Posted: September 27th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 396 Comments »
The Eagles gave up 20 points in the 1st half of the season opener. Since then, they have allowed 36 points in 10 quarters. That’s good defense, especially when you consider that the offense still isn’t exactly sustaining drives and helping them to stay off the field.
Nobody will be calling this bunch Gang Green II any time soon, but they are showing real signs of improvement from the past couple of years.
The Jets ran 75 plays, generated 323 yards and 17 points.
The Eagles defense came up with 1 sack, 2 TFLs, 9 PDs, 2 FFs and 4 takeaways. Beyond the stats, they seemed to come up with key plays at key moments. I think all of Eagles Nation was ready to lose it when Ryan Mathews fumbled late in the game. A few plays later, the Eagles take the ball right back. That was a huge moment in the game. Keep in mind that the defense did that while missing Cedric Thornton, Mychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso and Taylor Hart.
Backups and role players had a big day. Jordan Hicks, a player more than a few fans hated during the draft, had a terrific game. He led the team with 10 tackles and had a hand in 2 takeaways. He picked off a pass and recovered a fumble. Brandon Bair went from inactive to starting at LDE. He deflected 3 passes, one of which was picked off by Hicks. Rookie Eric Rowe got used in Dime sets. He broke up one pass and picked off another. The INT came in the end zone.
When a team is trying to come off an 0-2 start, they need everybody to do their part. You could really see this with the defense. Just about everyone who played contributed to some key play in the game.
No one is saying the Jets are some juggernaut offense and the Eagles played a great game, but the defense came up big on a day when it was needed.
As good as the win was, there is still a lot of work to be done. This win didn’t save the season. It bought the team another week to get their act together.
This team hasn’t come close to playing up to their talent. They got started in the right direction today, but they still have a long way to go.
The offense didn’t score a point in the 2nd half. As good as the defense was, a 24-0 lead turned into a 24-17 finish. Receivers dropped key passes. Sam Bradford was off target with a couple of throws. There is still too much sloppy football. That has to change if this team is going to have a successful season.
The Eagles showed signs of life on Sunday. They’re only a game out of the division lead. Things are wide open, but the Eagles must start playing good football. Winning ugly is fine if your goal is to stay in the playoff hunt. Chip Kelly wants more than that and this team has the potential to be more than that.
I do think winning a game will allow the players to exhale, so to speak. When things aren’t going well, it seems the weight of the world is on your shoulders. The media was looking for scapegoats and compelling story lines every day. The players no longer have to answer questions about being 0-2. They no longer have to discuss the awful run game. And so on.
For the fist time in a while, there is something good to talk about.
I’m sure SalPal will still find some salacious angle to obsess on for the next 6 days.
Posted: September 27th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 232 Comments »
Okay, it wasn’t beautiful. The offense disappeared for most of the 2nd half. The Jets made some bonehead mistakes that helped the Eagles out.
But the Eagles made just enough plays to win.
Give them credit for taking advantage of favorable situations. That didn’t happen in the first two weeks.
And let’s also give a ton of credit to the Eagles defense. Missing 3 starters, the group went out there and out-played the Jets and their more heralded defense.
The first two weeks were team losses. This was a team win, with contributions from offense, defense and STs.
The Eagles did not play well today, but they played well enough to win. That’s good enough for now. The team has to build on this, but getting that first win was critical.
Some actual analysis coming later.
Posted: September 27th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 488 Comments »
Points. Yards. A lead.
Now let’s go win this thing.
Posted: September 27th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 384 Comments »
Big news item of the day – DeMarco Murray is inactive. That means Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and possibly even Kenjon Barner will be key players today. When you face a team that loves to blitz and has Darrelle Revis on the outside, one way to attack them is by getting the ball to RBs in space. Could be that Sproles ends up being the key to the offense.
The full list of the inactives:
RB DeMarco Murray
QB Thad Lewis
WR Josh Huff
DE Cedric Thornton
DE Taylor Hart
LB Mychal Kendricks
LB Kiko Alonso
This means Marcus Smith makes his 2015 debut. Quick quiz…do you know what number he wears?
I wrote a game preview for PE.com.
I don’t know your mentality, but I’m just hoping to see the offense come out and get a couple of early 1st downs. This group has struggled mightily in the 1st half so far this season. Players need to step up. Block your man. Break a tackle. Catch the ball. And so on.
A little early success can go a long way.
It sure felt like things snowballed in the first two games. Don’t let that happen this week.
Posted: September 26th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 84 Comments »
The Eagles offense is predicated on stringing together good plays. Go get a 1st down. Then get another one. Tempo starts to affect the defense, physically and mentally. Players with tired legs are more likely to make a mistake, whether mental or physical. The offense then gets a score.
The offense then gets the ball back and tries to do the same thing. When it is really working, the tempo can start to take a real toll on the opponent.
That hasn’t happened in the 1st half of the previous two games.
So far, the Eagles have 7 1st downs and 3 points in the 1st half. That isn’t bad. That is shockingly bad. And it better change or this team could easily find itself 0-3.
Obviously a huge reason for the slow starts is the lack of a functional running game. If there is one bit of good news, it is that the Falcons and Cowboys both played a similar style of defense. They’re 1-gap, attacking 4-3 schemes. The Jets have bigger guys. They operate out of a 3-4 base.
That’s great, but the Jets will run a lot of 4-man line looks in the Nickel. If the Eagles come out with 3 WRs, they’ll get that look. The Jets scheme will still be somewhat different than the previous two teams, but they will have seen some possible areas to exploit in the Eagles offense.
Chip Kelly might make some schematic adjustments, but the real key is for the players to execute better. Blockers must do their job if the runners are going to have any chance for success. I don’t care if you go I-formation, pro set or shotgun, the blockers have to block well. Jason Peters needs to look like a stud LT. Jason Kelce needs to play up to his ability. Lane Johnson wanted to have a breakout year. Sunday would be a good time to start. Everyone loves to focus on the OGs, but the three returning starters have to set the tone. They have not done that and the run game has been awful.
I don’t care how the run game gets fixed. It just needs to be better.
If the Eagles can run the ball effectively, maybe they can start putting together some good drives and start building some momentum. That might actually lead to some confidence. And maybe even…dare I say it…points.
What a novel idea.
The Eagles have never lost to the Jets. The series is 9-0 all time.
You might call that a useless stat since this game doesn’t feature Joe Namath, Richard Todd, Ron Jaworski or Randall Cunningham. Still, trends like that do seem to mean something.
You want a useless stat?
Ah, the heck with it. We’re desperate enough I’ll embrace anything.
Why even bother playing the game, right?