Big Challenge

Posted: November 29th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 83 Comments »

Calling Russell Wilson a good QB would be accurate, but that would also be like calling Jimi Hendrix a good guitar player. It wouldn’t come close to telling the story of what either of them can do. Wilson is an artist when he’s outside the pocket. He can create some mind-blowing plays. Just when you think you’ve got him for a sack, he unleashes a rainbow way down the field that is caught for a huge gain and critical first down.

As you can see, the Seahawks are among the league leaders in big plays.

On the flip side…

The Eagles are great at stopping big plays.

The pass defense is especially good down the field.

Those are throws that travel 20 or more yards in the air.

The Eagles let their CBs play off a lot, so they can bail and run with WRs who try to get behind them. The Eagles prefer to keep things in front of them. It also helps that Rodney McLeod is a pretty good centerfielder. He tends to play 15 to 20 yards deep so he can patrol the whole field.

Obviously the pass rush is also a big part of this. QBs need time to get the ball out. Teams tend to get the ball out quicker against the Eagles than any other defense in the league. They see what Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham do when QBs hold the ball. Bad things happen.

All of this makes Sunday a really interesting showdown. Seattle has a terrible O-line so Wilson understands he has to run around and create something from nothing multiple times per game. As Jim Schwartz pointed out, the thing that makes Wilson unique among scramblers is that he will go backward. He’s not afraid to give ground. Wilson has such a strong arm that he can be 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage and still make a good throw into traffic for a first down.

The Eagles haven’t been challenged vertically very much recently. Jalen Mills broke up an underthrown deep ball on Sunday. Wilson will attack down the field, from the pocket and on the move.

The DL has to be disciplined as they rush. DBs must “plaster” receivers until the whistle blows. That’s a term coaches use to help their DBs understand they must stay right on top of receivers all over the field and for as long as the play goes. Plays normally last 3 to 4 seconds. Wilson can double that with his scrambling. Players have a tendency to let up at a certain point. You just can’t do that against Seattle.

Wilson scares the heck out of me because of his talent and his weapons, but I’m also looking forward to seeing the defense challenged. We know that will happen in January so the guys need to face an offense like this now.


Speaking of January…

I saw this yesterday and wasn’t sure how to react. I take it for a given the Eagles will be in the playoffs. Don’t tempt fate, right? But this team is different. They aren’t 10-1 with fluke wins or luck or some recycled vet at QB who we’re waiting to see fall apart. This team is legit.

It feels funny to see the playoff scenarios the networks put up during games and to not look to the far right side. So often in recent years the Eagles were right around .500 and struggling to get a spot. You had to work out all the scenarios in your head about who to cheer against.

This year…they’re on the far let and at the top. The other 15 NFC teams can worry about scenarios.

Life is good.


83 Comments on “Big Challenge”

  1. 1 Bert's Bells said at 8:40 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    It’s like all of us (and the coaches) who said the defense just had to limit the X-plays were on to something.

  2. 2 SteveH said at 9:12 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    Wilson always gives the Seahawks a puncher’s chance. If we can capitalize on a few turnovers that will make all the difference.

    With the west coast trip and the Seahawks defense being the best unit we’ve played against in a while, this is a game that could definitely be lost.

  3. 3 Masked Man said at 9:32 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    I say the Eagles win it 27-17. Only 10 points. Real nail biter.

  4. 4 Masked Man said at 9:38 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    Life is good for the Eagles and their fans.

    I think the Eagles are up to the challenge here. Thankfully there’s no Legion of Boom patrolling the second level defense this week. No Richard Sherman, no Kam Chancellor, only a recuperating Earl Thomas (if I have it right).

    Based on last week, I think the offense and defense will be disciplined. Waiting for a cool game plan from Doug on how to exploit Byron Maxwell and the patchwork of DB’s taking the field.

    Waiting for a masterful plan from Schwartz too on containing RW. Even if you can’t stop him, you can slow him down enough. Mychal Kendricks and Derek Barnett may have the speed and energy to chase him around all day.

    I’m saying 27-17 Eagles, and I’m saying it early in the week! Buckle your seat belts for a little 4th quarter excitement. Go Eagles!

  5. 5 Philadelphian said at 10:14 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    Actually, the Eagles would had played the Seahawks closer last year, but it was the game Agholor was lined up incorrectly resulting in a TD pass to Ertz being called back.

    What I think will help the Eagles is Wentz’s experience with the Seattle loud fans. I tell you what MM, I was at that game last year and never saw a crowd so loud and that includes going to hundreds of Eagles home games. I feel that Wentz will capitialize on his experience, especially as you said he won’t have the legend of boom to worry about.

    Also, I have a feeling that Agholor is going to take advantage of the chance to redeem himself from last year’s contest, that not only included the penalty, but dropping a pass when he was wide opened with the entire open field in front of him.

    Wilson does scare me, especially if the game is close in the 4th quarter. If it comes down to the last team having the ball, maybe this will be Wentz’s first opportunity to shine in a close game with a good team. I believe Wentz can handle the situation, but he needs to experience it.

  6. 6 Masked Man said at 1:57 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Hey Philly! I do expect the game to be closer this week. Nothing but respect for the Seahawks at home. But the Eagles should still have an edge. Too many injury issues have set the team back, especially their defense.

  7. 7 Eagles4life said at 9:42 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    No worries guys! We will obliterate them in their house! 44-6 with RW throwing for a TD in garbage time and failing miserably to convert a 2-pt after.
    We only have to stop RW as Seahawks have no other weapons and I fully trust our D to do it.

  8. 8 Always Hopeful said at 9:57 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    I remember the 2012 draft and wanting the Eagles to draft Wilson. I thought he would be a good understudy to Mike Vick. He’s exceeded what I thought he could be. He’s tough mentally and physically. He always gives them a chance with the Tarketon like scrambles and throws.

    I’m so excited for this game. Seahawks handled us last year. What a difference a year makes! I know the Seahawks aren’t at full strength but they have enough to make a game of it.

    Sunday night can’t get here fast enough!

  9. 9 wee2424 said at 6:57 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Eagles were reportedly aiming for him as well in that draft.

  10. 10 sonofdman said at 9:57 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    Byron Maxwell loves to point at the safety to pass the blame when he gets beat deep. I hope we get to see Maxwell pointing at Earl Thomas to try to blame Thomas when an Eagles receiver burns Maxwell deep for a TD.

  11. 11 Always Hopeful said at 10:03 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    There was an article in the preseason about Maxwell wanting to prove the Eagles wrong for trading him. He’s back in the system he was most successful in (without Sherman and Chancellor).

    Carson will have some opportunities against Maxwell for sure.

  12. 12 xeynon said at 10:16 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    Problem: he was successful in that system because of the guys around him. He was the fourth wheel on a tricycle as a member of the “Legion of Boom” and Sherman and Chancellor are now out with injuries while Thomas is less effective than normal because of them.

  13. 13 FairOaks said at 10:35 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    I thought Maxwell was pretty good for us, honestly. Not great, nowhere near elite, but good. He was the best CB while he was here, and better than anyone we had since Asante probably, and better than anyone we had last year.

    The problem was his contract was elite-level, and we weren’t getting that, and was going to be utterly crippling against the cap. In Miami, it sounds like he was bad for a couple games, then good the rest of last year, then back to bad this year — so he was capable of getting very disinterested and not playing well, which is also someone you don’t give elite money to.

    I’m sure he will be motivated this game, and at least be good. With Earl Thomas still there. They won’t be pushovers. But the Bears defense was supposed to be pretty good too, and we rolled there.

  14. 14 Gary Barnes said at 3:31 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Exactly, Maxwell was better here than conventional (group think) wisdom allows folks to realize. Some crow about how horrible he was and then wonder how Roseman was able to use his value to help us move up in the draft – duhhh

  15. 15 Masked Man said at 10:57 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Mack Hollins!

  16. 16 Philadelphian said at 10:18 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    Seattle was the scene of Agholor’s biggest screwups last year. I have a hunch that Pederson plans on developing plays for Agholor in order to take advantage of the much improved Agholor in the stadium he had his worst game.

  17. 17 mtn_green said at 11:18 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    Agree. I like that Doug thinks of those things.

  18. 18 or____ said at 11:36 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    I have to disagree. I think that if Agholor is involved, it has nothing to do at all with last year, and everything to do with what is the best way to attack in this game, in specific situations.

  19. 19 DJH said at 12:27 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Actually there is evidence that Doug/the team does proceeed in this fashion. It was said after the bears game that they did make a special effort to get Alshon heavily involved, more so than in other weeks bc it was the Bears. Also, Ertz stayed in and was thrown to until he got 100 yards, and then was promptly taken out. Both surprised me.

    So, I don’t know that Doug will purposely get Ags involved due to his poor game last year, but it’s not out of the question.

  20. 20 Dave said at 12:59 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    IMO apples to oranges. Alshon and Ertz are reliable, Ags is not.

  21. 21 or____ said at 1:21 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I think apples to oranges (and bananas?) too – but for other reasons. Former team v. specific record v. last year’s performance against this specific opponent… that’s 3 different things.

  22. 22 Mac said at 2:58 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    What a day to be an Eagles fan.

    I can come to a blog and read different people’s ideas for which player is going to smoke the Seahawks, and the reasons behind their theory.

  23. 23 Howie Littlefinger said at 3:59 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I’m not the biggest fan of Ags but he made that a touchdown catch last week. I hope he does get a few “Redemption moments”. I felt like he cost us big time last year.

  24. 24 SteveH said at 11:45 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Agholor could have been a hero in that game. Somehow he turned Richard Sherman inside out and came wide open over the middle for a huge gain… And dropped the ball. Just crazy that you can get the best corner in the league turned around in coverage, then drop the ball.

    He had the talent all along it was just the mental part that was fucking with him. You can’t beat Sherman that badly and not be a good route runner.

  25. 25 Philadelphian said at 12:29 AM on November 30th, 2017:

    I believe it had a lot to do with needing a veteran coach to help him through the year and Greg Lewis wasn’t that guy.

  26. 26 xeynon said at 10:20 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    Wilson is a top 5 QB IMO and is what Cowboys homers think Dak is – smart, tough, very good at using his mobility to open up throwing opportunities outside the pocket or when the play breaks down, and excellent at throwing the deep ball. He will be the biggest threat the Eagles’ D has faced in weeks and is key to the Seahawks’ chances of ending our winning streak.

    Fortunately, he is playing behind a crap offensive line and has no running game to speak of. We should be able to control the LOS with our front four, leaving Schwartz free to employ a spy against him if necessary, as well as extra defenders free deep to help defend Baldwin/Graham/Richardson.

  27. 27 Dave said at 1:03 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I fear this is the game that Mills lack of speed is exposed.

  28. 28 kajomo said at 2:32 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Get over the speed thing. Josh Norman is slow. Sherman is slow. Mills is faster than both of those guys. If he gets beat it will be due to technique, not speed.

    Few players are perfect. Mills is a quality CB, but some people harp on his combine time, which by the way was drastically improved at his pro day.

  29. 29 Dave said at 6:02 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    You’re comparing Mills to All-Pros Norman and Sherman? That’s quite a stretch.

  30. 30 kajomo said at 11:15 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    It’s to point out that speed isn’t all that important. Mills has the requisite speed to be a starting corner. His ceiling will be determined by his technique. He’s closer to a pro bowler than a liability imo

  31. 31 SteveH said at 11:41 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Speed I think becomes a problem when trying to recover when beaten. I think Darby is a perfect example of this, if someone gets a step on him, he can turn on the afterburners and catch back up.

    Mills can compensate with discipline and smarts, but if he ever does let a guy get behind him there’s no way he’s going to catch back up.

    It’s a flaw he has demonstrated he can overcome, but I think that, combined with his pedestrian size (Richard Sherman isn’t a burner but he’s tall and has a huge wingspan) is going to keep him from ever being a truly elite corner. And that’s ok, just the fact that he’s a very good corner is shocking enough.

  32. 32 kajomo said at 12:06 AM on November 30th, 2017:

    Completely agree. I don’t know why some people are fixated on his speed. He’s a quality corner. End of discussion

  33. 33 Dave said at 8:01 AM on November 30th, 2017:

    I couldn’t disagree more. Rewatch the Giants game. He was one of the main reasons it came down to a 61 yard FG to win the game. Targeted 21 times and gave up 15 receptions for 119 yards, 2 TDs, and one PI.

    BTW, Sherman and Norman ran much faster at the combine than Mills.

    I get the love though. The guy seems like a fantastic person and great teammate.

  34. 34 kajomo said at 9:24 AM on November 30th, 2017:

    A few points
    1) Mills is playing considerably better now than he as in week 3. He has grown into his role as a starter

    2) that was against the best WR in the league

    3) Mills Tan much faster at his pro day. It is not uncommon for guys to underperform at the combine for various reasons

    4) I’m not disputing that speed helps. Most top level CBs have good-great speed. My point is that Mills has the requisite speed to be a good corner and over the course of this season has proven that he is a good corner.

    5) scheme is a huge factor here. We don’t ask our guys to name atbteh line and mirror a guy everywhere he goes. Mills would struggle in too many of those situations. We play a ton of off coverage. It helps Mills and Rasul who hasn’t been burned either despite being on the slower side

  35. 35 Dave said at 9:55 AM on November 30th, 2017:

    1.) Is he playing better? The past 4 games he has played against the following QBs/team record:

    CJ Beathard/49ers/0-8
    Brock Osweiler/3-5
    Dak Prescott (who has been horrible)/5-5
    Mitch Trubisky/3-8

    2.) 9 of those 15 catches were from Beckham. He still gave up another 6 catches to JAGS.

    3.) That’s speculation. His performance on the field says otherwise.

    4.) See my point below.

    5.) The scheme is everything right now. He is playing off coverage to prevent getting beat deep. You know who else played off coverage…Assante. The difference is that Assante was fast and made interceptions and pass breakups while Miss is merely tackling the receiver and preventing YAC.

    Again, I’m not hating on Mills, I’m just cautious that when we play teams with a good QB, Mills will be exploited if the pass rush does not get to the QB in time.

  36. 36 Insomniac said at 4:00 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Don’t think so unless it’s a massive scramble drill from Wilson. He can keep up with Baldwin and Darby will probably be on Richardson.

  37. 37 Dave said at 6:04 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I’m not sure you’ve watched any Seattle games this year. Their offensive line is horrendous and Wilson scrambles all game long.

  38. 38 Insomniac said at 7:43 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    It’s been that way for him since like his entire career. One or two hero plays are unlikely to have a major impact this game or so I hope.

  39. 39 Dave said at 8:22 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Yeah, I hope those plays are not TDs

    I just realized Wilson is 29 today.

  40. 40 Guy Media said at 6:04 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    “Wilson is a top 5 QB IMO and is what Cowboys homers think Dak is – smart, tough, very good at using his mobility to open up throwing opportunities outside the pocket or when the play breaks down, and excellent at throwing the deep ball. ”

    Extremely well stated and 100% correct. I’ll be rooting for him to get waffled on Sunday, but Wilson is one of my favorite guys in the league.

  41. 41 RobNE said at 10:45 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    I read Chip Kelly has signed $100 million of contracts semi-recently, does he get all that or are there offsets like for most NFL contracts? Like did the Eagles pay him while he worked for the 49ers?

    these are crazy, crazy amounts for what can be considered unsuccessful tenures.

  42. 42 Gary Barnes said at 3:36 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    He was 20-12 here and then went 6-9 in his 3rd year.

    His only full failure was in SF, but that was such a clusterfuck of an organization with such poor talent I doubt anyone outside of Lombardi could have succeeded there.

    He did a lot of bad here, but posting a 26-21 record is far from the worst a HC has been fired for in the NFL.

  43. 43 eagleyankfan said at 3:46 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    one could argue – it wasn’t the record that was an issue – it was handling of the players. He did more damage with players than the record indicates…

  44. 44 Insomniac said at 3:56 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    We didn’t deserve to win some of those games.

  45. 45 P_P_K said at 5:09 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    He totally failed to understand he was dealing with professional, adult athletes. A college coach has a vastly different relationship with his players than does an NFL coach.

  46. 46 Insomniac said at 3:58 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Oddly enough, the HC that everyone hated might have a better record after a rebuild.

  47. 47 Masked Man said at 10:53 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Doug is now 17-10. Much better at this point.

    After 2 years Chip was 20-12. Doug will be about 21-11 or better.

  48. 48 P_P_K said at 11:03 AM on November 29th, 2017:

    Seattle should be saying the same thing about Carson: BIg Challenge.

  49. 49 Nailed It! said at 12:17 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I will be in Century Link for the game. So pumped to get some revenge on the Hawks!

  50. 50 Guy Media said at 5:55 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    1) Good for you. That should be an awesome environment for a game.
    2) Triple revenge – they’re on a 3 game losing streak to Seattle and need vengeance!

  51. 51 Masked Man said at 1:58 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Man… Matt Lauer got fired this morning from the Today Show on NBC.

  52. 52 daveH said at 2:13 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    That’s big news actually .. he going to another network? He going to Start a new network? Or did he also kneel for the national anthem ??

  53. 53 Masked Man said at 2:17 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Allegations of nasty sexual matters at 2014 Olympics Russia…

  54. 54 Julescat said at 7:20 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    among other things

  55. 55 or____ said at 8:24 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    To say the least

  56. 56 SteveH said at 11:38 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    It’s going to keep going. If you’re a celebrity with sexual harassment or assault in your past it’s only a matter of time. There will probably be some surprising names that come up, others maybe less surprising.

  57. 57 Masked Man said at 11:49 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I agree.

  58. 58 Gary Barnes said at 3:24 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Eagles DE and LB must ve very disciplined, stay in their lanes and set the edge strong. The coverage needs to be tight and for longer periods since the rush will need to be more patient than usual.

  59. 59 mtn_green said at 3:25 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I think it was after Seattle that agholor had that really awkward moment with reporters where it looked like his confidence was shot.

    With Seahawks injuries slot receiver should be a good way to attack defense.

  60. 60 Always Hopeful said at 6:11 AM on November 30th, 2017:

    I forgot about that! I also forgot about the awful penalty he had on Ertz’s other TD.

    Richard Sherman had some praise for Nelson, csuse he was getting. Just couldn’t catch the ball.

    It’s really good to see him rebound so well this year.

  61. 61 unhinged said at 4:36 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I expect the Eagles to take a sizable lead into the 4th. I have no expectations about how that will end. Wilson has saved more games late than any QB in recent memory. The visitors are the better team, but they have to play a whole game.

  62. 62 GermanEagle said at 5:26 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Outside contain.

    Thank me later

  63. 63 Bert's Bells said at 5:33 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Wilson can pick up chunks between the tackles too.

    Defending him means keeping lane discipline throughout the play.

    When he gets out of the pocket, keep in the passing lanes and take a good angle. Easier said than done.

  64. 64 or____ said at 7:28 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Wilson Pick It?

  65. 65 Bert's Bells said at 7:43 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Interest fact (to me) Wilson Pickett killed a guy-vehicular homicide -who was the union boss in my industry.

  66. 66 or____ said at 8:25 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Wow, didn’t know. And which industry is that?

  67. 67 Bert's Bells said at 9:21 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I’m a professional commenter.

  68. 68 A_T_G said at 11:45 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Well then we need to organize. I’m doing this for peanuts.

  69. 69 sonofdman said at 12:30 AM on November 30th, 2017:

    So that’s who taking all the peanuts.

  70. 70 Guy Media said at 9:28 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    The Wilson Pickett wikipedia page says he killed an animator.

  71. 71 or____ said at 9:56 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Well i guess animation is commentary after all…

  72. 72 P_P_K said at 10:04 PM on November 29th, 2017:


  73. 73 SteveH said at 11:37 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Get this man a coaching job.

  74. 74 Guy Media said at 5:54 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    Eli is still benched, right?

  75. 75 Dragon_Eagle said at 9:50 PM on November 29th, 2017:

  76. 76 meteorologist said at 7:11 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    It’s an old article but it looks like blowout wins against inferior opponents are more indicative of your team being good than close wins over good teams !

  77. 77 DJH said at 9:35 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I don’t think this has been talked about enough, but it is absolutely ludicrous that Eagles’ leads have been so large this year that in 3 games, three!, Wentz has been pulled from the game. That’s absolutely nuts when you think about it. This is the freaking NFL, not college, haha.

  78. 78 iceberg584 said at 10:48 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    And he probably could have been pulled from the Dallas game too. That would have been four.

  79. 79 BlindChow said at 10:07 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    My doctor says blowout wins are also good for my heart health.

  80. 80 Masked Man said at 10:47 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I’m starting to like this steady diet of blowouts a lot. Good article too!

  81. 81 Dragon_Eagle said at 9:48 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    So, if Geno Smith suddenly lights it up, what happens to the Giants?

  82. 82 SteveH said at 11:48 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    I’d be more confident about this game if it was at home. I’m always leery about those west coast games. East coast teams are just never quite the same on those west coast trips.

  83. 83 A_T_G said at 11:52 PM on November 29th, 2017:

    It sounds more like we are headed to a field hospital than a football field: