Context

Posted: September 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 160 Comments »

The Eagles lost and that sucks. I hate losses. They make life less enjoyable. The sun isn’t as bright. The PBR isn’t as cold. The Funyuns aren’t as Funyunny. Megan Fox isn’t quite as Funyunny. And so on.

But…

I don’t get some of the rage that some Eagles fans are showing today. I get venting a bit after a crappy day. We’re all human and you just hate to see the Birds lose. But where is the over-the-top anger coming from?

A year ago the Eagles were 1-3. Right now they are 3-1.

The Saints are now 1-3 and got dominated by Dallas. Rob Ryan’s magical defense from a year ago looks completely gone. That team has some major issues.

The Panthers are 2-2, but their defense is struggling in a big way. They have been blown out the last 2 weeks and their defense has allowed just 8 fewer points than the Eagles.

Atlanta is 2-2 and has bad losses to MIN and CIN.

The Packers and Bears are both 2-2 and have looked highly erratic.

The Niners needed today’s ugly win to get to 2-2 and they still have a ton of issues.

Even the Seahawks are less than a juggernaut right now. They’re 2-1 and last week’s game went to OT.

It is simply too early in the season to know much about any team. Last year the Lions were 3-1 after 4 games, but finished only 7-9. The Panthers started 1-3 and finished the year 12-4.  Teams are done with a quarter of the season. We have some clues about who they will be, but no definitive answers.

It is absolutely fair to be frustrated with the Eagles, 3-1 record or not. The team has played sloppy football all year long. I guess it boils down to how you look at things. Are the Eagles a sloppy football team that got lucky for 3 weeks and will now be exposed? Or is this a team that is good enough to win ugly and will be a real force if they ever put all the pieces together?

I trust Chip Kelly. I still see a lot of talent on the Eagles roster. I believe this team will play better in the coming weeks. I still have high hopes for them.

That doesn’t mean it will happen. You can feel just the opposite and that’s fine. I just don’t get the rage. This team was never going to go undefeated. There is no shame in losing at SF. Sure the Eagles were sloppy in the other games, but look at some of the other teams and the awful losses they had. The Eagles played a stinker today and lost on the road by 5 points. This is hardly the end of the world.

The biggest issue right now is the O-line. Their struggles are affecting Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy and the rest of the skill players. Let’s hope Lane Johnson is in great shape and is ready to go. Putting him at RT and sliding Todd Herremans back to RG would help the line in a big way. Every week that goes by means the return of Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce should be closer. If the projected starting OL can be together for the stretch run, that will be huge.

I don’t think there is any need to panic. If you have learned any lesson in the Chip Kelly era, it should be to let things play out. Games aren’t over at the end of the 1st quarter and neither are seasons. You play for 60 minutes and 16 games a year. Kelly has proven to be a master at making adjustments and getting improved play. And it is always better to work on problems when you are 3-1 instead of 1-3.

I wish the Eagles were playing great football and looked like a juggernaut, but that’s not the case right now. I see plenty of reasons to question Kelly and the players, but I don’t see any reason to write them off and act as if this team is a lost cause.

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Bad Game

Posted: September 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 209 Comments »

The Eagles lost 26-21. Regardless of the score, that was a bad game.

The Eagles made a ton of mistakes. Sloppy football is going to catch up with you at some point and that’s exactly what happened today. The Niners defense played well, but the Eagles offense had a lot of self-inflicted wounds. Chip Kelly didn’t call a good game. Nick Foles didn’t play well. The makeshift OL had a bad day. Zach Ertz fumbled the ball to SF and set up a short TD drive. Riley Cooper let the potential game-wining TD pass go through his hands. And on and on.

The good news is that as bad as the Eagles played, they were right there at the end of the game. The Niners made some sensational plays, especially the WRs, and they needed all of those big moments to win a slopfest.

Lane Johnson comes back to the NovaCare tomorrow and not a moment too soon. All the talent in the world doesn’t do you any good if the blocking up front isn’t good enough.

Don’t make too much of this loss. We don’t need to fire Chip Kelly, bench Foles or Shady McCoy or anything like that. Kelly and the coaches will work through the issues. The players need to eliminate the mistakes.

More on the game later.

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2nd Half – PHI 21, SF 13

Posted: September 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 744 Comments »

What a bizarre half. The offense can’t get going, but the team still has 21 points.

Blocked punt for TD

Pick-6

PR for TD

Wow.

The Eagles are playing sloppy, but making huge plays. That might not be enough to win the game. The offense needs to get going.

It has been fun to see the pass rush come alive. Kaep has been under pressure all game long.

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1st Half – PHI at SF

Posted: September 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 683 Comments »

Can the backup OL get this done?

Can the Eagles get to 4-0?

Let’s hope so.

Go Eagles!!!

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Eagles Need Better D

Posted: September 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 36 Comments »

The Eagles might be 3-0, but if you just looked at the defensive stats you would expect the team to be 0-3. The numbers are not good.

Put the numbers aside and judge some individual situations. You will see the defense making some key stops and even coming up with key takeaways. Andrew Luck got the ball back in a tie game with 3 minutes left and had to punt. Last week the Skins got the ball almost in FG range needing only 3 points to tie and they couldn’t gain a yard. Malcolm Jenkins has key 2nd half picks in each of the last 2 games.

What is wrong with the defense in the 1st half?

I don’t see one thing that needs to be fixed. Cary Williams was awful in the 1st half against the Jags and that hurt the overall team. All it takes is one guy breaking down and you’ve got problems. The pass defense was much better in Indy, but the Colts ran the ball behind their unbalanced look and ate the Eagles up. Last week Bradley Fletcher was the player who got attacked over and over.

The biggest problem against the Skins was the failure to get them into 3rd/long. Kirk Cousins and Washington had manageable 3rd downs and were able to convert those over and over and over. The Skins stayed on the field. I don’t know that they physically wore down the Eagles because the defense played better as the game went on. There is no question that the defense got frustrated and that had to affect them mentally and emotionally.

Can the good moments become good games? Can the defense eliminate the sloppy play and get into a groove?

That’s what happened last year. Starting on October 6, the Eagles held 9 straight opponents to 21 points or less. There was no magical flick of a switch. The coaching was better. The players executed better. Players got into a comfort zone with their roles and each other.

The scheme isn’t new this year so expectations were higher. There wouldn’t be a learning curve. So what’s the deal?

I wish I had an answer for you.

I do think this defense can play better. Getting Mychal Kendricks back will help a lot. He is a key playmaker. Young defenders like Beau Allen and Brandon Bair are still adjusting to real games. The coaches need to find a way to get Nolan Carroll on the field more. The defense can be quite a bit better if they just eliminate mistakes. Think of all the times the defense jumped offside in Indy. They gave away 1st downs. Bradley Fletcher played too soft on a FB in the Red Zone. That’s just a sloppy mistake and easy TD. Nate Allen made a simple mistake against the run in Indy and gave up a 28-yard run. There were the short TD passes to RBs on play-action passes in Indy. Bill Davis says they have corrected those mistakes. Fletcher Cox had a crucial hands-to-the-face penalty last week that took the Skins from 3rd/long to 1st down. That extended a TD drive and might have cost the team 4 points.

The Eagles do not have great defensive talent, but they should be better than they are right now. Davis and the staff need to figure some things out. The players need to play with better discipline. The talent isn’t going to change until the offseason so improvement for now is all about better execution. And that is possible.

* * * * *

Here are your inactives.

No surprises.

The backup OL are Andrew Gardner and Wade Smith. Let’s hope they aren’t needed.

Marcus Smith will see some more time in the Nickel defense. He had a couple of good moments last week. Would be great to see him take another step forward this week.

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