Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | 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.
Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | 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
Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | 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 PE.com 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…
Posted: November 9th, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 48 Comments »
The Eagles went to Houston as the better team. The played like the better team and won the game. Things hardly went according to plan, though. Starting QB Nick Foles got hurt and is out for 6 to 8 weeks. ILB DeMeco Ryans got hurt and is done for the year. The Eagles turned the ball over several times and gave up a pick-6. They also gave up a long TD on defense. While the Eagles looked dominant at times, they didn’t totally secure the game until the middle of the 4th quarter. That’s what sloppy football will do to you.
The offense ran for 190 yards and had a couple of deep ball pass plays. That is the Chip Kelly offense at its best. It was fun to watch the offensive line take control of the game in the late 3rd and 4th quarters. They wore down the Texans front seven and controlled the line of scrimmage. Mark Sanchez was able to take over for Foles and play pretty well in part because the Eagles didn’t need him to do anything special. He threw 22 passes in 3 quarters. The key for Sanchez was executing in the Red Zone, which he did.
Sanchez got help from his supporting cast. There were only a couple of drops. Receivers added RAC yards to move the chains on several plays. The running game was outstanding. He benefited from good field position. 5 of his 9 drives started at the 30 or better. Worst position was at the 15. Sanchez was given favorable conditions and he took advantage of them.
The defense was outstanding at times. They shut down Arian Foster, who came into the game red hot (130 yds per game for last 4 outings). He was held to 15-56 and that included an 18-yard gain on a draw play. The run defense was just terrific. Players on the frontside set the edge and the backside flowed to the ball, keeping gaps filled. Foster is a deadly cutback runner, but had nowhere to cut back. The defense allowed 300 yards on the day. 39 of those yards came on Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambles on the final drive when the Eagles were trying to take away big plays. The one bad mistake for the defense was the 56-yard pass to Foster for a TD. Connor Barwin was caught looking in the backfield and got burned.
Flawed performance, but a good team win. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 8th, 2014 | Author: Tommy Lawlor | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 325 Comments »
You look at the standings and see Carolina in 2nd place in the NFC South. Their record is 3-5-1. That’s not good, but isn’t the end of the world. But in the last 7 games, they are 1-5-1. Yikes.
Carolina started 2-0 and they’ve just fallen apart since then. How can a team with Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly play that badly?
GM Dave Gettleman made some questionable decisions in the offseason and they are biting him in the butt right now. The Panthers have issues on the OL, in the secondary and with receivers. Those were need areas in the offseason and they didn’t get addressed nearly enough.
One receiver they did add was Kelvin Benjamin. They used their 1st round pick on him and he’s been outstanding for Carolina. I wanted no part of Benjamin after studying his tape. Obviously the young man has cleaned up some issues with his game and playing in the NFL has brought out the best in him. That’s always the x-factor. Some kids come to the NFL and are overwhelmed. Some see that it is time to act like a man and they thrive. Kudos to Benjamin for playing well.
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With Mark Sanchez as the starter, Matt Barkley becomes the backup. Tim McManus wrote about him recently.
Barkley, though, believes he is in a much better place as a signal-caller than he was a year ago. For one, he is healthier. As questions about his arm strength swirled, the USC product suggested at the time that the separated shoulder he suffered his senior year wasn’t an issue. But it was.
“It was hurting, hurting quite a bit,” he said, “affecting my ability to come over the top so I had to adjust everything to the side and I wasn’t getting power on the ball, enough velocity as I should have.
“I was taught at a young age from my coaches to take the blame. As a quarterback the responsibility of the team is on your back and never blame anyone else, including an excuse or something that might hinder you.”
Barkley has regained his strength, he says, and is hitting personal highs in the weight room and from a conditioning standpoint. Mentally, he feels that he has a good grasp of the system.
“I’m comfortable enough to where I have no doubts to where the ball is going on plays or what my reads are,” he said. “Your senses are heightened a bit knowing that you are one snap away. I think my job is to support Mark and support this team by being mentally ready and physically prepared to go in a moment’s notice, which I think I am.
“As a man and as a football player you want to be challenged and you want to push yourself and your abilities and it’s kind of hard to do that when you’re third string not getting any reps. It’s not the spotlight you want to be in, it’s not records, you want to be challenged and you want to be pushed. It’s fun to be in that position again.”
I don’t know what to say about Barkley. I know he is dying to get on the field and show what he can do, but he’s not exactly lit it up when he has played. At the same time, we see him with backups in the offseason. When he played last year, the Eagles were losing and had to throw the ball. We have yet to see Barkley play in a favorable situation.
I think he can still succeed in the NFL, but Barkley has to accept who he is. His days of being a star in high school and college are over. The thing he needs to do now is play within himself. Too often he’s forcing things and trying to make plays. That is when mistakes happen.
Maybe we’ll get to see an Eagles blowout where Barkley can get on the field late and doesn’t have to worry about leading a comeback.
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Need your Appalachian State football highlight of the day?
Here ya go.
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One benefit to Mark Sanchez being a veteran is that starting a Monday night game won’t be a big deal to him. He has done that before and playing in the spotlight shouldn’t be an issue.
Chip Kelly is 2-0 in MNF games.