same. He did a good job with their Line, despite playing many players from the street (and a total of 18 starters). Good to not face that guy two times a year.

      • mtn_green

        So glad we can look at these rumors from afar. The rumors were horrible.

        • RobNE

          The real issue/fear is who will be the next Skins coach. You would have to think that anyone that could choose among NFL jobs would stay away fro Snyder. Did they keep the GM?

          • Dominik

            The names are not scary at the moment, imho. McDermott, Fewell, Bevell, Cardwell. Of course, they are all solid (or good) coordinators, but that’s the least you should expect, even from the Skins.

            Bevell could be a good choice (don’t know him well, but his offense in Seattle could translate to the Skins), but other than that, I’m not scared at the moment.

          • RobNE

            I’m scared of Sumlin. Guys like that.

          • GEAGLE

            I was hoping snyder would baby RGme and hire his college coach and make RGme’s dad the offensive coordinator

          • A_T_G

            I was hoping he would promote Kyle to HC.

          • Tumtum

            I think Kyle is a pretty darn good coordinator. Not that I really care if they win or lose, but I guess I have affinity for the Ravens, as I do currently live just outside Baltimore city. I think Kyle would be a great hire to replace Caldwell (who I think should be fired if he doesn’t get the Redskins job).

          • RobNE

            I just discount to all hell anyone like that who has only worked for family. I wouldn’t go near him.

          • Tumtum

            Being someone who has done that I could not disagree more. He also wasnt related to anyone in Texas.

          • Dominik

            http://tinyurl.com/ng5mjkb

            Don’t see him go anywhere soon, especially to a team like the Redskins. A good college coach would scare me, too. They can fail, but they could also have great impact in little time (Harbaugh, Kelly).

          • Tumtum

            Briles is a name getting tossed around a ton here in DC. I think that would be best case scenario for the Eagles.

          • Dominik

            Why best case scenario? Don’t know the guy very well, but it seems to me that he’s doing a pretty good job at Baylor. The RGIII connection would be there (and could help, since Snyder has an unhealthy relationship to him).

            So, again, why do you think it would be the best case? (no rhetorical question)

  • ICDogg

    This is interesting…

    Brandon Boykin ended the season as @PFF's #1 rated cover corner with a +14.3 rating in coverage. That was… unexpected. #Eagles— Kyle (@IgglesNest) January 2, 2014

    • Donald Kalinowski

      Anyone else get kind of annoyed with all of the PFF stats that gets passed around? I usually take what they with a grain of salt

  • OregonDucker

    Some Foles verses Brees perspective from their former HS coach.

    http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2013/12/having_played_for_the_same_hig.html

  • shah8

    Say, is anyone else shocked by Cutler’s new contract?

    • Donald Kalinowski

      I’m going to have to wait to see the details of the contract before I rush into any opinions. Jay falls into the category of “good” but not “great” QBs which is why Chicago has to pay him despite not being fully enamored with him. It’s not easy finding another QB of his caliber despite how mediocre he can be at times. If you replace Cutler with a rookie or someone like Matt Flynn, it could be the difference between being a fringe playoff team and being one of the worst teams in the NFL. Despite all of the disappointments, it’s better for Chicago to remain that way rather than end up like Oakland or Cleveland.

      As for QBs I would take ahead of Cutler (in no particular order):
      1. Eli Manning
      2, Tony Romo
      3. Nick Foles
      4. Robert Griffin III
      5. Matt Stafford
      6. Aaron Rodgers
      7. Cam Newton
      8. Drew Brees
      9. Matt Ryan
      10. Russell Wilson
      11. Colin Kaepernick
      12. Sam Bradford
      13. Tom Brady
      14. Ben Roethelsberger
      15. Joe Flacco
      16. Andrew Luck
      17. Payton Manning
      18. Phillip Rivers

      • Tumtum

        Hate Cutler the guy. Not a big fan of Cutler the QB. Apparently a much bigger fan than you are though.

        • Donald Kalinowski

          Maybe RG3 and Sam Bradford doesn’t belong on that list, but who else would you take off that list?

      • Cliff

        I think Cutler is ranked somewhere around 12th or 13th in passer rating this season, so your list is probably about right when it comes to deciding where Cutler belongs among other QB’s.

        Paying QB’s is hard. Good QB’s are already locked up by their current teams, so even if you’re the 15th best QB in the league, you will probably be way overvalued because there aren’t any other available proven options out there.

      • Bob Brewer

        Sam Bradford?

  • Donald Kalinowski

    My Facebook feed is blowing up with people ranting about Bill O’Brien. PSU fans are a weird bunch. They think that Bill O’Brien owes it to them to stay for 50 years. The fact that he stepped up, took the job, and stayed for an extra year despite all of the sanctions and everything that went on is pretty admirable.

  • Mike Roman

    Perhaps a good topic to debate (playoff seeding):

    http://mmqb.si.com/2014/01/02/nfl-playoffs-seeding-problem/?eref=sihp

    I think if you HAVE divisions, you should reward the division winners. Every year there are some divisions weaker than others, that’s just the way it is. Not to mention, as history has shown, the teams playing the best in the last quarter of the year generally have the most success. Overall record and what you did in September doesn’t matter in January.

    I see Don Banks’ point to some degree. Maybe an 8 win team shouldn’t host an 11 win team. But records are misleading. Does anyone doubt that Green Bay would have won a few more games with Rodgers at the helm? They had to settle for #4 and the fought and struggled to earn that right. New Orleans, on the other hand, blew their chance at #2 because they can’t win on the road. Seattle can win on the road .. they’ve proven they can win without their tremendous home field advantage. The Eagles couldn’t win at home to save their life in the first half of the year but they’re ability to pull out some wins on the road kept them in the hunt.

    Banks’ opinion is too black and white. Record isn’t the end-all-be-all of judging the quality team. The Eagles are 7-1 in the last 8 games. I don’t know, I think a team like that deserves a home playoff game, regardless if they have one less regular season win than the Saints.

    • RobNE

      I don’t really care. Easterbrook goes on and on about this every year too. I like the way it is. Divisions go up and down, so this is almost like a complaint/benefit every team gets once in awhile. It’s just part of the game. That said, if you changed the rule I don’t think anyone would care that much.

      • Mike Roman

        Agreed. Besides, every sport has the division layout. Divisions = rivalries = money.

    • CrackSammich

      (Obviously not arguing with you directly, but…) The seeding rules are always fine at the beginning of the year, and then at the end, one team or another gets screwed by it and it’s suddenly a huge problem. If your team wants a more equitable schedule, they should win more.

      • Mac

        Or lose more games to get an easier schedule next year.