Gameday – Looking For Answers

Posted: November 15th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 337 Comments »

It seems like forever since the Eagles had a 1pm kickoff. I know I’m tired of waiting around all day for the game to start. Let’s get this thing going.

Here are the inactives for today.

QB Thad Lewis
RB Kenjon Barner
OL Jason Peters
OL Josh Andrews
DL Brandon Bair
LB Emmanuel Acho
S Jerome Couplin

No Jason Peters again. That’s okay, based on the way the OL played last week. This will be a run-heavy game today and that should help the re-shuffled OL to play well.

This is game #9, the start of the 2nd half of the season. We need to start getting some answers, for this year and the future.

How good are the Eagles? This is a game the team should win and need to win. Think about it. The Eagles could be atop the division if they win this. The Giants play NE this afternoon. The Skins and Boys could lose today, pushing them even further down. We all want the Eagles to play better down the stretch and win the division. This is the kind of game the team needs to win.

What do we make of Sam Bradford? He played well last week. Can he do that on a regular basis? We won’t have an answer until we’ve seen him for 10 or 12 weeks, but each game provides some clues as to whether he’s improving or just having random good games.

Is Lane Johnson the LT of the future? He’ll start again today. The more he plays there, the better a feel we’ll have for the future.

Is Dennis Kelly better than we thought? He was good last week. The more tape teams get to study, the more they can find weaknesses. If Dennis has another good game, could he be part of the OL’s future? Maybe. He’s still young.

Kiko Alonso? We just need to see him play more to get a better feel for him as part of this scheme.

Is Matt Tobin part of the future? He is playing better each week. Are the Eagles finding future parts of the OL? Tobin didn’t play well in the spring/summer and lost the RG job to Andrew Gardner. Tobin is playing well now and might be in the mix for a future gig.

How good is Byron Maxwell? He played his best game of the year last week. No one is talking about Maxwell Island or anything like that, but it is good to see him improving each week.


Game Preview – Time to Whip Flipper

Posted: November 15th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 52 Comments »

For the second time this year, the Eagles can get above .500. The last time they tried, Carolina beat the Eagles. This is much different. That game was on the road against an undefeated team. This is a home game against a team that has lost 2 games in a row and given up 69 points in those games.

If you can’t win this game…well, I’d rather not think about that possibility.

I wrote my game preview for

The Eagles have another chance for a big day on the ground. Miami is struggling to stop the run and the Eagles run game is red hot. The Eagles OL needs to control the line of scrimmage and pound on the Dolphins over and over. Still no definitive word on Jason Peters.

Last week was the first time all year the Eagles didn’t turn the ball over. It would be great to see that again.


Sam Bradford had his best game of the year last week. Can he play well again?

Can the Eagles get pass catchers to make big plays for the second week in a row?

It would be good to see the passing game have another strong performance.


You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Posted: November 13th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 108 Comments »

Dallas got up 7-0 last week, but the Eagles then tied the game. Then the Eagles took a 14-7 lead. Dallas tied it. Then the Eagles re-took the lead, 21-14. Dallas tied it. Then the Eagles went up 24-21. Dallas tied it. The Eagles took a late lead, 27-24. Dallas then hit their last second FG to send the game to overtime tied at 27.

I think we all remember what happened then.

I was frustrated all game long. I wanted the Eagles to get some separation so I could relax and enjoy the game. That never happened. It was back and forth right up until the end.

There were opportunities. The Eagles took a TD lead only to allow Dallas an 80-yard KO return. That immediately put them in scoring range. Cover that kick and I don’t know if the Cowboys go for a long score. There was the Brandon Graham strick-sack where the ball was on the ground. If the Eagles recover that, they are in the Red Zone with a lead. Go up 14 points right there and Dallas might fold.

Never happened.

While I was frustrated, the close game may have actually been the best thing for the Eagles. They lost a close game to Atlanta in the opener and then to Washington a few weeks back. This team needed to win a close game. They needed to show they could respond to tough situations.

And think about it. The Dallas win was similar to both the Atlanta and Washington games. Against Atlanta, the Eagles got into FG position and had a chance to take a late lead. Unfortunately Cody Parkey missed the kick and that basically sealed the Eagles fate. Against Washington, the Eagles did have the lead late in the game. The defense couldn’t stop Kirk Cousins and the Skins on that final drive as them moved down the field and won the game. The Eagles never let Dallas take a second half lead. They did give up a pair of field goals late in the game that forced it to overtime, but neither drive got into the Red Zone. The defense did toughen up when they needed to.

I wanted the blowout, but winning the tight game is definitely better for the Eagles. Having won a tight game will help them the next time they play in a tight game. Blowouts are fun. Tight games build a mental and emotional toughness that can pay off late in a season.

Let’s not make this a habit, though. Go blow out the Dolphins.


It sounds like Nelson Agholor, DeMeco Ryans and Malcolm Jenkins will play. Jenkins has gone through the concussion protocol all week so this isn’t old school football (“Get out there…the team really needs you”).

Ryans will help with depth at ILB. Always good to have a leader like him on the field.

Agholor is interesting. The Eagles want him back on the field, but not if there is any risk of further injury. Jordan Matthews really got things going for the WRs last week. Someone else needs to step up. Josh Huff has been more quiet than anything. The return of Agholor could prove to be a big boost for the passing offense this week.

Agholor has the speed to be a vertical threat. He also has the RAC skills to turn a short pass into a longer gain.

Sam Bradford and Jordan Matthews really clicked last week. It’s time for another receiver to step up and do his part to help out the passing game. Agholor could be that guy.


Brandon Graham predicted 32 sacks for the season. He’s on pace for 8.

Miami’s OL is not great right now and Graham could give them fits. Bills OLB Jerry Hughes (also #55) moved around last week and got pressure in a variety of ways. You can bet Bill Davis has some ideas on how to let Graham get loose or into favorable matchups.

It will be interesting to see if Graham is as productive a pass rusher as he wants to be. Huge opportunity for him.


Very Interesting Day

Posted: November 12th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 208 Comments »

It seems like there is a lot of stuff going on this week. Today we found out that Malcolm Jenkins played more than half of the Dallas game with a concussion. Obviously, that’s not a good thing.

I think part of the love-hate relationship we all have with the game of football is wanting players to be tough, but also safe. Watching Andre Waters throw his body around like a human missile was highly entertaining for a decade. We loved that. Finding out years later that his style of play led to brain issues and caused him to commit suicide was tough to accept.

You want players to be warriors. There is no better compliment for a player than calling him tough. But now we know the costs that come with some of that toughness and I know it has changed the way I watch the game. I was not thrilled to hear what Jenkins did. I love the fact he wanted to stay in the game because it was so important, but I don’t want to read a story in 15 years about his suicide and what caused it. Football is a great game, but not worth someone taking foolish chances.

To be fair to Jenkins, it does sound like he had a minor concussion. Guys who really get blown up struggle to function. Jenkins was able to play without having any coach or trainer notice anything was wrong with him. You can question if that was willful negligence. Maybe. But with the scrutiny on coaches and teams these days,  I find it hard to believe anyone would risk that.

Jenkins has gone through concussion protocol. He practiced today so it would seem he’s passed the necessary tests. It sounds like he will play this weekend. Let’s hope things go smoothly.

It was painful to see Sean Lee take the big hit in the Eagles game. I’ve been a huge fan of his since his Penn State days. He might be a Cowboy, but I still enjoy following him in the NFL. Seeing him hurt a knee or shoulder is tough, but a serious concussion like that was disturbing. You could just see how tough that was on him.

Lee is a great player, but his body has paid a real price to play football.


Fletcher Cox is now the Man Dog.

That’s great.

Cox isn’t JJ Watt level dominant, but he’s whatever is just a notch below that. He has those moments when he just takes over. And it is fair to ask if he can get better. Sometimes DL take an extra year or two to learn how to be physically dominant.


Matt Lombardo wrote a good piece on the Eagles offense and how the coaches have adjusted it to help Sam Bradford out.

As Bradford pointed out following Wednesday’s practice, the coaching staff has simplified the playbook in recent weeks, tailoring the game plans to his strengths after a rocky first several weeks to start the season.

“In the past couple of weeks we’ve kind of found what we’re good at,” Bradford said. “Some of the pass concept and things that I’m comfortable with and we’re comfortable with as an offense. We’ve just kind of repped those and we’re going to go out there and run those plays on Sundays.

“I think maybe for awhile it was just finding what it is that this offense, this year, what we’re good at and what we’re going to attack people with.”

Football is a process sport. It takes time to work things out. The players have to get used to each other. The coaches have to see what things are working. They have to see what adjustments other teams are making. All of this takes time and we are now seeing things start to come together for the Eagles.

The coaches know what Bradford does well. He has a feel for the offense and how to use the guys around him. And the offense is developing some chemistry.

We’ll see just how good this group can get this year.


This bodes well for Sunday.


This is an interesting story.

Coach Murray did a good job.


Busy Day

Posted: November 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 137 Comments »

Lots of little things going on today. The biggest news is that Malcolm Jenkins has a concussion. He sat out today and is going through the concussion protocol. At his PC today, Chip Kelly didn’t seem to think this was a big deal. We used to hear about minor concussions. Maybe this falls into that category.

If Jenkins does miss the game, that would be hard on the defense. There is no natural replacement for him. Chris Maragos is the #3 Safety, but he’s not a guy you really want on the field for 70 snaps. Eric Rowe would be interesting as a replacement, but I don’t know if he’s trained enough at SS to start there and play the whole game. Jerome Couplin is banged up right now so he’s probably not a candidate.

Let’s hope Jenkins is okay.

Backup G/C Josh Andrews suffered a concussion today at practice. He is the only backup C on the roster so the Eagles had to make a move. They cut LB Brad Jones and re-signed Julian Vandervelde.

You have to love this guy. After the news about Jordan Hicks having the torn pec, Julian had this to say.

Classic. Obviously Vandy knows the offense so he can play if needed. I’m sure he’s a little rusty, but he’s only here to be a backup.

Sticking with the OL talk.

That’s not great news. Peters said if it is up to him, he’d play this week. He did say that the next couple of days would help make the final determination on his status for this week.

What about the long term? Maybe Peters will move to OG in the offseason. That might mean less stress on his back. We’ll talk more about that in a couple of months.

The good news here is that the Eagles don’t have to feel pressured to play Peters. The line had a good game on Sunday night and they can handle things for another game if needed.


DeMeco Ryans said he’s optimistic that he’ll play on Sunday. With Jordan Hicks out, it would be good to have a rotation of Mychal Kendricks, Kiko Alonso and Ryans. Najee Goode can help as needed.

The run defense has missed Ryans the last couple of weeks.


Bryan Broaddus ran the draft for the Eagles back in 1998 and did a great job.

1 – Tra Thomas
3 – Jeremiah Trotter
3 – Allen Rossum
4 – Brandon Whiting
4 – Clarence Love
5 – Ike Reese

Broaddus bounced around the league after that and is now writing pieces for Here are some nuggets from the Eagles game.

  • I didn’t believe that I oversold it during the week, but I really felt good about the potential production from Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory when paired on that right side. In the preseason it was a good combination — even against Tyron Smith and Ronald Leary — but in two series early in this game, it really amounted to the Eagles handling it without issue. That caused Rod Marinelli to have to search in another direction to generate a pass rush. Hardy wasn’t able to get enough penetration inside to allow Gregory to get around the edge without a blocker picking him up. The biggest problem was the execution was never as clean as it needed to be.
  • The Eagles had two 4th-and-1 situations in this game and Rolando McClainwas only on the field for one of them. You would like to believe that one of your most physical defensive starters would be in the lineup when an opponent chooses to go for it in those situations, but McClain was only in for the one in overtime. What was disappointing on that particular play was that McClain didn’t step up to take on Ryan Mathews and was easily turned out of the hole, giving him the necessary space to pick up the first down. On the next play, Sam Bradford was able to complete the ball to Jordan Matthews for the game-winning score.
  • Not much you can say about the pick-six that Matt Cassel threw, other than it was a nice play by Jordan Hicks. The Cowboys went with an empty formation by trying to sneak Darren McFadden into the slot next to Dez Bryant. The Eagles defended the formation by playing three against two. Hicks lined up inside of McFadden, and at the snap adjusted his positioning to match the route. McFadden did nothing to drive Hicks off the ball, which would have bought himself space on the out route. To make matters worse Cassel appeared to be looking in that direction the entire time. The ball from Cassel was late and too far to the inside, giving Hicks the opportunity to drive on the route. Hicks was in much better position to snatch the ball and head up the sidelines untouched
  • Give some credit to Jordan Matthews and the route that he was able to pull off in overtime against Byron Jones. Matthews ran hard inside, getting Jones off balance, then drove hard back to the outside — which put Jones on the ground. J.J. Wilcox was in the middle of the field, but he was in poor position to defend and his angle was such that he was in no position to make a tackle. Matthews ran right by him and into the end zone.

Always interesting to hear things from someone else’s perspective.