All-22: Diagnosing Passing Game Issues

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Chip Kelly thinks the Eagles are close – on offense, that is.

He sees minor tweaks, not dramatic changes – a penalty here, a drop there, a couple missed blocking assignments. Kelly calls them SIWs, or self-inflicted wounds. And they are holding the offense back from being one of the most explosive units in the league, he says.


The numbers, to a large degree, back up Kelly's argument. The Eagles rank second in yards per game (458.8), and Football Outsiders has their offense ranked fifth (first in rushing, 15th in passing). The problem? The Eagles are 12th in scoring at 24.8 points per game.

The running game has been prolific. The Eagles are averaging 198.2 yards per game and 6.1 yards-per-carry. Both are tops in the NFL.

But the passing game has lacked consistency. Below is a look at what's happening when Michael Vick drops back, along with some thoughts on what's correctable and what's not.

***

The biggest question right now offensively is: Are guys getting open?

Against Denver, Vick dropped back to pass 36 times. He took off and ran seven times and was sacked on another three occasions. That means on 27.8 percent of his drop-backs, the ball never left his hand. On those occasions, generally one of three things happened:

1. Vick had nowhere to go with the football.
2. The offensive line had a breakdown in protection.
3. Vick failed to pull the trigger.

Let's start with the first one. Here, in the first quarter, the Broncos were playing man coverage with a single high safety.

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But they only rushed four, meaning they had seven defenders in coverage against five Eagles receivers. Here, you can see the second safety, Duke Ihenacho, was a help defender. He was stationed close to DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek, looking to read Vick and make a play on the ball.

Jackson created separation, but Ihenacho was close by. Celek, Riley Cooper and Zach Ertz were all covered. LeSean McCoy was accounted for out of the backfield.

"Guys gotta take the pressure off DeSean," Vick said. "We can’t rely on DeSean to make every play. We can’t rely on DeSean every game to catch a deep ball. This league is tough, and you’ve got smart defensive coordinators who game-plan for him. Other guys gotta step up and do their jobs and get open, and they will. I’m not worried about the man coverage and I’m not worried about the aspect of us not being able to be effective throughout the game versus the man coverage. That’s gonna happen. We’ve got ways to beat that."

As always, what's happening in coverage is connected to what's happening up front. And it didn't help that Todd Herremans had trouble in pass protection.

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Vick could have stepped up and waited to see if a receiver got open, but Kelly has no problem with him taking off in these situations. Here, Vick picked up 8 yards.

***

There has been a lot of talk about Cooper's role in this offense. He had two catches for 25 yards against Denver. For the most part, he has trouble getting open. That really shouldn't be much of a surprise. Cooper got significant playing time last year and wasn't very productive. The team brought in Arrelious Benn this offseason to essentially compete for his job.

Right now, opponents are putting their No. 2 corner on Cooper and calling it a day.

"They’re not doing anything special," Cooper said. "Single-high man, throwing in some two every now and then."

Having said all that, there were a few instances last week where Cooper was open, and Vick didn't find him. In the first quarter here, Cooper ran a dig route. He had man coverage, and the Broncos deployed one deep safety.

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You can see Cooper created some separation, and the cornerback slips. The safety was deep and not in position to break on the ball.

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Vick hung in the pocket (unofficially for 4.7 seconds). Protection was excellent. But he never saw Cooper and instead took off.

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There's obviously a bit of a guessing game here. We don't know what Vick's progressions were on the play, and he was still able to pick up a first down with his legs, but it sure looked like he missed an open Cooper.

To be clear, this wasn't happening consistently. I counted three times throughout the course of the game where it looked like Vick either ran or took a sack when it appeared he had Cooper open.

***

As for Jackson, he has just five catches for 96 yards in the last two games. At times, defenses are using a help defender (as shown in the first play) or a safety over the top. At other times, opposing cornerbacks are doing a good job on him. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, for example, played really well against Jackson last week.

"I honestly don't feel there's no one man that can really stop me in this league," Jackson said. "Teams are rolling safeties over and doing things like that so there's just things we have to work on in our inner circle and figure it out. But I'm confident that Chip will do a great job and Pat [Shurmur] will put me in great positions to still be out there and be successful."

One thing the Eagles are doing with Jackson is moving him around more. According to Pro Football Focus, he's in the slot 29.5 percent of the time this year, as opposed to 17.3 percent in 2012.

Like the unbalanced line, moving Jackson around adds another element that defenses have to account for when the Eagles are going up-tempo. A cornerback may look up, not see Jackson where he usually is on the outside and be forced to adjust.

For example, in the first quarter, Jackson lined up in the slot against Rodgers-Cromartie, who as you might recall, had trouble playing inside when he was with the Eagles. Jackson ran a shallow crosser about 5 yards downfield.

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Once again, Denver was in man coverage.

Going forward, Vick will have to balance taking shots and trusting his receivers with avoiding mistakes and costly turnovers. Guys are not always going to be wide open, but there are times when he has to pull the trigger, rely on his arm and give them chances to make plays.

That's what he did here. As you can see, Rodgers-Cromartie was all over Jackson. But Vick stepped up in the pocket and delivered a strike where only his receiver could catch it.

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Good concentration by Jackson as he made the grab, picked up yards after the catch and ended up with a 14-yard gain.

***

And finally, there are missed opportunities because of issues up front. Here, Jackson ran a dig and was wide open.

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The cornerback slipped, and this should have been an easy pitch and catch. Jackson didn't have this kind of space all day.

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But you might notice back at the line of scrimmage, Vick wasn't exactly in position to throw the ball. That's because of a mishap up front between Lane Johnson and Herremans.

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Defensive lineman Malik Jackson was one of four pass-rushers on the play.

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Things started out OK. Herremans had a hand on him, but was passing Jackson off to Johnson to account for the QB spy/delayed blitzer. The problem? Johnson thought he still had help from Herremans on the inside.

That, however, was not the case.

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Jason Kelce ended up picking the delayed blitzer. All of a sudden, the Eagles had two guys - Herremans and Johnson - blocking nobody. The Broncos were only rushing four, but got their defensive lineman unblocked with a clear path to the quarterback.

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Vick actually escaped the sack, eventually throwing incomplete to Jackson near the sideline.

***

The good news for the Eagles after watching the film is that there are plays to be made to Jackson. Really, the way teams are defending him should be a good thing.

"The past five years, that’s what I’ve been praying for - people to play me man," Jackson said. "In the past, everybody’s been playing zone and doing different things, two high safeties. So now that we have this offense that it is now and we’re getting more man coverage, that’s what I love.

"I don’t feel like teams are taking me out. I don’t feel like I’m being shut down or none of that. ...At times it does get frustrating going through games and not really having the production or not being able to bring to the table what I’m able to bring to the table, but I still have to keep working and do what I need to do. And any opportunity presents itself, I just have to be ready for it."

Jackson is averaging 18.7 yards per catch. Often, the difference between a sub-par game and a good came is a couple plays. Last week, he had a 19-yarder called back because of an Evan Mathis holding penalty. And there were a couple plays like the one shown above where protection broke down, and Vick couldn't unload to Jackson when he was open.

"It’s obviously up to me to get the ball to him and find him in moments when I need him most," Vick said. "So we’ll figure that out. We were just on the practice field talking about ways to get him the ball. But the one thing we don’t want to do, we don’t want to try to force it. We want to let it happen naturally. And it’ll happen."

So, what's fixable and what's not? It's unlikely that Cooper will suddenly start to get open more. And the Eagles are suffering from a lack of athleticism at the tight end and slot receiver spots. Jeremy Maclin's absence has really been glaring the past two weeks.

There's room for growth in the other two areas though. Vick was as accurate with the football as he's been all season during the first half of the Broncos game. If he can sustain that level of play and trust his receivers a little more against man coverage, there are plays to be made.

And many of the offensive line woes are fixable too. Guys are going to get beat one-on-one. But the miscue above between Johnson and Herremans should be correctable, especially as the rookie gains more experience.

Once again, it's all connected. And with a pair of 0-4 teams on the schedule in the next two weeks, now is the time to get everything to click.

"There's maybe one play where, yeah, he [Vick] should have let it rip," Kelly said. "But there's other plays where we have to do a better job of getting open and other plays where we have to do a better job of protecting him. It's a combination of the whole thing. There's not one answer where you can come back and just say, 'Hey, Mike, trust your receivers.' [He’ll say] 'But the three-technique is in my face.' You know what I mean? There's a lot of different things.

"I don't think we are far away offensively. I look at what we have done consistently in four games. I think we know as a group we can move the football, but sometimes the enemy that we play isn't the other team. It's ourselves."

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  • Adam

    “Going forward, Vick will have to balance taking shots and trusting his receivers with avoiding mistakes and costly turnovers.”

    Eh, I’d rather he just keep doing what he’s doing. Vick has never been good at anticipating or throwing into coverage. He knows it, and Chip knows it too. Just tuck it and run.

    • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

      Amen on that. I’m fine with Vick having a little Alex Smith in him. While I don’t think he’s as bad at anticipating throws or throwing into coverage as many say, I don’t want him testing the limits of his ability to do that either.

      We can’t afford turnovers. Our defense ain’t making a great stand. So better for him to tuck it and run then throw an interception

      • Brent E. Sulecki

        well tell him in the redzone to run his ass into the endzone so we get 7 instead of 3.

        • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

          I hear you. lol

          I don’t know what that’s about. They have 4 guys who can run the ball in all manner of diff ways. I don’t care if the defense knows they are gonna run it…make them defend it. Hell if they sell out on the run then it will likely open up the pass.

          But yeah…they just run the d@n ball in the RZ at this point. If we gonna end up with 3 anyway might as well make it interesting.

        • 1972

          Celek and crying ass casey dropped redzone passes that should have been td’s the te and wr positions are terrible on this team

          • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

            lol. While is point his coming from an “I hate Vick” space he is right…they need to run it more. None of the receivers are that useful in the red zone. Better to make use of all that running talent we’re laden with.

          • Brent E. Sulecki

            agreed…1st and goal at 7..3 straight rushes…brown shady or polk..I don’t care..hell go 4 straight

          • Always Hopeful

            I was hoping Kelly would do this more….must not have the numbers. Are people stacking the box against us inside the 10?

            It would make sense if they did. I’d dare our WRs/TEs to get open in the end zone too….

          • Brent E. Sulecki

            celeks hands are awful. and that casey one was a bad throw on mike. that being said yeah he needs to catch it. but he needs to be on the field too

    • Loke1988

      Or we could maybe, I don’t know. Maybe pt that 6’5″ guy on the sidelines in that can do those things? I know it sounds crazy but one, if your lucky 2 read(s) and taking off probably isn’t going to get you too far in the NFL. I don’t imagine a QB like that could muster more than say 2 career playoff wins. Oh wait!!

      • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

        He’s not taking off after 2 reads. Nice try though.

        And the 6’5 guy can’t throw more than 10 yards past the LOS. That ain’t helpful. And 2 playoff wins is more than the 6’5 guy has. So..

        • Loke1988

          Oh you luv u some a Vick dont you.

          • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

            lol. And you’ve got a major one for Foles. So iet’s call it even.

        • #7

          lol

        • Andy124

          And the 6’5 guy can’t throw more than 10 yards past the LOS.

          Quit trolling.

        • Pennguino

          Sorry, Vick locks onto his first read and never lets go until he has to scramble the majority of the time. There are times when he will go through a progression but its a small percentage. I have been going back over the coaches film that is provided from the NFL rewind package. You can’t see his eyes so you can’t be sure when there are two receivers within 5 yards of each other. But when he has a single receiver out wide right with trips left, and never comes back left with his head until 2.8 seconds then runs because pressure is getting to him, it’s kind of obvious.

      • Adam

        I was Foles advocate. Vick won the job, and he hasn’t played poorly enough to warrant getting benched yet. Trust me, I’ll be the first to let people know when I think he should be, but I don’t think Foles did enough in the preseason to say he’ll do any better out there.

        • Brent E. Sulecki

          vick says hes played well. 5 tds 2 ints.2 lost fumbles. 1080 passing and 228 rushing with 2 tds. vick is a stats guy. he sees himself on pace for career highs in passing yards and hes overjoyed. turnovers are still there. his passing is up. but we have 1 WIN. that’s it. I would gladly trade nick in their with far less stats and maybe 2 or more wins.trust I know the oline isn’t helping but the offense is designed to get these guys open and in winnable matchups. he has to pull the trigger. he can throw for 4300 yards and we still would only win 4 games..if that

          • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

            And there’s nothing to suggest that Nick would have gotten 2 more wins.

          • Brent E. Sulecki

            great detective work on your part

          • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

            About equivalent to yours actually.

          • Brent E. Sulecki

            I beg to differ

          • Brandon Boykin, OLB

            I seem to remember you having a huge crush on Matt Barkley. Yes, very loserly of me to remember that. Nevertheless, great QB evaluation skills you have there, Mr. Sulecki.

            By all means, evaluate away.

          • UKEagle99

            I hear you are mixing in at NT this week Boyks.

          • Brandon Boykin, OLB

            Yeah a little bit. Bill Davis wants to switch it up. I’m actually listed right below Cedric Thornton and above Vinny. My two-gapping is better.

          • UKEagle99

            I hear you bro. I’m looking forward to seeing you line up at nose and then dropping back to cover the #1 WR. I reckon you’ll get an easy pick.

          • Richard Colton

            Tom Brady may not have gotten two more wins.

          • Brent E. Sulecki

            he would have got 3

          • Richard Colton

            We lose to a bad Giants or Redskins team, and I’ll be right there with you calling for Vick to get benched. Right now, I still think he’s our best chance to win the division.

          • theycallmerob

            As would Vick, with the Pats defense. 6th best in points allowed sure does add up to wins.

          • Adam

            Foles might have had a shot to win that KC game playing game manager like Smith. But he doesn’t have the big play ability to win slug fests against Phillip Rivers and Peyton Manning. Not saying Vick does either because he clearly didn’t win, but he puts us in a bit better spot.

          • Brent E. Sulecki

            I wont know till I see it. but I get your point

          • LeClaw

            Vick has had one bad game against he Chiefs otherwise he is making smart decisions with the ball in his hands…minus not sliding

            Mr. Stats man…those two fumbles were on a “lateral” and a “botched snap” that was all on Kelce

          • Pennguino

            Wrong. Botched Snap (Kelce), Lateral, and strip sack fumble with injury.

          • LeClaw

            My bad…so only 1 fumble was his fault still? Through 4 1/2 games, I think that is pretty damn good

        • Loke1988

          Ok Ill stand by for your judgement lol.

        • nicksaenz1

          As a fellow fan who advocated Foles, I can’t disagree. Vick’s far from getting benched at this point. Only way I think he does with him playing the way he’s playing is if we manage to go something like 1-6 or 1-7 because at that point you just need to change it up. But, we shouldn’t hit that point with our schedule the next few weeks.

        • tom

          1-9 last 10 starts says it all…stats don’t men a thing…wins…that’s what matters

      • #7

        The teams we play would be ecstatic if we out in that 6’5 guy you’re talking about. It would be easier to defend IMO.

      • Pennguino

        He locks on one for most of the time then either pressure is getting to him or perceived pressure is causing him to run.

        Now the play call may be a design to clear that one guy up, so you tend to stick with him a little longer. It’s based on presnap read in what the defense is doing.

      • swingline

        how tall is drew brees? 7’1?? please buy some clues instead of spewing your biased hate for a player or what you call it, pretentious baseless opinion.

        • Loke1988

          Drew Breeze has something called intelligence. Something you and your lover Vick lack. And it’s a fact shared by other intelligent people like myself, not an opinion. Have a nice day! They say ignorance is bliss so I’m sure your very happy.

  • poetx99

    great breakdown, as always.

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    1st play if you pull the trigger QUICKLY. you take McCoy in the flat one on one. no one can hang with him one on one.2nd play you gotta hit cooper wide open. 4.7 seconds cmon now.the other plays definitely on the o line. but you cant say its ALL on the WRs

    • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

      Did you actually read the post or you read it and just unhappy it didn’t lay more blame on the Qb?

      • Brent E. Sulecki

        hes the only one with the ball sweetheart

        • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

          You’re right Dear…since his receivers can’t catch it.

          • Brent E. Sulecki

            right

          • #7

            Lol

            BBaaS you’re on it today lol

    • #7

      Plenty of blame to go around bro. That’s why I always say that football is the ultimate team sport

      • Always Hopeful

        Well said. The orchestration of a well run offense (i.e. Denver) requires everybody to master their job.

        As well as Peyton had them playing Sunday, there were a few opportunities that they missed (and do mean few, like 3 at the most) that he’ll likely drill down on this week as they prepare for their next game.

        Pursuit of perfection as a team…

        It’s hard not to admire the players and coaches who perform at a high level together in the NFL.

  • 1972

    So cooper was open 3 whole times in a 60 min game?
    Can damaris johnson get a little playing time ?
    Im so tired of celek cooper and avant.These fans get too attached to their lovable losers. These 3 players will never be starters on a superbowl team

    • Brent E. Sulecki

      tom brady isn’t crying. oh wait hes a real qb. doing it with rookies

      • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

        You musta missed those temper tantrums Brady was throwing on the sideline.

        • Token

          Yea on his way to 4-0. With no weapons as you told me yesterday.

      • 1972

        Bradys a h.o.f qb. Vick isnt. So when he makes the right play i.e the celek and casey drop, or the holding or illegal procedure penalties. U have to take a step back and judge him on a un biased opinion

        • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

          It’s not even an issue of “unbiased opinion” – it’s simply was the play the Qbs fault or no. If it wasn’t then why are folk spending so much time making it so?

      • anon

        haha you must have missed the jets game.

        EDIT: at least those guys get open, they just can’t catch the ball. But it always leaves space for edelman underneath. we don’t have that.

      • https://www.skinnypost.com/ GayleSaunders
      • theycallmerob

        and a functioning OL and a good defense and worse competition. no biggie.

    • Loke1988

      To quote Sheil..”To be clear, this wasn’t happening consistently. I counted three times throughout the course of the game where it looked like Vick either ran or took a sack when it appeared he had Cooper open.”

      Add these three to the 2 times he caught the ball and you get 5. Then factor in that SOMETIMES the QB has to really fit it in there or perhaps throw the guy open and that number goes way up^^^ Cooper isn’t very good but he is not the big problem.

      • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

        Cooper isn’t the big problem?

        Really?

        • Richard Colton

          he’s big. and he’s a problem. so yeah.

          Seriously, what’s the point to Reilly Cooper? The guy isn’t better than below average cornerbacks. He can’t get open. Doesn’t make plays. Maclin’s injury continues to kill us in the passing game and frigging Ertz and Casey need to step the hell up.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          I see that you are making my point from yesterday on another board valid. You simply come to Vick’s defense & then just point the finger in one direction elsewhere. Vick needs to be more consistent. Cooper doesn’t help his cause, but Vick is talented enough to overcome that, but just doesn’t because of his breakdowns in the fundamental & mental aspects of the position. I’m telling you, if Vick moved better laterally in the pocket (ie; Brees) & trusted his arm, he’d be much more consistent just improving those two flaws to his game.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            By lateral movement, I don’t mean scrambling or rolling way out wide. I’m talking side steps to improve his field vision & even improve his accuracy. He has tendency to drop way back, even in shotgun to see downfield.

            I’m honing in on Vick because him playing better has more of an effect on the outcome of a game than Cooper’s inability to get consistent separation.

          • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

            LOL.

            I didn’t make a comment about Vick. I made a comment about Cooper. The idea that Cooper isn’t a big problem is laughable to me. The only one who brought up Vick was u.

            And re: Cooper…Vick could move better in the pocket and trust his arm more and all that jazz and that still would not guarantee that Cooper would get separation and catch the ball.

            So yeah…apparently I’m a defender of all things Vick even when I’m clearly discussing another player.

      • #7

        My mouth is on the floor lol

      • Broadcasting Wisdom

        Finally someone with some sense on here. Cooper is not the problem. Being wide open 5 times in a game in which you mostly are assigned to run fade routes and then being “covered” one-on-one by a small cornerback on those fade routes is not the problem. Even on that first play from scrimmage, Vick needs to either throw that back shoulder or throw it up to him. If you have a 6’4 guy who can jump and the cornerback is chasing after him, the advantage is to the 6’4 guy. Vick just refuses to throw it to him in that situation, maybe he’s still bitter about 4 years ago in Vick’s lone playoff start in an Eagles uniform when he underthrew Cooper by like 5 yards and the Packers DB intercepted it.

        • Loke1988

          Thanks! Most people who frequent this place would scoff at that notion but I sure appreciate it. I mostly come here to ruffle their feathers anyway. That said you bring up a good point about Coopers size. No excuse for not taking advantage of that regularly when they are doubling Jackson. Football 101. Perhaps Kelly needs to get back to basics and put the trigonometry on hold until he gets a grasp of how to manage an NFL franchise.

        • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

          Cooper has never fought for a ball. He catches with his body and defenders routinely just reach in and break it up. He doesn’t play like he’s 6’4. Vick has made plenty of tight throws to Cooper and he’s done what he’s always done…drop them.

          Cooper is NOT a #2 receiver he is a #4 guy…that’s it. Trying to make him anything else has not and will not work.

    • Adam

      I actually think Maehl over Damaris should get a few looks. Even if he was playing against the 2nd team Broncos D, he did some things.

    • Kevin

      Cooper is not meant to be a #2, he is a #4 WR and special teamer. Avant is an above average #3 possession WR. The loss of Maclin and Benn is showing a little bit now.

      However, how many of Shady’s yards can be contributed to those two guys as blockers. We’ve seen on the All-22 when Shady breaks a long run, most of the time it is because Coop and Avant get blocks. I would love the Eagles WR core to look like my Fantasy Team (DeSean, Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson), but that won’t happen in the real world.

      • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

        Exactly.

        Avant is great when you have a legit #1 and #2 receiver. He’ll be open and while he won’t get you any YAC he won’t drop the ball either.

        Without a #2 though, he’s just not that useful in the passing game.

        • Kevin

          Exactly. And Kelly is in a little bit of a dilemma now. He could put Damaris in to help the passing game, but that will likely hurt some of the blocking from the WR’s. I get the feeling Kelly values blocking ability and size greater than speed in his #2 WR which helps the run game.

          I would like to see more use of Ertz lined up as a #2. Big body, can block, should be able to get some separation.

          • nicksaenz1

            Ertz hasn’t taken over Celek for the #1 because he isn’t as good of a blocker.

          • #7

            Hell I’m not sure I care anymore. Celek looks like an old man out there

          • nicksaenz1

            I’m real close to joining you, there.

          • Kevin

            Different type of blocking IMO. Celek handles DL’ and LB’s as an inline TE, if you put Ertz out wide, he would be blocking a corner or safety… he should be able to win that match up…

          • anon

            that’s the issue i don’t think he is — and until he does he’s not getting on the field.

          • theycallmerob

            I don’t think he’s fast enough or strong enough to get separation on the outside. Strength and route running can be improved on with time, but it says something that he hasn’t yet beaten out Stone Cold Hands Celek. Best case, I’m still not sure how that is much better than Cooper. And it’s not as if his hands are up to, say, Avant’s ability.

          • Always Hopeful

            I’m not sold on Damaris. I agree with your point about the liability he would be in downfield blocking, but what does he really bring as a receiver? Bubble screens? He has some quickness, but he doesn’t have elite speed.

            I WANT there to be someone else on this roster who can make plays as a receiver at the NFL level, but I just don’t see it coming from Damaris. I welcome him proving me wrong though :-)

          • Kevin

            And I want my own Caribbean Island, a few million dollars and a yacht :).

            Unfortunately, there just isn’t anyone out there. I am sure if Howie could snap his fingers and Megatron would appear, he would do it. I think we are stuck with what we got until next year, as mediocre as it is. Maybe we can fix it in the draft, FA, or if Mac or Benn is healthy.

          • Always Hopeful

            That’s the point…no help coming from anywhere this season.

          • anon

            josh cribbs — i think he has the most all purpose yards of anyone in the last 5-10 yrs. Josh Gordon (though he probably just got more expensive). David Nelson, was free — it’s not even like we’re bringing people in we’re just taking Howie’s word for it.

            Frankly i don’t think they’re going to pick up anyone, but that’s not because there’s no one out there.

          • #7

            Howie is going to stay with what we have

          • BlindChow

            Damaris looked good when he played last year. And it wasn’t bubble screens. (I don’t even think it was all short routes either.) He’s also terrific at RAC.

          • Always Hopeful

            Why can’t he see the field then? Not an ideal blocker? We need play makers out there! :-)

        • https://www.skinnypost.com/ GayleSaunders

          He’s also great at praying after catch!

    • EaglePete

      ya we know all the reasons listed below but I agree, get some other guys playing time. Id rather see separation from a faster WR then Cooper anymore. Use Celek on run plays and get Ertz in on some more pass plays. Demaris or Maehl?

  • Kevin

    Sheil & Tim – Awesome as usual. You guys are the go to blog and never have issues creating separation.

    We are still just 4 games into a brand new system. Mistakes will happen. The good news is that when the mistakes are minimized, the offense hums. We are gaining yards at a historic pace. We have a running game (when was the last time we could say that). I know this is tough as a Philly fan, but a little patience is needed while the kinks get worked out.

    Lets see how we come out over the next few weeks, that will be a good indication of where the team is.

    I get the feeling we will see a lot of 12 Personnel against the G-men. Their linebackers have never been historically good and that may be a great match up for us.

  • B-West

    Coming into the season, I think we knew the o-line had to be elite for this team to have a shot. That group and Shady had to be the backbone of this offense, and thus the entire team. Hopefully those guys can get it together. That is still a solid group, and the one I have the most confidence in straightening themselves out over the course of the season.

    • Richard Colton

      We starting the Barbre for Herremans chant yet? We’ve got Peters at 75% of his former self, Johnson on a steep leaning curve in pass pro, and Toddfather is just about used up. We all made fun of the Giants for taking Pough as early as they did – how good would he or Kyle Long look at Guard for us?

      • #7

        Kyle Long looks awesome for the Bears smh

        • MAC

          If we take Long, then we still have no one to play tackle on the right side. Heremans was worse at Tackle than he is at guard. Johnson has only played tackle for 2 years. You can see the ability, but the mental aspect will take time. He will be good, but probably not until end of year or next.

          • #7

            Double-edged sword

      • B-West

        Searching (grasping?) for light at the end of the tunnel, man. The performances of the rest of team seem to be in line with expectations. (Although I think Vick is exceeding expectations right now… God forbid he regresses to the mean and we start seeing KC week in, week out.) If anything is going to turn for this team, I think it starts and ends with the o-line.

        Too early to give up on Lane and play the draft hindsight game. Hopefully some of Herremans woes are tied to playing next to a rookie and Peters is still rounding back into form. And Barbre appeared to be a nice wild card to have in the preseason. Idk, like I said, trying to look for hope.

  • Lenny A Duncan

    Hey I’m petitioning the Birds to let me spread my Fathers Ashes at the Linc. I know they have turned this down before but if your right and it will never work, whats the harm of taking 2 seconds to sign.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/philadelphia-eagles-let-me-spread-my-dad-s-ashes-at-the-linc

  • #7

    “Vick was as accurate with the football as he’s been all season during
    the first half of the Broncos game. If he can sustain that level of play
    and trust his receivers a little more against man coverage, there are
    plays to be made.”

    Key word “TRUST”. If I were Vick, I wouldn’t trust to throw a “anticipatory” pass to Celek to only have it bounce off of his hands for an INT. Coop has several drops and so does Ertz.

    The main reason I’m not for Vick “letting it rip” is because the trust isn’t there that the WRs/TEs will make the tough catches. Nothing wrong with a little Alex Smith ball…as much as it pains me to say that.

    I want to see Vick let it rip, but I can see why he’s not.

    And nice job Shiel

    • Token

      So youd rather just concede the game than take a shot? You aint playing “Alex Smith ball” with this defense. The offense is supposed to be the driving force of this team. These next games will say a lot.

      • #7

        Not concede the game sir.

        Would you not agree that the main issue with Vick was that he didn’t take care of the football?

        Now that he does, it’s now an issue for you.

        Help me out Token

        • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

          Whatever Vick does Token is going to complain about the opposite. That’s just how it is. lol/smh

  • Token

    “Guys are not always going to be wide open, but there are times when he has to pull the trigger, rely on his arm and give them chances to make plays.”

    ding ding ding

    • EaglePete

      throwing timing passes from the pocket is not his forte. He does it at times but its not something hes improved upon much throughout his career and thats been my issue with him for a long time now. This was a great breakdown though and guys arent getting open. Its a double edged sword for him, take chances and throw picks or play smarter and maybe not win but not look bad. Cooper stinks and Im so done with average Celek. I really wish they go another direction here after 4 games, give other guys some more pt.

      • Always Hopeful

        “…and when she got there, the cupboard was bare…”

        I’m done with Coop and Celek too (sad about Celek, he’s played as well as a 5th rounder can be expected to play. Celek’s also probably got a lot of wear and tear on that body, he’s taken some hellacious hits over the years)

        Even though I’m done with these two, who do we turn too? I hope it’s in this order: Ertz, Casey, Johnson.

        As Ertz gets better acclimated to the pro game can he be a consistent play maker as the year unfolds? He doesn’t have to be all world, but can we count on him to get 3-4 catches a game?

        To me Casey and Johnson are more suited to be marginal role players. They seem to be nice 4th and 5th options. We just don’t seem to have 2nd and 3rd option talent at the receiver position on this roster.

        Hell, throw the ball to Bryce in space and see what he can do, he has that explosive ability to get down the field in a hurry if has room.

        I trust Kelly to figure out how to improve this team offensively with who they have this year. I don’t have the same trust for the defense though.

        • anon

          They should use BB like Nola uses Sproles, run catch out of backfield, slot receiver.

    • #7

      And as soon as a pass bounces off of a person’s hands due to inconsistent hands, you’ll them look smarter with your criticism of Vick. You’ll be able to use your “turnover machine” comments again.

      Too bad you’re agenda will not fall into place

      • Token

        Well the only positive out of the situation is I only have a handful more games to watch the guy. I dont know how you will survive with him out of the league.

        • #7

          We shall see Token

        • MAC

          Have you not learned yet? we all thought Vick was out of here after last 2 years and rebuilding. He is back. (I do think he earned job and has been one iof few bright spots on this team).

          Vick will be back next year buddy. I am not thrilled about it. I actually think he has played well and been solid. Just that I think as a QB he is good, but some of his problems are difference making things in tough games and situations. The red zone production is a product of no weapons partly, but Vick has never been good in red zone. I think and maybe I am wrong, but They have not run ball enough in red zone. They have ran it up and down field, but i red zone when field is short and teams know Kelly’s scheme plays the #’s advantage. Teams are making the #’s dictate pass and Eagles can’t make it work bc of weapons and in red zone passing must have a QB who anticipates well. Even biggest Vick supporter knows guy not good at anticipation. He waits until see’s guys open to throw.

          Honestly Vick deserves the job and if continues as such deserves to be back next year. Only reason I am against it besides reason pointed out above is because we will not win a super bowl next year. Can’t fill all holes in one off season or build continuity in one season. So Token just root for the team and understand that unless Vick’s play falls off significantly or we get a young QB of future that doesn’t look like Barkley in preseason then Vick will be back. I learned to get over it and just root for the Eagles. Vick is not the problem right now.

          • #7

            Nice post, but Token is having none of that lol. I agree with you on most points. The whole anticipation thing is just talk by all of us. I would say that the coaching staff would have a better idea if this is true or not. Also, Chip seems to be satisfied with Vick’s play, as am I. AR let the pressure get to him last year because he knew the gig was up and his last resort was to shift blame to the QB despite him having both hands in all of these disatrous draft picks that Token seems to ignore on a daily basis.

            His focus is strictly on Vick and his play. Period. Every throw. Every drop. Every sentence that comes out of his mouth, Token is grading it

  • septa_rida

    Too many interceptions one week, not forcing enough balls into tight coverage the next.

  • Loke1988

    Was just reading Sheriden’s ESPN blog and found this blurb/quote from Kelly about Ertz.

    On Monday, Kelly talked about getting running back Chris Polk some more playing time. He continued to defend the play of Cooper, who is valued more for his blocking ability than his receiving at this point. And he shed some light on Ertz’s development.

    “We’ve seen more and more from him on a weekly basis here as he starts to continue to grasp what we are doing here,” Kelly said. “I expect him to grow. He’s four games into his professional football career. So to see him run around and line up all over the place like Jimmy Graham from the New Orleans Saints, I don’t think anybody envisioned that as we put together an offense and start to figure out what he’s good at, what he’s not good at.

    The last line struck me. You mean to tell me you picked this kid as high as you did and after the fact try to figure out what he is good at and not good at? Come one, please explain to me why this makes sense…

  • Always Hopeful

    I don’t have access to the All 22, but so grateful for the consistent balanced analysis you provide Sheil. Good lookin’ out….again!

    I’m hopeful for the line to get it together as the season progresses. I’m hoping Kelly can work some magic to get somebody besides Desean open.

    Vick’s had one really bad game KC, but I’ve been encouraged by his play. I know he has to pull the trigger more with some of these lesser receivers (Cooper and I add Celek in there too) but man, gotta be a little frustrating when he does call their number and he throws a catchable ball and they don’t consistently produce.

    Win the day fellas, win the day!

  • Rick H

    I see the Vick apologists are out in full force in comment section but wait I am not here to torch him! Lack of separation is not as important as it once was. Let me explain and it is not entirely Vick’s fault by any stretch but his height and lack of early career fundamentals seriously hurt is effectiveness.
    The majority of teams are having QB’s throw into back shoulder spots or to anticipated areas where the receivers are running their routes. Cornerbacks have them covered but the pass is still thrown but the passes can be completed.
    Vick has improved to the point of being average at best. The NFL is more basketball positioning then ever before. Meaning keep the defender behind (boxed out) so the QB can throw it to the receiver with the receiver being covered and defender is not in position to make a play. See Brees/Brady/Manning …! They all do it.
    Because Vick used his natural ability for 95% of his career and did not invest the time to become a QB and understand the QB position and all the nuances of all positions he is significantly behind most veteran QB’s and probably will always be behind at this stage of his career. Has he improved this year? Yes!
    However he does not have any real passer’s feel to move “within the pocket” while keeping his eyes down field.This causes his lack of height to become a real issue. He can’t see over the defensive or offensive linemen. I.E. Brees & Brady (using the best as examples) unconsciously/instinctively slide up or back or step to one side or the other to establish or if need be reestablish their throwing lanes down field.
    Vick has improved this year but still goes into scramble mode which breaks down the offense.
    Foles would be an improvement from the standpoint of seeing the field and moving in the pocket. Foles finds throwing lanes much better then Vick. Foles would be a liability with the way the offensive line is playing, Peters is not playing real well, ditto Kelce & Herremanns are being pushed back into the QB Vick and their rookie right tackle is still learning the defensive line tricks where he gets beat two or three times a game.
    If the offensive line were playing in a more cohesive manner Foles would be the better option. Vick is the better option for now because he keeps plays alive plus he makes plays with his legs. That is not Foles strong suit. I believe we will see Foles at some point start but I have no idea when.
    With all that said all of this discussion about the offense would be greatly minimized if the Eagles had a true quality Defensive Coordinator. San Diego & KC would have been wins. SanDiego should not have been close and KC would have been a close win despite the turnovers. At a absolute minimum the Eagles should be 2 & 2 or possibly 3 & 1. Davis needs to go!!! I vote an absolute no faith vote for DC Davis! The Eagles need to cut the cord on him.

    • EaglePete

      I agree but you forgot to add an important factor, Vick is way better at getting the ball downfield. Add in the scramble plays and its enough to keep him in like posts mention below. No way Foles should play at this point. Vick has never improved his pocket play to the point of it allowing his legs to be beneficial as a secondary weapon. Its still his primary one and I dont think you win consistently in this league with that equation no matter what the scheme is . I was saying this all offseason but its kind of a no win situation for Vick on this team. The players around him arent good enough to take his game to that top level but its not all on the QB. So many other things decide wins/losses. I just never really undertood the point of bringing him back on this team and I still dont except to help Kelly be marginally better in his first season. The numbers look decent on offense so I think theres still time to go on a run here. Not sure as a fan though what Id prefer since this team has so many holes. I root for them regardless come Sunday.

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Agree with both you & Rick in regards to Vick. I don’t see him as the biggest problem the offense has, but rather the biggest solution if he can just improve some more on the fundamental side to overcome the one physical downfall he has in his lack of height. That alone would help the offensive continuity from being so all over the place.

        That being said, it is somewhat of a no-win situation for Vick. He could go on a tear & still very well be the odd man out once the season concludes. But the only suitors for him as a starter look to be any team in need of a QB, but somehow misses out come the draft. Otherwise, it looks like he’ll be an insurance policy for a team with one of the young athletic QBs drafted recently (BUF, OAK, MIA, etc.).

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Oh and possibly even WAS, if they elect to go the route of backing up RG3 w/ a QB w/ similar skill set or CAR to push Newton.

  • Max Lightfoot

    Missing Maclin – almost makes me long for Hank Baskett.

    • Always Hopeful

      Cut that out! Baskett was Cooper before Cooper was Cooper :-)

      How about Reggie Brown or Greg Lewis? Oh, I know, Todd Pinkston, James Thrash or Kevin Curtis?

      I’d take everybody on this list besides Pinky…never liked that dude with his one go route a game :-)

  • anon

    There’s an Alex Smith or Russell Wilson type of QB who won’t throw a contested ball but also won’t turn the ball over. If there’s nothing there they run and extend drives. They win games by not beating themselves.

    I think another issue is who do you trust to catch a contested ball? I think Vick trusts DJax — he’s throw tight balls to djax, but I don’t think he trusts Cooper necessarily, though he threw a nice back shoulder TD against the chargers. Vick gets in trouble forcing it. And if they don’t catch the ball he’ll completion % will suffer and he’ll get lambasted for that.

    What i do think needs improvement is that he needs to get to the checkdown faster. I think he’ll wait for people to get open, but he’s gotta rely more on the checkdown which is usually either mccoy, celek or bb.

    But im fine with this Vick — outside of one game no turnovers, no goal line fumbles, no picks that kill drives, not taking unnecessary hits. He’s made a lot of improvements over last year that I think he should get credit for. Hopefully he gets better at making anticipation throws w/out picks.

    • EaglePete

      ya I said below its a double edge sword for Vick, he cant win for being conservative and certainly cant win if he forces things and gets picked or fumbles. I dont really buy the confidence in WR thing. I just dont think theres time for any QB to worry about that when making their progressions. Unless it pops in their head pre-snap and if thats the case your doomed from the start. Im just not buying much improvement from the pocket with timing throws etc, we havent seen it much in his career not sure why youd expect it now. Even Vick fans admit they thought the scheme to work with Vicks skill set is what can work, not trying to change him or what he does best. The formula for success has always been to throw from the pocket and be accurate and only use legs a secondary weapon. That goes way back, if the read option is getting slowed down already in year two then it just reverts to that all over again. That still remains to be seen.

    • #7

      “I think another issue is who do you trust to catch a contested ball?”

      That’s the key right there. We all know the answer to that question, and even at that, throwing contested balls to a 5’10 WR isn’t the greatest option, but he’s the best we have.

      At the beginning of the season I really thought the Cooper would show some things and he’s shown us how to not get open, how not to use his size to bully DBs, and how to be 6’3 or whatever he is and play so small on the field. I really thought that he would be the guy to make the tough catches for us.

      Man was I wrong

    • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

      Agree with what you said. I’m not b*tching about Vick having a lil’ Alex Smith in him. He knows (we all know) this defense isn’t going to save you if you’re throwing picks so better be safe than sorry, pick up the yards on the ground and call it a day.

      I also agree is he just doesn’t trust those guys to make the catches. Who fights for a ball on this team? Heck they drop perfectly thrown balls, so ain’t no way he’s tossing a ball their way they’ve maybe got to fight to make. Nope. And Nope.

  • BrickSquadMonopoly

    How come when a QB struggles no one demands for a change at quarterbacks coach lol.

    • Token

      Because most of us know what Vick is by now.

      • BrickSquadMonopoly

        Oh I wasn’t talking about Vick. :)

        • #7

          See what I mean? Token has laser like focus on Vick man. It’s amazing

    • BlindChow

      How about receivers coach? Someone who can coach these guys how to make defenses pay for dialing up only man coverage?

  • BlindChow

    Is Kelly calling any shorter, quicker pass plays? The kind they had tremendous success with in the preseason (and at Washington, for that matter)? It seems like when you have O-line trouble, and receivers aren’t getting open on 15-yard in/out routes, maybe you should be calling the game a little differently?

    • Pennguino

      The bubble screens are not nearly as prevalent as the first game. Chip said he would sit down with his starting QB and hand pick the plays that he wants. That is why you are seeing the 3 second drop routes. Vick is most comfortable on waiting for the deeper routes to develop and a WR to get open so he doesn’t have to throw contested passes or throw anticipation passes. You are seeing the same offense you always see with Vick.

      • BlindChow

        The bubble screens are apparently taken away by the press coverage, but you can do fake screens off that (the receivers release a second after the corner bites) or slants or any number of things.

        I keep waiting for Kelly to make an adjustment, but…

  • Sensei

    If someone told us that Vick would be leading an offense that was on pace to be 3rd in league history in total yards while throwing two picks and one fumble(not counting the Kelce snap or the forward pass against Washington) I’m sure we would all sign up for that. Yeah he has had some problems but who in this league doesn’t

    • #7

      Now he needs to force passes, which is what the fans hated about Vick last year. He’s not letting it rip and he deserves to be benched for that lol.

      These people cannot be pleased one way or the other

      • UKEagle99

        Haters gonna hate. Apart from the KC game I think Vick has played pretty well under the circumstances. The offence has definitely stopped itself at times and I think every player has had a hand in that.

      • Eagles4Life

        Exactly what I was thinking.

    • Pennguino

      Vick played well @ WAS. You saw him execute Kelly’s system and it worked against that defense. Time has proven WAS defense is horrid and their offense can’t keep up the scoring.

      Vick played good to well vs SD. He wasn’t challenged most of the night and had multiple receivers open all night. He missed some critical throws that could have helped.

      KC was a bad game. He was off for most of the night. He started staring down receivers in the SD game. He got away with it because they would eventually get open before the rush got there. He tried that at KC and killed for it. 2 INTs (1 pick 6) and a fumble. That’s 3 TO’s

      DEN was a meh game. He did nothing to bad but he did nothing great either. There was nothing inspiring about his play. He failed to hit the receivers that were open. His field vision was lacking. He still locked onto the first target. I haven’t finish doing the all 22 on Denver yet. The first quarter was not a bad quarter. Apprehension to throw the ball seemed to showed up on a few plays. Just from the first viewing, he let the KC game beat him this game.

      • Sensei

        I’d have to agree I also think there are a few other things slowing the offense down number one is play calling at one point in the game after two long McCoy runs the Eagles then threw three straight passes at no point in a game should this team run three passing plays in a row

    • Token

      Except for you need points to win games, not yards.

  • Pennguino

    On the first play Vick drops back with his head facing Desean the whole route. He rarely throws the anticipation pass.

    2-1 (2nd drive 1st play)
    1-10 E18 (1st and 10 on the Eagles 18)
    2.92 (Pocket started collapsing on the back side at 2.32) I think your pic is about the 2.5 mark.

    Vick had a few split second decisions to make as he scrambled up out of the pocket. He has a receiver open at the 30 on the right. As he hit the top of his drop and started coming back, Desean was just going into his break at the top of Vick’s drop. That is where he needed to release it. Late on his decision. He can take off to the left with some blocking available. If he scrambles to his right he can suck in the shallow LB and have the lateral open like Foles does when he keeps it. Scrambling was his safest option. It’s only 1st down. Good decision based on the late read.

    On the Cooper In Route
    2-4 (2nd Drive 4th Play)
    1-10 E29
    2.81

    WOW. What more can you ask for? 5 receivers open to W I D E open. Clean pocket for almost 3 seconds. What does he do here? He scrambles of course. He waits almost 5 seconds then runs????? On his drop he looked left and then came center and then started to go then hesitated then took off. He was clearly confused on the play and scared to throw the ball.

  • Chali

    Kenny Britt on the trading block

    • nicksaenz1

      His knees are awful. I fully expect he’ll be an Eagle soon.

      • ICDogg

        heh

  • #7

    I look for MV7 to ball out this week. If he had to resort to “hero ball” so be it. This is our chance to take advantage of this portion of the schedule.

    Go Eagles

  • morgan c

    Why is it the same comments from the last 7 posts all leading this discussion?!

    Sheil, Tim, or Intern – please fix.

    • jabostick

      Yeah something is screwy. If you sort comments by ‘Newest’ instead of ‘Best’, it helps but other comments are still mixed in.

      • UKEagle99

        You said that already :P

  • cliff henny

    i dont trust Lurie as far as i could throw him. but, part about ‘constructing the contract exactly how we wanted to…’ now, that i believe! Eagles Org is the gold standard in contract writing.

  • defroe81

    is it me or are all the comments on every story the same exact comments…

    • usmcnole

      Its not just you. Something is wrong with their new format

    • UKEagle99

      Its just you. Why say it in every story?

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    lets hope hes 3 for 4. alge was dead wrong. maybe the coach will like him someday as much as vick and get him the hell out there

    • anon

      his wiki page says 4 pro bowls…

    • ICDogg

      I always liked Crumpler as a player

  • Token

    Some things never do change. If he thinks hes not holding the ball too long that means Chip isnt doing his job. Can we please move past this guy? What is the point in putting us fans through this an entire year? Hes not here next year anyway.

  • nicksaenz1

    Seattle just waived a rookie linebacker from their 53 man roster to make room for an QB from SF in an “eff you” move. I say with about 98% confidence that the rookie linebacker waived by Seattle is better than most of our team’s linebackers. I say with 100% confidence that we won’t at least explore what the kid is about.

    • UKEagle99

      LB you say, I say we play him at LB but really he’s a CB. Drop him in to coverages and blitz the CB after he’s bumped the receiver. Magic, they’ll never know whats hit ‘em

  • TheCatalyst

    Is it me, or are we second to Denver in everything except wins?

    • UKEagle99

      Nope, we are way behind them alphabetically, oh, and in height above sea level.

  • Andy124

    Freeman’s been cut.
    I’m thinking Oakland or Jax.

    • nicksaenz1

      Jax I can see. Have a hard time seeing him in Oak with Pryor there, unless they don’t like Flynn after last week.

      • BlindChow

        Oakland’s already demoted Flynn to third QB.

        Jax has said they’re not interested. Maybe they’re afraid he’ll win too many games and blow up their Bridgewater plans.

        • UKEagle99

          Bridgwater plans? I hear they’re coming to London… We dont want them btw, whatever Rog says.

    • BlindChow

      Hoyer’s injured. Freeman to the Browns, unless they’re going to tank with Weedon.