The Blame Game

Posted: December 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 467 Comments »

There are a lot of things to talk about this week. When you lose a key game and it’s to Dallas, there are going to be lots of issues that need discussing. What happened? Why did it happens? What does it mean? What’s next/ We can’t get to them all at once so try to be patient.

First, let’s talk about the game. The Eagles lost for a variety of reasons. You can blame Mark Sanchez or Bradley Fletcher or the coaches. There were Cary Williams penalties, Brent Celek’s fumble and the non-fielded kickoff. And on and on. This was another sloppy performance in a big game. You just can’t win like that.

A lot of you are fired up after this game and you want heads to roll. I completely understand that. I was emotional last night as well. I struggled to fall asleep because my mind was racing all over the place. But it is now Monday morning. You have to let the anger go. It is time to be rational. Benching players and firing coaches isn’t going to solve anything right now.

Mark Sanchez has shown what he is…a competent starter or a good backup. That’s it. He’s 3-3 as the Eagles starter, but those losses are to SEA, GB and DAL…3 pretty good teams. I would have no problem at all bringing him back as the backup in 2015. Sanchez wasn’t awful last night. The team did score 27 points and he made some good throws. The problem is that he makes too many mistakes: missed reads, errant throws, poor pocket presence, poor situational awareness, etc.

When facing good teams, Sanchez is going to struggle. The good team is either going to have a good defense which will make life hard for him or a good offense which means he’s got to lead his offense to a lot of points.

The Eagles still might make the playoffs, but obviously aren’t going far with Sanchez. The team needs Nick Foles back. I talked about this last night and some of you ripped me for that. I’m not promising you Foles is going to come back and be the savior. I don’t know what Foles is going to do. I do know Sanchez. Foles is the best hope for now. The ideal situation would be Sanchez starting this week and then Foles getting the season finale to knock off some rust before heading into the playoffs. We don’t know that Foles will heal in time, nor do we know the Eagles make the playoffs so that scenario may be totally off.

Let’s talk about Bradley Fletcher. He’d played better in recent weeks, but got lit up last night. In his defense, that was Dez Bryant, one of the better WRs in the league. Dez is capable of making plays when you’re at your best. Jeremy Maclin feasts on mistakes by the D. Dez can tell you the ball is coming to him and you still can’t stop it at times. He’s special.

Fletcher plays hard and is the kind of guy you want to succeed, but he’s just got limitations. I have been disappointed that the coaches haven’t given Nolan Carroll more of a shot at LCB. That’s not to say Carroll would definitely be better. He might turn out to be the same guy. But I’d like to see him get a shot. We know who/what Fletcher is.

Bill Davis didn’t have his best game. I don’t understand why he wasn’t giving Fletcher more Safety help in certain situations. That said, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You want to give a veteran QB like Romo a lot of different looks to keep him off balance. You also have to deal with the fact that Dallas has multiple weapons. You can’t shut down everyone. On Thanksgiving, the Eagles won more individual battles and that’s why the defense was so good that day. Last night, they didn’t win nearly as many battles. No matter what strategy a coach uses, he needs the players to win on the field.

Chip Kelly and the coaches will study the tape and look for solvable problems. They can’t make a franchise QB or stud CB magically appear. They can fix some little things that will help the Eagles out this week. And while we talk big picture, the focus in the NovaCare Complex will quickly shift to Washington. That is now a must-win game. The pressure will be all on the Eagles.

One of the reasons the Eagles have avoided losing streaks so well under Kelly is their ability to compartmentalize. They’ll file away the Dallas loss. That toothpaste is out of the tube and there’s no getting it back in. You have to move on and deal with what you can control. Losing to Dallas sucks, but life goes on. The team is 9-5 and still alive for the playoffs. Things could be a lot worse. I can link to some of my 2012 posts if you don’t believe me.

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Barf

Posted: December 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 261 Comments »

The Eagles came up small in a big game, losing to Dallas 38-27. Frustrating game. It was great to see the team battle back from being down 21-0 and actually take the lead. Unfortunately they had no answer for Dez Bryant and the Eagles turnover problem once again proved very costly.

In a word, ugh.

This doesn’t mean the season is over. This does mean the Eagles need help if they want to win the division or get a wild card berth. The key for now is to win the final 2 games and finish 11-5. That guarantees nothing, but puts them in position to take advantage of whatever breaks may come their way.

The bottom line with this team is that it is good, but not good enough to overcome the mistakes they’ve been making all year. Turnovers and coverage breakdowns are game-changing types of plays. You have to be exceptionally good to make those mistakes and beat good teams. The Eagles didn’t do that vs SF, ARZ, GB, SEA and DAL.

Let’s hope Nick Foles gets healthy in a hurry. I know he’s had his issues this year, but Mark Sanchez has really shown his limitations.

This is going to be a long, crappy week. The media will be blowing sunshine up Dallas’s skirt like nobody’s business. And there’s nothing we can say about it. They won. Barf.

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DAL 21, PHI 10 – 2nd Half

Posted: December 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1,184 Comments »

Dreadful 1st quarter. Whatever could go wrong, did go wrong. The Eagles came alive in the 2nd quarter, but still need to play a lot better.

The defense allowed Dallas to convert the first 4 times they faced 3rd down situations. That is the game as much as anything. You just can’t let Dallas keep their offense on the field. The Eagles did stop them the final 2 times so maybe that offers hope for the 2nd half.

The Eagles need a player or two to step up and make plays. The TEs helped the offense come alive in the 2nd Qtr. Connor Barwin got a key sack. We need more of that. And stop with the penalties. Ugh.

Go Eagles.

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DAL at PHI – 1st Half

Posted: December 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 820 Comments »

Game time is here.

No surprises with the inactives:

Foles
D Kelly
J Vandervelde
J Maehl
T Hart
J Watkins
J Couplin

Mark Sanchez needs to have a good game. And the OL must get Shady going early.

Let’s go pound on Romo.

Go Eagles.

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Game Preview – The Boys Are Back in Town

Posted: December 14th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 61 Comments »

Are you ready for the NFC East showdown of the year? The Giants somehow beat the Skins, 24-14, guaranteeing that Washington will have the better draft pick. Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning came through in a big game.

You didn’t think I was talking about the Dallas-Philly game that will take place tonight did ya? All that’s at stake in that game is first place in the division and a more likely path to the playoffs. But if that’s the game you prefer, we can talk about it.

I wrote my preview for PE.com.

I feel pretty good about this game, but admit my nerves are all over the place. I hate Dallas so much that my ability to think logically becomes erratic. As much fun as it is to beat them in situations like this, it is also a huge relief.

I’m curious to see how Chip uses LeSean McCoy. The Eagles ran wide quite a bit in the first game. That worked well. Dallas may emphasize players setting the edge and trying to contain plays. If so, the Eagles may counter by running inside more. I also wonder if McCoy is mixed into the passing game more. We haven’t seen him on the wheel route much this year. That’s a way to isolate him on a LB.

The Eagles have not had a rematch yet this year and now they have 3 in a row. Chip Kelly isn’t big on holding things back, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have some tweaks to try and keep the opponent off balance. The Eagles were 2-1 in rematch games last year. The only loss came to the Giants in a game where Foles was out and Mike Vick was less than 100 percent.

There is a stat being talked about how the last 7 teams to play Seattle all lost the following week. That doesn’t bode well for the Eagles. It also doesn’t mean anything. Most of those teams had losing records. Others were struggling at the time. We’ll see if pans out tonight. Besides, you have nuggets like this that favor the Eagles…

In the end, the team that plays best tonight will win.

The simple keys are controlling the line of scrimmage and getting good play from Mark Sanchez. He struggled in a big way last week. He needs to bounce back tonight. I don’t see the Eagles holding Dallas to just 10 points tonight so the Eagles offense is going to need to do some scoring.

Just a few hours to go…

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