Sunday Lessons

Posted: December 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 166 Comments »

I’ve talked about Nick Foles and the need to see him handle some adversity, especially in the 4th quarter of a game. A few of you have asked whether Sunday counts. The answer is yes and no.

Foles did have some tough circumstances to deal with on Sunday. The weather was frightful. The Lions led 14-0 midway through the 3rd quarter. The Eagles had poor field position most of the game. Not much was going Foles or the Eagles way.

That’s when he hit Riley Cooper for a gain of 44 yards and the offense instantly came alive. Foles hit DeSean for a 19-yd TD. He opened the next drive with a pass to Cooper in traffic and that turned into a gain of 25. The other big pass for Foles was the late play to Celek that allowed the Eagles to seal the game. Foles did make some key throws and certainly had a hand in the comeback.

But Shady McCoy is the reason the Eagles won the game. He and the OL took the game over. Still, let’s not dismiss what Foles did. He didn’t turn the ball over in the 2nd half. There weren’t bobbled snaps or hand-offs. Compare that to Matt Stafford. The Lions trailed 28-20 and were on the move when he failed to catch a snap and then failed to secure it on the ground. Critical mistake. He’s got to fall on that ball and give his offense a chance. Foles didn’t make spectacular plays to win the game, but he made the basic ones that kept the Eagles from losing it.

I still need to see Foles in more of a 4th quarter shootout situation. The Eagles are down 10 or 14 with about 10 minutes left and he’s got to make big throw after big throw. Foles doesn’t need to win the shootout game I’m talking about. He’s not playing defense so we can’t hold him responsible, but we need to see that he can lead the team to TDs in desperate situations. Teams that have a really good QB feel they are almost never out of a game.

Sunday’s game didn’t provide much in the way of definitive answers about Foles or the Eagles, but we got some pretty strong hints that they can handle tough situations.

* * * * *

I love the fact that Chip Kelly isn’t a whiner. He doesn’t complain about officiating. He doesn’t complain about the schedule. He doesn’t complain about the weather. Chip reminds me of the parent who doesn’t make excuses for their kids. You teach them to deal with circumstances and pressure. Life isn’t always going to be fair. Rarely will it be easy. Don’t whine about that stuff. Do what you’re supposed to. Focus on the task at hand.

If you embrace excuses, you embrace failure.

This Eagles team has the right attitude. I really do hope they make the playoffs so we can see how they deal with a really good team. This is a different bunch than the group that KC beat and the Broncos blew out.

* * * * *

Les Bowen wrote a good article today and talked about the effect of sports science on Sunday’s game. We can’t make any definitive conclusions since the Eagles are so secretive, there his no doubt  that the Eagles dominated the 4th quarter. With that in mind, I enjoyed this bit from the article.

THE SNOW got deeper Sunday and the Eagles seemed to get stronger. The Detroit Lions, impenetrable defensively and able to do everything but score offensively through nearly three-quarters of the game, suddenly seemed frozen in place.

It was an amazing turnaround.

“This front seven for the Detroit Lions is just starting to take this game over,” said Fox play-by-play voice Kevin Burkhardt, with 6 minutes left in the third quarter, and Detroit leading 14-0.

Ah, not so much, Kevin.

Kev was a bit premature with that comment to be sure. And Les made a great point. You had an Eagles line with 3 players over the age of 30 dominating a pair of star DTs that are young. You would think the Lions, also coming off an extra break due to playing on Thanksgiving, would have been the fresher team. Sure didn’t look that way to me.

Is this a tribute to Mathis, Peters and Herremans taking such good care of themselves? Is this a result of sports science stuff? Is this partially due to the Eagles up-tempo offense which should help players to build stamina? Or is it maybe all 3?

I don’t know the answer, but I like what I’m seeing.

The Eagles are one of the healthiest teams in the league. I’m sure some of that is luck, but part of it has to be the new program. I hope Kelly and the players stay tight-lipped on this subject. This is the kind of stuff to keep secret.

I do wonder if we’ll see other teams adapt to the Eagles schedule of getting Monday off and practicing on Tuesday. And also going through a more serious practice on Saturdays. Whatever Kelly is doing, it is working.

* * * * *

The Eagles-Bears game has been moved to Sunday night.

My sources tell me this is strictly being done to give Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey more time to figure a strategy for getting open against shutdown corners Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.

* * * * *

My column is a review of the Snow Bowl.

That 4th quarter was more fun than wrestling Megan Fox in a giant vat of chocolate pudding.


166 Comments on “Sunday Lessons”

  1. 1 Angry Amishman said at 3:24 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “My sources tell me this is strictly being done to give Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey more time to figure a strategy for getting open against shutdown corners Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.”


  2. 2 Maggie said at 7:00 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Lol. I’ve liked Fletcher since the preseason, but even I wouldn’t call him a shutdown corner! And my grandmother WAS Amish.

  3. 3 Jerry Goldstein said at 3:25 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “I still need to see Foles in more of a 4th quarter shootout situation.
    The Eagles are down 10 or 14 with about 10 minutes left and he’s got to
    make big throw after big throw. Foles doesn’t need to win the shootout
    game I’m talking about. He’s not playing defense so we can’t hold him
    responsible, but we need to see that he can lead the team to TDs in
    desperate situations. Teams that have a really good QB feel they are
    almost never out of a game.”

    This is an absurdly high standard to hold Foles to when he is a second-year man with not even a full 16 games under his belt.

  4. 4 TommyLawlor said at 3:29 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    No, it isn’t.

  5. 5 TommyLawlor said at 3:32 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    If I said he must win a shootout or that he must do this multiple times, you might have a point.

    And Foles might not get the chance to do this until next year.

    The point is that we need to see him respond well when put in an extreme situation at some point.

  6. 6 ceedubya9 said at 3:56 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    He will…..In the Super Bowl 🙂

  7. 7 ICDogg said at 3:56 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    It would be cool if there were a blizzard for the Super Bowl.

  8. 8 A Roy said at 4:48 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    considering the venue…

  9. 9 RobNE said at 5:40 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    if we aren’t in it, I hope there is a foot of snow. If we are in it, I’ll blame the weather on any loss and feel like people will discount it if we win. Imagine the Ashley Fox article.

  10. 10 Andy124 said at 4:21 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    The point is that we need to see him respond well when put in an extreme situation at some point.
    I’d say that weather made for a pretty extreme situation.

    I kid. I agree with the “yes and no” answer as it relates to your basic request. It fits the criteria, and Foles helped in the comeback, but he didn’t exactly shoulder the load, put the team on his back. He was more of 1 of the 11 guys pulling on the rope, all of them doing their job and doing it well.

    Personally, I’m just fine with seeing him practice building and protecting leads against lesser competition for the time being. Maybe I’ll get a little more greedy next year.

  11. 11 Joe Lawrence said at 4:44 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    How does last year’s Tampa Bay game rank as far as fourth quarter comeback’s go? The game wasn’t a shootout, but there was certainly desperation down 11 pts with just under 6 minutes to play.

  12. 12 D-von said at 3:34 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I agree. All Foles does is win and yet the media wants him to throw TDs on the his back, through flaming rings while playing on the moon.

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 3:49 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Not at all.

    We’re trying to find out if he’s good enough to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl. One of the clues for that is a QB who can lead a team from behind in the 4th Qtr.

  14. 14 ICDogg said at 3:52 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I would say, though, that I’m very impressed with the way he handled the late 3rd and 4th quarter of the Snow Bowl (didn’t we already call another game the Snow Bowl once already, I’m thinking the one also known as “Bounty Bowl II”?)

    He had to take some shots down the field under the worst of conditions.

  15. 15 D-von said at 4:17 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    He lead the team to comeback win against Tampa in 2012

  16. 16 TommyLawlor said at 4:32 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    He did. But there wasn’t exactly much at stake for either team. And if you remember, the Bucs were dead last in pass D last year.

    You may think I’m nit-picking. I don’t see it that way. My goal is to win a Super Bowl. I hope Nick is the guy to lead the Eagles there. I’m just looking for some clues that he in fact is that guy.

  17. 17 Michael Jorden said at 5:24 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    That’s kind of a narrow criteria of circumstances. If I’m hearing you right, you have to have a meaningful game, against a top team, the eagles trailing behind and the rest of our OFF (Shady, Jackson .. whoever our OFF weapons are at the time) neutralized or ineffective until Foles can take over the game. That could take a while for you to get the confirmation you’re looking for.

    And honestly, if he gets in those circumstances and fails – who’s to say he wouldn’t succeed in the next opportunity? How many of these clearly defined test games would really determine what we have in Foles?

    I’d say ideally, maybe – we build a team with enough playmakers that we may never have to find out if Foles can completely carry the team on his back that way.

  18. 18 Vick or Nick said at 9:14 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    By the time we realize it, he will have already done it.

    The guy is a good, solid QB.

    I wish we could just stop asking is he a franchise QB.

    My answer: YES.

    Yours: Yes and No.

    Real answer: It doesn’t matter.

    Good thing we don’t have to really decide until AFTER the season is over.

    We are always looking for what we need. Just be happy for what we have right now. Stability at the most important position on the team.

  19. 19 fran35 said at 9:30 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I think you are being incredibly tough and a tad unfair. If the kid has answered the bell at almost every turn, we won’t know if he’s good enough to win a SB until we are there. Additionally, great teams do not absolutely require a ridiculous, elite QB to win. It’s overrated. See Baltimore, NYG, etc. Dilfer was not good, but played mistake free. Foles has been good and MISTAKE FREE. Eli Manning was wildly inconsistent until he pulled it together for the SB run. No one ever thought he had the chops and then he did it. Surprised himslef, Peyton, and even Archie. Foles has looked good-dare I say flashes of great. But there always seems to be a caveat. I say enjoy the ride and promise of good, young QB. Every game does not have to be a proving ground.

  20. 20 Tom33 said at 4:48 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Tommy – I get what you are saying and I agree with it generally. My issue is with the belief (wish) that this is a question that can be answered now, or even in another year. I think you can (probably) figure out if he isn’t the guy, but how do you tell if he is until he does it?

    Was there anything that you saw in Flacco that said he was the one to win a SB? Would you want him (and his contract) today? Not sure I would.

    Just looking at the QB’s in the division – RG3 was annointed The Man last year, and now there is speculation that the Was Team would be better off with Cousins.

    How about Eli? Other than 2 playoff runs, his numbers/performance are marginal at best.

    Then there’s Romo. I actually think he’s the best QB in the division, but I guarantee I’m in the minority here, and he’s got no SB to show for his troubles.

    So, my point is, until Nick wins his first (of many) rings for the Eagles, there will always be questions that can’t be answered. And just like Eli, Flacco, or even McNabb, the jury will be out even after the SB.

    So why bother? Just enjoy the ride. (Hopefully just a few miles up I95 in a few weeks.)

  21. 21 Buge Halls said at 5:11 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    What evidence do you have that supports your statement that Romo is the best QB in the NFC East? His inability to win the “big” games after 10 years in the league (8 as a starter)? He’s is 1-3 as a starter in the playoffs, and 0-3 in other games when a playoff berth was on the line. I’d stack Eli’s two Super Bowls up against Romo’s record anytime. The NFL isn’t about wins, or yards, or QBR, or other numbers, it’s about winning the Super Bowl. Tony Romo will likely not ever get into the Super Bowl without a ticket. Eli has already brought the trophy home twice!

  22. 22 Tom33 said at 5:19 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I guess it comes down to where you lay credit/blame. I think Romo’s lack of success has more to do with the GM and coaches than they do with him.

    By your logic, Eli > Peyton (2 vs 1) and Dilfer > Marino.

  23. 23 RobNE said at 5:39 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    yes so Trent Dilfer > Jim Kelly and Dan Marino

  24. 24 fran35 said at 9:33 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Let me preempt this statement by stating my absolute hate of all things Cowboy. However, Romo is a very good QB. He happens to play QB for a horrible franchise that is run by morons. They surround him with knuckleheads, both at the coach and player level.

  25. 25 TommyLawlor said at 5:12 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    We won’t find answers. We can get hints.

    Winning a SB is a team effort. That said, you must have the right QB or you’ve got no chance.

  26. 26 BlindChow said at 5:16 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I agree with you here. There isn’t really a checklist that tells you whether a QB is “the guy.” Just time. If he turns in more Dallas games than Oakland games, then he probably isn’t. If he sustains his current level of performance, he probably is.

    Besides, what if he got into the kind of tough game Tommy wants to see and falters? Would that mean he definitely ISN’T the guy? What if the coaching staff had given up on him after the Dallas debacle?

    Good or bad, any single performance could be a fluke. It just takes time.

  27. 27 bill said at 5:26 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Yeah, this’ll probably cause a crapstorm, but it seems obvious to me that Kaep, RG3, and even Wilson haven’t met all of Tommy’s tests yet. Even if they had, I’d still be somewhat skeptical, because consistency is the key. And quite likely, the Texans felt they had a QB that had met all those tests just a few months ago.

  28. 28 BlindChow said at 5:37 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I’d include Luck in with them as well, though he usually gets a pass, having been pre-anointed as the Chosen One. Time will tell for all four.

    Also Dalton, like Schaub, has led his team to multiple playoffs but faltered. Both have had uneven regular season performances, but, like Flacco, that doesn’t mean he can’t get hot and take you all the way…

  29. 29 Maggie said at 7:31 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    PEYTON has led his teams for years, but seldom to the Super Bowl. Yet the NFL media continues to lavish adoration upon him.

  30. 30 sonofdman said at 5:45 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Overall I agree with what you are saying, but I would be fine with Foles leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl without ever being down 10 or 14 points with 10 minutes left.

  31. 31 Maggie said at 7:03 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Like Andy124, I still like the TEAM concept, where no one person, not even the QB has to win almost by himself.

  32. 32 A_T_G said at 3:52 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    How are you going to get those rings to burn on the moon?

  33. 33 D-von said at 3:54 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    They’ll play in oxygen bubble.

  34. 34 austinfan said at 3:25 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Actually, I think it had less to do with sports science than physics, the Detroit line is undersized and depend on great athleticism, the wide 9 is all about attacking gaps, once the Eagles stopped trying to run zone stretch plays and focused on inside zone runs, their superior size (340 – 300 – 290 – 325 – 315) won out. The difference was the Eagles have a big trio anchoring their two gap line, who could just focus on holding their ground, not trying to explode off the snap in bad footing. As the game proceeded, the smaller Lion linemen (and a team with little depth, whereas the Eagles regularly rotate in their 2nd team DL) wore down.

  35. 35 ICDogg said at 3:46 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Physics… sounds like science to me…

  36. 36 A_T_G said at 3:50 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    (Sports Science is out of frame to the left.)

  37. 37 ACViking said at 3:50 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Your point is equally applicable to the Lions O-line versus the Eagles’ D-line, with Coles or Barwin counting as the 4th guy up front. Even with the occasional rotation of linemen like Graham, Geathers, and Curry.

    The Lions’ offense generally moved the ball all game long on the ground. Turnovers were their problem.

  38. 38 ACViking said at 4:12 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Granted, the Lions didn’t rack up 200 yards on the ground.

    They didn’t have McCoy.

    Nor did they have Reggie Bush.

    May be a case of apples and oranges (no mammal/animal comparisons)

  39. 39 TommyLawlor said at 3:50 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Todd isn’t anywhere close to 325. Hasn’t been for a few years.

  40. 40 Maggie said at 7:32 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Suh and Fairly are not small!

  41. 41 ACViking said at 3:36 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Re: Who’s the Lawyer Now?


    Your wrote regarding whether Foles’ 4th Q performance against Detroit counts on the 4th-Q adversity front . . . .

    “The answer is yes and no.”

    That’s beautifully Lincoln-eque. Room to move in either direction.

    No attorney could have framed it better.

  42. 42 TommyLawlor said at 3:51 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    That Lincoln guy sounds pretty smart. Where did he coach?

  43. 43 Mike Flick said at 7:09 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Ford field.

  44. 44 Mike Flick said at 7:09 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Sorry, is it still too soon to joke about that?

  45. 45 D3FB said at 7:11 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Devry, before he moved to University of Phoenix.

  46. 46 ACViking said at 3:44 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    TL wrote:

    “I love the fact that Chip Kelly . . . doesn’t complain about the schedule.”

    Really, who could complain about the Eagles schedule this year . . . besides Jerry Jones?

    (Teasing of course)

  47. 47 TommyLawlor said at 3:52 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    The schedule comment goes back to 3 games in 11 days to begin the season.

  48. 48 Andy124 said at 3:53 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Oh wow. Totally forgot about that. Seems like ancient history at this point.

  49. 49 A_T_G said at 4:01 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “That 4th quarter was more fun than wrestling Megan Fox in a giant vat of chocolate pudding.”

    I commented that the Lions game was the most enjoyable game in a long time, but even I don’t believe this.

    (You will have to add the pudding mentally, Google results for “Megan Fox pudding” were disappointing.)

  50. 50 Maggie said at 7:37 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Personally I would prefer Superman. Or even Clark Kent.

  51. 51 theycallmerob said at 7:50 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    You’re welcome to start an eagles blog with such desires.
    However, this is the Blog That Tommy Built. Pudding, PBR, and Megan Fox’s bosom (both sides) make up Mt. Rushmore ’round these parts.

  52. 52 Maggie said at 8:01 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Sometimes males are just so predictable! Lol.

  53. 53 A_T_G said at 8:26 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Yet women still wear shirts…

  54. 54 BlindChow said at 9:40 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Or Cam Newton?

  55. 55 ACViking said at 4:21 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Flexing an Eagles game became a possibility after Foles hung 7 7s on the Raiders.

    It became became likely after the GB and DC.

    After the last two victories, I think flexing a game became almost assured.

    The Eagles are the new “hot” team. Big plays galore. Young QB. College coach with “gimmick” offense doing things his way. Young team on the rise. And leading the NFC East off a 4-12 season.

    It’s a decision the NFL couldn’t refuse.

  56. 56 Andy124 said at 4:22 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Longest active winning streak in the entire NFL.

    Jacksonville, New England and San Fransisco tied for 2nd with 3 in a row.

  57. 57 Anthony Hart said at 5:34 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Plus you know there will be plenty of TVs tuned into the game in another huge market, Dallas.

  58. 58 Westpaceagle said at 4:23 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “That 4th quarter was more fun than wrestling Megan Fox in a giant vat of chocolate pudding.”
    Love your writing Tommy, love the Eagles…but not so sure I agree with this one

  59. 59 TommyLawlor said at 4:33 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    The vat?

  60. 60 Westpaceagle said at 4:37 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Let’s just say optimal situation would be wrestling Megan Fox while watching the 4th qtr of that game at the same time. Vat, bounce house, kitty pool would all work

  61. 61 mark2741 said at 4:36 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “If you embrace excuses, you embrace failure.” Did you steal that line from Jonny Taffer, the guy from Bar Rescue? lol

  62. 62 TommyLawlor said at 5:12 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Just made it up.

  63. 63 D3FB said at 7:09 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Raw chicken in the the NFL headquarters? Are you kidding me Goodell? Shut it down. Shut the whole damn league down.

  64. 64 AnirudhJ said at 4:46 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Tommy – one of the things I’m more and more concerned about is whether we really are looking at fool’s gold, like Skins fans last year. Think about this five game win streak:
    Raiders – one in a lifetime performance from a young QB and against an undisciplined team that was okay going into the game and has crumbled since
    Packers – missing Aaron Rodgers. We faced Scott Tolzien in (I believe) his first career NFL start.
    Redskins – undisciplined and flat out bad.
    Cardinals – the refs went for us and against us in this one. The calls or no-calls trended more favorably for us towards the end. Andre Ellington out.
    Lions – ridiculous snow storm. If anyone looks at this game and feels 100% sure we would have won indoors or under regular conditions, I can’t imagine it. Also, Bush was out – for what it’s worth.

    As you mentioned after the Cards game, the narrative that good teams get is that “they just find ways to win.” The narrative that unproven teams get is “they got lucky.”

    Right now we’re stringing together enough wins that it’s becoming less and less likely that we’re just getting lucky. But there’s always that external factor that seems to come into play. I do think the Birds are a good team. I think we’re likely a top 10 NFL team, and probably even a top 7 one. I’m just concerned that the data we have in front of us is actually misleading.

  65. 65 Michael Jorden said at 5:11 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Why not just enjoy the streak? If the team is a paper tiger it will get shown in the playoffs soon enough anyway. I think it passes the eye test though.

  66. 66 Maggie said at 7:42 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    The most important factor you have not mentioned is coaching. surely most real fans, of any sport, know that superior coaching, as a team, trumps almost anything.

  67. 67 Iskar36 said at 4:49 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “I love the fact that Chip Kelly isn’t a whiner. He doesn’t complain about officiating.”

    This is the second time you have mentioned this in two weeks and I think it is a bit premature. Chip Kelly doesn’t strike me as a whiner, but to say he hasn’t whined about the officiating after the Eagles get the win is a bit silly. Of course he isn’t going to whine about the refs. Furthermore, while I don’t think anyone should ever whine about the refs, what argument could Chip Kelly have about the refs in recent weeks? If anything, we have benefited more than we have suffered due to the refs.

    My point isn’t that Chip would be whining if we were losing games and refs were missing calls, but I just don’t think you can compliment his lack of whining when there isn’t anything to whine about AND they are winning these games. Had we lost a critical game AND the refs made some critical error, that’s when I would be looking to see whether or not Chip whines or not and tries to find excuses. He hasn’t had that opportunity here, so making any conclusions to me is premature.

  68. 68 Andy124 said at 4:52 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I’d estimate there have been about 5 opportunities…

  69. 69 Iskar36 said at 4:56 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Complaining early in the season is very different than complaining at a critical point in the season. As silly as it was that Bruce Arians complained after the Eagles game about the refs, it would have been even more absurd had that game not had major playoff implications (like any early regularly season game). Also, it’s not like even the worst coaches in terms of complaining about the refs complain after every loss.

    And lastly, Tommy didn’t bring this up during our five losses, he brought it up after two wins.

  70. 70 TommyLawlor said at 5:20 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    If you listen to the comments of the players and coaches, you can hear his message in their words. Bruce Arians went on and on about inconsistent officiating over the course of the season. Bill Davis tells his players every game to adjust to the way the game is being called.

    One coach is complaining. The other is having his players deal with the situation.

    That’s the type of thing I’m talking about.

    Early in the year, the Eagles played 3 games in 11 days. Reporters tried to get Kelly to complain about that. He never took the bait. He said “That’s the schedule and we’ve known about it for months. We’ll deal with it.”

    Kelly could have used that as an excuse when the Eagles lost 2 of those games. He didn’t.

    Kelly isn’t a whiner. He wasn’t at Oregon and hasn’t been so far here. I don’t think I’m reaching here.

  71. 71 Iskar36 said at 5:33 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    It’s easy to say “we tell our players to adjust to the way the game is being called” right after you win that game. That’s not a message you can say when you lose a game and a key play during that game was a debatable penalty. Of course the coach who is winning is going to have his players “dealing with the situation.”

    As for early in the year, first off, that’s very different situation from officiating where calls can be wrong or right. That is the NFL giving a tough schedule that simply is. There is nothing debatable about that situation. Second off, as I mentioned above, having a tough situation early in the year is different than having it late in the year where the games are more critical in terms of playoffs. So complaining early in the season is more petty than later in the season (of course both are silly to do either way).

    As for Kelly being a whiner or not, saying he is not based on his days at Oregon is completely fair, but that wasn’t what you did. You made the comment based on the last two games. That is where I think you are reaching. To my knowledge (and I’m sure ACViking can prove me wrong), no coach in the history of the NFL has complained about the officiating after their team wins, so commending him for that seems silly to me.

    And like I said multiple times, I’m not saying I would expect him to whine had we lost. I agree with you that complaining about officiating or things beyond his control does not appear to be his style. But that has nothing to do with what we have seen over the last two weeks. That’s based on his history in the past at Oregon.

  72. 72 Neil said at 7:13 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    All I can say is with enough practice you can learn to read people’s souls. Chip Kelly isn’t the kind of guy who’s interested in wasting energy on something like complaining that isn’t going to help his team win.

  73. 73 Neil said at 7:11 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Iskar, nothing wrong with this I suppose, but…have you ever written a reply to anyone’s point that wasn’t in disagreement?

  74. 74 Iskar36 said at 7:47 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Generally speaking, I am not as interested in simply writing that I agree with what has been written elsewhere. I would say that the vast majority of the stuff I read on here, both by Tommy and most commenters, I agree with or at the very least find to be an interesting point of view backed by interesting arguments. But for me, simply writing “I agree” doesn’t add to the conversation unless I have a point to add (which I will do often). When I disagree with someones view though, I try not to be disrespectful and provide my reasons why I disagree with the hopes that it creates discussion for or against my views. Sometimes people convince me that my views are wrong, sometimes it goes the other way, most of the time though, if a discussion starts, it will bring different interesting view points.

    Apologies if it bothers you that I am often in disagreement, but for me, even when I am wrong, it makes the conversation interesting to hear multiple views which I think is one of the best aspects of Tommy’s blog. While I vehemently disagree with posts by shah8 for example, I absolutely love that he has such strong opinions that are so far against the general opinions of most people here that it forces discussions. MOrton was probably my favorite example of a poster like that. He always had very carefully thought out arguments for his views, and while most of us strongly disagreed with him, you couldn’t simply dismiss his arguments because he would provide some support for his claims.

  75. 75 A_T_G said at 8:21 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “…simply writing “I agree” doesn’t add to the conversation.”

    I agree completely.

  76. 76 Iskar36 said at 8:21 PM on December 10th, 2013:


  77. 77 Neil said at 9:02 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Well, you don’t have to just write you agree. You can tackle the same stance from a different perspective or something. But no, it doesn’t bother me. I just thought it was a fun observation.

  78. 78 Weapon Y said at 5:04 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I’ll just say it because everyone is thinking it: What are the odds the Eagles win the Super Bowl this year? I’m confident that the Eagles offense can gash any defense in the NFL (can, not will, being the key word). I’m still nervous that the “bend but don’t break” defense will break against other high-powered offenses. For that reason, New Orleans scares me more than any other NFC team. Seattle is still scary especially at their stadium. The other factor is that, as much as I think Foles has great potential, Foles is on the record as choking miserably in a clutch game against Dallas. He’s rarely had to face a defense in his face consistently all game. A team like Seattle, Carolina, or San Francisco could rattle him too much. Still, I love that these are the things that worry me this time of year instead of what draft pick we’ll end up with.

  79. 79 RobNE said at 5:31 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles odds of making the NFC Champ game, winning that game and going to the SB, and winning the SB are in order: 12.3%, 4.8% and 2.2%. Of course the odds of even making the playoffs are “only” 67%, which heavily discounts the chance that they do any of those 3 events.

  80. 80 A_T_G said at 5:38 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    So, our odds of winning it all are 2/3 of 2.2%? That is a hell of a lot higher than I gave them a few weeks ago.

  81. 81 RobNE said at 5:43 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    no, it’s 2.2%. I just thought people might like to see all 3 of the odds. I listed three separate events with their 3 separate odds. Sorry if it wasn’t clear. I’ve watched these odds before, and a lot of it is what are the odds you can get there, which is hugely dependent on 1) your spot within your division and 2) your chances of getting a bye. Both of those, Eagles are weak. My favorite running example on all things, the Patriots, always are near SB favorites from game 1 because their path to a division title and bye are the best.

  82. 82 ICDogg said at 7:20 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Sports Club Stats has us at 62.8% to make the playoffs and 0.9% to win the Super Bowl.

  83. 83 RobNE said at 11:54 AM on December 11th, 2013:

    ICDogg: that seems quite similar to Football Outsiders. We’ll see what happens going forward.

  84. 84 Tom33 said at 5:14 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I saw this from somebody on Twitter, so no credit here. But it is a very entertaining thread.

    Best line is:

    Eric Winston (1 HOUR AGO)

    Wait…. Are those my for real stats this year????

  85. 85 A_T_G said at 6:19 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Good stuff, thanks for the link.

  86. 86 Kevin K said at 5:30 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I disagree about “needing to see Nick in a 4th quarter shootout.” At this point, do you throw in the towel if that turns out to be a weak point? Here’s a guy that can win you 85% of your games. Could you possibly say “yeah, he beats the pants off Troy Aikman, but man, he’s no John Elway. We need to find a solid QB!”
    C’mon, man!

  87. 87 shah8 said at 5:33 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    /me reads thread…

    Christ…Tommy is being very generous to Foles, while I’m down to, basically, my last one or two games before the man’s dead to me–and *still* people get on his back for the most reasonable of expectations!

  88. 88 Iskar36 said at 5:38 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “Last one or two games before the man’s dead to you?” You’ve written Foles off before he played a game this season. Who are you kidding?

  89. 89 shah8 said at 5:49 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Well, I sorta just went on and gone back and seeing whether he will grow into the role. I am, in particular, not happy with Foles’ Arizona and Detroit game, outside of one series against Arizona.

    My basic problem is that Foles is still essentially running an offense for QB babies (think Mike McCoy’s Tebow offense) when he should be running something more complex by now. I mean…Geno Smith is running a far more complex offense with far less talent in his favor. Kaepernick is running a more sophisticated passing offense with only like 6-8 more games worth of experience and quite a bit more talent to lean on. etc. I’m also reading the writing on the wall, in the sense of what kind of plays are being called, and it’s very hard for me not to conclude staff does not have full confidence in Foles as a passer. If they did, they wouldn’t be having such a huge percentage of high variance pass plays. These plays have been falling in, but they are still high variance stuff that no coaching staff ever really feels confidence in.

    will stop there.

  90. 90 BlindChow said at 5:53 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    So your problem with Foles is that he’s running Chip Kelly’s offense?

  91. 91 shah8 said at 5:57 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    That’s sort of the point. When Barkley was in, Barkley was given a full passing offense to work with, Chip Kelly’s concepts or no. Barkley simply couldn’t make reads and attempted passes his arm couldn’t cash. Same with Vick. You can look at reasonably similar offenses around the league, like the Kubiak offense, and see that what Foles is operating in is extremely stripped down, even for a run-first, spread, PA offense.

    Seriously dudes:

    Foles has something like 23 total TDs to two TOs. In what universe is the normal response to a QB like that, stats-wise, is to sell out as completely against the run as teams are still doing? Doesn’t that makes even a bit of unconscious worry?

  92. 92 Anders said at 5:59 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    are you serious? There is no difference in passing routes between what Vick, Barkley and Foles is playing with. Difference is that Foles make it look so easy, so someone like you think it is a stripped down offense.

  93. 93 shah8 said at 6:02 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Yup, there’s a major difference. For example…How many hitches have you seen Vick or Barkley throw, compared to Foles? There were many more passing concept outside of the numbers when Vick was playing, and when Barkley was playing, there were more ambitious standard passes to beat zone coverage.

  94. 94 Anders said at 6:08 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Lol now you are just trolling. First how many outside the numbers passes have Foles completely to Riley Cooper the last few weeks compared to how many Vick?

    Also regarding zone, sure we would use zone beaters if we was facing zone, but teams are using mostly man vs us after we shredded zone teams with both Vick and Foles (watch Jackson two TDs vs Tampa for “ambitious standard passes” (what ever that means) vs an all pro CB, pro bowl safety and high drafted safety).

    Just because Kelly is using very simply schemes, does not mean the reads is more simple, it just shows that guys like Marty and AR often make it to complex.

    If there is 3 reads on every pass play, how can it be any more complex? This is not the Skins or Texans offense with 1 read of PA and then they are toast.
    This offense uses route combinations from the 2 most successful offenses the last 30 years, The WCO and air raid.

  95. 95 shah8 said at 6:09 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Well, then, we shall see who’s trolling, and who’s not. Obviously, Tommy doesn’t share my views, nor do people like Gary Busby, so this will be quite an education for somebody…

  96. 96 RobNE said at 7:05 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Who is Gary busby?

  97. 97 shah8 said at 7:21 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Sorry, I meant Joe Bussell:

  98. 98 RobNE said at 8:07 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    You aren’t proven right if Seattle beats us in the playoffs.

  99. 99 A_T_G said at 8:41 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Nice try, but I am pretty sure anything short of a SB victory will be used as vindication, and a SB victory will be qualified.

  100. 100 A_T_G said at 8:16 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I thought it was this guy, but I am sure this man agrees with Shah8.

  101. 101 fran35 said at 9:58 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Damn you!! I was reading shah8’s post and got SO EXCITED to throw out the Gary Busey reference, but then decided to scroll down to ensure that no one else used.
    But honestly, Busey was stellar in Point Break. Also Under Siege

  102. 102 sonofdman said at 6:08 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I really think you are just making stuff up. Why would they run a simplified offense for Foles but a complicated offense for Barkley? If the passing offense is so simplified, why isn’t it being stopped by opposing defenses? If the simplified passing offense is so successful and gaining yards and points and avoiding turnovers, why would you bother running a more complicated offense?

  103. 103 shah8 said at 6:12 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Well, if you don’t think Barkley’s was more complicated…why not look at the sort of offense Scott Tolzien had to attempt? GB’s staff made fewer concessions to Tolzien’s inexperience than Phi does Foles, even though Foles had a half-season. When Tolzien couldn’t cope, they didn’t simplify further, but brought in Flynn, even with Flynn’s physical liabilities.

  104. 104 Anders said at 6:14 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Now you are cracking me up. Thanks for the laugh.

  105. 105 sonofdman said at 6:18 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Who cares about what Green Bay ran with Tolzein?

    You keep criticizing Foles for running a simplified passing offense, implying that any qb could have success in that offense. But, if any qb could have the success Foles is having running such a simplified offense, why isn’t every team running such a simplified offense so their qb and offense can be successful? And in this case, what is the benefit of a more complicated offense?

  106. 106 BlindChow said at 6:27 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Because the REAL champion at the end of each season is the one with the most complicated offense, not the one with the most so-called “wins.” Everyone knows that. GOSH.

  107. 107 D3FB said at 7:05 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Exactly! That’s why Reid’s 45683 page playbook won us 4 games last year! Ladies and gentlemen forget playing the season, just have the coaches all submit their playbooks in August and whoever has the most complicated wins the Lombardi!

  108. 108 BlindChow said at 9:45 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    This is a fascinating example of reverse-engineering evidence from a preordained conclusion.

    In this case, the conclusion is: Foles is not an “NFL Quarterback.”

    Thus, since Foles is doing well, this is an indication the offense he is running is very simplistic (“Tebow-level,” as mentioned above); further, as Vick was unable to thrive when he was behind center (at least, not after San Diego), and we all know he IS an NFL QB, the offense used when he was in the game clearly must have been more complex.

    I’m not quite sure how all the winning and records Foles is setting fit in. I assume it must be some sort of preternatural serendipity, like Nick Foles is Forrest Gumping his way through this magical season, completely oblivious to the world spinning around him as he tumbles down the field into history…

  109. 109 Andy124 said at 10:58 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Summoning my inner A_T_G, I “completely” agree.
    Well written Chow.

  110. 110 Michael Winter Cho said at 12:21 AM on December 11th, 2013:

    I wrote this as a comment on Sheil’s site a month ago:

    This is so true. Any time Foles throws a TD pass, it’s actually because of a breakdown or a player slipped. Also, it always either looks easy–or hard. Furthermore, any time Foles throws a TD, the played who was beat should be fired. If the Eagles score at least 2 TDs with Foles as QB, the opposing D coordinator should be fired. If Foles scores more than 5 TDs, the opposing coach should be fired. The next time Foles scores 7 TDs, the owner should be fired. If Foles ever gets even more lucky than he already is and scores 8 TDs, the league should dissolve out of shame and let the XFL take its place because the NFL would then be too watered-down and easy.
    If they ever manage to beat a good team, it actually can no longer be considered a good team. If they ever win a playoff game, that was the weakest playoff team (by definition) ever. If they win a Superbowl, they were the weakest Superbowl contender since the merger. If they win multiple Superbowls, they will have to be considered the weakest multiple Superbowl winners in history!

  111. 111 BlindChow said at 6:16 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Seriously dudes:

    Foles has something like 23 total TDs to two TOs. In what universe is the normal response to a QB like that, stats-wise, is to sell out as completely against the run as teams are still doing?

    Interesting. So his high-level of performance is actually evidence of how bad he is…

  112. 112 Anders said at 6:17 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    People are so selling out to stop the run, that they often leave 5 or 6 guys in the box.

  113. 113 BlindChow said at 6:31 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    When there are 7 or 8 people in the box, Foles does exactly what he’s supposed to do: throw the ball and make them pay. Strange to hold the opposing teams’ defensive strategy against him, considering the teams are actually LOSING because of it.

    I suppose this is the kind of argument you get when you can’t use stats against a player you don’t like.

  114. 114 Anders said at 6:35 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    also screw Kelly and his gimmick college offense for not caring if it is pass or run and having both options on most plays and making his crappy noddle armed in over his head 2nd year QB have to make reads after the snap like any normal QB.

  115. 115 D3FB said at 7:03 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I mean clearly we should run a more pro style offense like the vaunted Falcons offense. Becuase football is about never innovating and taking L’s.

  116. 116 A_T_G said at 8:08 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    But if we were losing with overly complex schemes it would prove that Foles was a good QB and Kelly was smart enough to take his lumps.

  117. 117 A_T_G said at 8:04 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Now, that’s not fair. There are stats two comments back. 23 touchdowns to two turnovers clearly demonstrates that he is a liability.

  118. 118 Tom33 said at 6:21 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Thank God Nick isn’t as awful as Peyton Manning.

  119. 119 RobNE said at 5:58 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Geno Smith has 9 td’s and 20 interceptions. So he is running a more complex offensive (in your view) awfully. What can you tell from that? Maybe his coaches shouldn’t trust him to do that. I’m not sure I see your point?

  120. 120 shah8 said at 5:59 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    The Jets are obviously committed to letting Smith take his lumps while getting his feet wet. Why is it that Kelly isn’t asking Foles to make more complex reads and throws every once in awhile, even preserving what’s working now?

  121. 121 Anders said at 6:01 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    How is Foles not making complex reads when every pass has 3 reads and he has to read the leverage of either a safety or a LB?

  122. 122 shah8 said at 6:04 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I do not think Foles is making real reads. First of all, because NO young QB is really any good at making full reads. There are one or two concepts in each play, so as I can tell, and then it’s roll out and see if anyone can get open.

  123. 123 shah8 said at 6:05 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Or in other words, most of Foles’ reads are out of the package play concepts. Post-snap, he really has only one, maybe two real reads, then playground.

  124. 124 D-von said at 6:13 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Thanks for the laughs man keep it up. I think you would be great as a writer for the Onion

  125. 125 D3FB said at 7:01 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Packaged plays are the future of offensive football. Chris Brown has been saying this for years. It’s incredibly difficult to defeat 3 different plays in one.

  126. 126 Anders said at 6:12 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Then you have no clue. Go watch the Matt Bowen video Tommy linked too before the Lions game. It breaks down 2 common route combinations. There is 3 receivers but you often just read 1 or 2 players (it is no different for P Manning, Brady or Brees, it is how reading a defense works). If it is cover 3, you try to manipulate the FS with a guy and then Foles reads the safety to see where he is going with the football. Foles just adds in some eye manipulation and pump faking on top.

  127. 127 shah8 said at 6:14 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I did watch Bowen’s video. Remember that I complimented Tommy about linking to it? That video did make my sense of Foles’ suboptimal utilization of the general pass look more concrete.

  128. 128 Anders said at 6:16 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    How so? you mean the basic concepts that Joe Montana, Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees all have used to post top passing numbers and win super bowls?

  129. 129 Maggie said at 7:53 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Suboptimal? Now you’re just showing off!

  130. 130 RobNE said at 7:04 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Rex Ryan who people thought would get fired, decided to take lumps and lose rather than simplify and win?

  131. 131 Neil said at 7:29 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Sounds like it would be pretty fun if your team was led by a zombie. No matter how much he’s sacked, he just keeps rising.

  132. 132 Neil said at 7:30 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    They can’t kill him by going for the head because of the rules either.

  133. 133 Maggie said at 7:55 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Aside: How come zombies’ legs never fall off? Only arms and facial parts?

  134. 134 Andy124 said at 9:06 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Legs are weight bearing structures with a denser skeletal and muscular structure making them more durable. Additionally, gravity acts to keep the body seated firmly to the legs. The short strides of the traditional slow zombie tend to keep the body well balanced over the legs with very little torque working to deteriorate the hip and knee joints.

    Meanwhile, arms, jaw and ears are connected much more weakly and gravity serves as a constant force acting against their bodily integrity.

    I’m no expert on the matter, so perhaps someone else can chime in on the psychological propensity of the uninfected to target these weak points during assault or defense.

  135. 135 BlindChow said at 9:22 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    People attack the areas on the zombie that are easiest to reach. DeSean Jackson would totally aim for the legs.

  136. 136 A_T_G said at 5:41 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Big of you to come to Tommy’s defense. That is the kind of community we try to build ’round these parts.

    Also, thanks for narrating the fact that you read the post. Not five minutes ago I was asking myself, “Hmm, I wonder what Shah8 is up to right now.”

  137. 137 BlindChow said at 5:43 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    /me reads A_T_G’s response to shah8’s post

    /me upvotes A_T_G to show appreciation of his response

  138. 138 Neil said at 7:06 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Hey shah, can you share with us your gameplan for stopping weak arms? What are the coverages? What is the personnel required?

  139. 139 shah8 said at 7:19 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Good question:

    Take a look at the Sea NO game a couple of Sundays back. Sea played a lot of mixed man and zone (like….WAAAAAAY better than Schiano’s crude attempts). They, if I recall this right, left their front four to handle both pass rushing and rushing responsibilities, where the LBs mostly either rushed the passer or did coverage. So moving Sea into some prospective matchup with the Eagle, what you’d see happen is that the DL clogs the middle, the LBs are playing short zones (and expected to get off blocks if run happens, W9-style), and the defensive backs will switch between man and zone (which Sea obviously can excel at doing), and make it more difficult to do the sort of windowless pass plays the Eagles have been running as bread and water. Sea killed Brees because he didn’t have enough time, and he couldn’t immediately exploit straight man or zone concepts, because that defense did a marvelous job of disguising the deeper coverage roles, while flowing to the ball on runs and screens.

  140. 140 D-von said at 7:22 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    OMG! Stop the presses! QBs cannot operate if they don’t have time to throw. Shah8 = greatest defensive coordinator ever

  141. 141 shah8 said at 7:23 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Well, Brees is more of a liability than other excellent QBs if you can get to him. He can move in the pocket, but is very easy to catch and bring down.

  142. 142 BlindChow said at 9:27 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Not that easy. New Orleans is 5th in the league in sacks allowed. Like Peyton Manning, he’s very good at getting the ball out when the pressure breaks through his O-Line.

  143. 143 CrackSammich said at 11:00 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I really don’t understand why you guys gang up on shah8. He may have some ideas that go against the grain (which I’d like to continue to read), but he’s always more than wiling to provide you with an explanation for why (which you don’t) and treats you with respect while doing it (…).

  144. 144 Neil said at 11:13 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    It always takes two to make a conflict. Nobody’s innocent. I even feel myself getting caught up in it to some extent. If one side wants to short circuit escalation and keep inner calm and detachment, conflict isn’t going to happen. Shah8 could help his case by not saying things in a way that it’s obvious at this point are going to rustle some jimmies. And people could do better by not latching onto the bait.

  145. 145 Neil said at 7:23 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    So correct me if I’m wrong. The recipe is to simultaneously stop the run and effectively rush the passer with just the defensive line, while the back seven is free to focus on the pass, effectively mixing and disguising coverages to stop the QB from making presnap reads.

    Won’t this stop any offense?

  146. 146 shah8 said at 7:31 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    All defensive schemes, the real ones, of course, will stop any offense. The difference is that Sea has a ton of talent with which to accomplish what they want to do, and they are soundly schemed to be in the right place at the right time. The advantage of what Sea wants to do, given what I think of the Eagle’s passing offense, is to flow the decisionmaking calculus to honeypots. In other words, I think that they can effective disguise how a defense will flow in terms of what pass options are available, and I think that in general, this is one zone coverage that cannot be sliced up by the Eagle’s O on the ground.

    And yes:

    Talent is talent is talent. Sea can do what they do because they have tons of players able to do a good job of coverage, CB, LB, S, and they have a couple of top coverage dudes, in terms of sophisticated defense (rather than man on island like Revis or D Sanders).

  147. 147 Neil said at 7:33 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    OK, so again please feel free to qualify this. The real secret to defeating the QB with a weak arm is to not only have Seattle’s personnel but excellent coaching as well. Glad we got that sorted out?

  148. 148 shah8 said at 7:39 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Hmmm. Well, rather, take a look at how the Patriots beat Denver. They let Manning check to run every single time. Managed to bully the WR off of short routes, and took their chances with Manning being able to complete downfield passes on a windy night. Manning didn’t have the best downfield passing night ever, and so…

    But speaking frankly, beating a team with a weak armed QB is generally pretty trivial if you have a disciplined and capable defense with reasonably talented players. It’s a bit different with superstars in their decrepitude like Elway, Chiefs-Montana, or Manning now, but no team will ever win with a weak-armed QB without an intimidating defense á la Brad Johnson on the Bucs. Not the likes of Chad Pennington. Not the likes of Shaun Hill. Not the likes of Kyle Orton.

  149. 149 Neil said at 7:54 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    That doesn’t sound like a reliable strategy if you need wind. And just looking at the box score, they let Knowshon Moreno run for six yards a carry, and the Broncos put up 31 with no ST TDs despite having -1 TO margin and Manning throwing for 4 YPA. Can you really say that the defensive gameplan worked, or did Tom Brady just will his team to victory?

    Honestly, dude, it sounds like the formula for beating a QB with a weak arm is exactly the same as the one for beating any other variety of QB. Rush him effectively and don’t let him get comfortable reading what the coverage is. Stop his running game while you’re at it too. No team that can’t play defense wins a championship, period. I think what doomed Brad Johnson, Shaun Hill and Kyle Orton to mediocrity wasn’t their arms; though they had limitations in that regard for sure. It certainly isn’t what doomed Chad Pennington, who couldn’t stay on the field long enough for anyone to tell what he was.

  150. 150 shah8 said at 7:57 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    By that standard, no strategy is reliable. Individual circumstances do tend to play large roles in each game. Hence, any given Sunday.

  151. 151 Maggie said at 8:00 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Going around in circles.

  152. 152 Neil said at 9:13 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Am I misrepresenting your standard? If you need Seattle’s personnel and coaching to reliably shut down a QB who can’t make circus throws (because, let’s be real, putting so many resources into stopping a QB that you give up 6 YPC to neither a dominant back nor line and still manage to give up more than 30 points while winning the TO battle isn’t shutting down an offense)…is it really such a liability to not be able to make those throws? I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it’s my distinct impression that you believe any sort of suboptimal arm is a guarantee of longterm nonsuccess. You know, like such a QB can be stopped without Seattle’s personnel and coaching reliably.

  153. 153 RobNE said at 8:05 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    If so trivial why do we keep winning? Why would Rex Ryan lose on purpose rather than simplify and win.

  154. 154 shah8 said at 7:56 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Should be said, though. Sea can be run on, especially in the interior.

  155. 155 Maggie said at 7:57 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Strange that the San Francisco offense managed to WIN.

  156. 156 Joe Minx said at 5:37 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “That 4th quarter was more fun than wrestling Megan Fox in a giant vat of chocolate pudding.”

    Ah, but what if you were wrestling MF in a giant vat of chocolate pudding while having PBR shower down & Funyuns tossed at you? Or would that just present too much of a dilemma?

  157. 157 Phil George said at 6:14 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    “If you embrace excuses, you embrace failure.” – what a great line!

  158. 158 phillychuck said at 10:54 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I googled it, and I think the line is original to Tommy.

    Get a trademark!

  159. 159 Insomniac said at 8:40 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I don’t get why people are disagreeing with Tommy on Foles and the 4th quater shootout part. Foles is solid right now but we want him to be elite. You’re not considered an elite QB in this league (look up Romo, Tony) if you can’t bring your team back and seal the deal.

  160. 160 BlindChow said at 9:39 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    You will never be declared “elite” after a single season. It takes years to earn that title. A single instance of Foles leading a 4th quarter comeback against a good team won’t determine anything for certain, any more than NOT being able to bring them back would.

    It would simply be an indicator of his performance in that particular game on that particular night. It would be a mistake, I would think, to make a determination as to the future of the franchise based on a single game (as I assume would be the point of desiring to see such a scenario before the end of the season).

    As for Tony Romo, he’s 6th on the list of active quarterbacks for 4th quarter comebacks. Aaron Rodgers is 36th, behind such luminaries as Rex Grossman, Tim Tebow, and Vince Young.

  161. 161 Insomniac said at 10:47 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I’m pretty sure people are missing the big picture here. The point is that people want to see everything (almost everything) of what Foles can do. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s why I don’t get how people can disagree with what Tommy said.

    I brought up Romo because he’s a media punching bag and he deserves it. Besides a circus of an organization, Romo has had plenty of talent for most of his career to get those game winning drives/comebacks. Plus if you want to look at the teams Romo “came back” against…those are some pretty mediocre teams on that list.

  162. 162 BlindChow said at 11:07 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    I’m pretty sure no one is saying they DON’T want to see what Foles can do.

    I believe they are only suggesting that drawing a conclusion based on a specific situation in a single game (good or bad) isn’t the best way to see the “big picture” about any quarterback.

  163. 163 Vick or Nick said at 9:09 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    The NFC playoff teams/scenarios look pretty daunting.

    My prediction:

    1. Seahawks- West
    2. Saints- South
    3. Eagles- East
    4. Lions- North
    5. 49ers- WC
    6. Panthers- WC

    In any scenario:

    Eagles would get Carolina/49ers at home, then have to play Seahawks/Saints on the road, more than likely both to get to the big game.

    Focus is on the Vikings. But like Tommy has said, this team will EARN everything they get this season.

    Fasten your seat belts.

  164. 164 Tumtum said at 11:32 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    No matter which way I turn my head to look at that playoff prediction, the Eagles are always the worst or 2nd worst team on that list. That sucks.

    The good news is the NFC is really good now. If you, like me, always sort of took personal offense to the AFC is so much better than NFC comments, this rocks. The bad news is that the NFC is really good now.

    I don’t think there is much of an argument on which conference is the best at the moment. Luckily for us, true to historical form, the East is pretty week overall.

  165. 165 eagleyankfan said at 10:12 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    another great read!

  166. 166 Ark87 said at 11:48 PM on December 10th, 2013:

    Re: Good enough to win a Superbowl

    short answer, of course he is, take a gander at the list of SB winning QBs.

    Is he good enough to put THIS team on his back and carry it to a superbowl? Almost certainly not.

    More important for me is getting value out of your roster. How is Seattle soooo talented? Well, their QB is putting out an MVP type season for peanuts. That helps. Flacco was good enough, when his salary allowed him to be on the same team as multiple hall of Famers. Brady when the Patriots could afford a defense vs after? Peyton, for all his greatness Denver D before vs after? 1 SB?

    Elite QBs are awesome, but they are exponentially more expensive, they must be worth it.

    My point: next year, draft well, then use our cap space wisely (just about all of it if there are enough good moves to be made), we can build a team around Nick good enough to win a SB, as cheap as he is and as well as he’s playing, no doubt.