IND 17 , PHI 6

Posted: September 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 833 Comments »

Sloppy 1st half. Bad Red Zone offense. Bad Red Zone defense. Stupid penalties. Poor tackling. And on and on.

The Eagles can win this game if they do 2 things:

1 – Score TDs

2 – Stop the Colts run game

We’ll analyze the RZ offense after the game. Combination of bad scheme and bad execution. Stopping the run is more about execution than anything. Players aren’t getting off blocks quickly enough and guys are not tackling well. Trent Richardson is running with conviction. You have to wrap him up and take him down forcefully. Reaching and grabbing won’t get it done.

Let’s hope Chip Kelly can work his magic. A takeaway or two by the D wouldn’t hurt either.

Go Eagles.

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PHI at IND – 1st Half

Posted: September 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 577 Comments »

It is almost game time. Excited yet? I know I am.

The inactives are in:

QB Matt Barkley
WR Josh Huff
OL Matt Tobin
OL Kevin Graf
DE Taylor Hart
OLB Marcus Smith
CB Jaylen Watkins

Seeing Smith inactive is good and bad news. The bad news is obvious. You want your 1st round pick to play and contribute, if on STs if nothing else.

The good news is that having Smith inactive shows you how much confidence the coaches now have in Brandon Graham. Last week the Eagles rotated Trent Cole, Connor Barwin and Graham. That brought out the best in all 3. Expect to see the coaches mix and match their 3 OLBs again tonight.

Being inactive doesn’t make Smith a bust. He’s the #4 OLB right now. He’s behind a pair of good starters and Graham, who played well last week. The bigger disappointment to me is that he’s not beating someone else out for a STs role. Last week Smith was active, but didn’t play. He hadn’t earned a STs role.

Smith has shown the physical ability needed to succeed in the NFL. He needs a lot of coaching, though. Raw talent doesn’t always translate to polished football skills.

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Gameday is Here

Posted: September 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 126 Comments »

The Eagles are at the Colts tonight on Monday Night Football. This should be a fun game.

The season opener was exciting because it was the first game, but there was nothing compelling about facing the Jaguars. They don’t have star players or a great unit. They’re simply a young team in the building phase.

Andrew Luck and the Colts offer a completely different set of circumstances. Think about some of the storylines.

* Can the Eagles win a road game against an AFC playoff team?

* Who plays better, Luck or Nick Foles, both from the QB class of 2012?

* How does the Eagles defense do against a talented offense?

* How do the Eagles do in primetime? Last year they were 3-1, with the only loss being to KC on a Thursday night?

* Can the Eagles get to 2-0?

* How does the rebuilt O-line look?

Week 2 games aren’t going to make or break a season, but this is a good test for the Eagles. Beyond winning and losing, it is important to see the Eagles play well. Last week the team was sloppy. The offense was sloppy for the whole first half. The defense was sloppy for a quarter. Both groups played well after halftime.

If the Eagles play well and lose, I can live with that. Another sloppy performance by the team would make me very nervous. I’m hoping the combination of rust and opening day jitters is what got the Eagles last week. That stuff should be gone tonight.

It will be interesting to see how Foles vs Luck shakes out. Andrew Luck is the better QB. He has a better arm and is a much better athlete. He’s able to carry his team on his back at times. Foles has a better coach, better O-line and better skill players. Foles needs help for the offense to function. He’s not the kind of QB who can carry a team.

That said…the Colts have a good offense and the Eagles have a great offense. Indy has yet to build a strong OL for Luck. They have yet to give him a strong running game. They thought dealing for Trent Richardson would change that, but to this point that looks like a dreadful deal. We’ll see if he shows any signs of progress this year.

Foles doesn’t have to be great for the offense to be great. He needs to get the ball to the open receiver. Chip Kelly’s scheme generates open receivers and the Eagles have the kind of players who can make plays when you get them the ball. There is a lot more pressure on Luck to make things happen.

Last year the Eagles had 80 passing plays that went for 20 or more yards. The Colts had 45. Last week the Eagles had 5 such plays. The Colts had 4. Maybe the offense is taking another step forward this year.

I wrote a preview for PE.com.

I wonder if the Eagles will be forced to playing a lot of zone to deal with Luck’s ability to scramble. If you play man, he can take off running and DBs will have their back to him. That’s dangerous with an athlete like Luck. The Eagles like to play zone anyway, but it might be dictated this week.

I think the Eagles have a serious advantage at the line of scrimmage. I will be very disappointed if the Eagles don’t win the battle up front.

Foles did not play well last week, but I’m expecting that to change. Kelly seems to know what buttons to push with him.

* * * * *

If you need a bit of light reading, check out this week’s Wulf’s Den. This is the weekly piece done by the great Bo Wulf of PE.com. He covers the QB class of 2012 and has an entertaining interview with Dennis Kelly, who may or may not be Chip’s long lost son. Or cousin. Or nephew. Or brother. Great stuff from Bo.

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Sunday Night Thoughts

Posted: September 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 50 Comments »

Week 2 isn’t quite over, but we have a few interesting things to talk about.

Let’s start in DC, where Sunday was a case of Heaven and Hell. The Skins blew out the Jags, 41-10. That win isn’t the headline, though. RG3 suffered a nasty injury and will be out for a while. He dislocated his ankle and it wasn’t pretty to watch. Best guess is that he’ll be out for 6 to 8 weeks. Old friend DeSean Jackson had a rough day as well. He got driven to the ground while trying to make a catch. Jackson suffered a sprained shoulder. No word on how severe it is or what his prognosis is. Jackson looked to be in serious pain.

These injuries are of particular interest since the Eagles play the Skins next Sunday. Kirk Cousins came in and played lights out in place of Griffin. The whole offense functioned well. You can bet the Skins performance will have the Eagles attention when they start studying that tape on Tuesday.

We do have to ask a question about the Jags. Since opening up a 17-0 lead 16 minutes into the season, they have been out-scored 75-10. Yikes. I thought defense was supposed to be Gus Bradley’s specialty. Right now they look like the worst team in the NFL. Some might argue the Raiders, but I’m going with Jacksonville.

* * * * *

Dallas played much better this week and beat the Titans 26-10. When they run the ball, they are tough to beat. It astounds me that Jason Garrett can’t get that. The man has an Ivy League education.

* * * * *

The Giants stink. They got a huge break in not having to play Carson Palmer and still found a way to lose to the Cardinals…who were on the road. Eli threw a pair of INTs (does that sound familiar?) and Ted Ginn burned them for a long PR TD.

There is some good news for the G-men. They lost 35-14 last week. This week it was 25-14. I’m assuming next week will be 15-14. In Week 4 they should prevail, 14-5.

So there’s that.

* * * * *

The Saints are 0-2. Ouch.

Rob Ryan’s defense gave up 568 yards last week. This week they failed to hold a lead against Brian Hoyer and the Cleveland Browns. The whole world blew sunshine up Rob’s skirt last year. He better turn things around quickly if he wants to keep his reputation from last year.

* * * * *

I loved seeing Seattle lose. They have a really good team and a great defense. But let’s pump the brakes on talking about their place in history until we see a bit more of them. History is filled with plenty of teams that won a title. The special ones win multiple titles and dominate for several years.

* * * * *

I was surprised to see the Lions and Falcons lose the way they did today. Not sure what to make of those teams.

Tampa is 0-2. Lovie Smith is a terrific coach, but his teams just don’t score points. And that makes life tough.

* * * * *

I love Andy Reid to death, but there are times in every KC game where I am so glad he is not the Eagles coach any more. I hated when he called the flood play inside the 10 and had Alex Smith roll to the right. That play worked maybe once a year,  but failed over and over. Sure enough Smith had to throw the ball away.

I have no idea why Big Red didn’t go for it on 4th and a foot from midfield. He punted. Peyton marched right down the field and scored. Ugh.

Some of the Red Zone playcalling (beyond the flood play) got to me. And KC went 2 for 4 in the RZ. That wasn’t good enough to beat the Broncos. You have to get TDs to beat Peyton.

* * * * *

It was good to see former Eagle Jason Avant catch a TD pass. Hope he has a good year for the Panthers.

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Off Day

Posted: September 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 273 Comments »

No Eagles action today, but plenty of football on tap. Next week the Eagles take on the Skins so I will probably watch the JAX-WAS game. I’m curious to see how that group looks after an awful showing in the season opener. DJax could run wild on that secondary, but the Skins have to be able to protect RG3 and he’s got to play well.

The Giants catch a huge break with Carson Palmer out. Drew Stanton will take his place for the Cards. This feels like a must-win situation for the Giants so it will be interesting to see how they respond.

Dallas vs the Titans. Not a compelling game, but I’ll be a huge Titans fan for the day.

* * * * *

Is there any decent pregame show these days? TV coverage is just dreadful.

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