Detailed Game Review – SF 24, PHI 23

Posted: October 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 58 Comments »

The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot (or kick) Straight

Re-watching games gives you an interesting perspective. I got to halftime and the Eagles were up 20-3. We had outgained the Niners almost 2 to 1 (293-153). The defense had been sloppy, but SF just had the 3 points on the board. There are definite complaints from the 1st half, but overall things were pretty good. Getting into the 2nd half was weird. I knew a disaster was coming. I didn’t want to watch. But I had to. And it was just as bad as I knew it would be.

The biggest thing that stood out to me was that SF controlled the LOS in the 2nd half. They got more pressure on Vick. They played the run well (when we even tried). Their OL gave Smith better protection. They blocked well on run plays. They beat us up front on both sides of the ball.

It is hard to talk about the offense. They gained 513 yards. We only had to punt twice all game. The Red Zone production hurt us badly, but the offense still played well enough for us to win. They drove into FG range twice in the 4th Qtr, only to have Alex Henery miss both times. And those were short FGs.

That said, this group should do more than play well enough to win. We’ve got major firepower. We scored a total of 39 points in the last 2 losses. Unacceptable. The playcalling in the Red Zone is an issue. The execution is an issue. Let’s talk about Vick as well. He is a big part of the problem. Vick isn’t functioning well in the RZ in the base offense. He’s able to make plays from time to time, but he’s not executing base plays well enough down there. He’s forced the ball into traffic. He’s not finding open guys. He and the coaches and the receivers need to figure out something that works. Right now that isn’t happening.

The other huge issue is turnovers. Maclin’s fumble at the end of the game killed us. Can’t have that. Jeremy did a good job of getting up the field and into FG range. But he’s got to protect the ball. He wasn’t being completely careless on that play. He was swinging the ball, but not terribly. The problem is that he’s got to have situational awareness. At that moment ball security is at a premium. You have to focus on that as much as getting the yards. Mac didn’t do that and it cost us. Give a ton of credit to DL Justin Smith for hustling on that play.

Speaking of not having good situational awareness…let’s talk about Ronnie Brown and his RZ turnover. The play was a designed run-pass option. Brown was to take the handoff and then read the defense. If a receiver was wide open to the left, throw it to him (Schmitt). If the receiver wasn’t open, just run upfield. Or if there was a hole, just run. The play initially failed due to blocking. Kelce was pushed back a step. Kyle DeVan was to pull from RG and go left to block. He got stuck on Kelce and couldn’t get wide enough. 98 flew off the edge and into the backfield since DeVan couldn’t get to him. Brown had nowhere to go. We were set to lose a couple of yards, but could settle on a FG. Only Ronnie Brown had the biggest brain fart of the 2011 season. He decided to throw the ball as he was getting tackled. The ball didn’t go forward. It was ruled a fumble and SF recovered. Disaster. That was our 4th RZ turnover in 4 games. Completely frickin’ unacceptable.

We lost a 1-point game with 2 turnovers in scoring position and 2 missed FGs. We deserved to lose.

Now we get to the defense. The 1st half wasn’t great, but was acceptable. SF had 3 points and a missed FG. They had 153 yards. The RBs had 10 carries for 68 yards, but most of that came on a 40-yd run. Life was okay.

The 2nd half was horrid. SF came into the game averaging 214 yards per game. They piled up 289 yards and 21 points in the 2nd half. It was a mixture of big plays, medium plays, and little plays. It was ugly. The problems were all over the place. Coaching. Coverage. Tackling. Penalties. Simple mental mistakes. It was an utter and complete breakdown.

The Niners 2nd half possessions ended as follows:

blocked FG
ran out clock to end game

We forced one punt. One. There isn’t one area to focus on. They threw right and left. They ran outside and up the middle. They threw on 1st down and ran on 3rd down. They just whipped us.

I think a huge part of the problem was that our guys let up with the big lead. I’m not talking about a lack of effort. Guys played hard. I’m talking about playing with an edge. Staying focused and having a sense of urgency. I didn’t see that out of everyone. Juan and Andy must figure out which buttons to push this week. Players need to get dialed in mentally. We can’t have another situation like that.

As for the coaching stuff that bugged me, Juan showed no feel for anticipation. We had SF in 3rd/7 late in the game. They put in a 3-WR set. They had Vernon Davis in as well. We countered with our Dime. 4 CBs, 1 LB, 2 Safeties. Nnamdi took Davis. The other CBs took WRs. The Safeties played back. That meant we had 5 guys in the box. SF ran the ball with Hunter for 14 yards. Harbaugh is a conservative coach. We needed to have a 2nd LB in the game or to bring the Safeties closer to the LOS. They were more than 10 yards off the ball. SF was at our 26. Could we really get beat deep? I title my weekly posts on opponents Know Your Enemy. You must know who they are and what they do.

On the final series of the game we needed to stop SF and get the ball back. On 1st down we had 8 men in the box. SF had 8 blockers in the box. WTF??? At that point in the game you sell out to stop the run. Also, why on god’s green earth was Asante Samuel in the game? I would have told him to go home. You don’t want him on the field. Hell, take out all the CBs. Put Keenan Clayton at CB and dare them to throw. Put Clayton at Safety and shift Jarrad Page to CB. Get run stoppers on the field. The game is in the balance. Asante Samuel? That blows my mind. And sickens my stomach.

I’m stopping here before I need therapy.


I’ve already talked about Juan.

Marty didn’t have a great day either. Generally I like what he did. He had us throw the ball vertically and really challenge the SF DBs. My beef with Marty is the RZ offense. Too gimmicky. We had some good plays down there. Shady had a run play that was inches from scoring. The shovel pass worked. The run-pass play with Brown was terrible. You don’t do that from the 2-foot line. Do it from the 3 yard line. That’s no-man’s land. We had one play designed to get the ball to Celek and that was a throwback. SF has smart LBs. They read it well and Vick had to throw the ball away.

Andy did fine with the clock, timeouts, and challenges. The big beef with him is his plan of attack in the 2nd half. In a game that we led for 50+ minutes, we had 12 carries by RBs. We needed to mix in more run plays.

Now, here’s what Andy was thinking. He knew that we didn’t score in either of the past 2 4th Qtrs. He wanted to stay aggressive and grow the lead, not just protect it. Andy knew that SF had a good front seven. Running played into their hands. Spread them out and throw. Use our strength on their weakness. That does make some sense.

The problem here is that you have to think players and not plays. LeSean McCoy is our best player on offense, aside from Vick. He finished the game with 9 carries and 6 catches. At halftime he had 5 carries and 5 catches. That means he had just 5 touches in the 2nd half. Dumb. I can live with Andy wanting to grow the lead and throwing the ball, but he’s got to get the ball to Shady more than that. He’s a player that needs touches. We like the ball to go to DJax, Mac, and Avant. We need it to go to Shady.


VICK — Great game, but… And that’s the truth. Mike was 30-46-416 with 2 TDs and 1 pick. He ran 8 times for 75 yards. First player in NFL history with 400 in the air and 75 on the ground. He made a couple of Houdini plays. His TD pass to Clay Harbor was a thing of beauty. Vick ducked under a couple of free rushers. He got loose, kept his vision downfield, spotted Clay, and made a good throw. Awesome play. Problem is that Vick struggled in the Red Zone. It’s certainly not all his fault, but he seems very uncomfortable down there. He’s missing some open guys. Celek and Harbor seemed to be open a few times.

Vick was up and down with his deep balls. He underthrew first one to DJax, but he had to so that the S couldn’t get it. Smart. Deep ball that was picked wasn’t a good throw. He couldn’t step into it. That’s one I’m not sure he should have thrown. Was a yard or so out in front of Maclin and that cost us a TD. Vick did hit DJax for a couple of big gainers with good throws.

Best throw of the game was a pass to Avant as we moved into the Red Zone. Avant was between defenders. Vick put the ball on his back shoulder so that the DB couldn’t get the ball. Really good throw. Forced the ball into tight coverage on another pass to Avant. Jason made a great catch. Not so sure about that throw. Risky, but it worked.

I give Mike a lot of credit for the final drive. He was cool, calm, and collected. He was almost surgical with his passing. There was not the least bit of panic in him. That makes it all the more disappointing that Maclin fumbled. Mike was locked in and very well may have led us to a TD. I hope that version of Mike shows up in Buffalo. He didn’t do anything great, but that’s the point. He just ran the offense smoothly and efficiently.

SCHMITT — Caught one pass for 11 yds.

MCCOY — SF did a good job on him, but we also didn’t get him the ball enough (see above). Finished with 9 carries for 18 yards and 6 catches for 34 yds. Best play was a screen pass that he took for 15 yards. Did have a great block on DL on play where Vick hit DJax late in the half. Shady put his shoulder into DL to keep Vick clean. Stayed on the ground a moment and left the game for a play, but came back. Scared me for that one second.

BROWN — Highlight was a 15-yd run on tackle trap. Had another carry for short yds. Also had disastrous play in RZ.

DJAX — Big game, but still had another drop. Vick hit him with deep ball on first play of the game. DeSean just dropped it. Caught 6 passes for 171 yards. Long play went for 61. Just missed a TD on one of the deep balls. DB got him by the foot.

MACLIN — Just off on deep ball that came his way. Mac ran by CB and was open. Ball a yard away. Fumbled on WR screen late in 1st half. Correctly ruled down on that play, but it was an omen for what happened at the end of the game. Finished 7-74. Did a good job on WR screen at the end…until he fumbled. He was off balance at first, but gathered himself and got downfield. Ball security is a serious issue for him. Held the ball like a loaf of bread on a couple of plays. Can’t do that. High and tight.

COOPER — Played, but no throws came his way.

AVANT — 6-69. Made one sensational catch. Vick threw to him in traffic. It was a laser. Avant plucked the ball. He caught that thing with his fingertips. Had long gain of 20.

SMITH — Just like Coop.

CELEK — Quiet game. Had 4 balls thrown his way. Caught 1 for 2 yds. Wasn’t open a lot when Vick threw to him. Was open other times, but didn’t get the ball. Isn’t doing much as a receiver these days.

HARBOR — Best game of his young career. Caught 3 passes for 55 yds and showed the potential to be a playmaker. TD catch was just a play where the defense lost Harbor. He stayed calm and then made the catch when Vick threw his way. Best catch came down the seam. Clay reached up at the last minute and plucked the pass for a gain of 27 yds. Showed speed, hands on that play. Get this man the ball more. And that’s an order.

* Confusion between Peters/Mathis led to pressure on Vick on 3rd down play in the RZ. Forced us to settle for FG.

PETERS — Poor game. Sloppy block of LB on outside run by Shady. LB made tackle. Play had potential. Didn’t down block on blitzer on 3rd down pass play in RZ. Vick had to throw ball away. Jumped offside on 3rd down in early 2nd Q. Gave up a 3rd Q pressure. Let 99 get to inside and force Vick to throw the ball away. Just had a sloppy day. Wasn’t as if he got beat every play, but Jason is an elite OT and he made way too many mistakes on Sunday. Hurt his hamstring while blocking for Maclin downfield on the fumble play late in the game.

MATHIS — Up and down. Had some real good moments, but also struggled at times. Justin Smith got the best of him a few times. Tripped, fell on the shovel pass TD, but luckily didn’t affect Shady. Evan had a costly holding penalty late in the game that affected the distance of Henery’s final FG miss. Did have a good block on a screen pass.

KELCE — Pretty good game. I was surprised at how he handled Sopoaga for the most part. Kelce does get pushed around at the GL sometimes and that’s an area he must work on.

DeVAN — Poor game. Struggled with Ray McDonald. And Kyle should. He’s not nearly as talented. Kyle had some good moments, but we can see his limitations.

HERREMANS — Up and down. Got beat to the inside too many times. Did a solid job of handling edge rushers when they stayed wide. Had a very good block of Patrick Willis on Brown’s tackle trap that went for 15 yds. Played LT/TE in some GL sets when we went to a jumbo package.



* SF got good gain on early screen. Helped the RT was 7 yds upfield when the pass was thrown. No flag.

* SF had botched screen in the late 4th. OL was 10 yds upfield when Smith threw the ball. No call.

COLE — Disappointing game. I thought he’d really get the better of Staley. SF helped Staley out and they managed to keep Trent under control. Wasn’t credited with any tackles. Left the game with a calf injury in the 2nd half. Not a good day for him. Did blow up one run play to his side. Wasn’t able to make the stop. LBs finished off the runner for him. TFL.

HUNT — Played as backup LDE. Made good stop vs run to his side. Moved to inside and tackled the RB. Didn’t keep outside leverage on a later run play and let Hunter get around him. Play went for 11. Didn’t get much pressure. He’s quick, but still learning how to rush the passer.

PATTERSON — Quiet game. Had 1 tackle. Ate up blockers more than anything.

JENKINS — More quiet than I expected. Had a tackle, a QB hit, and a FR. Very good pressure on Smith on RZ pass play. Forced Smith to rush throw and it was incomplete. Problem is that Cujo didn’t get enough pressure. He wasn’t consistently disruptive. The FR came on Babin’s sack/non-sack. Ball hit the ground and Jenkins got on it.

BABIN — Very good game. Had 3 sacks and a FF. Got first sack on 3rd/8 in RZ. Just blew by RT. Stayed low. Had a bizarre sack up next. Came free off LE and Smith saw him. Alex dropped the ball before Jason hit him. I wonder if they’ll take the sack away, but it counts for now. Just missed a sack in the early 4th. Had free run at Smith and missed him. Very next play was a bad snap. Smith was on the run to his side, but Jason couldn’t get him in time. Smith threw ball away. Next play he did beat the RT and get his 3rd sack. Played RDE when Cole got hurt and left the game.

DIXON — Good news, bad news. Dixon played his best game of the year. Did a good job vs the run. Only made one tackle – stuffed RZ run play. Controlled his blocker a lot and clogged the middle when he was in there. The bad news is that Dixon tore his tricep and is out for the year.

LAWS — Someone get Trevor a calendar. He does know it’s October and the games count, right? He was in on 3 tackles. Trevor’s playing hard, but the results aren’t there. I’m not sure what the problem is. He’s not getting regular penetration.

CHANEY — Wow. I don’t know who #51 is, but it sure can’t be Jamar Chaney. The guy I watched Sunday was our worst defensive player. Worst. Defensive. Player. I can’t describe how disappointed I am in him. Biggest issue right now is mental mistakes. Jamar acts like he’s a confused rookie. Blew coverage on RB on 3rd down. Got lucky as guy dropped the pass. Jamar showed poor awareness on the play. On Smith’s scramble/pass 2nd half, Jamar made a horrible decision. Smith got pressure and rolled to his right. One DL was chasing from behind. Phillip Hunt was chasing Smith from the side. Alex was heading to the sideline so he had nowhere to go. Chaney left his zone and flew up after Smith. RB Kendall Hunter took off into that void. Chaney passed him on the way after Smith. Alex got the ball to Hunter, who then turned the play into a gain of 44 yds. I have no idea what Jamar was thinking.

He made dumb decisions on other plays, but decided to find other ways to annoy me. Biggest issue was getting blocked and staying that way. Got blocked on early run play to Gore that went for long gain. I’m not going to list every bad play or I’d be here a week. Jamar was credited with 8 tackles (6 solo). I didn’t like his tackling all that much either. Topped everything off with poor coverage of Vernon Davis in the RZ and gave up a TD. Bad day.

FOKOU — Moise might have played his best game of the year. Wasn’t great, but looked more natural in the scheme. Beautiful stop vs run in late 1st. Slid laterally and then came up and stuffed RB for minimal gain. Textbook play. Good hit on Vern Davis on underneath route. Didn’t let Vern get going, which took him out of the play. Fought through block of TE to tackle WR after quick pass. Minimal gain. Stuffed run play that came his way in early 3rd Q. Overran outside run play and Hunter cut back inside for gain of 11. Still has those moments when he’s too aggressive, but showed some promise.

ROLLE — Got the start at WLB. Pretty good game. Had 5 solo stops and a PD. Had a FF on early pass play, but it turned out not to be. Receiver didn’t make clean catch. Play was almost a lateral, but replay showed it was an incomplete pass. No FF then. Made tackle on early screen pass. Broke up 3rd down pass to Crabtree. Read a draw play and flew up to get Gore for a short loss. Went through the RT on the way to making the tackle. Wasn’t credited with a TFL on the play. Had 2 big mistakes in the 2nd half. Made a slow read on pass play. Smith hit his FB in the flat and Rolle was late getting there. Compounded the issue by not taking a good angle. Tried to shove the FB out of bounds, but the guy shrugged it off and got an extra 10 or so yards. Brian also had a facemask penalty that ruined a TFL. Rolle made a good read to come up quickly and get the RB behind the LOS, but didn’t make a clean tackle. He got the facemask. Chaney cleaned up the play and SF went from 3rd/6 to 1st down with 15 free yds.

ALLEN — Up and down game. Burned badly by Vern Davis in late 1st Q for good gain. Made quick tackle of Crabtree after short catch on 3rd down. That forced a FG. Had good downfield coverage of Crabtree. Forced overthrow and ball was incomplete. Nate wanted Off PI, but got no call. Tackling was okay for most of the game. Seemed to get hesitant late in the game. Was slow to get to the play a couple of times. Not sure if that was a knee issue or player who was confused. Had a shot to tackle Morgan on his TD catch, but was slow to get over to that spot.

J PAGE — Very up and very down. His bad moments are awful. Follows them up with good plays. You scratch your head and don’t know what to think. Terrible tackle attempt on opening drive. Gore got free up the middle. Page should have gotten him about 10 yards upfield, but was indecisive and Gore ran by him. Barf. AFter that he flew up and got a big hit on player making catch. Pass was incomplete. Good inside coverage of WR in the endzone. Pass had to be overthrown. Gave up catch to Walker for 11 yds in early 3rd. Played soft. Bad shoulder tackle attempt on Crabtree after downfield catch. Use your hands/arms. Had a couple of other plays where he got in on tackles quickly and was physical. Consistency is the hallmark of a good S. Page isn’t.

ASOMUGHA — All over the place. That describes how we used him and how he played. Covered Vern Davis a lot. I liked that. Good job for the most part. Played press and off at times. Played some zone. Worst moment came in the 2nd half. Bit on double move and gave up big gain to Crabtree. Scramble pass in mid-3rd. Some people blame Nnamdi. His zone was clear. Nnamdi had gone to double Davis. RB came in late. Chaney was at fault. He let RB cross his face.

SAMUEL — Not my favorite guy right now. 3rd/3 late in 1st. Asante lines up close to Crabtree, then bails. SF runs slant. Easy pitch and catch. 1st down. No RAC yds, but where’s the press coverage? You can’t give that big a cushion on 3rd/3 to a team that likes to throw short stuff. Dumb. On the TD to Morgan in the 2nd half. Asante played off. We blitz. Easy pitch, catch. Asante just ran behind him. The blitz and the coverage have to mesh. I know that Asante likes to play off. That’s fine. There are situations where he just can’t do that. Gave up completion to Morgan in early 4th. Guy was on his knees and Asante was still late getting there.

RODGERS-CROMARTIE — Solid game. Chased down Hunter after long gain on pass. Credited with 2 tackles. Did fine in coverage.

HANSON — Played in some Dime sets.


CHAS HENRY — 2 punts. 43.5 average.

ALEX HENERY — Good for 3 Qtrs. Was 3 of 3 on FGs. Then became the first player in NFL history to miss 2 kicks of less than 40 yards in the 4th Qtr. Killed us. Both kicks went right. He pushed the ball. Why did he have to miss those kicks on that day??? Ugh.

PR — We tried a gadget play. Had DeSean catch the punt and flip the ball to DRC on a reverse. We lost a yard. That was our only PR.

KOR — Dion Lewis ran out 2 KOs for 40 yds. Didn’t look as fast or decisive as other games.


* We got lucky on Akers’ missed FG. Avant tried to jump over blockers. He landed on their back and then went forward. Should have been penalty. That’s illegal. Can’t use them to help you.

* Colt made great tackle of Ginn on KOR. Dove for him and got an ankle in a crowd. You could see how natural kick coverage is to him on that.

* Jordan made good tackle in KO coverage in early 2nd Q.

* Dunlap blocked FG. Sorta turned sideways and worked thru G/T gap. Got his paw up and blocked it. Colt couldn’t get the ball cleanly on the run and fell after getting the ball. Could have been easy TD.

* Clayton made great tackle in punt coverage.


58 Comments on “Detailed Game Review – SF 24, PHI 23”

  1. 1 Mac said at 6:36 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    Tommy not done reading your article yet, but I have one complaint. Asante Samuel is this teams leading tackler. With Trent Cole out… you have to have him in the game. Possibly at Middle Linebacker.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 6:50 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    Mr. Lawlor, is this drg required reading for our class? I have lunch next period and if I read this first I may not make it out of the cafeteria without barfing.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 9:14 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    I’ll give you a pass this time.

  4. 4 Mac said at 7:01 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    A few questions:

    Is it out of the question to see what Colt Anderson or Clayton can do at Safety?

    How are Juan/Washburn going to scheme to protect the D-lines lack of depth this week?

    Is Vick too short to see TEs in the Red Zone?

    At what point do you give up on this Tampa 2 stuff and just start leaving your pro bowl corners on their own and use at least 1 safety to help run defense?

    When do we get to see an actual Wildcat from Ronnie Brown in the shotgun?

    Can we trade Steve Smith and Nnamdi to Detroit for Calvin Johnson?

    Can we get some of those wrist bands that help with balance for our O-line?

    Do you think Vick is finally “frustrated” (pissed off) enough to get this team fired up to play 60 minutes of football this week?

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 9:19 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    I’m open to Colt or Jaiquawn getting a chance if the other guys aren’t getting the job done. I do think we ought to consider using Keenan Clayton there in certain packages. He’s probably as athletic as Kurt Coleman or Colt.

    I’ll get into the BUF game tomorrow. We need Tapp back.

    Vick’s height doesn’t help in the RZ, but it shouldn’t kill him Brees isn’t tall, but finds receivers. Vick needs to make better pre-snap reads and then be decisive. And focus on the TEs.

    Our defense does a variety of things. We’re not playing as much zone as some would have you believe. I do think we could cover more aggressively.

    We used Ronnie in the Wildcat a couple weeks back and he got crushed in the backfield.

    I hope Vick is PO’d and I hope that helps the other players play with an edge.

  6. 6 Mac said at 12:21 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Thanks Tommy!

  7. 7 ike said at 7:01 PM on October 4th, 2011:


    I’ve been reading your posts for, I don’t know, 3-4 years.

    I’ve never read a post-game analysis– even after a playoff loss — that so reflected your disappointment with the outcome.

    Your heart’s clearly aching.


    (Like Detective Harry “Dirty Harry” Callahan, you take care of the dirty work that needs to get done, and which no else wants to do.)

    I wish I could say, “it’ll get better.”

    But it’s almost like a piece of you — in terms of your perception of this year’s team — died this past weekend.

    Anyway, thank you.

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 9:36 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    I agree, most of Tommy’s DGRs try to shine some positive light on some bad plays or mistakes. I think this one all came down to the fact that the only bulb Tommy could find working on this tangled strand of Christmas Lights was MV7, kind of.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 7:05 PM on October 4th, 2011:


    do you see any chance to upgrade the LB and/or Safety corps during this season? Maybe we could trade Asante for a starting LB or Safety. But which team would be interested and able to offer something in return, respectively???

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 7:05 PM on October 4th, 2011:


    do you see any chance to upgrade the LB and/or Safety corps during this season? Maybe we could trade Asante for a starting LB or Safety. But which team would be interested and able to offer something in return, respectively???

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 9:21 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    I have hope for Nate Allen. He was mostly good. We need to see some of Jarrett. Not sure if he’s the answer. There aren’t 64 good Safeties in the NFL. I doubt we find help on the street or another team.

  12. 12 ike said at 7:24 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    I’m not writing to bury Juan, nor to praise him.

    But I’m wondering if the Eagles are even running “Juan’s Defense”?

    Reid hired Washburn on 1/19/11 — two weeks before he elevated Castillo to D.C.

    Juan’s hand was forced from the start in terms of what type of scheme he’d run.

    This was not a situation where Juan came in, gave a fresh look at the defensive personnel, and fashioned a scheme that maximized all 11 players’ best skills.

    Yes, there appear to be issues concerning adjustments and play calling. (I think Nnamdi — who spent 95% of 8 years in Oakland playing press coverage — should be left to go 1-on-1 with one of the WRs and let’s go from there.)

    Bottom line, it all starts with Reid foisting the Wide-9 on Juan at the start. And then handing Juan some really under-performing or flat-out poor personnel.

    If the Wide-9 was so great, why isn’t everyone doing it? I’m assuming it’s a personnel issue.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 8:24 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    If it truly is personnel then why not mix in other d-line looks and use the wide-9 situationally until the right personnel is on the team

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 8:36 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    To run the Wide9, you need a good front 4, which the Eagles have. Most teams don’t have it.

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 9:23 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    The Wide-9 is built on rushing the passer. There are still plenty of coaches who focus on stuffing the run. They want bigger players. The W9 requires DL who can penetrate and be disruptive.

  16. 16 Dewey said at 8:54 PM on October 4th, 2011:


    Tennessee has never had great LBs. They ran the scheme just fine.

    I mean Steven Tulloch?!?!?!?! Ryan Fowler?

    It’s the kind of situation where either Juan figures it out, or he doesn’t. It’s only four games in, but it doesn’t look promising.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 9:24 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    The Titans had LBs and Safeties that functioned well together in the seasons where the D played at a high level. TEN had some years when they struggled.

    The Titans did have one impact LB in Keith Bulluck. If you have 1 guy, you can build off him. We hoped Chaney would be that guy. Oops.

  18. 18 Anonymous said at 3:51 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    W-what do you mean, oops?

  19. 19 Scott Thurston said at 2:58 AM on October 6th, 2011:

    Tulloch is proving to be a monster up in Detroit this year. Just sayin’

  20. 20 Osiris Rankin said at 9:11 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    Remember when you were saying that we should give the ball to Ronnie Brown in the Red Zone… (it might have been in reference to the Owen Schmitt carries where the opposition drove through the O-Line just like on the Ronnie Brown option). Well, giving it to Ronnie Brown could’ve made it worse. Sometimes the second guess is even worse than the first.

    Of course I’m kidding in part, but I feel like the real issue is with the execution in most cases as opposed to the playcall. No one told him to throw the ball to nobody after he’s already tackled. That play can work, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it again in the next two weeks.

    Execution matters. Just like how the McCoy touchdown this game came off of a fake toss and hand off in this game — the same play, more poorly executed, led to a turnover in a previous game.

    What is an issue on offense is that opposing defenses are completely dominating the Eagles in dive-type of plays in the RZ. The domination of the center of the line in particular has been an issue in the RZ. That has been fairly consistent issue this season, and it seems to have been a major contributor to the RZ turnovers. Something has gotta change there.

    On D, I feel like the guys like Asante and Nnamdi are so busy doing other people’s jobs that they’re incapable of doing their own. You come down on Asante, but the guy is on pace for 60 tackles (he had 26 last year), and he’s definitely making plays of that nature beyond his ability. The bonds of trust on this defense have to built, and that starts with having guys like Samuel having fewer tackles. This team needs turnovers, and when your turnover guys are forced to clean up for the front seven in play after play — it just seems like a lot to ask.

    Thankfully, for the first half at least, the linebackers looked better. Your son was an improvement. If the Eagles can build on what started in the first half (and maintain focus for four quarters), then I think that they can turn it around.

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 3:00 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    I agree with you that it’s mostly execution — probably a good bet that all the change coupled with no offseason hurt the Eagles worse than we imagined. And yet with simple things this team really could be 4-0. Or 0-4.

    Anyway, you can’t un-lose those games. Gotta get this week’s and next week’s games. 3-3 at the bye, positive momentum.

    As for the goal-line playcalling, it’s bad, but those guys can’t win. They go conservative and get stuffed. They throw and fail. They get tricky and fail. The only thing left is designed Vick/Young rollouts, right?

    It’s odd how everything thinks they have the answer or magic fix. Dudes need to play better. Period.

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 9:34 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    YES TOMMY LAWLOR U WARRIOR POET!!! That’s what I want to see out of you is some fire! I know you have to do your best to stay objective, but it felt so damn good to hear you rip into the coaches/players at certain points in your post. And honestly I do not envy you having to go back and watch these games. My problem is as I’m watching it I keep hoping something will change, but unfortunately it doesn’t.

    The only thing I did not like was how you took Andy to task on the run/pass but then backed off just a bit in trying to “see where he was coming from.” If he wants to grow the lead, have at it, but you don’t throw the ball 19 out of 24 times when you’re ahead the entire time. I do apologize here because I really am guilty of being obsessed with his run/pass ratio and with how he mixes up the run when he decides to do it. I’ve gotten better over the last year or so, but I think I’ve fallen off the wagon and am back to bottom after this last debacle.

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 9:53 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    I always want to understand what someone is thinking, even if I disagree. Was there logic to the way of thinking? Just standing firm on one way of thinking and disagreeing with other ideas isn’t the way to go.

    I detest Mike Leach and his Texas Tech passing offense. It fills me with such hatred I want to go harm a family of baby chipmunks. Fortunately, Leach got fired and I don’t know where chipmunks live.

    That said, I do understand why Leach ran the offense and what he was trying to accomplish. I can at least appreciate Leach’s thinking.

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 11:47 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    I understand the logic Andy Reid is using with trying to stay aggressive, but frankly, to me, it just sounds like another reason for him to avoid the run. I’ve accepted the fact that he is not going to run a very balanced offense, but at least he was using McCoy in 4th quarters to close out games. I could buy into the idea of passing to build a lead and then running to preserve it (and kill the clock). Changing that philosophy to passing to build a lead and then passing to preserve it just seems like a high risk move in terms of protecting vick, utilizing the clock, and all the other problems we have discussed for ages about having an unbalanced offense and frankly, it is not taking advantage of the talent we have in McCoy.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 1:02 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    I just dispatched a team of PETA field agents down to North Carolina, but it’s not for you so don’t worry. Whatever you do though just hang out in your house for the next few hours please.

    I get what you’re saying, I understand where he was coming from but I still think it’s flawed logic and I disagree. I mean, a guy could probably make me understand why he likes to watch midget porn–maybe he likes to feel powerful or likes really small hands and feet on a woman–but it doesn’t mean I’ll agree with his particular taste in adult movies.

    Anyway, when I’m coaching from my couch I prefer my offense to be much more balanced. I typically have my team run the ball anywhere from 40% to 43% of the time.

    p.s. Do you have any opinion on Gerald Hodges at Penn State?

  26. 26 Mac said at 12:28 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    It seems to me (and I believe Tommy points this out) that Reid/Marty identified the 49er’s weakness to be their secondary. As such, the game plan focused on attacking through the air, which they were not afraid to do given their love of the passing game and the match-ups available. It is puzzling though as to why they didn’t give the o-line a break from pass blocking and let them get down and dirty on some more run plays in the second half…

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 12:47 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    I get all that, I read the same stats each week that tell u what a teams pass/run defenses are ranked and how many ypc they give up. I know the big bad 49ers had a steel curtain front 7, so we couldn’t dare to run. Let’s be honest, as I’ve also pointed out there have been times when a team is very stout against the pass & not so good against the run and guess what….Andy still throws the ball 70% of the time whether it works or not. I always find it funny that if we don’t have success in the run in 2 or 3 carries we go away from it, but we could have 3 straight 3 and outs where we throw the ball every time and he’ll keep chucking. Pointing to the 49ers run defense here w/our lead is just a way of excusing Andy not wanting to run the ball. There’s no excuse when you’re up 20-3 and maintain a lead almost the whole game that you run the ball 5 times out of 24 plays. Especially when you should be eating the clock to keep your defense off the field. As Ray Diddy pointed out, a couple of those drives we had took less than 2:30 mins off the clock.

    I realize that the defense has been the biggest problem. It’s not like our offense if putting up 10 points per game, but I’d just like our head coach to be smart and put the ball into the hands of one of the best young RBs in the game when we have a lead.

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 1:02 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Exactly. Reid is so entrenched in his thinking that he is incapable or unwilling to recognize that other options exist. I can find no real reason or logic for throwing the ball 70% of the time, not against the 49ers, not with a lead, not with a guy like Shady in your backfield.

    Tommy said in a different post he tries to understand another man’s thinking even if he disagrees (he also said something about killing chipmunks, he must still be pissed-off from Sunday). I am having a hard time getting my mind into a position where Reid’s thinking makes sense. Anyone with more wisdom and patience care to try and explain him to me?

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 3:14 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Since you asked (I hate being labled an apologist):

    Reid clearly read the Philly blogs (or more likely self-critiqued) after the Giants game and felt he got conservative with the lead. He ran a LOT vs. New York and it didn’t work out.

    So he figured, with the 49ers’ secondary being weak, and to break tendency from the week before, and because he had a team that needed to step on the necks of the 49ers before they believed they could get back in the game, he would keep trying to score.

    He said as much after the game.

    The idea failed miserably, no thanks to Alex Henery or the defense or the offense either. But I can definitely see where he was coming from.

    One week we’re killing him for going soft in the Giants game. The next week we’re killing him for going hard in the 49ers game. The man can’t win.

    And that’s the real reason we’re killing him.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 1:07 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    I hear what you’re saying and the idea of crushing the 49ers beyond all hope of a comeback makes sense. You don’t come across as an apologist and I don’t want to come across as a fanatical Negadelphian.

    I disagree, though, that this is a case of our killing Reid no matter what he does. It’s watching the same problems year after year, seeing patterns of coaching and mistakes that should be corrected but are not. I won’t bore anyone by repeating a whole list of problems that have been analyzed in detail. Relevant to the 49ers game, I still maintain Reid failed again with two of his biggest problems — clock management and his seeming abhorrence to running the ball.

    I can tell you that I, and many of my buddies, would not be condemning Reid if he had given Shady more of a chance to run the ball against the 49ers. It’s just sound football philosophy to eat up the clock on the ground when you have a lead and one of the best running backs in the league. If he had done this and they still choked, I would extend more criticism to the players for not executing. This time, though, it truly is Andy who failed to put his players in a position to win.

  31. 31 Anonymous said at 9:34 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    Here was a good article by Ray Diddy for those interested.

  32. 32 Anonymous said at 10:52 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    RE: Nnamdi

    As I commented on Iggles Blog (I never thought I’d say that again) it seems as if Nnamdi is vulnerable to double moves. Is this a result of playing press coverage in the past and off now? In press, a double move doesn’t have much impact, you are just running with the guy. In off coverage, though, Nnamdi has found himself running at the first move and ends up moving the wrong direction.

    Is this just the learning curve, or is it the fault of the coaches for not maximizing his talent?

    RE: Shady

    I am not 100% convinced you need to qualify the statement that Shady is the best offensive player anymore. He might be better than Vick this year.

    RE: Errors

    Some of the ball security issues seem to come from guys pressing to create more than is there. Maclin’s fumble, many of Vick’s errors, Ronnie Brown’s … um… debacle all could be chalked up to players trying to do too much. I’d put that on the coaches. Are they congratulating the guys who create and minimizing the plays where guys get the job done? Do the players just not trust the system and each other?

    Finally, did you notice the tackles backpedaling more last week than in previous weeks? Maybe it was just dealing with blitzers off the edge?

  33. 33 Anonymous said at 11:16 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    Per Nnamdi, did you read Roddy White’s break down of the Eagles DBs a few weeks back? He basically Nnamdi’s game was jamming you with his long arms and throwing the WR off his route then using his athleticism to the keep WR in check. Roddy was saying they were trying to use false moves off the line and hesitation in and out of routes to get him to bite and get off balance and swim around him. ATL didn’t seem to have much success against him. Could be because Philly has him playing too far off the line as you allude and now teams are trying some different, and something that may be working.

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 3:17 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Did he play off as much vs. ATL?

    “debacle all could be chalked up to players trying to do too much”

    Yes. They need to do the simple things well. If a guy gains 12 yards, grab on to him til the calvary arrives so it’s not a 62-yard run. If you get tackled near the goal line, get tackled and take 3 points, etc. On the winning drive, cover up the ball.

    (I swear as soon as Maclin caught it past the sticks I said out loud “cover it up, cover it up … and then in slow motion Justin Smith comes up from behind and … arrrrgh)

    Nobody has the answer for what’s eating this team but I’d say you’re on to a pretty good start.

  35. 35 Mac said at 1:23 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Because he was so close to the sideline, I assumed he would jump out of bounds to save clock. When he sprinted up-field I with the ball loose by his body I tried to remain optimistic. Still, what is 4-5 yrds worth with this offense? Just get the ball, get the first down, and get out.

  36. 36 Anonymous said at 11:11 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    I finally got to my first Eagles game last Sunday. I’m now questioning whether or not I should ever go to the Linc again.

    I posted this before, but anyway getting to see the whole field let me see us drop Nnamdi and Asante back to safety a lot. Do other teams do this when there are no receivers on one side of the field? I don’t really understand why we do this so much. It leaves Nnamdi or Asante as the last defender when the RB inevitably gashes us up the middle. And on the play Nnamdi got beat deep, he came running up from where the safety would normally be playing when Crabtree went in motion. He never really looked ready for the ball to be snapped. He looked terrible on that play.

  37. 37 Mac said at 12:31 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Thanks for the insight… not having seen the d live, that is very interesting to hear.

  38. 38 Anonymous said at 3:21 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Not sure which plays you’re referring to, but sounds like “roll coverage or quarter-quarter-half, which is pretty standard stuff.

    Depending on formation and the number of DBs on the field & their assignments (i.e if you drop an SS into the box or blitz a corner, you sometimes roll the backside corner over the top to play a deep half in a zone.) … Almost always if there are no WRs then CBs do this. We expect LBs to be able to get RBs coming out of the backfield and prefer corners to be in coverage.

    Teams can scheme up things knowing we’ll do this and use it against us.

    Anyway, there are lots of ways where rolling a CB to play a deep zone would be part of designed scheme … but it also could be just Asante bailing.

  39. 39 Anonymous said at 3:53 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Thanks for the info. That sounds like exactly what I was talking about. I only noticed it when there were no receivers on one side of the field. Sounds like a normal thing then. I just never noticed it before watching on TV.

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 11:28 PM on October 4th, 2011:

    I want so badly to jump back on the wagon and tell myself that everything will eventually be ok. I keep telling myself Chaney can’t be this bad, Rolle looks more promising than anything they’ve had at LB in a while and will eventually be a decent player, the mistakes will be corrected, by Nov/Dec everyone will be able to breathe easily etc. But as I think back on why people were high on Chaney, was it not because of one really good game against NY? I don’t seem to recall him doing anything impressive against Min and GB to close out the year. Have we been fooling ourselves all along with him because of one good game when everything else has been sub-par? Have we allowed the good game bias to overwhelm our judgement of him when the reality is he’s just another 7th round draft pick who probably isn’t anything more than a solid back-up? If that’s the case, I fear the LBs aren’t going to make drastic improvements as the year goes on. They’ll struggle consistently stopping the run and covering TEs. Is their only real hope for the offense to somehow get on track and they N.O or N.E every one each week and the first team to 35 wins…

  41. 41 Anonymous said at 1:31 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Good point. With how Stewart Bradley played last year, Chaney gave us one good game and we were thinking he was the second coming of Trotter. He did not look great against Minn or GB.

    I am cautiously optimistic about Rolle, but I believe that as long as we play this wide nine technique and allow the LBs to get pulverized by blockers, none of our LBs will succeed.

  42. 42 Anonymous said at 1:56 AM on October 5th, 2011:


    I am really down on Asante. He seems like a guy who can’t take coaching or “tough love”, he guesses WAY too much and gives up easy completions/touchdowns, and he refuses to play press or be on the other side of the field! Seems like this would really handcuff a defensive coordinator. It sounds really nice to let Nnamdi follow the #1 WR all over the field (which I am in favor of), but the other team will just simply put him on Asante’s side and that theory is out the door. With his comments a few weeks back he seems like he can have a very divisive personality so the coaches never change or challenge him….am I on to something here or just still sulking from Sunday???? Thanks

  43. 43 Brett Smith said at 3:12 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    With Cole out we really need Tapp back. I have no belief that Babbin even knows how to play the run… seems to me like we will have one more hole in the defense if he is left to fill Cole’s shoes.

    I tell you the defense is much simpler and the guys are definitely not thinking. At all.

    Maybe this team can gut check and start playing like men but it looks like the DC and the HC “Need to do a better job of putting players in a position to make plays” and get them to “Play to there own strengths”

  44. 44 Anonymous said at 3:47 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Good Point. As much as alot of the casual fans are touting Babin as a superstar, I feel that the guy is not even pretending to care about stopping the run.
    There is a reason that it has taken this guy so long to find a team and prosper.

    While the message boards are blowing up with numbskull Eagles fans claiming that Babin is the best DE since Reggie White, they forget that as a complete DE, Babin can’t hold Trent Cole’s jock.

  45. 45 Mac said at 4:28 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    I don’t know that the DE needs to set the edge in the wide 9 (i assume so) but when I see the pocket collapse entirely to one side it’s either Hunt or Babin that’s doing it… and we lose contain, which kind of bothers me especially when a super star like Alex Smith can just roll out to that direction using his legs to escape the pressure and create plays.

    Trent Cole is the most important piece of this defense PERIOD.

  46. 46 Steve H said at 3:34 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    I’m surprised by how many of the guys we thought were gonna be players this year have turned into duds. Kurt Coleman and Jamar Chaney lead the group. What the hell is going on with our guys?

    My personal opinion about this team is that we bought into the hype. Ever since the dream team comment this team has been on a downward spiral. I keep listening to Eagles players insisting they’re a great team instead of understanding that great teams don’t fold like a lawn chair like we have been. When you’ve already crowned yourself the kings you aren’t going to play with an edge, and I don’t think any team in this league is good enough to win while being complacent.

    That, I personally believe, is the biggest reason for our teams woes. Not the schemes or all the new coaches or even the talent on the field. I think we are an unfocused team that believes they won the division in August.

  47. 47 Anonymous said at 3:50 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    The fact that we have been up in the 4th quarter and lost sizeable leads makes the team feel like they are a great team that just beat themselves. I am regretfull that we just haven’t gotten shellacked these games. A real ass beating through out the whole game might humble some of these guys so that they stop asserting that they are truly a great/good team

  48. 48 Steve H said at 5:57 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    I agree with you completely, the close finishes just reinforces their own idea that they’re just a couple plays away from being 4 and 0, despite the fact that they’ve looked absolutely awful for stretches during all 4 games. I don’t think this team is anywhere near great right now, but I think they truly believe they are some juggarnaught thats not quite clicking.

    That being said, with the talented pieces on this team theres no reason why if they got their heads out of their bums and started working hard and playing with an edge and building some chemistry that they couldn’t be the steamroller we all envisioned back in August.

    It’s shocking to me how many people are calling for Andy’s head right now and I have to wonder if thats more a symptom of peoples own disappointed expectations than anything else. I think we were all expecting a super bowl team this year, not just the players, maybe we all bought into the hype too much as well.

  49. 49 Anonymous said at 5:11 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Super Bowl expectations were not just hype, this was the goal for this “all in” year, both stated and implied. The Eagles set the bar high and they are failing to live up to it. The Phillies did the same thing and we can see that, regardless of the record setting number of wins, no one is calling the season a success yet.

  50. 50 Mac said at 4:29 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    Do we chalk it up to the whole “2nd year guy without and offseason” thing, or is it something else?

  51. 51 Steve H said at 5:58 AM on October 5th, 2011:

    I dont buy that because every team has 2nd year guys who were affected by that situation.

  52. 52 Anonymous said at 1:36 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Any examples of how they’re doing?

    I guess JPP is a good example of a player it /hasn’t/ affected.

  53. 53 Mac said at 2:40 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    in 2010 I couldn’t believe our luck when it was the 4th round and neither Navorro Bowman nor LeGarret Blount was selected. I thought for certain that they both represented team needs and guys who were physically gifted enough to play in the NFL, they were both high on my draft board. Was it dumb luck or a good environment that kept Bowman out of trouble? Why teams blacklisted Blount, I don’t fully understand. The kid clearly had talent and had 1 less year of wear and tear at a position where that really counts. I understand that Blount wouldn’t have seen the field much due to his issues with pass protection, but how much of the field did Eldra Buckley see in 2010?

    Ok that is enough crying over spilled milk for today.

  54. 54 Mac said at 1:47 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Looks like Watkins may get the start. 5th game of the season, oline letting up much fewer sacks so far this year… sounds like a good time to put in 2 different guys. I sure hope Danny can improve our short yardage game.

  55. 55 Anonymous said at 1:55 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    TBF from what we saw/the reviews have said DeVan didn’t have a great game. He’ll be active so we can just plug him in if Watkins has a shocker.

  56. 56 Gary said at 2:17 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Yeah, DeVan has been performing worse and worse and doesn’t get much push in the run game.

  57. 57 Mac said at 4:04 PM on October 5th, 2011:

    Tapp and JP both scheduled to practice today.

    Cole’s swelling has gone down somewhat.

    King scheduled to start at LT, no plans to work in Justice at this point.

  58. 58 Michael Riccardi said at 9:17 PM on October 6th, 2011:

    Great review as always. Essential reading. Just one thing. Instead of finding an excuse or wondering out loud, isn’t it time to conclude that Laws isn’t a good player in the NFL?