All-22: The Challenges Against Seattle


Go around the Eagles locker room and ask players what makes Earl Thomas so good, and you’ll get a variety of answers.

“He’s a freak,” said Jordan Matthews. “You can tell he has a desire to be the greatest in the game. No different than my lockermate, 27 [Malcolm Jenkins]. I feel like both of those guys have that same mentality. The dude is full speed every single play the entire game. You’ve gotta be able to match that intensity and go out there and play your hardest if you’re gonna compete against him.”

“His speed,” answered Mark Sanchez. “He’s just got a nose for the football. He diagnoses plays fast. One of the most intense players. The film doesn’t have any sound, but that guy almost puts a soundtrack to the film. You see him just completely sell out – against the run, against the pass, breaking plays up.” Read more »

The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Seahawks

Photo Credit: Derik Hamilton - USA Today

Photo Credit: Derik Hamilton – USA Today

Here’s a look at how the Eagles match up with the Seahawks.


LeSean McCoy has 289 yards in his past two games, while averaging 6.3 YPC. And the Eagles will start the same five offensive linemen for the third week in a row.

But this week presents a far bigger challenge than the Tennessee and Dallas games. The Seahawks’ defense ranks fifth against the run, according to Football Outsiders. They’ll be without defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who is out for the year, but this is still a formidable group. Read more »

Wake-Up Call: What the Cowboys Win Means for the Eagles

Dennis Wierzbicki / USA Today

Dennis Wierzbicki / USA Today

The Cowboys took care of business against a free-falling Bears squad Thursday night, leaving Soldier Field with a 41-28 victory.

Dallas led 35-7 going into the fourth quarter, but Chicago rallied. The Bears had a chance to make it a one-possession game with just under two minutes left, but Jay Cutler was intercepted in the end zone by Orlando Scandrick.

Dallas did whatever it wanted on offense. A week after the Eagles kept him in check, DeMarco Murray went off for 179 rushing yards and a touchdown on 32 carries. He also caught nine balls for 49 yards.

Tony Romo told NFL Network afterwards that he made “poor decisions” in preparing for the game against the Eagles, noting that he did not take a shot for his back for the first time all season.

Read more »

Why Seattle’s Not Concerned With Eagles Tempo


Chris Maragos was asked this week whether Eagles coaches have approached him at all to discuss the Seahawks’ defensive scheme.

“Not really. Just because it’s not like it’s complicated,” said Maragos, a safety/special teamer who spent the previous three seasons in Seattle. “You guys can watch the film and see what they do. It’s Cover 3, it’s Cover 1, single-high safeties, different things like that, so it’s not like they’re doing all this exotic stuff. I don’t think they need my help.”

His response shed light on one of the more fascinating story lines heading into Sunday: How will the Seahawks’ defense deal with the Eagles’ tempo? Read more »

Three Eagles Numbers That Matter

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

From the defensive performance to the most likely playoff scenarios, here are three Eagles numbers that matter.

8 – That’s where the Eagles’ defense ranks in terms of DVOA, per Football Outsiders. It’s time we start looking at stats that actually mean something when analyzing Billy Davis’ unit.

If you look at traditional stats like yards per game, the Eagles rank 24th (366.3). That number is incredibly misleading, when you consider the defense has faced the sixth-most snaps of any team in the NFL. The Eagles also have a +90 point differential, second in the NFC behind only the Packers. They’ve held a lot of big leads on opponents in the fourth quarters of games and have given up some yards at the end. But that does not speak to the overall performance of the defense. Read more »

All-22: Option Football With Sanchez


As LeSean McCoy made his way from the locker room to his post-game press conference at AT&T Stadium last week, a defensive assistant congratulated him on his 159-yard effort against the Dallas Cowboys.

“Them boys up front,” McCoy shouted back. “They were blowing [stuff] up.”

McCoy and others noted that the offensive performance reminded them of 2013. Last season, the Eagles relied on a dominant run game, play-action and a downfield passing attack for the most successful offensive season in franchise history. But those second two things don’t work unless the first one gets on track. And that was the story offensively from the Eagles’ 33-10 win.

The offensive line opened up holes, McCoy made guys miss, Mark Sanchez took care of the ball, and the Eagles had themselves a happy Thanksgiving. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The College Edge on Defense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

When he was the linebackers coach with the Cleveland Browns back in 2012, Billy Davis and his colleagues had to come up with a game plan for then-rookie Robert Griffin III.

At the time, Washington was using the pistol and the read-option, college concepts that were making their way to the NFL.

“We had to spend a lot of time watching Washington and figuring out how we were going to adapt Coach [Dick] Jauron’s defense to stop that,” Davis said a few months after he was hired. “Well, the guys that are in our defensive staff room right now, they’ve solved that problem a hundred times.”

Davis has seven coaches on his staff; six of them came to the NFL from college. And that was no accident. Read more »

Graham Finding Success, Blocking Out Noise

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Brandon Graham has tried to block out the noise.

During his five-year career, he’s pretty much heard it all. That he’s a bust. That the Eagles would be better off with someone else. That they should have never taken him with the 13th overall pick in the 2010 draft.

“People were… saying little stuff,” Graham said. “They used to be like, ‘Jason Pierre-Paul is better than you.’ Now they saying he ain’t. Now they’re like, ‘Oh man, we should have got Earl Thomas.’ Hopefully I can change all that.”

Thomas and Graham will be on the same field Sunday when the Eagles host the Seahawks. The names will forever be linked around these parts. When the Birds traded up in 2010, analyst Mike Mayock predicted on TV that they were going to grab the safety out of Texas. He was wrong. Since then, Thomas has developed into a guy most agree is the best safety in the NFL. Read more »

Will Eagles Stay Away From Sherman?

Kirby Lee / USA Today

Kirby Lee / USA Today

Chip Kelly has confidence in the crew he’s assembled on the offensive side of the ball.

But he’s also not a stupid man.

So when the Eagles’ head coach was asked about the possibility of staying away from cornerback Richard Sherman on Sunday, he offered an appropriate response.

“We always concern ourselves with the personnel on the opposite side,” Kelly said. “You have to know exactly what they’re in, how things are working, the matchups you can exploit or try to attack. I think that’s part of any coach’s game plan.

“I don’t think you just say, ‘Hey, we don’t care who’s over there.’ You really sit down and study the tape and situations. Who do they have in, what they’re doing, do they travel? Do they cover guys on the other side when the receivers switch sides? Do they match up with people? There’s a lot more to it than just saying, ‘We’re not going to throw to the right.’ Because he may not be on the right. He may be on the left.” Read more »

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