Zone Read: Eagles-Packers, the Day After

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CAN SOMEONE PLEASE EXPLAIN…

1. Why the Eagles didn’t challenge the 36-yard completion to Jarrett Boykin in the first half?

Boykin made the reception near the right sideline against Cary Williams. But replays showed pretty clearly that he only got one foot down before his hand landed out of bounds. That was a third-down play (3rd-and-9), and even though the Packers would have gotten to replay the down because of an offsides penalty, the Eagles had plenty to gain from a challenge.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is in charge of advising Kelly on when to throw the red flag. He sees the same replays the public sees on TV. And it seemed like Shurmur had plenty of time to tell Kelly to throw the flag. But he didn’t do so.

In the end, it didn’t turn out to be a big deal, but with a head coach constantly seeking out new ways to give his team a competitive advantage, Kelly may want to revisit his process for deciding when to challenge calls.

2. Why anyone ever doubted that Colt Anderson knew what he was doing?

Anderson is Mr. Special Teams. But his actions in the third quarter created some confusion. The Packers punted the ball, and it hit one of their players at the Eagles’ 16 before rolling toward the end zone.

Anderson tried to pick the ball up, but then lost possession. Did Mr. Special Teams just make a massive error?

The answer, of course, was no. Once the punting team touches the ball, the receiving team can basically do whatever it wants (barring committing a penalty) without risk. Once Anderson saw that the ball was touched at the 16, he figured he might as well try to pick it up and advance it. Best-case scenario: He runs it past the 16, and the Eagles get better field position.

Worst-case scenario: The Eagles get the ball at the 16. Even if Anderson ran 30 yards and then fumbled, it wouldn’t have mattered. The Eagles would have still gotten the ball at the 16. That’s why he picked it up.

The officials called it “illegal touching” on Green Bay. That doesn’t mean it’s a penalty. It just means a player from the punting team touched the ball before a player from the receiving team.

Got it? Any questions, contact Dave Fipp.

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THE NO-22

The Packers put together one of their better drives of the day at the end of the first quarter. They drove from their own 4 to the Eagles’ 5 and faced a 3rd-and-3.

But a mistake by third-string QB Scott Tolzien left them with no points to show for their efforts. Tolzien was looking for Jordy Nelson, who was matched up against Brandon Boykin in the slot.

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“Jordy did a 7-route, and I knew that with this new quarterback coming in that the timing would probably be quick,” Boykin said. “Everything would have to be quick.”

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Boykin was in man coverage, and Nelson had some space between him and the sideline. You can see that Patrick Chung, who was blitzing, did a good job of timing his jump and nearly batted the ball at the line of scrimmage.

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The pass had to be towards the sideline where Nelson could go get it.

“As he turned for the 7-route, I turned my head trying to undercut it,” Boykin said. “I was able to get my hands on it.”

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Nice play by Boykin, but the throw was behind Nelson. You can see here he’s turning back for it. Ideally (from a Packers perspective), he’d catch it in stride going towards the sideline, and Boykin would have no shot.

As it turned out, Boykin made the pick and returned it 76 yards before being forced out of bounds.

“I’m a little bit disappointed I wasn’t able to score, but big stop in the red zone, so it was good,” he said.

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THE NUMBER THAT MATTERS

4 – The number of sacks Vinny Curry has on the season. Granted, it’s not a huge number, but it leads the team.

The kicker, though, is this: Curry had only played 19 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps going into yesterday’s game. I understand why he hasn’t played more. The Eagles want to be a team that consistently stops the run, and that starts with defensive linemen two-gapping up front.

But this defense also lacks a prolific pass-rush. Given that we’re 10 games in and the personnel isn’t going to change, Curry needs to see the field more. If he looks like a major liability against the run, fine. Remove him at that point. But give him more opportunities to get after the quarterback. The benefits could very well be worth it.

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