Eagles Wake-Up Call: Three Locker Room Leftovers
The Eagles dropped their second game in a row Thursday night, suffering a 26-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. There’s plenty to discuss the morning after. Here are three leftovers from the locker room and press conferences.
1. The talk among offensive players was more about individual mistakes than Chip Kelly’s concepts not working.
The Eagles turned the ball over five times, Michael Vick played poorly, and the offensive line had issues all night long. LeSean McCoy, who still managed to run for 158 yards, was asked about the excitement following the victory over the Redskins, compared to where the Eagles are now.
“I don’t want to forget about that game,” he said. “We’re still that dominant offense. We’re still that dominant team. …I think as an offense, we’ve just got to make it easy for ourselves. Execute the play that’s called, get them guys tired, get the tempo up and keep going.”
Added Kelly: “We have to come back and not put ourselves in these situations. You can’t turn the ball over like that in this league and expect to win. We can move the ball up and down the field. We’ve proven that. But if we’re going to put the ball on the ground as we did in the first half and throw interceptions, that’s not going to win football games for us.”
2. The Eagles went for two after Vick’s touchdown pass to Jason Avant in the first quarter. The “swinging gate” formation is something Kelly used at Oregon, but when Alex Henery lateraled the ball to Zach Ertz, he was stuffed.
“We thought we’ve worked on it for awhile,” Kelly said. “We thought when we scored our first touchdown, we were going to try to line up. If the number count was right, we were going to fire it over there and see if we could get it in.”
Asked if the number count was right, Kelly said: “Yeah, we thought it was. The guy came from the inside and tackled us.”
It’s worth noting that the two-point conversion is not a pre-determined call. If they don’t get a look they like, they can shift back and kick the extra point.
3. For much of the game, the defense played pretty well. But early in the fourth quarter, when it looked like the Eagles might have a shot to steal a victory, Billy Davis’ unit came up short. The Chiefs had just botched their kickoff return and had starting field position at their own 5-yard line. Earl Wolff brought Jamaal Charles down after a 3-yard reception. And Brandon Graham then sacked Alex Smith for a 3-yard loss.
But that’s when Smith reached back and made his most impressive throw of the night, fitting the ball into a tight window between Bradley Fletcher and Nate Allen. Donnie Avery came up with the 15-yard reception, and the Chiefs were able to kill 8:15 off the clock before adding three more points to the scoreboard.
“It’s tough because we had them early,” said DeMeco Ryans. “We had ’em in third-and-long. They make a play on us and I think that kind of took the energy out of us defensively. But we still gotta stand up and hold. But we had ’em right there. Credit to them. They made a play.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Post-game observations from the Eagles’ loss.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Reuben Frank of CSNPhilly.com offers his thoughts on Vick:
Big-time regression from Michael Vick Thursday night. Yeah, the Chiefs are by far the best defense he’s faced this year, but the mistakes he made were awfully discouraging. You’d like to think he was beyond the poor decisions that led to the two interceptions he threw (two more were negated by penalties, another was dropped) and the five sacks he took. But it wasn’t just the mistakes. Vick was really inaccurate, too, misfiring on some pretty routine throws. He finished 13 for 30 for 41 percent — his second-lowest completion percentage as an Eagle. Without an efficient and productive Vick, the Eagles really have no chance.
Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com chimes in on Kelly:
With so much attention on the return of Andy Reid, Kelly’s predecessor, the first-year coach could have made a bold statement about the Eagles’ new world order. Instead, Kelly has lost his first two home games and seen his offense solved by an NFL defensive coordinator. Four days after admitting he didn’t manage the clock properly in the final minutes of a 33-30 loss to San Diego, Kelly has even more profound questions about the long-term effectiveness of his scheme.
We’ll hear from Kelly at 1 and have plenty more.