Posted: September 21st, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 390 Comments »
So…what did you do this weekend? Anything notable happen?
As much as I’d like to pretend I didn’t witness that debacle yesterday, I did. And boy was it bad.
I thought there might be some growing pains for Sam Bradford and the offense, but I figured they would be more specific or situational. They might struggle in the Red Zone. Or in short yardage situations. Or they might not throw the deep ball well enough. Things like that.
I did not anticipate getting a simple 1st down would be the challenge. But it sure was yesterday.
It will be interesting to see how Chip Kelly handles this mess. John Madden believed that you didn’t need to be hard on players when things were bad. They would get criticism from their wives, friends, neighbors, Wawa clerks and anyone else out there. Madden tried to build his guys up when they were down.
There is something to be said for the occasional fiery speech. Andy Reid’s players knew he was legitimately mad when he called them the P-word in a group meeting. Sometimes they responded. Sometimes they didn’t.
Yelling at the players isn’t going to fix the problems. You can yell at your computer for an hour, but the blue screen of death isn’t going away unless you actually address the problem. I tend to think that’s the mentality Chip will have. There is a problem. Let’s fix it. Yelling will make you feel good for a moment, but won’t do anything to fix the problem.
Kelly is generally pragmatic.
Still, players are human beings and sometimes you do have to push buttons to get them to snap out of whatever their issue is. Was the team overconfident the last 2 weeks? Are they trying too hard? If Kelly senses something is off, he’ll try to get the players back on track mentally and emotionally.
The real key here is fundamentals, which I wrote about for PE.com. There is no magic elixir. The team needs to block better. Tackle better. Throw better. Catch better. And so on. This isn’t about a playbook. This is all about execution. Right now the Eagles aren’t doing it.
If one person were to blame, he’d be gone. As Chip Kelly talked about on WIP this morning, this is a group failure. Jason Peters misses a block on one play. He’s perfect the next play, but Allen Barbre makes a mistake. Then he cleans it up and Jason Kelce screws up. This O-line should be able to run block. My concerns were pass protection. Go watch tape from last year and Gardner was a solid run blocker. Barbre has been a solid run blocker in the past. This is the O-line version of Whack-A-Mole. One guy screws up. That gets fixed and then another guy screws up.
This can be fixed.
This season can be saved.
But there are no guarantees. This team could also fall apart and finish 5-11.
Chip Kelly built this team and now it is up to him to fix it.
He never had a losing record at Oregon. He hasn’t had a losing record with the Eagles. This is a smart coach who has shown the ability to get a team on the right track.
Then again, I don’t know that he’s ever been part of a team that made so many big changes. This might prove to be the biggest challenge of Chip Kelly’s career so far. Maybe that will bring out the best in him.
So far all we’re seeing is the worst of his team.
Posted: September 20th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 614 Comments »
I was nervous going into the Dallas game, but sure didn’t expect that.
We hit the low point of the Chip Kelly era, with the team falling to 0-2 and the offense looking completely inept.
The Cowboys backup QB led his offense to 7 points.
Cowboys STs scored 7 points.
Their starting offense was held to just 6.
The mighty Eagles offense…10 points. One friggin’ FG and a garbage time TD.
There are no definitive conclusions to be drawn from this game. This loss doesn’t mean Sam Bradford is a bad QB and the trade was wrong. Or that DeMarco Murray isn’t a good RB. This doesn’t mean Chip Kelly’s offense has been exposed. And on and on.
This was group failure.
There were breakdowns all over the place. Jason Peters missing easy blocks. Jason Kelce had a bad game, topped with an early snap that gave the ball back to Dallas. Jordan Matthews dropped a pass. Miles Austin dropped a pass. Riley Cooper failed to make a grab on a ball that came his way. It seemed like every offensive player had at least one moment in the game that hurt the team.
And Sam Bradford…he was just awful. Bad reads. Bad decisions. Bad throws. Bad, bad, bad game.
In his PC, Chip Kelly focused on the lack of a run game. He was not happy with the O-line at all. Before you pile on Allan Barbre and Andrew Gardner, I think the struggles involved everyone. If it were as simple as one player, I think Kelly would have made a change.
Kelly said he will review the tape and see if any personnel changes need to be made. There isn’t any one thing that I want, beyond simply better execution. Kelly has an offense full of smart, high character guys and right now they are playing dumb. That is as frustrating as anything.
Life seemed so good just 10 days ago. Right now, things are a mess.
Kelly, the staff and players have to find a way to fix the issues if they want to save the season. 0-2 is not good, but the Eagles did catch a break with the Giants blowing another lead and Tony Romo getting hurt. The NFC East remains wide open.
Last week the team played one good half. Today the defense played well, but the offense was awful all game long. And STs chose the wrong week to have a huge breakdown.
So far the 2015 Eagles are a mess. One person isn’t to blame and one person isn’t going to fix this. It will take a group effort. We’re going to find out really quickly how Chip and this team handle adversity.
Posted: September 20th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1,069 Comments »
But only down 6 points.
Offense has to wake up and get going.
Posted: September 20th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 861 Comments »
The game is almost upon us.
Nervous? I sure am. Can’t wait for this game to kickoff.
QB Stephen Morris
WR Seyi Ajirotutu
OL Dennis Kelly
OL Julian Vandervelde
DL Brandon Bair
LB Marcus Smith
CB Denzel Rice
RB Kenjon Barner takes the place of Ajirotutu. This is all about STs. Tutu was one of the gunners. Barner is likely to help with that rotation today.
Tempo could be a big factor today. Dallas really stresses effort by there defensive players when pursuing the ball. Sustained drives could wear them down.
We need Fletcher Cox to make his presence known. Be disruptive, big fella.
Posted: September 20th, 2015 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 130 Comments »
Today is the Eagles home opener. And the opponent is the Dallas Cowboys.
Two simple sentences, but boy is there a lot of history, emotion and importance in those words. What makes things even more complicated is that the Eagles are 0-1. They built up tremendous expectations over the summer and then laid an egg in the first half on Monday night.
Losing today, especially with no Dez Bryant to deal with, would be huge. 0-2 doesn’t mean the season is over, but it makes life miserable and puts tremendous pressure on all of the upcoming games.
The good news is that the Eagles can win today and will be atop the NFC East. A good performance by the team will erase the misery of Monday night and get this team right back on their feet.
I wrote my preview for PE.com.
As important as winning is, I’m really hoping the Eagles play well. I want to see this team show signs that it click for a whole game. They looked good when on the field in the preseason. They looked good in the 2nd half last week. Let’s see this group play a good game.
The Eagles got off to a 9-3 start last year, but played flawed football the whole year. That caught up with them in the end.
This team has more potential, but we need to see them perform at a high level on a consistent basis.
Cody Parkey needs to have a good day. I hope he mainly kicks extra points, but it probably would be good to see him hit a FG in the 40-49 yard range. The coaches believe in him. Fans and the media are less sure. Parkey was great in 2014, but kickers can lose it at any time. His situation bears watching.
I sure hope DeMarco Murray has a good game. He had a 12-yard loss last week that made his numbers go from bad to awful (7 for 21 yards to 8 for 9 yards). He still scored 2 TDs. Murray didn’t get many touches because the Eagles fell behind so quickly and turned into Air Bradford.
If this game is close or the Eagles have the lead, I expect Chip Kelly to run the ball a lot more. We should get a better idea of what Murray can do.
In terms of how he’s used…we’ll see. I want him to be a downhill runner. Kelly had him going E-W last week. Atlanta did look vulnerable to the outside. Those sweeps were effective. I just want to see Murray get a chance to run downhill and be more physical. That’s when he’s at his best.
Injury update on Dez Bryant. It sounds like he’ll be out at least 8 weeks. That means the Eagles might not face him at all.
Walter Thurmond has a 3-game interception streak. He picked off passes in Week 2 and Week 3 of the preseason and then the season opener. It would be great to see him continue that today.
If Tony Romo has one decent bone in his body, he’ll throw a pick-six to Thurmond as a way of welcoming him to the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry.