Sizing Up Sanchez

Posted: November 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 350 Comments »

Let’s talk about Mark Sanchez and how he played in his first start since 2012. How long ago is that? Chip Kelly was the Oregon coach, Ray Rice was a model citizen and that was a time when Miley Cyrus used to keep her clothes on.  Clearly a lot has changed since then.

I haven’t re-watched the game yet so this is just me going off what I saw last night. Sanchez showed big time potential. He made some terrific throws. His pass to Brent Celek for the near-TD was Manning-esque. Sanchez put excellent velocity on the ball. I also thought his ball placement was excellent. There were some replay shots from behind him where you could see Sanchez putting the ball low and away from a defender. He’s intentionally placing that ball in a specific spot. Love that from a QB.

Sanchez had very good pocket presence most of the night. He would stand tall in the pocket when it was clean. There were no happy feet. When he had a single rusher coming at him, Sanchez would side-step the guy or climb up in the pocket and re-set his feet. The Eagles mixed in some movement passes where Sanchez rolled out. He looked good on those. You can see his mobility and again…he re-set his feet before throwing. That helped with his touch and accuracy.

I liked his decision-making. There were some plays that didn’t work and Sanchez didn’t force the issue. He ate the ball or threw it away. There were some erratic snaps. Sanchez didn’t panic. He got on the ball and played it safe. Bad things are going to happen in a game. Good QBs will minimize those mistakes and move on to the next play or the next drive.

While there was a lot to praise, Sanchez was far from perfect.

There were several confused players early on. Sanchez was directing players left and right. Was he calling the plays correctly? We’re not used to seeing that many guys get moved around. Quick screens were an adventure throughout the game. Sanchez moved Darren Sproles from left to right on one play, then threw left, where Riley Cooper was blocking for no one. That’s serious confusion. Sanchez fired a quick screen to Cooper that looked off target. There was no rhythm to those plays, for the most part. Screens to Maclin and Sproles worked, but what is normally a safe, efficient play was highly erratic last night.

Sanchez did force one ball to Maclin that was almost picked off. That looked to be a case of Sanchez being greedy and trying to make a play where one wasn’t available. There was a pass to Celek on 3rd/short that I didn’t like. Celek was short of the sticks and had Luke Kuechly all over him. Throw the ball elsewhere or run it.

I just knew the gameplan would be to run the ball and ease Sanchez into action. WRONG. Chip Kelly saw Carolina focus on the run so he decided to attack their secondary, over and over. Sanchez was 20-37-332. I never would have expected 37 passes in a game where the Eagles had a good lead for much of the contest. Sanchez threw 2 TDs and didn’t have an INT or fumble.

Not all games will be this easy, but that was a very encouraging start for Sanchez. You could see his physical skills as well as his QB skills. He ran the offense with good tempo. He looked in command on the field and seemed comfortable.

One huge plus with Sanchez is Red Zone offense. Since he took over, the team is 7 for 7. The Eagles were 32nd in the league when he became the starter. They are now 26th overall. That’s pretty impressive. He makes quick decisions and good throws. He also can use his feet to move around and make good throws from outside the pocket.

The Packers now have almost 2 games of tape to study on Sanchez. You can bet they’ll find something they think they can exploit or attack. The test for Sanchez is to continue to play well. He can’t catch people by surprise anymore. They know what’s coming and how he looks in the Chip Kelly offense.

* * * * *

I’ll write about the defense for tonight. For now, enjoy this.

It is so much fun to see the Eagles pound on opposing QBs. Cam Newton took a beating last night.

Is Connor Barwin the anti-Jason Babin? He’s having a career year (like Babin did in 2011), but Barwin is doing it the right way and remains loved and respected by the guys he plays with and against.


Monday Night Massacre

Posted: November 11th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 77 Comments »

The Eagles led 45-7 before giving up a couple of garbage time TDs. The final score was 45-21.

What a night.

The Eagles finally played a complete game. They didn’t turn the ball over. The offense was good in the Red Zone. The defense played well and came up with 9 sacks, as well as 5 takeaways. The only complaint I have is with the garbage TD that Cary Williams gave up late. Take that away and the Eagles played a nearly flawless game.

Mark Sanchez impressed the heck out of me.He was 20-37-332 with a pair of TDs. Sanchez threw the ball well and looked like the real deal for most of the night. I’ll discuss him more at length on Tuesday.

The player I enjoyed the most was Connor Barwin. He had 3.5 sacks. Beyond that, he passed the eye test in a big way. On one play he just threw the RT to the ground.

There was another play where Barwin ran over the LG. At the same time, he showed his athletic ability on a couple of plays. He spied Cam Newton and chased him down for a sack on one play. There was a 4th down pass play where Barwin shadowed a WR down the sideline and force a bad throw. Barwin better get some serious Pro Bowl talk this year.

Fletcher Cox got his first sack of the season. It was great to see that. Mychal Kendricks had 8 solo stops and was all over the field. His sack of Newton was impressive. Kendricks slung Newton down aggressively. It is easy to forget that Newton is about 260 pounds.

Darren Sproles added a PR for a score. He is the team’s MVP to this point in the season and continues to blow me away with everything he does.

The Eagles now improve to 7-2. They remain atop the NFC East and and in contention for the #1 playoff seed. It was great to see the team play a clean game…no turnovers. This team is a force to be reckoned with when they make the opponent beat them . Too often this year, the Eagles have beaten themselves with sloppy play. No more, well at least for tonight. Not a perfect game to be sure, but pretty darn impressive.


PHI 31 , CAR 7 – 2nd Half

Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 454 Comments »

Wow. I knew the Eagles were the better team, but I sure didn’t expect this kind of butt-kicking. Cam Newton is a mess (3 INTs, 5 sacks) and really should be pulled. The Eagles are playing good defense. Darren Sproles has TDs on the ground and as a PR.

Mark Sanchez has been pretty good. He looked excellent for a while, but some incompletions in the 2nd Qtr hurt his numbers. There are some issues to work on, but there is plenty to be encouraged about.

Expect a lot of running in the 2nd half. Hopefully lots of Chris Polk.

CAR at PHI – 1st Half

Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 558 Comments »

Monday night. Green uniforms. Anyone excited?

Not Earl Wolff. He’s inactive. New S Chris Prosinski is active. The Eagles value him as a STer, but this is not a good sign for Wolff.


QB Nick Foles
WR Jeff Maehl
OL J Vandervelde
OL D Kelly

DE Taylor Hart
S Earl Wolff
CB Jaylen Watkins

Go Eagles!!!


Panthers Preview

Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 124 Comments »

The Panthers come to Philly for a Monday night clash with the Eagles. Go by numbers and trends, and the eye test, and you will feel pretty good about the Eagles chances tonight. Then go back and check out Steelers-Jets highlights. The unknown is always the x-factor with the NFL. Who would have predicted that Jaiquawn Jarrett would have 2 INTs, a sack, a FR and 10 tackles in a game (heck, a whole season)? You just never know.

I covered the Panthers in my column.

This really is a game the Eagles should win. But as I pointed out in the column, sometimes desperate teams are the scariest teams. While the Panthers are struggling, the NFC South is so bad that they remain right in the hunt.

Some misc thoughts…

* Carolina is 3-1-1 against 4-3 teams. They are 0-4 against 3-4 teams. Could this be a coincidence? Sure. But it is definitely an interesting trend. Cam Newton is still a young QB. The 3-4 isn’t as static as the 4-3 and all the different looks it gives may affect his pre-snap reads and slow down his thinking. It could also affect his blockers, since they aren’t sure who is coming and who isn’t.

* I hate playing mobile QBs. Newton can still be an erratic pocket passer, so you benefit from that, but you just know there will be 3 or 4 Houdini moments tonight. You just hope those don’t turn into huge plays or TDs.

* Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho should have an easier time replacing DeMeco Ryans than they did Mychal Kendricks. Ryans best weapon is his brain. Matthews and Acho could be pretty bright guys who can at least hope to see the same things he did. Kendricks is a great athlete. Neither guy has anything close to his athletic ability.

* I think Matt Tobin will be okay at RG. He has been getting better each week. He has spent most of his time on the left side and that is a concern, but his confidence should be at an all-time high.

* Mark Sanchez didn’t play last year, but the Jets did face the Panthers. He has studied their defensive scheme before so that could help a bit.

* The Panthers live and die on turnovers. They have 3,3 and 4 takeaways in their 3 victories this year. If the Eagles can just hold onto the football…