Flipadelphia

Posted: December 12th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 2 Comments »

John DeFilippo was a fantastic QBs coach for the Eagles in 2016 and 2017. His work earned him a job as the offensive coordinator for the Vikings. Not all that long ago, Flip was being talked about as a potential head coaching candidate for the upcoming job cycle.

Tuesday was a reminder that NFL truly means “not for long”.

Wow.

The hot topic now is whether the Eagles should bring him back.

Yes. Hell yes.

Let’s be clear about this. Flip isn’t some genius who is going to come in and save the Eagles. He just got fired because the Vikings offense was struggling in a big way. Flip is a good coach, but he’s not a magician.

At the same time, if he can help the Eagles at all, you hire him. Maybe he suggests one key Red Zone or third down play. Maybe he sees something the other coaches don’t. Maybe Flip comes in and connects with Carson Wentz right away and is able to get him to play better.

This is an interesting take from Tim. I disagree, but respect the heck out of him so his opinion made me think twice about whether the Eagles should pursue Flip.

Forgive me for taking a page out of the Jim Schwartz playbook, but the current coaches have the team at 6-7. The Eagles are 21st in scoring. If the current coaches were doing a better job, there wouldn’t need to be a discussion about Flip coming back.

The Eagles, crazy as this sounds, still have a chance to make the playoffs. I think the organization owes it to everyone to do everything they can to get into the postseason. The time for player acquisitions is over. But there is now a coach on the market who might be able to help.

Hire him. Create some advisory position and then sort out the details in the offseason. For now, find a way to add him to the mix and see if he can help get this thing turned around at the last minute.

Flip might not make a difference at all, but it is worth it to take a shot and see if he can help.

*****

I liked Hall coming out of Texas A&M. His career has been disappointing so far. We’ll see if a change of scenery can bring out the best in him.

Hall is 6-5 and about 270. He’s a solid athlete. Hall has the size you love in a DE. I’m curious to see if he can become a solid role player for the Eagles.

Scott is a small RB. He’s 5-7, 203. He’s athletic and fast. He can catch the ball and has return skills. The Eagles signed him off the Saints practice squad.

Les and I had the same thought. If you don’t promote Pumphrey, you’re basically telling him he’s got no future here.

*****

Hawkins has some starting experience in the past so when the Eagles lose another two or three corners this week, they can promote Hawkins to the roster and make him a starter again.

That’s going to happen, right?

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The Day After

Posted: December 10th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 2 Comments »

Yesterday’s game was frustrating for a variety of reasons.

Officiating – The Cowboys were charged with 10 penalties, but somehow the Eagles still came up with the short end of the stick. How often can you say that?

The primary fiasco came on the opening kickoff, when the Eagles forced a fumble and recovered it. The officials didn’t rule it a fumble so Doug Pederson challenged. Replay agreed there was a fumble, but no clear recovery, despite visual evidence to the contrary.

The ball was under a pile of Eagles. Kamu Grugier-Hill walked away with it. But somehow that wasn’t enough. Ugh.

If the Eagles get that ball, they are in scoring position. They are likely to go up 3-0 or 7-0. And that could have changed the game entirely. The Eagles never got the lead on Sunday. Having that early lead would have given the team some momentum and energy.

That wasn’t the only issue. One moment that drove me nuts came on a third down with Dallas backed up deep. Fletcher Cox got into the backfield, but couldn’t get Prescott. Cox was clearly being held. He was borderline-tackled. No call.

Go on to the second half. This time it wasn’t a no-call, but rather a terrible call.

The Eagles still scored on that drive, but the penalty cost the Eagles a minute of game time. That could have completely changed the end of the game.

There is no guarantee the Eagles win even if they do get these calls, but overcoming them proved to be too much.

One Half of Offense – Carson Wentz played poorly in the first half. He had Dallas Goedert open down the right sideline and just overthrew him. On the next series, Wentz had Golden Tate open for a good gain and overthrew him. Wentz was strip-sacked late in the half with the Eagles in FG range. He held the ball just a beat too long and it cost the Eagles a shot at points. Even worse, Dallas went down and hit a 62-yard FG to end the half.

The offense started slow in the second half as well. It wasn’t until an INT set them up at the 2-yard line that the offense finally came alive.

It was great to see Wentz and the offense come through in the final twenty minutes of game action. Wentz made big thr0ws. The O-line gave him time to throw. Skill players made big plays. That was the offense we expected to see all game long.

Give Dallas their share of credit, but this was more on the Eagles. Wentz didn’t play well. The OL was sloppy on some plays. Pederson had some calls that were less than ideal. Skill players weren’t making plays. You’d have to dissect it play by play to know who to blame for that particular moment.

It is starting to feel like the offense won’t get solved this year and will be more of an offseason project.

Coaching – The biggest controversy is whether Pederson should have gone for two when the game was 23-22 after a late TD. I didn’t see this as a mistake. A lot of other people did.

If the Eagles go for two and make it, they do have the lead, 24-23. But there is still 1:39 left and Dallas had two timeouts. They could have driven down and kicked the winning FG. The Eagles did end up stopping Dallas on their final drive in regulation, but that might have gone differently if Dallas was trailing and more desperate.

If the Eagles go for two and miss it, they have to onside kick. The Eagles didn’t have the timeouts to kickoff and play defense.

People are bringing up Pederson’s comments about going for two from last year, when he said it was a no-brainer when a penalty moved the ball to the 1-yard line. But as Pederson pointed out, that comment was in regard to a situation in the third quarter, not the end of the game.

People weren’t happy with some plays. There was a Red Zone hand-off to Wendell Smallwood that bugged a lot of people. The Eagles use certain players for certain situations or plays. That was a Corey Clement play, but he had been knocked out of the game so Smallwood took his place. I don’t see this as coaching malpractice, the way that some do.

The next play was a third down pass to Zach Ertz. I don’t know if the blame for that lies more with Pederson or Wentz. Pederson’s explanation made sense (hit Ertz on the move and get RAC yards). But the play wasn’t open. Wentz shouldn’t have made the throw. I still have a question about throwing to Ertz at the 5-yard line on third and goal. Counting on him getting five yards seems a bit excessive.

The big question on defense involved the use of Sidney Jones. He played fine early, but then got hurt. Jones returned to the game and Dallas threw at him over and over. Jones couldn’t run. I give him credit for trying, but the coaches should have stopped that experiment sooner. It might not have made much of a difference. Amari Cooper lit up everyone that tried to cover him.

Bad Moments – Jake Elliott hadn’t missed an extra point all year. He chose the worst game to change that. If the Eagles had ever gotten the lead on Dallas, that might have changed things. You never know how teams will react to something like that.

Malcolm Jenkins had a chance to stuff Zeke Elliott on the fourth down play in overtime. Jenkins couldn’t stop him and Elliott fought his way just far enough to move the chains.

Corey Graham, who drives me nuts, took a terrible angle on a pass play to Cooper. De’Vante Bausby got beat and Graham should have been there to make the tackle. Instead, that turned into a long TD.

Alshon Jeffery dropped a third down pass. That would have kept a drive going near midfield.

Zach Ertz was called for blocking in the back (legit call) on a run play inside the 10. The Eagles ended up settling for a FG on that drive.

Corey Graham was called for holding (legit call) on a third and two play in the final minute. With no penalty, Dallas would have been punting.

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Freedom

Posted: December 9th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

You’re finally free.

Give up the dream of back-to-back Super Bowls. Give up the hope of this team getting it together late and letting us enjoy a late run. The Eagles haven’t been mathematically eliminated, but reality says the season is over.

Embrace that.

This team is just too flawed. Injuries. Roster changes. Coaching changes. Super Bowl hangover. The team cafeteria switching from Folgers to Sanka. This season has gone wrong for a variety of reasons. You can play the blame game and try to focus on one person or area, but this level of poor play goes beyond one thing.

Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson are going to have some tough decisions in the offseason. They’ll need to look at everything. There could be coaching changes. There will be plenty of roster changes. They could look at the medical staff.

While the last three games aren’t likely to have much meaning, they could impact some decisions. Even though the season is over, it isn’t.

I’m not going to completely start looking to the future. We’ll have plenty of time to pick apart the carcass of the 2018 Eagles, arguing over who to cut, sign, draft and trade for.

I want to see how the team closes this year out. I don’t mean that upsetting the Rams and Texans would suddenly make me happy. I’d just like to see how Rasul Douglas, Josh Adams, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox and other young guys play down the stretch. It would be great if the coaches mixed in Tre Sullivan and Deiondre’ Hall more.

I also think every play has value for Carson Wentz. Young QBs get better through experience.

For now, enjoy your freedom. There is no more worrying about 2018.

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Game Preview – PHI at DAL

Posted: December 9th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | No Comments »

The Game of the Year.

Eagles at Cowboys.

This is one time when “at” is a good word. Eagles at Dallas in recent years.

2017 – Win
2016 – Loss
2015 – Win
2014 – Win
2013 – Win
2012 – Loss
2011 – Win
2010 – Win

The only losses came when rookie QBs (Nick Foles and Carson Wentz) started. This doesn’t guarantee an Eagles win, but it should make you feel better.

I wrote my preview for PE.com.

This game really does simplify things. If the Eagles win, they’ll be in good position to make the postseason. Beyond that, they’ll have won a big game and would have a 3-game winning streak. You might actually be starting to have some real confidence in them.

If the Eagles lose, the season is over. Not technically, but in reality. And the team would have shown that they aren’t going to win any big games so what would have been the point in seeing this team sneak into the playoffs?

This game will tell us everything we need to know about this team.

Is there enough talent in place for this group to overcome all the injuries and issues and make something of this season?

Are there just too many issues (injuries, free agent losses, coaching defections, Super Bowl hangover, etc.) for this flawed team to overcome?

I’m really interested to see how the Eagles play today. Carson Wentz hasn’t had a game quite like this in his young career. It will be interesting to see how he responds. Can he come up big in a critical situation?

There are questions for Dallas as well. They’ve won four games in a row and the media is starting to buy in. There was some discussion on ESPN this morning about the Cowboys as a legit Super Bowl contender. Beating the Saints really got them a lot of credit. Can Dallas handle success?

Too bad. I hate to hear this.

And if you believe that, I’ve got some swamp land in Nebraska that I’d like to sell you.

Only a few hours left until we find out the way this season will go.

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No More Mills

Posted: December 8th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 2 Comments »

We’ve been hoping Jalen Mills would come back one of these weeks.

Zach Berman broke the story earlier today and the Eagles confirmed it.

Why keep Mills around all this time if he wasn’t ready to play?

That does make some sense. I guess Mills’ foot just wasn’t making the progress the team hoped for and they finally decided to move on.

Some are going to point the finger at the Eagles medical staff. This has been a rough year for players getting hurt. And the injuries have lingered in some cases. Darren Sproles hamstring injury seemed to last forever.

I don’t know what’s up with the medical staff. One of the problems we have is that the team is awfully secretive and Doug Pederson is flat-out confusing. I think Pederson is trying to keep info from other teams, but I don’t think he realizes the impact it has with fans and the media. Day-to-day and week-to-week don’t mean that, not based on his use of those phrases this year. God forbid he ever tells us a player is month-to-month. Go ahead and start digging the grave for that guy.

Mills wasn’t expected back in the next couple of weeks even through Pederson’s cryptic comments. This isn’t huge news for the team. They are focused on beating Dallas and trying to save the season.

Sidney Jones should be fine on the outside. The other spot is more uncertain. Rasul Douglas has good ball skills. He can hit and tackle. But he is vulnerable to quick receivers and double moves. Teams are going to throw his way a lot and test him.

It is possible Avonte Maddox could play outside when comes back. I still think the team might prefer him at FS. Corey Graham has not done much to impress this year.

One thing is for sure…these CBs need to stay healthy. This group is stretched about as thin as possible and there’s no help on the way.

*****

The promotion of Bruce Hector to the active roster makes you think Tim Jernigan could be out this week. His back spasms flared on Monday and have been an issue all week.

The Eagles need as many healthy bodies as possible to handle the Dallas run game.

*****

This is less than ideal, but nobody cares. The players on the field must find a way to get the job done.

This becomes an opportunity for some backups to become heroes.

*****

Let’s hope we see that sense of urgency on the field. This is going to be the biggest game of the year.

Win and you stay alive. Lose and forget about it.

I hope this pressure brings out the best in the Eagles. They were in must-win mode the past two weeks and still played up and down. This needs to be the performance of the year. Being underdogs and on the road could be just what this team needs to bring out the best in them.

*****

I’m interested to see how Pederson attacks the Dallas defense. Those LBs are flying around the field.

My guess is that there will be a mixture of quick hitters and mis-direction plays. You keep guys from running by attacking them. You also use their speed against them. Get them flowing one way and then attack the other.

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