The Matchup: Eagles Vs. Cardinals

FIVE LEFTOVERS

1. According to PFF, Connor Barwin has batted six passes down at the line of scrimmage this year. That’s tied for most in the league among outside linebackers and defensive linemen. I asked him this week when he stops his rush and decides to get his hands up.




"You don’t even necessarily stop your rush," Barwin said. "You continue rushing, but in Houston... there was a focus on seeing the quarterback as you pass-rush. Some guys focus on the guy blocking them. But I try to see through the blocker and see the quarterback. And as soon as I see, no matter where I’m at, in the middle of the rush, stuck at the line, almost about to drop in coverage, if I start to see the quarterback release, I instinctually get my hands up. And this year I’ve been able to get my hands on quite a number of them. Now I’ve just gotta work on catching one of those suckers."

Barwin added that his basketball background helps too. The Texans' coaching staff used to preach that a batted ball was almost like a sack. Barwin said Eagles coaches have been emphasizing batted passes as well.

2. Jason Peters doesn't like talking about injuries. That's something he has in common with his head coach. The Eagles' veteran left tackle has started every game this season, but has dealt with a quad injury, a head injury, a pectoral injury, a shoulder injury and a finger injury.

All of this comes after he injured and then re-injured his Achilles' prior to the 2012 season.

"It’s a great time," Peters said when asked about the bye coming in Week 12. "Later in the year, you always want to recover. ...So it felt good to get away for a couple days."

After fielding multiple questions about his injuries though, Peters cut the interview short.

"I’m not finnin to sit here and talk to you about some injuries," Peters said. "I play every Sunday, and I’m gonna play every Sunday until the end of the year and get ready for the playoffs when we make it."

3. The Eagles have only had one player - Earl Wolff - missing from practice this week due to injury. It's great news for the team that it's healthy going into the stretch run.

But before we give full credit to the smoothies, sleep and hydration, let's remember that teams typically get healthy during the bye week. This nugget comes from friend of the blog and Knower Of All Things Sam Lynch: The Eagles have had two players or fewer listed as out/doubtful/questionable in the game following the bye week every year since 2008.

In other words, the extra rest helps with bumps, bruises and nagging injuries pretty much every year.

Meanwhile, Barwin has played 103 snaps more than any other 3-4 outside linebacker in the league. I asked him if there's a psychological effect to the sports science emphasis.

"There probably is," he said. "There could be a little bit of that. And that never hurts for sure. I remember in college [then Cincinnati coach] Brian Kelly was always great for making you think that you were in better shape or always healthy. I don’t know if we necessarily always were, but we always felt like we were. And I think that helps."

4. The Eagles face a couple big receivers this week in Larry Fitzgerald (6-3, 218) and Michael Floyd (6-2, 220). I asked Billy Davis how he teaches his corners to look back for the ball when they're face-guarding receivers downfield.

"A lot of that we talk about is the body language of the receiver," he said. "Two things. The receiver is always going to go exactly where the ball is thrown. You don't have to look back for the ball. The receiver's going to go to that ball. When the receiver's at the ball, he has some non‑verbal tips. His eyes widen, his hands start moving. That's when you look back and try to locate the ball.

"But you only locate the ball when you're in a position to actually touch him. Because you know he's going to be where the ball is.  If you can't touch him, you can't touch the ball either. If you're in that position, and you see the body language tips, you turn and play the ball. You have to turn back and try to find it or you get to face guarding [penalty]."

5. During last week's Patriots-Broncos matchup, the announcers mentioned how Bill Belichick prefers left-footed punters. Based on his actions this year, Kelly might be the same way. The current punter is Donnie Jones, and the Eagles had lefty Brad Wing in camp.

"I couldn’t speak from experience because I never catch ‘em, I just kick ‘em," Jones said. "But I’ve heard that the spin’s different. And for awhile the majority of guys in the league were right-footed."

Jones said neither Kelly nor special-teams coach Dave Fipp have mentioned anything to him about the advantage of being left-footed. But he noted that it's common for teams (like the Redskins) to bring in left-footed punters to practice before facing the Eagles.

"I don’t know if that’s just a personal preference or they really feel the spin’s that much different," Jones said. "I know over the years certain guys have had trouble fielding balls, but I think it could go the other way too if a guy’s used to maybe catching left-footed, the right foot is gonna look different."

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  • Adam

    Their defense has some holes in pass coverage that Foles is going to need to exploit to open up the run game for Shady. Yeremiah Bell and Jerraud Powers have struggled this year.

    I think the fact that we have fresh legs coming into this against an older team is huge. i think Chip and Davis will be able to scheme up some stuff to exploit this teams weaknesses (holes in the secondary, old and leaky OL, QB that doesn’t deal well with interior pressure).

    Big statement game and I feel good about it.

    • GEAGLE

      Cardinals have been really poor at defending TEs all year…hopefully Ertz has a big day and Celek didn’t use up all his turbo boosters against washington

  • BlindChow

    “I know over the years certain guys have had trouble fielding balls, but
    I think it could go the other way too if a guy’s used to maybe catching
    left-footed, the right foot is gonna look different.”

    Maybe that’s why Damaris muffed his punt earlier this year…

    • Carolina boy

      That’s why the patriots prefer a left footed kicker

    • Andy124

      Wait, who muffed that punt when Reid decided we didn’t need Mahe and what foot was that punter kicking with? Dundun duuuuunnnn

  • Carolina boy

    I’m hoping since we just coming off a bye that we go in that super fast pace that we showed in the redskins game to work against them blitz packages but we must get turnovers in this game
    ####FlyEaglesFly

  • Eneagled

    I’d like to see that beautiful screen play to Celek again. AZ will be ready, and jump all over it… but wait, Foles pump fakes to Celek and then passes short right to a wide open LJ, 15 yds and a crushed DB later they’ll be wondering what hit them.
    *I didn’t look at the closely at the aformentioned play to determine if this is possible

  • Brandon Boykin, OLB

    1) I love that to this day Sheil says things like “Bennie Logan has provided a boost at nose tackle over Isaac Sopoaga.”
    It’s like a constant reminder that the Sop trade was not boneheaded, as the Gregg Easterbrooks of the world would lead you to believe. Also, it says “Hey! The Eagles draft better than years past!”

    2) They interviewed the punter. The punter. Birds 24/7 FTW.

    • Justin

      You know, you mentioned the interview with the punter and I was like “What? I don’t see that”, and then I saw there were myltiple pages. HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON?

      • Brandon Boykin, OLB

        I just picked up on it recently. For my own sanity I try not to wonder about how long it has been happening.

        • nicksaenz1

          Hasn’t been long. You’re not insane. I’d say this is the 3rd, maybe 4th week of 24/7 using it.

      • PaoliBulldog

        Not too long, couple of weeks at most.

      • Adam

        It tricked me too for the first week or so. It’s just best not to think about it. I’d say it’s to give them more page views. No problem with this as long as they don’t go bleacher report style on us!

  • G_WallyHunter

    I don’t wish injury upon anyone, but Ellington has his knee wrapped, injured in practice yesterday.
    wahoo

    • TNA

      He’s officially listed as Questionable…

      • G_WallyHunter

        update: didn’t practice today, yippeeee

        • GEAGLE

          He don’t scare me anyway..he a good Recieving Back, but Mykal Kendricks gonna have a big game

          • G_WallyHunter

            Ya, whether he scares or not, rather stepfan taylor than him.
            Wish it was Floyd instead that banged up his knee, of course

          • GEAGLE

            I want Patterson to go down…if he plays offense Chung better murder him

          • MildEagsFan

            FLOYD IS GONNA TORCHHHHHH YA FEEL DAT G

    • #7

      Ellington is no one to be scared of anyway

      • G_WallyHunter

        Hey if Eagles just have to stop Mendy then good. Ellington is shifty as fack, even tho Eags run D has been great, not a huge concern. Obviously more concerned about Fitz and Floyd

        • #7

          Fitz had destroyed us in recent years, but I like our corners. I’m concerned about Foles. The Cards have a very good defense. People say on here that they have holes at corner, but I disagree. Peterson is a top 5 corner and Badger makes big plays. Arians is a great coach and has them playing tough football. I wanted him as our HC. Wasn’t sure about Chip at the time.

  • PaoliBulldog

    Here’s a recent article that lends credence to the left footed punter theory:

    http://goo.gl/5PHmwS

    I always wondered how much of an adjustment receivers had to make for a left handed QB, but I never thought about returners adjusting to a left footed punter.

    Also, as an aside, I found this article about a punting guru who has worked with Donnie Jones (has nothing to do with left footedness):

    http://goo.gl/LrxkGB

  • PaoliBulldog

    I suppose that if the NFL lasts another 25 years (heh), it will be novel to have a right footed punter.

    Or maybe Kickalicious will learn to punt ambidextrously and go left-right-left-right on successive attempts.

  • PaoliBulldog

    One final thought — I wonder if a left handed punt returner would have fewer problems fielding left footed punts?

    • Adam

      That’s what I’m thinking, but I also wonder the effects of whether the stadium runs East-West or North-South? Below or above the Mason-Dixon line?

      • PaoliBulldog

        Northern hemisphere or southern? Wind direction? Sunspot activity?

  • Cyrus Robinson

    I find it interesting that online, you’ll see some people say “Nick Foles sucks and Dallas is the REAL Nick Foles! The other games are an anomaly!” Besides completely disregarding the statistical validity of using one point versus 5, Foles has been historically good INCLUDING that terrible stinker of a game. I think that says something. When you play the worst game of your career in a stretch of games and that stretch of games is considered historically good, you’re doing something right!!

    • Adam

      How does Nick Foles redeem himself for that performance?

      It’s simple… we kill the Cowgirls

      • GEAGLE

        Nick is gutting those cow sissies regardless. I can’t wait to play them again…Fraud ass team….why couldn’t romo throw 7 TDs with Dez Bryant and Witten against a raiders defense? I want to wat FOles gut them sooooo bad!!! Can’t wait

      • GEAGLE

        Expecting FOles to gut them

  • GEAGLE

    If Cox,Barwin and Cole play how the played against Washington, we will put a beating on this team

  • BlindChow

    Fitzgerald’s history against the Eagles means little this time around. Different schemes (offensively and defensively), different players on both teams (except Nate Allen!), even Fitzgerald’s age (though that could be weighted either for/against, depending on whether the experience he’s gained outweighs the wear as he’s gotten older).

    There is just too much difference between this team and the Eagles teams he’s faced before for those stats to be relevant.