One is the Loneliest Number

Posted: October 21st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 87 Comments »

The Eagles are 5-1.

The Eagles are the only team with one loss, giving them the best record in the NFL. If the season ended today, they would have the number one seed. And we’d have the Super Bowl over before Thanksgiving, letting us focus on shopping for the holidays and watching Lone Wolf McQuade while sipping on ice cold PBR.

For better or worse, the season doesn’t end any time soon. We’ll have to settle for watching the Eagles play another 10 games and hopefully then moving on to the postseason.

The way the Eagles have gotten off to a 5-1 start is by playing good football and staying focused on one game at a time. The team hasn’t gotten too high or too low. They’ve shown impressive maturity, handling success well despite some tough circumstances.

Having the best record in the league and facing a team they already beat will make it even tougher on the coaches to keep the players locked in and ready to go. Add in the fact this is a Monday night game and that makes things even worse. Jon Gruden and ESPN will be meeting with the players this weekend and throwing compliments their way. There is an extra day of hype and general media attention.

If the Eagles want to stay alone at the top of the standings, they’ll need to block out the noise and stay focused on the Skins. Doug Pederson has pushed almost all of the right buttons so far this year. Monday night will be another big test for him and the team.

*****

The Eagles won the opener in part because they made the Skins one-dimensional. Washington had no run game and that meant Kirk Cousins had to carry the offense.

Go back to last year. The Skins ran for 230 yards in the first meeting and 107 yards in the rematch. Washington only ran for 64 yards in the opener. That put a lot of pressure on Cousins and he didn’t handle things well. He was only 23 for 40 and there wasn’t much in the way of big plays.

The Skins come into this game with the 10th best rushing attack in the league. The Eagles have the #1 run defense. You can bet Washington will make more of an effort to run the ball this time around.

You can also bet that Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan and Vinny Curry look forward to shutting down that run game, just like they did in the opener. Good run defense goes beyond just the guys up front. The whole Eagles defense has been great at playing the run.

Stuff the run. Dare Kirk Cousins to beat you. If the Eagles can make the Skins one dimensional again, my money is on the guys in green.

_


  • Greg Tulino

    Sounds like both Norman and Breeland will be playing vs Eagles. That’s fine with me. I want to beat them at their best. If we want to win the division then we have to win our home games in the division. PS- Is it me or does it feel like this wait for the next Eagles game is taking forever. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d1dbcd4748bd282eea1ace870e2122d40e89311dc5e991135082d0db81e07086.png

    • Guy Media

      I don’t care who they have on the field; division game at home = win!

      • P_P_K

        MNF = MVP performance by Wentz.

    • Tumtum

      Well said! Bring em! Not just you..

  • Masked Man

    Took a look at the week 1 box score vs the Redskins: Eagles 30, Redskins 17.

    In week 1 the Eagles had not gotten their run game going just yet. They won by having:

    1) strong contributions from the passing game, as Carson passed for over 300 yards;
    2) dominant time of possession stats with 34:16 on offense compared to 25:44 for DC;
    3) solid kicking and punting by C. Sturgis at that time along with D. Jones;
    4) rushing stats that were about even – Birds 24/58 vs Skins 17/64. (Both teams were sort of one dimensional, but the Eagles got away with it.)

    I think a more successful run game by the Eagles could potentially tilt these stats even further toward the Birds.

    In week 1 the defense plus the ball control offense prevented any scoring by Washington in the 1st and 4th quarters. Meanwhile the Eagles scored points in every quarter (7, 9, 3, 11 compared to 0, 14, 3, 0 for DC).

    That 1st game turned into a garbage time by the 4th quarter. The Eagles closed the game out 11-0 on the scoreboard in the 4th.

    Can we expect an even more dominant outcome on Monday? Or will it be a closer game on the scoreboard? We’ll see. Go Eagles!

    • Guy Media

      I think our D flexes big time in this game, but we stall out some drives as the Washington D has some strong players as well. 23-13 final.

    • P_P_K

      I don’t think the Redskins can put up 23.

      • Masked Man

        Some are predicting a lower scoring outcome. We’ll see.

        The Skins average 23 points a game through 5 games and scored 17 points against us before. I’m giving them 23 because of Chris Thompson’s emergence as a weapon, and due to the reported diversification of the offense (since week 1) with some Jet Sweeps and other gadgets.

        The Eagles average 27.5 points per game through 6 games and scored 30 before against the Skins. I’m giving them 33 because they are at home, and also because of the key injuries to the Skins’ defense, especially Josh Norman.

        Go Eagles!

        • P_P_K

          Excellent points. Eagles O is running on all cylinders now with the running game vastly improved, and Jefferey is so damn ripe for a huge game. To be conservative, I’ll take the Eagles with 3tds and 2fgs, for 27points.

          The Eagles D has tightened up even more since the first game. I think our LBs can handle the gadget plays, and Cousins won’t be able to escape all the pressure. Skins will get an honest 10 + 1 broken play td.

          That makes my pick 27-17. But, because this is a big Division game, at home on MNF, everyone is well rested and Doug has them prepared, I’ll add the mojo factor and predict the Eagles score another td on a ST play or pick 6, plus a 2 point conversion somewhere along the way. Call it Eagles 35-17

          • Masked Man

            So you are predicting an Eagle blowout? I’ll take it. Go Eagles!

          • P_P_K

            Because the Eagles are healthy, rested, at home, and seemingly well motivated and prepared, I declare my 18 point prediction as realistic. Now, if one or two of my predicted field goals become tds, then we’re really talking blowout.

            I think we’re in for a great Monday night!

  • Eagles4life

    I hope Jim Schwartz stays here for a couple more years and make this D something special and help Doug out with those years not having to worry about defensive side of the team! There is a good chance some other team out there would want to hire JS as head coach and I am not sure if we have his replacement already identified.

    • Guy Media

      He’s a very talented DC and was a total flop as a HC. Our worry is somebody talking themselves into forgetting how bad he was in Detroit. I hope he stays for sure.

    • Tumtum

      Makes me wonder if there is any heir apparent on staff?? Anyone?

      • Guy Media

        I’m not seeing it, but maybe Undlin? Bowles if he’s fired by the Jets would be my first, second, and third choice.

      • Dave

        I thought the same thing. Lots of defensive coordinators around the league are retreads or branch. Does Schwartz have a defensive coaching tree in the NFL?

        • Guy Media

          Chuck Cecil. Jim Washburn. Schwartz tree = lower branch of Jeff Fisher tree.

          • Dave

            Washburn was never a coordinator at the NFL level.

            Cecil was correctly a Fisher guy who only lasted 1 season as a defensive coordinator before bumping back down to a position coach.

            My point is that I don’t see Schwartz getting another shot to run a team when his leadership and teaching skills leave much to be desired. Either he is hiring career position coaches, or he does not have the ability to mentor young coaches.

            Has any other NFL team, outside of the Juan Castillo disaster season, run a wide-9?

            On the contrary, It would not surprise me to see Duce, Reich, DeFilippo, or even Fipp become head coaches one day. Not that Pederson would be the sole reason, but Doug seems to be much more of a mentor than Schwartz.

        • Tumtum

          Ole Jimmy Washburn.

      • D3FB

        Flajole and Undlin.

        If they want to keep the same philosophy Matt Burke came up under Schwartz and is now the Dolphins DC, so if he gets canned…

    • daveH

      Isn’t the schwartz trying to undermine Dug ??

      • Eagles4life

        It appears that JS seems to have dialed back undermining or Doug gave him free hand in running the D his way or possibly telling him that you will have a chance of a shot at head coach if our D plays out of their mind! Whatever the reason is, winning games masks any inner struggles or politics around it.

    • Jernst

      I’m in the minority I believe in thinking that Schwartz isn’t ever going to be a “hot commodity”. Doesn’t mean he won’t ever get another chance as a head coach. But, I kind of get the impression that he’s a very good football “coach” which is perfect for a coordinator position, but he lacks the temperament to be a good football “executive” which is really what a head coach is at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t get another shot for a few years at the least.

    • D3FB

      He may get another job but he’s a retread, and he’s a defensive guy.

      Young offensive minds are where the demand is at.

  • Dragon_Eagle

    Is it Monday yet?

    • Guy Media

      AMEN………….especially after the Sixers choked two leads and the Flyers lost to bum ass Subban and Nashville. We’re going to need to big Penn State win over scumbags Harbaugh/Michigan and a Flyers win over Edmonton to set things right in the world!

      Also, losses by Dallas and NYG would be good.

      • Guy Media

        And a game 7 Astros win!

        • Rob Jarratt

          I am with both of you gents. I had my sights set on a revenge victory by the Flyers and an out-of-the-gates home win against the hated Celtics. Add in that I live in Maine, which means that all my friends adore all those Boston teams that I loathe.

          A Penn State win along with an Astros trip to the WS instead of the pinstripers, capped off by an Eagles win on Monday would go along way in assuaging my feelings.

  • ColorSgt

    Love the last clip where Graham isn’t able to set the edge so Bradham comes flying up field to force the runner back inside. He kind of missed the tackle, but does his job like he has all season.

    • daveH

      Love the clip wher chuck grabs a beer. . Good, meow, i mean great Great planning meow to have another beer in that situation

  • scratcherk

    Can someone explain how we can run a wide nine front but still be #1 in run defense?

    • ColorSgt

      Take a look at the “shot 8” clip. BG starts out wide, but then moves in right before the snap. Not only does he know the play is going to the left side, but he times his shift with the snap really well. That’s smart football right there. He breaks through basically unblocked and makes the play.

      • BlindChow

        Your second paragraph is exactly right. Jim Schwartz has said its strength against outside runs were the entire reason he started using the wide 9 alignment.

        From a Birds 24/7 article last year:

        Although critics of the wide nine say the technique makes it easier for offenses to run the ball up the middle, that seems to be why Schwartz implemented it in the first place. When he started out as the Titans’ defensive coordinator, he had difficulty stopping the Colts’ stretch run plays.

        When he watched film of Indianapolis playing New England, however, he noticed how the Patriots were stout against it.

        “We took that, and we said, ‘Sh-t, New England never has to play the stretch. It’s all inside zone. That’s all they run,’” Schwartz said at a coaching clinic last year, where he recalled the origin of the wide nine. “[New England’s wider 3-4 defensive alignment] eliminated a lot of runs, and we said, ‘What if there’s a way we can somehow play 3-4 principles in a 4-3?’”

        According to Schwartz, this strategy was instantly successful. He carried the technique with him to Detroit, and again to Buffalo.

        • Jernst

          Beat me too it…I should read the comments before posting, haha.

      • Jernst

        That point about setting the edge is actually the initial reason Schwartz decided to implement the wide 9 as his base alignment. They were sick and tired of watching the colts run Marshall Faulk and later Edgerin James off tackle over and over with such success, so he finally said, “Screw it. Let’s line our defensive ends way out wide so there’s literally no way they can get the edge and force them to run inside.”

        I heard him describe that in an interview last year and thought it was interesting. That’s how he initially decided to try the wide 9 as a base every down alignment instead of only occasionally in pass rush situations. It worked well for them and through the years they worked out the different kinks that it presents and made a functional system out of it.

    • or____

      Yeah, very good lb play and a way over played myth about the technique which is not really a system

      • Guy Media

        Pretty much

      • ColorSgt

        I think in Philly the myth stems from Washburn only caring about sacks. Schwartz’s D is playing complete football.

        • Guy Media

          Also look at the useless idiots we had at safety in those years.

          • Dragon_Eagle

            And LB.

          • Tumtum

            Coleman been starting for one of the best defenses in the NFL since he left, and Chung is racking up rings. They still stuck… just funny.

        • or____

          Indeed

        • daveH

          F in washburn .. and babin and his cool tats. Yuck

    • Will Ft. The Roots

      All teams run some variant of the wide 9. We just dont have an OL coach running the defense or Jason Babin trying to get 20 sacks every play. Its alignment. Under Castilo and Washburn we turned it into a formation.

    • CrackSammich

      Worlds better linebacker and safeties behind them, and DEs that are monsters against the run.

      • Jernst

        It also helps to have a wide 9 guru, who has run the system for 15+ years, teaching a coherent system at all levels and calling the plays instead of a converted Oline coach, who had never once coached a defense let alone one that predominately employed a wide 9 alignment, and then had the system foisted on him by a coach who installed an ornery, insubordinate, quip machine as the defensive line coach before elevating his offensive line coach to defensive coordinator. But, also, yea…the talent is worlds better. Most importantly the safeties we have now our >>>>>> than Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman. Playing safety in the wide 9 is stressful since you’re simultaneously the last line of defense and also have gap responsibilities at the LOS on run plays. That might be the biggest difference.

        • CrackSammich

          Oddly enough, both [Pro Bowler] Coleman and
          Allen are still in the league. Yes, I had to look up Allen.

          Jamar Chaney has been out of the league since 2014, Akeem Jordan out since 2014, And Casey Matthews out since 2015. The only two that lasted from that crew were Kendricks, who was a rookie in 2012, and Demeco Ryans, who was coming off an ACL tear.

        • D3FB

          We also tend to mix coverage alot more now. Felt like we were more pure man with alot of cover 2 back then.

      • Insomniac

        The entire front 7 is good against the run. No more headless chickens running around.

  • daveH

    Love the clip wher chuck grabs a beer. . Good, meow, i mean great Great planning meow to have another beer in that situation
    ..
    And burning the truck outta that Ditch WITH ALL The lights blazing MEOW is superior execution.

    2 key elements of and successful game plan.
     

    EditReply

  • Nailed It!

    Norman officially ruled OUT for Monday night.

    • Ryan Rambo

      Nice!! I don’t think Breeland will be too effective even if he suits up!

    • Tumtum

      I am actually disappointed. I don’t want these Skins fans to have any excuses.

      • Sean E

        A player being injured isn’t excuse to lose. If it is, you are building your team the wrong way. Unless it’s a QB.

        • Tumtum

          I thought beating carolina if cox didn’t play, wasn’t gonna happen. Players aren’t wrenches and screw drivers. They are not all interchangeable.

      • BlindChow

        Eh. We’ve had plenty of injuries this year. Some (like Sproles) have gone on IR and are gone for the season, not just a few games…

        Seriously, who cares what excuses other teams’ “fans” have? Do you think they’d be so soft when it came to OUR injuries?

        I just want a win.

        • Tumtum

          Of course not. I just want a total demoralization. Leave no room for justification n such

      • wee2424

        If he did play the excuse would be that he played hurt.

  • GermanEagle

    What scares me the most is that Pryor is definitely due for a big game, plus I have him lined up in my FF team…

    • GermanEagle

      So is AJ on the other hand. Guess that evens it out.

      • CrackSammich

        Despite popular opinion, Jeffrey has got the second most receptions on the team behind Ertz.

        • Tumtum

          There are opinions out there on the number of catches he has? I kid I kid. He is a solid WR for sure, glad to have him. Just don’t think he is worth what he is paid and will probably be paid after this year.

          • Jernst

            I think Jeffrey is going to be disappointed with his offers in FA. He signed a 1 yr deal with us, because he couldn’t find a team willing to commit to a long term deal with a big signing bonus and $12-15M per year like he wanted. And, he hasn’t done much to date to raise his value on the open market. He’s definitely a top notch #2 WR. But, he has not stood out the way you’d expect for a #1 guy. I have a feeling he’s gonna receive a handful of contracts in that #2 range. I just don’t seeing anyone getting into a bidding war for his services. He’s not a dynamic playmaker and so far he’s 0 for the season on the 50:50 jump balls where he’s traditionally made his money.

          • Insomniac

            To add to what you said, the PED suspension was also a big factor. Most teams didn’t want to commit to another case of Shawn Merriman and we were the team that was most desperate for WRs.

          • Tumtum

            I always thought the 1 2 argument was funny. How many 1s are there? His play is worth 7 mil a year though imo

        • wee2424

          Ags can’t be too far behind him, is he?

          • CrackSammich

            Ags 20 receptions. Jeffrey 24. Ertz 34.

          • wee2424

            I bet you that Ags ends up with more receptions at the end of the year then AJ partially due to the fact that Wentz has a tendency to focus more on the center of the field then outside.

    • or____

      I don’t understand that logic at all.

      • GermanEagle

        Translation:

        My FF team sucks, and so does Pryor, however playing him he probably will rack up 250 yards and 4 TDs against the real Eagles. #emotionalhedge

        • or____

          Ah, got you. As long as you aren’t talking about real football and real expectations. I let beer do the emotional hedging for me. 🙂

        • Insomniac

          This only applies if you bench him.

    • daveH

      You must have a stash of beer in the car in case of emergency like chuck Norris right ??

    • Tumtum

      Thanks for jinxing him!

  • Eagles4life

    Is it too early to talk about retiring #11 Jersey? 😉

    • daveH

      Not too early to retire #71 .. keep him around as long as possible but out of max respect be the 1st #ever to be retired pre retired.

  • unhinged

    I thought the first time v the ‘Skins Schwartz ran more blitzes than anybody expected. Cousins and his center seemed unprepared. Can’t see that scenario being repeated monday night. If Cousins sees a blitz, he’ll probably feel comfortable this time around.

    • wee2424

      They may be prepared for more blitzing, however if it is hitting him he will not feel comfortable. LT Trent Williams is hurting pretty bad. That is a huge benefit for us.

      One point that people are not mentioning is simply that Wentz is a better QB right now then he was at the start of the season.

      • unhinged

        True on both counts. I do think the pain of getting hit is mitigated by first downs, and good QB’s will take the hit if that is the cost of getting one. My hope is that our DL can harass KC without having to depend on blitzes to get him out of his comfort zone.

  • Tumtum

    Pfffft…Kung Fu The Legend Continues would never make Chuck Norris bleed his own blood.

    • daveH

      Chuck Norris bleeds Halle Berry’s blood.

      • HawaiianEagle

        Chuck Norris doesn’t bleed, he perspires red sweat…

  • Ryan Rambo

    Let’s eat!!

    Redskins LT Trent Williams is expected to need knee surgery after the season.
    Williams played through his knee injury last week, but is dealing with ligament damage. The Redskins have been limiting him in practice to avoid setbacks. Williams is clearly less than 100 percent, but is expected to play on Monday night with backup OT Ty Nsekhe sidelined

  • CrackSammich

    All signs point to this being a win, which means I’m beyond frightened that we lose this one in a heartbreaker.

    A win here gives us at least a 3 game lead over the rest of the division. It would also put us at 3-0 in the division and 5-0 in the conference, making it real difficult to lose any tiebreakers down the stretch. It’s going to be impossible to stop the hype train if we win this one. I think realistically, a split with Dallas would get us the division. Which is all to say, we’re going to cough this game up and all of this is moot.

    • Ryan Rambo

      Sike!! Birds win!!! I think our guys know how important this game is and although no division game is likely to be a cakewalk, we find a way to win. I like them facing these types of adversity early on and fighting through it to earn the victory.

  • Ryan Rambo

    Seriously though….I hope Doug comes out with a few big plays that will take the air out of these Redskins before they even know what hit them. Hit em’ in the mouth and keep your foot on their throat. Kind of a role reversal phase with the Eagles now. National spotlight and teams coming to knock them off the mountain. How well we can handle all that and just keep playing good winning football will be huge. I like our veteran leadership and a good number of our guys that have rings can definitely keep players grounded. Exciting times ahead for our Eagles!

  • cshav10

    Love, love, love the number of white jerseys around the ball with this team. Sign of a great defense.