Zone Read: Eagles-Cardinals, the Day After

THAT’S WHAT HE SAID

“Those guys run about three or four plays in one play, and you just have to keep to your assignment and don’t let the play-fakes and motions confuse you.” – Tyrann Mathieu

The Cardinals’ rookie defensive back provided a pretty good description of Kelly’s offense. Give the quarterback plenty of options based on the look of the defense. Go back to the same concepts over and over, but dress them up differently. And try to put the defense in a bind.

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FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS

1. I’m looking forward to re-watching the game and seeing how the offensive line protected. Foles was definitely hit a lot (five sacks, seven QB hits), but the sense I got in the locker room was that the Eagles were willing to give the Cardinals credit on many of those.

“They are very, very solid,” said guard Evan Mathis. “A lot of good players in a tremendous scheme. They were able to figure out what we were doing a lot, and we had to fight against that. It was an uphill battle.

“We had some breakdowns. I don’t think it was a ton. We wanted to be flawless. We want it to be he’s never on the ground, never sacked. …But there were a couple breakdowns. That’s a very good defense and hats off to them for playing a very good game.”

2. The Cardinals entered the game allowing 83.6 yards per game to opposing tight ends, second-most in the league according to Football Outsiders. So put this one down in the “should have seen it coming” category. Ertz and Brent Celek combined for nine catches, 97 yards and three touchdowns on 12 targets.

We know Kelly really likes tight ends because of their versatility. The funny thing after the game was that players gave different answers when asked about the specific matchup advantages.

“We saw a lot of man-to-man coverage from the safety,” Ertz said.

But Foles disagreed.

“I felt like we had good matchups with our tight ends against [Arizona’s] linebackers,” he said.

We’ll go back and look at the tape to see if the catches came against safeties or linebackers. But the varying responses are a good example of why Kelly likes tight ends in the first place. He’s said all along: size advantage vs. safeties and athleticism advantage vs. linebackers.

3. The senseless debate over what’s better – a pocket passer or a mobile QB – continues to rage on. I’ve said all along that it’s not an either/or proposition. If a QB can’t pass the ball, he’s not going to be successful regardless. But if he can pass the ball and has athleticism, that’s a plus.

Having said that, Eagles defenders clearly didn’t mind going up against a classic dropback QB after weeks of chasing down more athletic signal-callers.

“We understood that Carson was a pocket passer,” Williams said. “He was a guy that wasn’t gonna get outside of the pocket. He wanted to step in. We made the pocket a little tight for him.”

I asked Barwin if it was nice to not have to face a mobile QB this week.

“It’s real nice to know where a guy’s gonna be,” he said. “It’s real nice. He takes a step back and he steps up. It’s really nice to play against guys like that.”

4. Nate Allen came up with an interception in the first quarter for the Eagles’ second takeaway. The Eagles’ safety continues to play the best football of his career.

“He’s one of the hardest workers in the building,” Davis said. “It means a lot to him. I think he’s highly motivated because he hasn’t had the success, and everyone’s been on him for a couple years here. Everybody wanted him to be Brian Dawkins. And now I think everyone’s letting him be Nate Allen. He’s not Brian Dawkins. He’s Nate Allen. And he’s gonna make his plays his way and do it his way, and he’s a good solid safety for us.”

5. Introducing a new feature here titled: Why my job is weird.

The Eagles open up the locker room after practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Players stroll in and out, grabbing food, heading into the lounge, showering, etc. Sometimes you can interview a player before he heads in to shower. Other times, you have to wait until they come out.

Last week, I wanted to chat with Jason Peters. But the Eagles’ left tackle had just showered and was getting dressed. I figured I’d wait for him to put some clothes on before walking over. I BS’d with some other reporters for a few minutes, turned around to check on his status and found he had already left the locker room.

Waiting for a guy to put some pants on had limited my ability to do my job. How many of you can say you run into similar issues in your workplace?

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