All-22: State Of the Eagles’ Defense

Barwinb_All22_102413Back in the spring, new Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis was asked if he had spent time looking at Jim Johnson’s scheme and concepts.

“He had some great dynamic pressures, and I’ve studied a lot of them,” Davis said. “They were out-of-the-box thinking. But when you really break him down, it was more guys up in the A-gaps with the illusion of pressure than actual [sending] more than four rushers.

“There were times that he brought more. …But he did a great job of keeping offenses off-balance through both pressure, illusion of pressure and non-pressure. And you need all elements to attack an offense because there’s some times you pressure some of the stuff Coach [Chip Kelly] does, you’re going to get eaten alive.”


Davis' comments serve as a good launching off point to examining what's working well for the Eagles on defense. Last week, they were able to keep Tony Romo off-balance and free up rushers all game long, both with the blitz and the threat of the blitz.

***

Here's a pressure look from the defense in the second quarter. You'll see seven players threatening the line of scrimmage with Brandon Boykin on Miles Austin in the slot.

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The Cowboys go with an empty-back set. That means if the Eagles send all seven players, they have a one-man advantage. Someone will be unblocked.

When Romo takes the snap, it looks like the Eagles are bringing the house.

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The Cowboys block up six of seven defenders. Nate Allen is going to rush free outside the right tackle.

But in reality, this is a lower-risk pressure than it first appears. Trent Cole and Mychal Kendricks are going to drop back into coverage.

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The Eagles end up only rushing five against six blockers, but because of the scheme and execution, they're able to free up a rusher.

Look at where Cole and Kendricks are when Romo finally releases the ball.

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Allen pressures Romo and affects his throw, which ends up incomplete to Austin at the top of the screen.

"It's all disguise, man," Cole said. "It's all part of the disguise. That's one thing as players we have to do our jobs as players to make sure we can disguise it. It takes practice, it takes preparation to be able to do those things."

A similar situation later in the first half. The Cowboys once again go with an empty backfield and spread it out with five wide receivers. The Eagles show six at the line of scrimmage. Once again, if they send all six, they'll have an unblocked rusher.

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At the snap, all six rushers take a step forward. But this time, Cole and DeMeco Ryans drop back into coverage. Because of the initial look, the Cowboys are set up to let Connor Barwin rush free.

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Barwin ends up crushing Romo, and Ryans gets in front of Austin. That's where Romo ends up going with the ball, throwing incomplete.

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On a key 3rd-and-7 just two plays later, Davis went back to the same concept.

You should notice a theme by now. One more rusher than blockers at the line of scrimmage. An empty set from the offense.

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Cole and Ryans sell that they're rushing, occupying offensive linemen before dropping back into coverage. Allen rushes unblocked.

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Romo actually made a good throw here, but Bradley Fletcher broke it up and forced a field goal. Still, the Eagles only rushed five and ended up with an unblocked defender. That's usually a win.

The key to the success on these plays, per Barwin, was that Davis mixed it up, sometimes sending big blitzes and not dropping anyone.

"Sometimes you actually gotta come [on a blitz]," Barwin said. "Billy does a great job of keeping things balanced that he's done all year. That makes it hard for teams to prepare for us. Just one of those calls where they show, sometimes they came, sometimes they didn't. And the way it looked for you guys is the same way for Romo that he didn't know."

Added Kelly: "There were times he showed blitz and didn't blitz, and then there were other times when he came. I think that helped us in terms of the presentation. Anytime where it's not a known, or, hey, they're always doing this or doing that, I think it's a good plan going in. I thought Billy and the defensive coaches had a good plan. I thought our players executed the plan."

***

I never put out a game review of the defense, so here are some notes after having watched the All-22:

* Cedric Thornton was lights-out against the run and had some nice moments as a pass-rusher too. The Cowboys only averaged 2.8 YPC last week, and Thornton was a big reason why. Of all the Eagles' defensive linemen, he looks most comfortable two-gapping. Before the season started, I thought Thornton might be better served in a rotational role, but he's really playing at a high level.

* Mychal Kendricks is still having some issues in coverage.

"It's a work in progress, " Davis said. "Mychal is getting better. There is a lot of growth he can make in the coverage part of it. But he's such a dynamic athlete and has such burst to it. The more he's comfortable, the better he's playing."

Kendricks blew coverage on a 26-yard completion to Jason Witten in the first half. The Eagles were in man coverage, but Kendricks dropped and didn't account for Witten, who ran free across the middle of the field.

* The secondary had one of its best showings of the season. Cary Williams competed throughout and only gave up one big play to Dez Bryant, a 25-yard back-shoulder throw where he had pretty good coverage. For the most part, Williams kept plays in front of him and made tackles to minimize YAC.

* Other than the two plays I just mentioned, the Eagles didn't give up any completions that traveled 20+ yards downfield. Earl Wolff is improving, and while Nate Allen isn't going to make the Pro Bowl, he's looked far more competent in the past couple weeks than he has in a long time.

"I think he's more consistent in everything he's doing," Davis said of Allen. "He understands it better. His eyes are better. His tackling is better. Nate has worked very hard. He's very serious about what he's doing. He's in the front row taking notes. He's at every practice. When you do the player loads that we do and see how hard everybody works, he's one of the top guys. So Nate's all in and getting better. I believe the biggest factor with Nate are his eyes. He's not getting out of position, and that's helping him make his tackles, make his plays and Nate's getting better and better each week."

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  • Token

    Safe to say Cedric Thornton is the most pleasant surprise of the year. Huge if Cox and him end up being able to be quality ends going forward. Still need a NT on that line.

    • cliff henny

      spend couple bucks on bj raji. maybe logan can be servicable rotation guy, curry specialty rusher,with cole and/or graham helping in nickle. see the group coming together. it’s not a monumental task to get them to be a pretty good unit

      • Token

        They need a OLB. Im thinking after QB thats gotta be the next focus. Someone to get after the QB. Someone that OC’s have to worry about. I dont expect Cole to be here next year.

        • anon

          Safety / OLB. I think they’ll fatten up logan and try him out next year if they don’t find anything in the draft.

          • Token

            Yes Logan is a option. Curious to see if anything becomes of Square too. Seems like a guy who could play NT and end as a backup maybe. Depends if he develops.

            I think safety is very important. Underrated in its importance in todays NFL.

            But a OLB does come first. Their pressure sucks right now. Zero sacks from one OLB and I believe 3 from Barwin, at least two of which where when he was unblocked. Probably the two least threatening pass rushing starters in the league.

            Safety will be tough. Im of the thought that they probably have to just show Byrd the money and hope it works out. Im pretty skeptical of it. Just seems like a guy who may quit when he gets the money. Plus theres injury concern. But they have backed themselves into the corner of having to do it. Just too many spots to fill.

          • GEAGLE

            Sign our Safety, Draft our OLB in round 1…

            Want an OLB, this is the year to draft one:

            With all the teams fighting over OTs and QBs at the top, there is going to be a stud OLB available when we pick. Whether it’s a freak I like Barr falling into #9 range and us going up a few spots to snag our baby beast! , or Vic Beasley. Khalil Mack is a beast for Buffalo…and if we do well and pick around #16, we can still find BYU Van Noy on the board….heck the stud OLB from Stanford might last til the beginning of round 2…
            …..
            Not only is this a very high quality pass rusher round 1, but it’s heavy I with QBs and OTs which means some very good defenders will fall into the #9-20 range..
            ….
            If I can’t get one of those stud OLBs it had better be because we took Mike Evans or Austin jenkins

        • cliff henny

          sure. defense needs nt, olb, and safety, whether draft or FA-figure it out howie.
          .
          why would you cut cole? why cant he play backup olb and also backup d-end, specialty risher? his salary is 6.6m, but 4.8 of that is dead. just ride his contract out one more yr, upgrade his starting snaps, i agree there.
          .
          have another 8 months to flip flop on qb. seems about 10 teams worse than eagles need qb…man, is it going to be expensive to get mariota. talking rg3 expensive

          • Token

            O well, gotta get a QB. I cant watch another year of this mess. I need a clear direction going forward with some actual hope. Im more than over the Vick era. Wont pay attention to another year of it.

            I think if Coles on the rosters hes gonna start. Which isnt something I want to see. I dont think they keep around a 7 mil guy to play the snaps Graham is getting now.

          • anon

            I really wish Vick was 27 or even 30 instead of 33. I think he could grow more into this offense. You know who i think could work — Tavaris Jackson in seattle. He always looks great in pre-season, mobile, young — would come for cheap.

          • cliff henny

            just dont see benefit of cutting guy that can serve a roll. they maybe overpaid, but not when considering dead money, plus, you have to sign someone to replace them in reduced roll. either way, we agree, they should see less time on field.
            .
            yeah, i was thinking about being ok wth another yr of vick, idk, guy just cant stay healthy, vick fanboys are ridiculously annoying, he’snot going to play for 700k, but foles/barkley? ugh!

          • Token

            I couldnt take another year of it honestly. Ive been through a lot with this team. But that would probably be it for me. Id just become a casual football fan.

            They need a legitimate QB. If they dont get one this offseason, the Kelly era will simply stagnate for another 2 years or so before its over. Screw that.

          • cliff henny

            idle threat…i’ve been saying that for last 20 yrs. free up my sundays, better for work wont be hungover tired monday, blah blah blah…and come draft, they suck me right back in

          • Token

            I said if Kelly kept Vick id be done. But im dumb enough to watch this year. But really, just dont think I could watch another year of the Michael Vick experience. The franchise as been running in place for years.

          • cliff henny

            i know what you wrote…and you’ll be back here regardless. they let reggie white go..i came back, let dawk go, i came back. Lurie isnt some financial genius who created a 2b team out of nothing, he has idiots like all of us. like being a drug dealer, just stand there with product-you’ll do fine lol

          • BlindChow

            Cole served me a roll once. Dude forgot the butter. WTF?!

        • LeClaw

          That was going to be Jordan but the fins stole him….

      • GEAGLE

        Logan has a chance at becoming a quality starting NT, but at the very least he will be a very good rotation guy..I would sign Raji anyway, because like Thornton,Cox and Logan, he can play multiple positions so we can go with a musical chairs approach and really keep Olines off balance because each member of the Oline will have to prepare to see like 5 different guys each game…sign Raji and use your first round pick on Explosive freak OLB like Barr or Beasley….Barwin holds down the spot opposite of our rookie OLB for the next 3-4 years until Dion is ready to come home lol…by then Chip will have his experienced QB ready to make a playoff run, and we would have a dirty front seven flanked by Dion and Barr. Lol Now THATS how you dream!!!…
        ….
        But on a serious note…If we can sign two quality defenders And use a first round pick on a 3rd defender…adding safety,OLB, and Dlinemen, we would start to have ingredients in place for a good defense, and it’s still would leave most of the draft picks and some free agent money for Chip to get his Chip Kelly offense in place…

        If we can only add 3 starting caliber defenders this offseason???what positions would they be?

        • cliff henny

          know we talked about raji before, and like idea. messing around on overthecap.com, they dont have him listed as free agent till ’15.
          .
          i dont think they can go wrong signing any quality defender. if you can play, we have a place! all i know is 1 better be safety

          • GEAGLE

            Yes sir…oh really about Raji? I saw him listed as unrestricted for this year but I don’t remember where. I’m going to have to look into that…what about Jason Thatcher? Isn’t he a free agent this year? I know lamarr Houston is and he is a very good player but stylistically I’m not sure how he would fit with Cox and Thornton…wouldn’t they be too similar?
            ….
            There really is only 1 CB worth breaking the bank open for and it’s the 25yr old from the Titans, but I doubt he escapes the titans…I see no point in adding 30yr old CBs, and there aren’t any drastic upgrades around Cary and brads age to go after….I also happen to hate drafting CBs early because they take too long to develope anyway…Bradkey Roby looks like an idiot for staying in school..Ifo OLOMU is only like 5-10…there are a bunch other CBs that will go in round 1 like the pair from the gators and the kid from Vtech, but I can’t possibly see how any of them could be the BPA for us when we pick…..

            Only safeties I would want to sign are Byrd,Clemons or Ward
            ..,
            Only impact OLB is Orakpo

            Not a great year for FA
            ….
            Only players I really would want in round 1 right now are:

            The OLBs Anthony Barr, Vic Beasley! Khalil Mack! and Von Noy

            WR Mike Evans

            TE Austin Jenkins
            ….
            Safety Haha Clinton Dix
            ..
            And I guess I could live with Dlinemen Louis Nix III if we felt he was BPA when we pick…

            Besides QBs, what other quality round 1 targets could you guys see as a good fit for us??

          • cliff henny

            johnny football

          • GEAGLE

            Smh….. I can already see myself getting drunk and punching him in the mouth in old city…

          • cliff henny

            shoot, i’d hang with johnny philadelphia (RT-cliff henny) … imagine the who-ha he’ll be running with. bring up some of those texas girls.

          • GEAGLE

            Lol “all my exes live in Texas”…

          • cliff henny

            maybe evans willdrop to 2nd. that cat is a beast! perfect compliment to d-jax.

          • GEAGLE

            Walterfootball updated it’s first 3 rounds….SMH!!!
            1) Taj Boyd falling to the eagles at #13
            2) Safety Craig Loston
            3) Oregon WR Josh Huff
            ,,,,
            I do not want Taj…and they had my boy Adrian Robinson fall to like the jets at the top of round 3…if that ts the case, I would hope we trade up 8 spots to grab him, instead of settling for Huff,..although I do like huff! I LOVE Robinson

            I wish!!!! I don’t think Evans makes it past #16…but I think the world of him. As bad as I want an OLB in round 1, I would be ok with Evans, TE Jenkins, haha Dix, Louis nix

            They got QBs like Davis Fales falling to mid round 3

            Right now they have:
            #4 Barr to Vikings
            #6 haha Dix to rams
            #7 Mike Evans to the raiders
            #11 Manziel to the browns
            12 Vic Beasly to Bills
            13 taj Boyd to Eagles
            15 Khalil Mack Arizona
            20 Van Noy to Jets
            27 Austin Jenkins TE patriots(I have seen him mocked in the 8-12 range)

            If Vic Beasly gets picked ahead of us, we have to be absolute morons to not jump up two spots and grab him,,,that kid can be a special rush OLB

          • cliff henny

            i will lose my $h!t if we take boyd! walter football is an idiot…where’s he have manziel going?
            .
            manziel can throw jump balls to robinson too…see those catches against Mich? kid is bigtime. no way evans isnt 1st half of rd1 talent.
            .
            please, stop putting defensive guys in top 2 rds, it’s the new Eagles, all offense. kelly wants to win 65-48

          • GEAGLE

            Manziel two spots ahead of us…11 to Browns
            ….
            I agree, he is an idiot…but I CLOWNED him for months for mocking Bennie Logan to us in round 3, and through all his updates, he never changed that pick…and now he mocks a bunch of LSU guys to us…I wonder if he knows the eagles scout charged with recruiting LSU lol..

            Yeah well then you aren’t going to like this draft lol..on offense it’s flooded with QB and OT in round 1… Only skill players are:
            1) WRs:
            Mike Evans #7 Oakland
            Sammy Watkins #9 Steelers
            Marquis lee #16 ravens
            Jordan Mathews Wr Vanderbilt #22 Lions

            TE Eric Ebron Walter football as him jumping Jenkins as the top TE taken, he has him going to GB #25. I think the world of Austin Jenkins, can anyone talk to me about this Ebron kid from UNC???
            ..
            TE Austin Jenkins #27 patriots
            ,,,
            These are the he only projected round 1 offensive players that aren’t WBs or OTs

          • cliff henny

            good place to get guys from. you can field a defense taking 3 guys from lsu a yr.
            .
            he doesnt have marioti or hundley in his draft. telling you, those 2 push manziel right into us. be like when smith was on board in 2nd round in this draft. just staring at that name slowly moving up kipers top available.

          • GEAGLE

            Oh damn, I didn’t even notice that….man i would much rather have Hundley inspite of his horrible game….All I know is that if a STUD like Vic Beasley or Mike Evans gets picked one spot ahead of us, I will be sick to my stomach that we didn’t move up two places and snag him….I’m not sold on Manziel! then again I’m the wrong guy to talk about College QBs…I’m a better source for guys that hit the QBs lol…
            ….
            As much as I love defense I understand that if we are going to have Chip we have to let him get the players to make his offense work…I wouldn’t even be against drafting two BIG WR in the first 3 rounds…Imagine a Trio of Desean, with Big Boys like Evans and Robinson….that would be crazy scary Trio that would soooo Free up Desean. Those two can be Vincent Jakson/ Dez Bryant type Monsters who will require attention from defenses…it would free up Jackson incredibly

            All I know is we have to HIT on studs in the first 3 rounds. We can NOT afford to bust this year and draft a guy who ends up being a backup..l view guys like Mike Evans and Vic Beasley as close to can’t miss NFL studs(if placed in the right nurturing hands of good QBs) as possible

          • cliff henny

            most have hundley still ahead of mariota even after crappy game. guy is still college player-only second yr, these things happen. luck didnt have ridiculous games every time out. manziel has put up 40+ in 10 straight SEC games, people still question him. keep hearing/seeing to much sandlot…can tell right away they arent watching him this yr. (living in SC, watch college ball and really only eagles now) he has calmed alot of that down. it’s not crazy air raid as last yr since kingsbury left for texas tech. bridgewater is pipedream, mariota is dream, hundley can work with, manziel will be in play. wash, rinse recycle all those vick arguements, we’ll be having them all over again, just different names
            .
            i get you point about waiting till ’15 for qb. it could be sold to guys like us, but we make up maybe .01% of fanbase.

          • GEAGLE

            Always enjoy talking to you, living right on the he middle of SECville….We still have so many needs that I will be much calmer during this years draft…we need good quality players, and as long as we don’t bust, I will be happy with whatever positions we add….

            Rank the QBs in your eyes(the top guys ATleast) as best fits for the birds..

            Hopefully we have a strong free agency period that gives us flex for the draft…

            What do you think about Jay Cutler if he hits the market?
            ..

          • cliff henny

            cutler…rather have boyd!
            mariota, hundley, manziel…than wait till ’15 and sell soul for jameis winston. i pretty much ignore bridgewater, too many games, he wont be available. what little i’ve seen, looks ok, but talent level he’s playing against is so subpar, he should look great.
            .
            if i had to do it today, choice a, rip it off like band aid, sell soul for mariota-cause if kelly is sold, then i am too-but it’s going to be a king’s ransom. b, hope manziel falls-saves 2 draft c, pay heavily for hundley-probably most of this and some of ’15′s.
            .
            getting MM or BH is going to sting, no doubt

          • GEAGLE

            No way would I sell my draft soul now with all the holes we have…hit on the right additions this offseason and next years free agency and we could be in position to sell our soul to the FSU GODS!!
            ….
            ONly way in would be ok with MM, is say the browns can draft him at four, but they really want Manziel…if they take MM, and Manziel falls to us! and then we can swap QBs and give them some compensation…being able to offer them a young QB in return that they like would significantly lesson the price in tract picks…but that’s a crazy long shot…lot of moving parts that need to get lucky with lol

          • cliff henny

            one of the reasons i am warming up to manziel. think he got a bad rap on weak arm and being small. also, some of the freelancing he does will need to stop, but the kid makes plays. arm is above average, he 6 ft, runs 4.4 40 and is 210-only 20, will get stronger and bigger. it’s not like he’s flutie size. just think he might be the guy who falls and fits, then you can still get olb in 2nd, wr in 3rd, or whatever, doesnt destroy 2 drafts. the guy is lighting up SEC…hung almost 100 on ‘bama…that 2nd game was the one that won me over. once is flukey, twice, guy can play.

          • Philip Soloninka

            IDK man, he just seems like such a wildcard in so many ways and I would hesitate tying the franchise to him. And everything I see seems to point to Super Bowl winning QBs being pocket passers, maybe with some athletic ability / running skills, but mainly being in the pocket and being surgical.

            But on the other hand, if ANYBODY in the world has the “swag” or confidence to be the QB of the Philadelphia Eagles, with the fans and the scrutiny, he could do it. Being successful at it might be a different story.

          • cliff henny

            oh, yea, idk either, wildcard is good word. but he really isnt as helter skelter this yr as last, and is putting up better numbers…against SEC. mean, it’s not big east or pac whatever, SEC has pro ready guys on every team. alot of habits need coached out, but he is showing some of that this yr. it’s not like he cant make plays from pocket, he just makes a ton of highlite play out. rather calm down a talent than create talent where non is present (ie-foles arm strength). only reason i like him over hundley is hundley will go top 5, that’ll be expensive. mariota is guy i’d pray theytake if eagles are going to mortgage all those picks.

          • Token

            Raji is a free agent this coming offseason.

          • cliff henny

            fair enough, thanks. site has nice breakdown of 3-4, 4-3 defense avaliables. all those yrs n 4-3, really not familiar w/ 3-4 guys. figure just steal from seattle and pitts

  • jabostick

    For people who know more about defense than I do, those two blitzes that Sheil shows – are the LB’s (plus Allen on the first one) deciding after the snap who rushes or did the play call just work out that way? In other words, is it essentially a defensive version of the read option/package play where all 4 are called to blitz but only the one who’s unblocked continues and the other three drop?

    • Corey Dawson

      Logically, there’s a good chance that’s exactly what happens. If you get free, go for the QB, if you get a lineman to commit to you at the snap, then drop. You essentially take that lineman out of the blocking scheme wihtout him taking up a man like a reverse read option, just like you said. The real call could be who has the option on each play. In some calls it’s your two MLBs and your safety, some plays one of the OLBs could have it, like in the one where Cole drops but Ryans keeps rushing.
      The complicated part would come after that adjustment. Those linebackers that do have the drop option and end up dropping would have to look around, check who kept rushing and who took the drop option and choose which zone to cover from that so that they are double covering the same zone and leaving other stuff open. I imagine it’s always a zone coverage they’re dropping back into and never man, unless they drop back and spy the running back for a late release or the QB for a scramble and otherwise just cover the middle.

  • GEAGLE

    The defense really was very very good this week. some people will down play it by saying that refs let our CBs be physical, maybe….but those refs consistently let the Cowboys Oline get away with Murder…for all the penalties the cowboys were charged with, it should have been significantly more, and that’s a testament to how well our guys executed Billy and Azz’s game plan….while all 22 from the Dallas game defensively are nice to see, it was by far the best performance of the season, so I I would be far more interested in reading analysis on how the defense has played, improved/evolved in the past month from one game to the next…I have been really pleased with the gradual improvements we have showed this past month. Would love to read how other people see it….it would be more encouraging if we faced better quality offenses during that stretch, but we are at the ground floor right now…not only were we historically soft and pathetic last year, but now it’s all so different that we shouldn’t be scoffing at any success regardless of the opponent…
    ….
    What’s funny is going into this Giants game, I’m actually more concerned with the offense then I am with our defense…I have a feeling the defense will build off of last week and come to play with a big time performance this week. Giants have good WRs, but they don’t have the imposing physical freaks like Dez and Vjax, so I’m expecting this defense to have a big time showing this week and shut the midgets down…..as for the offense, I can count on shady bouncing back with a monster week, but everything else worries me….who would have ever thought that the defense was going to have to carry the offense in week 8? DEFENSE!!! DEFENSE!!! DEFENSE!!! This will be the best showing of the season…sacks, INTs, fumbles OH MY!!!

  • 1972

    Hey adam, no comments on this post???? This clearly shows we get better results blitzing and playing press man.

    • GEAGLE

      Give Romo his due. we played a QB that new his system well, was decisive with the ball, and got it out quickly, and we still managed to play him well and keep him off balance all game…Refs let the cowboys line get away with murder,,,really strong showing against this defense. It wouldn’t be a big deal if it were an isolated Incident but this defense has been steadily improving since the Giants game….and I have a feeling we shut down the Giants this week, and that our defense will out shine the offense this week in the first eagles home win in forever

      • anon

        yeah they looked TERRIBLE against the Vikings. Sadly the vikings looked like our eagles.

        I hope CK does a good job installing the offense this week. Vick got all his yards two weeks ago by running — not going to be an option this week.

        • Basscase

          It’s a division game – almost feel like division games are a different animal. Teams you expect to dominate sometimes squeak out a win, and close games can be blowouts.

          I fully expect CK to learn from the first game, but gotta be careful not to overlook the Giants in any way – I’m sure a # of them feel like they should’ve won the first game had they not turned the ball over so much (and, you know, actually adjusted to what was going on during the game).

      • Basscase

        Hope so. But I feel like teams are going to adjust and make them pay if the D keeps playing like this. One thing Dallas didn’t do is throw any kind of screen pass against the pressure – no way the other teams they play won’t try that in some form.

        Scheme is working in that it’s making up for deficiencies – if the OLine offers any kind of consistent protection against the blitz, look out.

        • GEAGLE

          Lucky for us, the Giants Oline is penetrate, especially with our Front 7 starting to come together
          .
          @ bass case is right. Division games don’t stick to the script, it’s completely a different beast that usually never goes the way you think it will go…which is why I. Always felt like it’s kind of 2 different seasons…there is the inner division season, and the outer division season…I like to think that games outside our division are a better measuring stick as to how we stack up with the rest of the league…….

          We play Dallas the last game of the season…no one can convince me that those dirty Bleeps are good enough to win two division dog fights against us!!!

          Anyone else hate how the NFL is booking division games against the same team so closely together…and it’s not Just with us…Denver and KC play two weeks apart….the fun with division games is you spread them out and they become two completely different teams playing later in the he year then the first time they played….we played the Giants a week ago, loses a lot of the he luster for me

          • Basscase

            Agreed on most of your post, but I know the NFL has done the “play the same team 2x in 3 weeks” thing before. Even back in 91 (or 92, I think) a game against Cleveland was sandwiched between Arizona games.

            Then again, I don’t pretend to understand the NFL’s scheduling process, like how the Eagles played like 4 teams coming off their bye last year.

    • cliff henny

      guarentee upvote from me when calling out someone who’s not even posted on board

      • 1972

        lol im just busting his chops a little. Adam wants us in a dime prevent every play

        • cliff henny

          there even enough cbs to play dime? know how reid was about linebackers, i’m getting that feeling on kelly about corners. mean, roc charmichael? who the heck is that guy?

          • 1972

            Good ol Roc came in and tackled a guy before the ball got there. So he pretty much followed the same style as the rest of the corners on the team lol

    • Richard Colton

      Give the guy a break, he’s on Eastern Canadian Time

      • Adam

        It’s actually Atlantic Canadian Time.. EST +1

    • Adam

      “The key to the success on these plays, per Barwin, was that Davis mixed it up, sometimes sending big blitzes and not dropping anyone.”

      ““There were times he showed blitz and didn’t blitz, and then there were other times when he came. I think that helped us in terms of the presentation. Anytime where it’s not a known, or, hey, they’re always doing this or doing that, I think it’s a good plan going in.”

      3 plays does not clearly show anything. There were many plays when the blitz failed and the Cowboys beat man coverage.

      • 1972

        blitzes fail, but at least try. I cant watch a slow death of dink and dunk because we don’t want anyone getting behind us. Take some chances!!! And we have over the past 3 games

  • septa_rida

    Next article – “state of the punting unit.” I can’t remember seeing so many punts in one game.

  • Ray

    Awesome coverage. Must-read each week.

  • Basscase

    Sheil, again good analysis, but a Q – how did the D look on the 2 scoring drives the Cowboys had? I know the D played well throughout the game (which in itself deserves a standing O), but I’d like to know what the Cowboys did then that differed from the times the Eagles DID stop them.

    I get the final scoring drive and how the team may have been deflated from only scoring a FG when a TD would’ve whipped the place into a frenzy…..but the opening drive of the 2nd half – what did they do there?

  • Jason

    I like Boykin, and I’m sure I will get down votes for this. But, if he knew he had inside help with Kendricks dropping, why was there such a big cushion to the outside?

    • 1972

      I thought that was wes welker out there in a dallas jersey. He was cooking boykin all game

      • Token

        Cant Johnson be our little shifty guy out of the slot?

  • Weapon Y

    I thought for sure CB would be the defensive spot to target in the draft. Sconce and Fletcher have done better than I expected. The OLBs are better in coverage than I thought, but far worse as pass rushers. If QB wasn’t such a priority, I’d say the Eagles need to go all in on OLBs on draft day. Meanwhile, Thornton sure looks like a diamond in the rough. I didn’t think much of him before the season, but he’s really impressed me.

    • 1972

      Why cant Barwin rush the qb??? he was a beast a few years back. I don’t get it.
      He doesn’t command a double team or anything

      • Token

        Hes just not good at it. Gets manhandled 1 on 1 consistently. The sacks he has this year came when nobody blocked him.