Shutting ’em Down

Posted: November 21st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 154 Comments »

The Eagles defense is 7th in points and yards allowed, both good figures. It wasn’t that long ago those were figures were a bit higher.

The last three games the defense has allowed 238, 226 and 225 yards. They have allowed 10, 16 and 9 points. Denver had a defensive TD that got them to 23 points in that game.

The defense is starting to really play well. To be fair, C.J. Beathard and Brock Osweiler are not exactly murderer’s row. Dallas is a good offense, but was missing two of their three most important players. The flip side of that is that when you do face lesser competition, you are supposed to shut them down. That’s exactly what the Eagles did.

The Eagles still have the #1 run defense in the league. They are tied for 4th in sacks and they are 2nd in interceptions. If you prefer analytics, Football Outsiders has the defense at 4th overall.

This defense is starting to play at a really high level. We expected the front seven to be good this year, but the secondary has developed nicely and is playing better than anyone would have expected.

Rodney McLeod is a good centerfielder and keeps things in front of him. That takes pressure off the CBs and other guys in coverage. Malcolm Jenkins gives the team a wild card. His combination of size, skill and athleticism allows him to cover a variety of players. You’ll see him on Larry Fitzgerald or Jason Witten or a RB out in the flat. He allows Jim Schwartz to be creative with how the Eagles cover offenses.

The CBs are simply playing better than expected. The tweet above shows you how well Robinson is covering. He’s been good outside, but has looked terrific in the slot. He had a pass breakup while covering Cole Beasley on Sunday night that was really impressive. Beasley is a small, quick player that is really tough to cover out of the slot. Robinson ran the route better than Beasley and got a hand on the ball. Wow. You just don’t see that a lot.

Jalen Mills was out there covering Dez Bryant. This seems crazy, but Bryant is a descending player and Mills is on the way up. It also helps that Mills is convinced he’s the greatest CB of all time. This year he is actually making plays before wagging his finger. Last year it was more about celebrating incompletions, whether he had anything to do with it or not.

Ronald Darby played great in his first game back. If he can build on that, this defense is going to be really tough down the stretch.

Guys like Rasul Douglas and Jaylen Watkins are ready to do their part if called upon. They’ve played well this year when needed.

The Bears shouldn’t pose much of an offensive threat on Sunday, but the defense could be tested after that. We’ll have to wait and see who is healthy for all those games. After all, we expected Dallas to be a major test just a few weeks back.


I hope the teams are healthy. I want to see this defense shut down a good offense and prove just how good they really are.


Enjoy some more numbers.


154 Comments on “Shutting ’em Down”

  1. 1 daveH said at 11:19 PM on November 21st, 2017:

    Bout time. ..thirsty for the next one Tommy !! Breathe breathe breathe

  2. 2 Howie Littlefinger said at 12:02 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    This team is built well for the playoffs. How many teams have had there season practically ended by the birds already.

    To think just two years ago we were begging dbs to locate the ball in the air. The secondary has really stepped up.

  3. 3 SteveH said at 12:33 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    God don’t remind me. Those days were truly the dregs.

  4. 4 Howie Littlefinger said at 10:45 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    This is why I go full finger wag when a DB watches a WR drop the ball. Even that was considered “Improved”.

  5. 5 Guy Media said at 6:32 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Almost all of the really annoy stuff we’d have to scream at the TV has been improved.

  6. 6 A_T_G said at 8:29 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    It must be working.

    Edit: This is also my no goto example of correlation does not equal causation.

  7. 7 Guy Media said at 8:42 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    ha ha ha ha ha, you mean “GET THE FUCK OFF OF THE FIELD ON 3RD AND LONG!” being yelled by me isn’t why they started getting off of the field on 3rd and long?

  8. 8 A_T_G said at 10:08 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I am going to be yelling at the State of the Union Address this year, just in case.

  9. 9 or____ said at 10:27 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    You are the MVP, period.

    PS. I give you all the credit for improvements in Barners, Kendricks, and Kelce’s play. 100%. I’ll throw in Agholor for good measure.

  10. 10 Guy Media said at 12:27 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I was resigned to Agholor being on this team (due to the cap considerations) no matter what this year, so he wasn’t a target of my extra attention.

  11. 11 Howie Littlefinger said at 10:44 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I used be “EaglesD3rdandWrong”

  12. 12 sonofdman said at 9:39 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Just when you thought it was safe to eat ice cream:

  13. 13 RobNE said at 8:00 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Well doesn’t this mean the weather is warmer? Seems kind of related.

  14. 14 sonofdman said at 1:40 AM on November 23rd, 2017:

    That is the point. Correlation does not equal causation.

  15. 15 sonofdman said at 9:43 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    The real reason we need to build a wall:

  16. 16 Howie Littlefinger said at 10:43 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Yea but the market has shifted to limes. Lemons don’t have a holiday to increase mass production and uncle sam has come down on “Mary sues” who try to hawk their roadside product.

  17. 17 xeynon said at 11:23 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    There’s an entire website devoted to these:

  18. 18 mtn_green said at 4:40 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Should post this graph every time someone mentions time of possession.

  19. 19 Masked Man said at 2:52 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Speaking of “Shutting ’em Down…”

    Remember last week when Jim Schwartz complimented Dak? Jim said he is the best in the league throwing on the run to his left or to his right.

    Jim said most QBs who can do that are good to one side or the other but not both. Jim called Dak “the best” at that skill to either side of the field.

    Then on game day, Jim’s defense hemmed Dak in completely. Almost 100%. They made him pass from the pocket and endure the pass rush. Then they sacked him, hit him, picked off his pressured passes and ran his fumble into the end zone for a score.

    There were 3 Eagles picks and 1 Fumble Return TD. Four turnovers in all by Dak. Oh, and four Dak sacks to go along with it.

    So Jim pointed out the key strength before the game. Then he and his boys shut it down on Sunday in Jerry World. Kind of amazing that Schwartz did that, isn’t it?

  20. 20 Guy Media said at 6:33 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I feel like I need to start spamming clips of all of Schwartz’s worst moments as a head coach to all of the teams that will have head coaching vacancies so they don’t hire Schwartz.

  21. 21 Buge Halls said at 7:22 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    If he gets poached in the off-season, as long as we don’t promote our OL coach to be the Def Coordinator, I think we’ll be okay next year!

  22. 22 Guy Media said at 7:25 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    We’ll see what shakes out, but I trust nothing ahead of time until I see the results.

  23. 23 Bert's Bells said at 8:25 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    If Jeff Fischer is available the defensive-minded mediocre HC re-tread talent pool is going to be competitive.

  24. 24 Guy Media said at 8:42 AM on November 22nd, 2017:


  25. 25 bushisamoron said at 11:41 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    No Jeff Fisher. Ever. For anything.

  26. 26 Guy Media said at 12:27 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    One exception; humbling Vince Young’s insolent ass.

  27. 27 or____ said at 10:26 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    If Schwartz leaves, I vote for Malcom Jenkins as DC. Or Jordan Hicks (that way his brains are involved independently of his body being able to be involved). And we can use the extra $ we don’t spend on a separate DC to hire more assistance for Howie and Joe.

  28. 28 sonofdman said at 10:59 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Jason Peters should be DC as well as kicking coach. He’ll just gather the defense before each game and tell them “No more touchdowns.”

  29. 29 P_P_K said at 10:41 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Hopefully Jim will enjoy hoisting a Lombardi as a DC and want to stick around.

  30. 30 CrackSammich said at 6:50 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    His Wide 9 is supposed to keep QBs from getting out wide. I think we’re just conditioned to seeing the Castillo version rather than the Schwartz version.

    A lot of the things coaches have tried to do for years just seem to be working. How frustrating was it for the last 4-5 years when we’d let the opposing offense have the short pass only to tackle them just after the first down marker? It’s the same defensive game plan now. People are just executing. LBs have to adjust to the DL’s alignment? Doesn’t that strike fear into your heart based on the Castillo years? But it’s been working even with backup LBs now. Who knows if it’s talent or coaching. I’m just happy it’s here.

  31. 31 Dragon_Eagle said at 8:15 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Schwartz >>>>> Castillo+Washburn

  32. 32 P_P_K said at 10:39 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Scwartz is from Mars, Castillo + Washburn are from Venus.

  33. 33 Howie Littlefinger said at 10:40 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    PTSD towards the wide nine and having CBs play the ball in the air. We have been hurt before

  34. 34 xeynon said at 11:20 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    We have much better linebackers and much better tackling safeties now than we did when Castillo and Washburn were trying to execute the Wide 9. Assigning multiple gap/support responsibility to Nigel Bradham, Mychal Kendricks, and Malcolm Jenkins is an entirely different thing than assigning it to Casey Matthews and Nate Allen.

  35. 35 A_T_G said at 8:32 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I wonder if that is a motivational ploy. You know his defensive guys hear their leader saying nice things about the enemy and take that to heart.

  36. 36 Masked Man said at 11:41 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Could be that too. Like a challenge. But it’s Badazz too. Schwartz has a lot of swagger. But it’s subtle most of the time.

  37. 37 Guy Media said at 6:31 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    “I want to see this defense shut down a good offense and prove just how good they really are.”

    That might not happen until February 4th.

  38. 38 CrackSammich said at 6:52 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    33% turnover rate on blitzes is good, right?

  39. 39 Mac said at 2:57 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I love turnovers.

  40. 40 Ryan Rambo said at 8:00 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

  41. 41 GermanEagle said at 4:07 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    YES. Someone finally did this!!!

  42. 42 eagleyankfan said at 7:42 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I look for it week on Facebook…and promptly repost it….If it’s not posted, I create my own. Dallas fans use to say ‘fine, Eagles win Wednesdays but Dallas will win on Sundays’….that of course does not happen…

  43. 43 eagleyankfan said at 8:03 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    “The Bears shouldn’t pose much of an offensive threat on Sunday, but the defense could be tested after that.” — Looking past teams for future games is what gets teams in trouble….hope the Eagles aren’t looking at the next game as a ‘walk through’….

  44. 44 Guy Media said at 8:13 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    They’ve shown no proclivity to do that this year. Didn’t look past San Fran, Arizona, the Giants (because of they’re fan base full of complete scumbags), etc.

  45. 45 Bert's Bells said at 8:21 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    It’s not important what the team does -when bloggers look past opponents it’s trouble.

  46. 46 eagleyankfan said at 8:30 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    That and fans — if we’re to recap what fans on here wanted: Wentz HAS to sit 3 years or he’ll be ruined for life. DC stinks, Eagles don’t need him. Pederson is no good(me :)). Eagles OL coach sucks – get rid of him. HR ruined the team by moving up to get Wentz….list goes on and on….(it’s what fans do, otherwise, what else is there to talk about?)

  47. 47 Bert's Bells said at 8:31 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    There’s a pretty good product on the field and the front office does some cool stuff. I’d rather talk about that.

  48. 48 or____ said at 10:20 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I should have read this prior to my response. Haha…great minds…

  49. 49 eagleyankfan said at 8:26 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Credit the coaches for the team being prepared, every week…

  50. 50 Guy Media said at 8:41 AM on November 22nd, 2017:


  51. 51 eagleyankfan said at 7:44 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Glad you understand what I was saying…it’s not for everyone :)…

  52. 52 or____ said at 10:19 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Tommy isn’t the Eagles. Bloggers looking past teams for future games is not what gets teams in trouble…

  53. 53 eagleyankfan said at 7:39 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    reading comprehension….I never said Tommy IS the Eagles. Nor did I bloggers are the cause…but thanks for playing…specifically reread the last sentence above…

  54. 54 DJH said at 12:21 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    First of all, what everybody else said about bloggers vs players approach to a game. But second of all, I don’t think Thomas was looking past the bears. He seemed to be referring to the “on paper” match up, i.e., on paper, their offense doesn’t match up well against our defense.

    We all know, including Tommy of course, that anything can happen in the actual game.

    As far as the players looking past teams, what I am getting from this team is that the have the right kind of confidence in their ability as a team, as well as the self-disciple and -motivation to show up each week.

  55. 55 Corry said at 8:07 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    The defense is a lot of fun to watch. Also who had Robinson as a player worthy of a contract extension after watching him in camp? Sad thing is, given the depth we suddenly have at corner, he may not get one after what has been a really good season.

  56. 56 Howie Littlefinger said at 10:34 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I just don’t see him getting extended. Would not be against it if it did happen

  57. 57 daveH said at 12:12 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    If the schwartz stays here it might be in his best interest to keep excellibg in a stem that works for him .. how much more would it take for another team to pretty him away i wonder. . Extra 250 or 500 per /otherwise keep in a good system and keep being great at it

  58. 58 Dragon_Eagle said at 2:08 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Who plays slot corner if Robinson goes down? What’s the depth chart look like there?

  59. 59 CrackSammich said at 2:09 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Mills, Jenkins, Douglas, Watkins

  60. 60 Novembrine said at 8:15 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Slightly off-topic, but half the time on here the embedded tweets won’t load in Tommy’s articles. I’m using Chrome and adblock is disabled for this site. Anyone else have the same issues?

  61. 61 CrackSammich said at 8:27 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I have a ton of issues with Chrome and Disqus, personally. The tweets generally load.

  62. 62 jmh said at 9:12 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Sorry to say friend, but I have Chrome with Adblock and the tweets load fine for me every day. Sounds like something more is going on with your set up. Hope you figure it out. But at least we are 9-1 and nothing else in the world matters.

  63. 63 CrackSammich said at 11:16 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    The finger wag was never about Mills being good. He does it because it’s fucking infuriating. If you call him out because the QB overthrew you and Mills had nothing to do with it, you lost. If you ignore him, you lost. If he beats you, you lost. You catch it 6 times and drop 1, he wags, you lost.

  64. 64 xeynon said at 11:17 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Yeah, Mills strikes me as a guy who thrives by getting into his opponents’ heads. I’m fine with him finger wagging if it helps him gain an edge.

  65. 65 Mac said at 12:03 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I love the absurd nature of it.

  66. 66 Masked Man said at 6:23 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Haha. “It’s ALL in your MIND!!”

  67. 67 xeynon said at 11:27 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    The Eagles defense is composed of two kinds of players: guys with elite physical tools (Cox, Jenkins, Kendricks, Darby, etc.) and guys who don’t profile as dominant athletic specimens but are smart, tough, competitive, and technically sound and so make up for it (Mills, Barnett, Bradham, Douglas, etc.).

    You can build a great defense with these two types of players.

  68. 68 BC1968 said at 12:13 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I love the way the secondary tackles, they don’t miss. You can give up plays, but if you secure the tackle you really can minimize the damage. I think that’s been one of the biggest difference for their success.

    Edit to add: biggest difference from previous years

  69. 69 xeynon said at 12:58 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Yup, that’s one of the “technically sound” points that matters so much.

    Mills is not going to completely shut anybody down, but he never seems to blow a coverage or miss a tackle, which means even when a ball is completed against him it doesn’t result in much in the way of YAC.

    Spread these tendencies out over the whole defense and you end up forcing teams to string together long drives in order to score against you, and lowering their success rate. The more plays they have to execute consecutively to get down the field, the greater the cumulative probability they screw up with a penalty, turnover, or sack that aborts the drive.

    It’s a smart way to play defense when you don’t have dominant talent on that side of the ball.

  70. 70 Dragon_Eagle said at 2:12 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    This is one of the main reasons for our success on defense. I wonder though, are we now a good tackling team because we acquired players who are good tacklers or are they good tacklers because Schwartz & co. taught/motivated them to be good tacklers?

  71. 71 truehaynes said at 3:16 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Dude bradham is an athletic specimen. As is Barnett is some ways. I would also include jernigan and Graham in the first category. Graham is one of the strongest Des in the league which is a physical tool.

  72. 72 Masked Man said at 6:20 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I like that comment. That hangs together with Joe Douglas’ motto that he likes to draft “football players.”

    He made some comical statements about “the Underwear Olympics” which I guess is speaking of the combine and pro day workouts. He recommends watching lots of college game tape and picking players that way.

  73. 73 eagleyankfan said at 7:37 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Kendricks has elite physical tools?

  74. 74 bushisamoron said at 11:39 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Bears will run run run unless stopped. If Howard contained, game over

  75. 75 Masked Man said at 11:46 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    We will slow him down.

  76. 76 A_T_G said at 11:56 AM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I have Howard on one of my two fantasy teams and considered sitting him, but I can’t do that. Still, this is the only week his expected score is single digits and I think he will underperform it. Our run defense is scary good.

  77. 77 Rob Jarratt said at 3:27 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Please explain to this old school guy who doesn’t get the seemingly divided loyalty between a team’s success (the one you root for) and an individual performance against said team. I will presume you bleed Eagles’ Green, so you want them to win. On the other hand, you have Howard on your fantasy team and you want him to ramble through the defense and pile up yards and TD’s. I am not a all a curmudgeon, but this is why playing fantasy is a head-scratcher for me.

  78. 78 sonofdman said at 3:34 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I can’t speak for ATG (or anyone else), but I always cheer for the Eagles first and my fantasy team second. If one of my best players happens to be playing the Eagles, I will leave him in my lineup but during the game I will absolutely cheer for him to do nothing and the Eagles to shut him down. I will hope my other guys will do well enough to win in fantasy anyway.

  79. 79 Guy Media said at 3:35 PM on November 22nd, 2017:


  80. 80 Rob Jarratt said at 4:41 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Thanks for the explanation, sonofdman. Sounds more understandable.

  81. 81 Masked Man said at 6:17 PM on November 22nd, 2017:


  82. 82 Masked Man said at 6:17 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I agree with sonofdman. Fantasy performance is always an afterthought when a player faces the Eagles. If I think they will get points I will play them, or if not then I will sit them. But the real games matter. Besides, I play fantasy but I don’t bet fantasy. So it’s just a game.

  83. 83 A_T_G said at 6:44 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Oh, not at all. I want the Eagles to win. If Howard gets 20 yards and no TDs I will be ecstatic.

    I rarely play guys against the Eagles. Howard is likely to outperform anyone else I could put in his place, though, even looking through my green lenses.

    My rooting interests are clear, however. There is no divided loyalty.

  84. 84 RobNE said at 7:54 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Exactly why I don’t play.

  85. 85 D3FB said at 8:51 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Emotional hedging.

  86. 86 daveH said at 12:14 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Some of these click bait ads are runnng in video now. .. actually very cool

  87. 87 Dave said at 6:35 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    A few months ago I signed up for a VPN. I run an app on my phone and tablet and run a chrome extension on my laptop to toggle on/off the VPN service.

    I wish I would have done it years ago as it automatically blocks all ads on my devices and my phone / tablet run super fast now.

  88. 88 daveH said at 7:08 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Staring at Kap’s face every time i click on igglesblitz is painful.
    No interrest in seeing what Barbi Benton looks like now. . Ill never forget finding that playboy of her in the tunnels of the Avalon dunes, circa 1975 so she will always be all-time in my book.

  89. 89 Guy Media said at 12:18 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I’m really getting upset at the number of HOF connected NFL writers who are all talking up Everson Wall’s BS case to be a HOF player. Eric Allen was a far better player and can’t get a sniff.

    I’m also seeing guys talk up John Lynch over Dawk again.

    What the fuck is wrong with some of these people?

  90. 90 sonofdman said at 12:41 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Lynch over Dawk is such crap. Dawk was a much better player.

  91. 91 Mac said at 1:21 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Some people believe that having an idea that goes against the flow makes them special or brilliant. In certain cases, that may be true. In most cases, it means you’re a lunatic.

  92. 92 Guy Media said at 3:35 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    and if it goes against Philadelphia; it’s a treasonous idea.

  93. 93 Dave said at 6:33 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    HOF is biased towards Superbowl winners, plain and simple.

    The good news is that when we win multiple Superbowls with Wentz, we’ll likely have numerous players elected to the HOF as well.

  94. 94 Guy Media said at 8:53 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    It is a completely asinine metric for individual player recognition. I’d like to break the Lombardi trophy over the head of every dumb fuck voter who uses that bias until they either stop using it or stop breathing.

  95. 95 Someguy77 said at 9:18 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Lynch had highlight hits but he was overrated and benefited from playing on such a talented overall defense.

  96. 96 Guy Media said at 9:20 PM on November 22nd, 2017:


  97. 97 Sean E said at 2:14 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Russell Wilson came up yesterday. I just saw an insane stat –

    Russell Wilson has accounted for more than 82% of his teams scrimmage yards.

  98. 98 Mac said at 3:02 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    So, you’re saying that it’s good to have a franchise qb amirite?

  99. 99 CrackSammich said at 3:09 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Missing Kizer and Hogan.

    Ha, and check out that 3rd name.

  100. 100 Guy Media said at 3:38 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    In addition to Kizer and Hogan, they can suck more next year by adding Sorry Miss Jackson to the list.

  101. 101 ColorSgt said at 4:22 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Ok, so last time I asked what player was the most surprising so far this year. Now I’ll open it up to the Eagles season overall. What is the biggest, positive surprise so far this season? Could be a player, 61 yard fg, stats in the article or anything. Safe travels, and happy Thanksgiving!

  102. 102 Frencheaglesfan said at 4:28 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    If we talk about a moment, that win against Carolina was pretty sweet and gave me hopes in this team. The performance of Wentz against the Skins on MNF was the best moment though imo.

  103. 103 ColorSgt said at 4:35 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    With so many things going right, there are a lot of options. Those were both great games, especially how they overcame the lopsided officiating in the Carolina game.

  104. 104 Dragon_Eagle said at 4:45 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Have to agree with this to a point. Carolina was the game that made this Eagles team legit in my eyes. Washington MNF was Wentz’s coming out party. Both were friggin’ awesome.

    However, nothing beats putting a 37-9 smackdown on Dallas on Sunday Night Football. Yeah, baby.

  105. 105 Guy Media said at 5:23 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Especially with the cheatin’ ass refs in that Carolina game.

  106. 106 ColorSgt said at 4:40 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    For me, the biggest surprise is the roster Howie and Joe put together and are constantly tweaking. Looking at where the team was two years ago and the cap situation Howie had to navigate, its amazing they got such a great roster together so quickly.

  107. 107 FairOaks said at 4:46 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Cornerback play. We had reason to hope for improved WR play given the acquisitions (though the resurrection of Ags has made it even better than hoped), but we had little hope for CB, given Mills last year, and Robinson in preseason. The trade for Darby gave a lot of hope there, just to be crushed one quarter into the season. The DL has a lot to do with it, but the CB play since then has been a huge — and most welcome — surprise. The DL got to the QB fast last year, but we couldn’t defend the quick throws anyways.

    There are a number of surprises, as just about every move has worked out even better than originally hoped, but for me the cornerbacks top the list.

  108. 108 ColorSgt said at 4:49 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Definitely a good one.

  109. 109 daveH said at 4:48 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    5 rookies contributing is awesome

  110. 110 daveH said at 6:08 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    And several ‘busts’ ( 3 that i can think of..) becoming playmaker is also huge

  111. 111 Guy Media said at 5:22 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Wentz making that much of a jump in year two. With all due respect to all of the other guys playing better, I can’t take anything but the QB as first.

  112. 112 FairOaks said at 5:46 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Yeah, that is by far the most important. Not sure it is the most *surprising*, as I was expecting a certain improvement given more experience and better weapons, but I never thought he’d come this far this fast.

  113. 113 Masked Man said at 6:07 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Most positive season surprise to me is 9-1!
    And 9-1 would have to contain many other positive surprises of course.

    In August I had predicted 10-6 overall.
    So through 10 games, 6 or 7 wins was expected.

    Great topic questions, CS!
    Great holiday weekend to all!

  114. 114 Dave said at 6:26 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I think the bigger question is all the players overachieving this year and can they sustain their success. Kelce, Kendricks, Wiz, Ags, Mills, and Robinson come to mind.

  115. 115 Howie Littlefinger said at 6:46 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    How about coaching ?
    2. Situational
    3. Half time adjustments
    4. we have timeouts,(Never wasted)
    5. Redzone Tds, creativity
    6. Up tempo if /when needed
    7. T.O.P.

  116. 116 ColorSgt said at 8:31 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    No wrong answers. Except, Smallwood.

  117. 117 daveH said at 9:01 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Smallwood better than pumphrey .. who’s pomphrey

  118. 118 Howie Littlefinger said at 9:13 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Nobody was looking at coaching as being a strength. Suddenly it’s being used as reasons people are doing well. Players are being placed into more favorable situations.

    Coach of the year if u ask me

  119. 119 ColorSgt said at 10:28 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Agreed. I never understood all the Doug hate prior to this season. I thought he did pretty well last year with some rookie mistakes. The simple fact that they hardly throw WR screens anymore… I can’t remember the last one actually… Shows that he can learn and adapt.

  120. 120 mtn_green said at 4:42 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Whole team tackles. Feel like it used to only be Jenkins or Hicks that would tackle someone short of sticks.

  121. 121 ColorSgt said at 4:46 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I think its contagious. Like hitting in baseball. On the contrary you have the redskins at the end of the Saints game.

  122. 122 Masked Man said at 6:03 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Did you see Darby? Darby tackles!

  123. 123 daveH said at 6:07 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Bradham tackles. Curry tackles, Graham starts on the right, drives an O lineman 12 yards into the backfield and then runs 20yds down the opposite side to make great tackles

    Hey did or new LB play? ?? Not sure i noticed him on my first viewing

  124. 124 Masked Man said at 6:13 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Don’t believe he was active. Maybe he got a tackle anyway! The whole defense tackles!

  125. 125 Howie Littlefinger said at 8:15 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I noticed Walker. He looked like he was looking for directions.

  126. 126 FairOaks said at 6:33 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Was not active. Nor was the new OT.

  127. 127 daveH said at 5:34 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Meal of man the talking sports heads dating Dak doesn’t have enough weapons like Wentz does .. they done realise how soooo ooo stooooo pittt they sound .. literally in a effect crushing the alleged hof careers of Dez and Witten. .ha what dopes. . I love it. .to bad no one holds them accountable

  128. 128 Ark87 said at 5:38 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Dez needs to go to a real team, Dez was on pace (statistically) to land in the neighborhood of the HOF with Romo. Dak is garbage and has made Dez garbage. If he ever wants a superbowl and a QB, we could use a #2 receiver when Smith leaves next year…

  129. 129 Guy Media said at 5:40 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Dak Pennington

  130. 130 Ark87 said at 5:43 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I’m using that at the Thanksgiving table tomorrow

  131. 131 Guy Media said at 5:46 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Excellent. The dude’s a game manager level player.

  132. 132 FairOaks said at 5:51 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Right now I think he’s a high-end game manager, but with superior escapability and broken play ability added on. That counts for quite a bit. But right now he needs a defense and/or some other weapons.

    Brady and Roethlisberger were also (good) game managers this stage of their careers though — once Elliott gets back, and he has an OL, they should be pretty successful and Dak will have time to improve on the base QB skills. He could still end up being very good.

  133. 133 Guy Media said at 5:53 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Nah; fuck him and fuck Dallas.

  134. 134 daveH said at 6:03 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    But the heads are saying that its every one else fault… never once saying we lost our rb & hof lineman .. dez would be a great addition to almost any team. .imagine him on the Packers or Seahawks or so on and so on… .but no, he isn’t good enough on the boys any more and its his fault not Daks. It’s retarded. Same w written/ he ain’t good enough for dak.

  135. 135 FairOaks said at 6:48 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Not having viable backups is a team issue, not QB. We used the Johnson (and other OL turmoil) excuse last year with Wentz — with reason. He was just a tipping point player last year. Eagles have fixed that this year, at least one backup deep, now maybe two with Beatty.

    Lee has been a tipping point on that defense for far too long. Dallas did not improve their OL (in fact got worse, as their good depth last year is starting this year and they have nothing else obviously). And Zeke was what made the whole thing work.

    But I have seen several commentaries (TV and online) which do mention that the Eagles *also* have lost their LT, best LB, their kicker, and most dangerous RB, and are still going. Granted, other than LT (and maybe even there) the Cowboys players were better and unlike the Eagles, the absolute core of their units. Not sure that Dak can really be evaluated with that Falcons game, but the Eagles game was not encouraging.

  136. 136 Guy Media said at 8:51 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Fuck them too.

  137. 137 Dave said at 6:22 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I think Dak might be a game manager because he’s unable to read defenses or lacks the study habits to know his opponent’s tendencies. Al NFL QBs have the physical attributes to succeed, the elite succeed through preparation and study habits.

  138. 138 FairOaks said at 6:41 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    By all accounts he’s a great guy, and a hard worker. Does not seem to be the emotional type whose performance can swing wildly (Newton, Winston), and seems plenty smart. Some QBs will never develop the skill to read defenses (part of the reason I was so excited about Wentz last year was that he already could), but others just need time. Zeke and that OL might give him plenty of time. We’ll see if he can improve. Thought he was throwing downfield a bit more this year than last.

    As an Eagles fan I hope not, of course. As an NFL fan, could be more fun though. Just wish he was not on the Cowboys. Broncos would kill to have him right about now. It’s just ridiculous that the Cowboys lucked into a viable 4th-round QB right at the point they were going to enter cap hell with Romo. Who was himself a dumb luck UDFA find.

  139. 139 Dave said at 6:56 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I’m just not sure you can all of a sudden become a student of the game with experience. Studying is hard work and damn near impossible for others.

    Vick was the absolute case in point. He admitted he never studied when Lurie and Andy game him a second chance. Later when he was with the Jets and Steelers, he admitted again he didn’t study.

    Sometimes it’s not even about studying but having an understanding of the game and how to win.

    Remember the snow bowl in 2013 where Shady ran for over 200 yards? Nick Foles was throwing up lob passes so the receivers could catch the ball in the cold heavy snow while Matt Stafford kept throwing darts to his receivers like it was 80 degrees outside. Stafford never realized that his receivers couldn’t catch his fastballs in the snow and kept firing away while Foles threw wounded ducks that the receivers could easily handle.

    After watching Wentz and see the breakdowns of his presnap reads from Fran Duffy, Sheil, Pederson, and Reich, I’m downright amazed at how he knows who will be in the most favorable coverage before he even gets the snap.

  140. 140 FairOaks said at 8:21 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Right — some guy with extreme athletic ability get by that way instead of really reading defenses. Vick, as you point out, was a prime example. Newton may be a more mild example — still don’t think he’s a great passer (good, but not great). Randall was an extreme example — the guy was years into an NFL career before he could recognize man vs zone defense. He had an exhilarating final year with the Vikings once he actually did learn how to be a real QB — big shame it didn’t happen with the Eagles.

    Everything I’ve read about Dak though is that he puts in the work, and is not remotely like the guys mentioned above. That is not a guarantee he will learn it, but at least he has a chance. He is pretty good at situational play, so he is a student of the game to some extent.

  141. 141 SteveH said at 6:08 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Yeah, it’s weird how Dez’s statistical decline coincides perfectly with Dak’s arrival.

  142. 142 daveH said at 7:18 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Indeed. . And seems to be little challenge to it or mention of it. . Dez not nearly as vocal as he used to be

  143. 143 Insomniac said at 7:26 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    I’ve been saying that they should trade him for awhile now. It’s clear that Dak has no chemistry with Dez and Dez is going to implode eventually with his poor performance.

  144. 144 Dragon_Eagle said at 6:10 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    It feels good to be on this side of Dallas week with a soul-crushing victory in hand.

  145. 145 Guy Media said at 8:50 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    yup; we pretty much ended them.

  146. 146 GENETiC-FREAK said at 7:57 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Big Cox couldnt keep it in the pants huh..

  147. 147 Dragon_Eagle said at 8:24 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    At the end of this ESPN article, which is quite good by the way:

    I found this quote from Glenn Macnow: “The fans are …” he pauses, choosing his words carefully, “cautiously hysterical.”

    Cautiously hysterical. That’s perfect.

  148. 148 Guy Media said at 9:25 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Portland entered tonight as the 4th place team out west; the Sixers just blew them out by 20!

  149. 149 P_P_K said at 9:36 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    The future of 76ers basketball is very exciting.

  150. 150 Insomniac said at 10:01 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    If only Ben had a better jumper. Oh lord it’s getting me hot and bothered thinking about it.

  151. 151 Guy Media said at 10:03 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    that’ll come with time.

  152. 152 Insomniac said at 10:05 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    The Iggy days are making me second guess it.

  153. 153 Guy Media said at 10:06 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Simmons isn’t a pouty piece of crap like Iggy.

  154. 154 Insomniac said at 10:00 PM on November 22nd, 2017:

    Things I would be thankful for

    1. Another Cowgirls loss in the same week
    2. Thanksgiving Ham instead of turkey
    3. Ajit Pai sent to prison on Thanksgiving morning for corruption.