Gameday

Posted: October 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 364 Comments »

Dallas trails Seattle 10-0. Let’s hope they trail by a lot more by the time that game is over. And Tony Romo has already taken one huge hit.

The Packers struggled to win at Miami.

The Panthers are in OT in Cincy. Their “juggernaut” defense has given up 24 or more points in 4 straight games and 37 or more in 3 of those 4 games. Yikes.

The NFC is not playing great football right now.

The Skins are playing the Cardinals. It actually might be in the Eagles best interest to cheer for the Skins since they look bad and the Cards are a playoff contender, but I can’t do it. Go Cards.

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Into the Wild

Posted: October 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 257 Comments »

I hate the Dallas Cowboys. That is the Eagles biggest rival in my mind. But there is something special about the Eagles and Giants. My preview for PE.com covers some of the strange things that have happened over the years. The craziest, which I’d forgotten about, might be the fact that Vince Young beat the Giants in 2011. Did that really happen?

I’m sure something memorable will happen. Hopefully good.

* * * * *

As I wrote about in the preview, it looked to me like Eli had a clean pocket and tons of time last week. That will not be the case on Sunday night. Bill Davis will blitz and do whatever it takes to get some pressure. That doesn’t mean the Eagles will have a bunch of sacks. Eli is masterful at getting rid of the ball at the last minute to avoid the sack.

I do think the Eagles will pressure him.

The OLBs were good last week. Another showing like that would be a huge help on Sunday night. Fletcher Cox was a bit quiet against the Rams. He needs to have more impact this week.

* * * * *

Leads and deficits won’t scare anyone. Last week the Giants trailed 20-10 in the 2nd half. They won 30-20.

Last season the Eagles led 19-7 at halftime of the first game. The Giants then led 21-19. The Eagles ended up winning 36-21.

These games have a tendency to be full of major momentum swings. A good quarter or even a good half isn’t going to win the game. When the Eagles and Giants get together, the game is usually decided in the 4th quarter, often late in the 4th quarter.

* * * * *

Is this the week Shady has his breakout game?

* * * * *

Chris Polk will miss this game with a hamstring problem. He missed some time earlier in the year. At a certain point the Eagles have to wonder if the hamstring will be an issue all year long. If so, Polk may need to go to IR. Barner knows the offense and has the skill set to fit in. He also can help in the KOR game if needed.

We all want Polk, but a #3 RB that can’t stay healthy isn’t a good thing.

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Getting Ready for the Giants

Posted: October 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 100 Comments »

Big game on Sunday night. The heroic Eagles host the evil Giants. At stake…control of the free world, or at least first place in the NFC East. The Eagles are 4-1 while the Giants are 3-2. Dallas will be playing at Seattle. In a fantasy world. the Eagles will win and the Boys will lose. That would put the Eagles a game up on the Boys and 2 games up on the G-men.

I wrote a piece for BGN on how the Eagles run game showed signs of life last week. We need to really see Shady and the ground game get loose (lots of yards, big plays, TDs) to fully buy in to the idea that things are where they need to be. Still, it felt really good to re-watch the Rams game and see the positive signs.

The real key is the OL. If those guys develop some chemistry and get some confidence, that will help the backs to feel more comfortable running behind them. If you think there won’t be any holes before the play even starts, that is going to affect the way you run.

The Giants are 10th in the NFL in run defense so this will be a good test for Shady and his blockers. A big game on Sunday night would be a great sign for the return of the run game.

* * * * *

The Giants made a big change in the offseason when they brought in Ben McAdoo to install his version of the West Coast Offense (think Packers). Peter King wrote a good piece on the Giants and their change.

* * * * *

The great Fran Duffy did his All-22 preview of the Giants.  Great stuff, as always.

The Giants have already played several 3-4 defenses this year so they will be ready for the creative looks and exotic ideas. The key will be execution and simply beating the man across from you. That’s the way it should be when the Eagles and Giants get together.

* * * * *

We need Ryans. Casey Matthews is coming off his best game, but you don’t want him and Emmanuel Acho as your starting ILBs for a big game.

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Detailed Game Review – PHI 34 , STL 28

Posted: October 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 153 Comments »

Never a doubt. Even when the Rams cut the lead down to 6 points, I never lost faith in the Eagles. The rumors about me ruining 2 pairs of underwear are totally false, as far as you know. Just another quiet Sunday in the Lawlor house.

Okay, I can’t live that lie anymore. The 4th quarter was pure torture. The blowout we’d all been waiting for was right there in front of us. And then Austin Davis started destroying it. What a selfish jerk…right? He has the gall to blow a lead to Dallas and then try to pull off a miracle comeback on us? Not cool at all.

Joking aside, the evaporation of the  lead was scary stuff. Like Bill Davis, I felt better when I went back and re-watched the game. The results were the same, but you saw the Eagles in better position than I had realized. And I was incredibly impressed with Austin Davis. He just might be the QB the Rams have been looking for since Kurt Warner (apologies to Marc Bulger and Sam Bradford). Davis looks like the real deal.

The Eagles were tantalizingly close on a lot of plays that could have blown the game wide open. It is incredible that the team could be off just a hair so many times and still held a 34-7 lead at one point.

I came away from the tape study feeling more good than bad. I was still frustrated by the errors and close calls, but there were plenty of positives in the game. The crucial moment really was Foles fumble. If he holds onto that ball, the Eagles are likely to kick a FG, score a TD, or at least burn some more time off the clock before handing the ball to the Rams. Any of those would have been better than the fumble.

The Rams got the ball at the 38-yard line with 12:03 left, trailing 34-14. If the Eagles just run the ball 3 times and then kick a long FG, the Rams get the ball at the 20 ( or so) with closer to 9:30 left and trailing 37-14. That would have been a tremendous difference.

Foles got lucky that his critical mistake didn’t cost the team the game. Let’s hope that got his attention and he’ll play smarter in the coming weeks.

COACHING

I liked the offensive gameplan, which was to play smallball. They had Foles throw lots of short, quick passes. Foles didn’t take as many hits as in some other games and it helped the OL. I was hoping the receivers would deliver more RAC yards, but that didn’t happen.

Bill Davis had a good gameplan for the first 43 minutes and his players did a good job of shutting down the Rams (276 yards, 7 points). There was lots of blitzing and it was effective. Davis went more conservative after that and the Rams piled up 192 yards and 21 points in 17 minutes. Yikes.

I don’t blame Davis for what he did. I do wish he had the CBs press more. You can press and still play zone. Instead he gave receivers a free release for most of the end of the game and they made play after play. It will be interesting to see what happens when the Eagles build another big lead. Will Davis continue to blitz or will he play it safe and hope for better execution?      Read the rest of this entry »


Scoring

Posted: October 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 255 Comments »

The Eagles lead the NFL in scoring.

Think about that for a second. Nick Foles and the offense have been inconsistent this year. They have turned the ball over too much. When they do hold on, the team has struggled in the Red Zone. The Eagles are kicking too many FGs. But the offense is doing enough to keep points on the board.

The defense has produced 3 TDs, but hasn’t been a takeaway machine. Malcolm Jenkins has all 3 INTs. He did run one back for a score. DEs Cedric Thornton and Fletcher Cox each have recovered fumbles and scored.

STs has produced 4 TDs. There is one KOR and one PR for a TD. Two blocked punts were recovered for TDs.

While it is frustrating to see the Eagles offense struggling, it is good that the entire team is making enough plays so that the Eagles can still lead the league in scoring. Football teams are at their best when getting contributions from all over. The Eagles now have weapons all over the team.

Last year you knew you could get big plays from LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Celek/Ertz and the offense. This year the offense is still delivering big plays. But that isn’t where the weapons stop. Darren Sproles is a legit threat to score on every punt return. There isn’t one player who stands out on KORs, but the blocking is improved and Chris Polk showed that he can deliver a big return with the right blocking.

Cody Parkey is a weapon as well. His range means the Eagles don’t have to go as far to be in scoring range. It isn’t just a strong leg, Parkey is an accurate kicker and has only missed 1 FG all year.

Malcolm Jenkins is a playmaker in the middle of the defense. He has 3 INTs, including a pick-6. That was lacking last year. Trent Cole already has 3 FFs this year. 2 of those came on strip-sacks. Cole has never had more than 4 FFs in an entire season. I don’t know if that is something he’s worked on or just happenstance, but the strip-sacks led to 2 TDs.

Last year the defense scored 1 TD and had a pair of safeties. The STs produced 1 TD. Both groups made some plays, but didn’t have the kind of impact the units are having this year. It was up to the offense to score big if the team was going to win.

The defense and STs won’t continue to score TDs at this rate. That would be beyond fluky. If Chip Kelly can get the offense playing to its potential, points from the other units would be more of a bonus than a necessity and would make the Eagles incredibly difficult to beat. For now, it is a good thing the Eagles have more ways to score than they did last year.

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