Sloppy Start

Posted: September 10th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 5 Comments »

The Eagles are a more talented team than the Skins. That didn’t mean much in the first half on Sunday when Washington was up 17-0. Talent alone isn’t enough. Teams must execute well to win games in the NFL.

The Eagles were brutally sloppy on Sunday, especially early on.

  • Andrew Sendejo slipped in coverage and then half the defense missed the tackle of Vernon Davis. That resulted in a TD.
  • DeSean Jackson got into a shoving match with a DB. The DB had been hitting receivers after plays to get at them. Unfortunately, it was Jackson who got the flag. That put the Eagles in 3rd and 17 and killed the drive.
  • Rasul Douglas got burned for a 69-yard TD. He didn’t have safety help. For some reason, Douglas was slow initially and let the WR run right by him.
  • Carson Wentz had a fourth down pass batted down. That killed a drive that was in scoring territory.
  • Ronald Darby dropped an easy INT. He had a chance for another one, but that would have been a tougher catch.
  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside had a holding call that nullified a TD run by Miles Sanders.
  • Derek Barnett had multiple offsides penalties.
  • Darren Sproles caught a pass late in the game and ran out of bounds at the 3:18 mark. Had he stayed in, another 35 or so seconds would have gone off the clock. WAS scored their TD at the :12 mark. If Sproles stays in, there is no final TD. Dumb play by a smart veteran.
  • WR Terry McLaurin, who had already burned Douglas for a long TD, ran right by Sidney Jones. Thankfully the pass was overthrown.
  • DeSean Jackson dropped a short pass.

Some of this rust is due to this being the season opener. The first game of the year is rarely a model of perfect execution.

The lack of preseason reps for key players is bound to have had some effect. Jim Schwartz mentioned in his press conference that the lack of pass rush on the final drive was due to DL not having fresh legs. The guys weren’t used to being on the field that much and it caught up to them on a hot summer afternoon.

The Eagles better not repeat this performance against a talented team like the Falcons. You aren’t going to win in Atlanta making that many mistakes.

*****

We expected bad news and we got it. You hate to lose an impact DL like Jackson.

To replace him…

Spence was productive for Miami last year. He had 2 sacks, 6 TFLs and 9 QB hits while starting all 16 games.

The Eagles have had good luck with finding 1-gap DTs. Justin Hamilton, Treyvon Hester, Hassan Ridgeway, etc. Spence is 6-1, 303 and is at his best attacking up the field.

*****

Ellis will almost certainly go to the practice squad.

I’m guessing the Eagles replace him with a veteran TE, but after the troubling coverage on Sunday the team could always consider adding a DB.

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RB By Committee

Posted: September 9th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 2 Comments »

No Eagles RB ran for 50 yards on Sunday, but the team had 31 carries for 123 yards. That’s a good overall day for the team. The running back by committee approach has worked throughout the Doug Pederson era and is off to a good start in 2019.

Darren Sproles got the majority of touches and I’ve got issues with that, but let’s talk about the new guys first. Jordan Howard impressed the heck out of me. He was 6-44 on the ground and added yards after contact on every single run. It was fun to watch him finish. Defenders would arrive and initiate contact. Howard just kept going until they put him on the ground. You have to love tough running like that. Great effort.

Howard showed vision and okay speed. He had 2 catches for 11 yards. That was a good debut for the former Bear. I think we’ll enjoy watching him this season.

Miles Sanders was 11-25 on the ground. The numbers don’t tell the story.

The Eagles haven’t had a RB who could move like that since LeSean McCoy. I’m not saying Sanders is Shady, but he’s got great wheels and that’s something the Eagles have needed in the backfield for a while. There was a TD run later on that got wiped out by a penalty. Sanders showed burst/speed on that run as well. He is going to be a difference-maker for the Eagles. You need chunk plays and Sanders has the ability to make them.

He did catch one pass. There was an almost-fumble, but Sanders got control of the ball before he was hit. That was an odd exchange between he and Wentz. It looked like Wentz may have put the ball too far into his arms, but I don’t know how the coaches will grade that.

One area where Sanders stood out was in pass protection. He made several good blocks to keep his QB clean. That is essential for any RB, but especially a rookie. He’s got to earn the trust of the QB and his coach. Sanders surely did just that.

Back to Sproles. He was 9-47 on the ground and 3-16 as a receiver. Several of his plays did work well. But go back and re-watch them. The blocking was good. The plays worked for more reasons than just Sproles. I appreciate him as a role player, but I think he got too many touches.

I was impressed with him as a punt returner, where he averaged 11.5 yards per return.

We’ll see what the coaches do moving forward. I hope they feed the ball more to Howard and Sanders, while mixing in Sproles.

Corey Clement only had three snaps on offense. His time will come down the road.

*****

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My gift to you.

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A Great Half

Posted: September 8th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

We waited forever for the 2019 season to begin and the opening half had us all wanting to go back to the preseason and a barrage of Clayton Thorson incompletions. At least those were harmless.

The Skins came to town ready for business and got up 17-0 on the sleepwalking Eagles. It was ugly. There were physical mistakes, mental mistakes and coaching mistakes. Other than that, things were great.

The Eagles came alive when Carson Wentz hit DeSean Jackson with a long TD pass and suddenly there was hope. That didn’t last long. Washington went into halftime up 20-7. Boos rained down from the stands, and rightfully so. That was one bad half of football.

Thankfully, football games are made up of a first half and a second half.

The Eagles went on a 25-0 run in the second half to take control of the game and set up another opening day win for Doug Pederson (now 4-0).

My biggest takeaway is that Carson Wentz is back. His numbers were great (28-39-313 with 3 TDs), but the eye test was even more impressive. He made good decisions. He made good pre-snap adjustments. Wentz threw the ball well downfield. He moved outside the pocket and bought time for his receivers to get open. Wentz was 3 for 3 on QB sneaks. I loved the fact that he spread the ball around so naturally. Wentz looked for the open guy. He trusted the design of the plays and his eyes. He wasn’t forcing the ball to anyone.

DeSean is going to be a difference-maker. When DBs make a mistake with him, it means a TD for the Eagles. The Eagles only had two TDs of 50 or more yards in all of 2018. DeSean had two of them in the opener. It is hard to quantify just how important those plays are.

The OL had a good game. Wentz was only sacked once. The run game was inconsistent, but Washington has a real good front seven. They can pressure the QB and stuff the run. The Eagles controlled the LOS in the second half and wore down that defense.

As for the Eagles defense, things are more complicated. They came alive in the second half and played much better, but they have a long way to go. The DL wasn’t getting nearly enough pressure and only finished with one sack (Tim Jernigan). The front seven did play the run well, limiting WAS to 28 yards on 13 carries.

The secondary had some issues. They gave up a 69-yard TD to rookie receiver Terry McLaurin. He was wide open for a long play in the second half, but the ball was overthrown. That would have been an easy TD. TE Vernon Davis put aside his walker and embarrassed the whole Eagles defense on the opening drive. A short pass turned into a 48-yard TD.

WAS was 5 for 8 on third downs in the first half. One of the weakest WR corps in the league moved the ball up and down the field. The second half was a different story, but Eagles DBs must play much better next week against the Falcons.

A lot of people thought the slow start was due to the Eagles doing so little in the preseason. Maybe, but not necessarily. Back in 2014 the Eagles were down 17-0 to the Jaguars in the opener. Big plays to WRs were the main problem. The Eagles came alive in the second half and won easily. And that was after playing everyone extensively in the preseason.

I don’t know what the problem was. Doug Pederson let his players know he wasn’t pleased with a halftime speech that got their attention. Thankfully they responded in the right way.

Pederson pushed the right buttons in this game. The Eagles went for it on two fourth downs and the one they converted in the third quarter kept alive a TD drive. That was a key moment in the game. Pederson went for two after going up 27-20. He wanted to get a two-possession lead, which he did after Darren Sproles fought his way into the end zone. Once the Eagles went up 29-20, you knew the game was over.

Speaking of Sproles, one of my few complaints is how much the Eagles fed him the ball. Sproles had 12 offensive touches. That is too many. He is still quick and elusive, but he leaves yards on the field. Get the ball to Miles Sanders who has young, fresh legs. Sanders was 11-25 today, but had an impressive TD run wiped out by a penalty. I was very impressed by Jordan Howard. He is going to be fun to watch this year.

I think you should feel good about the Eagles right now. They struggled early, but then dominated the game. WAS dominated the first half and that put them up 20-7. The Eagles dominant stretch was 25-0. See the difference there?

The only injury that I know of is DT Malik Jackson. He got hurt late in the game. Garbage time can be costly. That’s why it is so important to get teams off the field when you can.

The Eagles are 1-0. Their star QB looked great and the team is getting healthier. Life is good.

*****

Brutal news from Jacksonville.

Ugh. I really wanted to see what Nick could do with another team. He’ll be out for a couple of months, most likely.

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Halftime – WAS 20, PHI 7

Posted: September 8th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

What an epic failure of a half of football. Mental mistakes. Physical mistakes. Coaching mistakes.

Eagles get the ball to open the 2nd half. Go score a TD and settle down. Can easily win this game, but only if the team stops making mistakes and starts making plays.

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Gameday – WAS at PHI

Posted: September 8th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

Less than an hour away. Are you starting to get excited?

I know this isn’t a big deal, but it bugs the heck out of me that Josh Sweat is active above Daeshon Hall. Ugh. Hall had a far better preseason and earned the right to play. Beyond that, I think Hall is the better STer.

I don’t get this at all.

I hope Sweat plays well and shuts me up, but I’ve got my doubts.

TE Alex Ellis is active, along with a bunch of rookies.

LB T.J. Edwards is also one of the rookies.

*****

It isn’t easy for visitors to win at The Linc.

Defense is a big reason. Let’s hope the Skins struggle to find the end zone.

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