Eagles All-22 Wake-Up Call: O-Line Inconsistency

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The offensive line was rolling. They paved the way for a rushing attack that gained more than 150 yards in four straight weeks — the first time the Eagles did so since 1992 — and provided sound pass protection.

Before Sunday, the Dolphins ranked second-to-last in run defense (allowing 142 yards per game), leading many people to believe the Eagles would dominate the ground game.

However, the opposite happened on Sunday, and Philadelphia averaged just 2.3 yards per carry in their 20-19 loss. Miami recorded four sacks, nine tackles-for-loss and 10 quarterback hits. Sam Bradford constantly took shots from the Dolphins’ defensive line, and he eventually suffered both a concussion and an injured left shoulder in the third quarter.

“We’re frustrated,” Jason Kelce said. “I think we let a game get away from us, and I think everybody knows that. Offensively, we had so many opportunities, and let every single one of them slip through our fingers, it seems like. But I think everyone else knows that we can improve, and if we can eliminate these self-inflicting things, we can still be a dynamic offense.” Read more »

Eagles All-22 Wake-Up Call: Secondary Concerns

Nolan Carroll and Dez Bryant. (USA Today Sports)

Nolan Carroll and Dez Bryant. (USA Today Sports)

Despite the Eagles’ win Sunday night, their pass defense had one of its worst games of the season. They gave up season-highs in opponent passer rating (105) and touchdowns through the air (three), and Matt Cassel had his best game as a Cowboy.

Both Cole Beasley and Dez Bryant surpassed 100 receiving yards while reaching the end zone, and their quarterback averaged 7.9 passing yards per attempt.

“[Beasley] is a tough matchup for a lot of people because he’s so good at getting in and out of breaks,” Chip Kelly said. “The tough matchup is that is that they also have [Jason] Witten and they also have Dez at full speed, so who are you going to double?

“You can’t double three of them; if you do, you don’t have enough guys. Sometimes they caught us when we were doubling Witten or Dez, and now Beasley is in a one-on-one. That’s what happens when you have three really good weapons in their offense.”

The Eagles did have their bright spots in coverage, however, including Jordan Hicks’ pick-six. Byron Maxwell also continued his improvement and turned in another good performance, while the pass rush disrupted Cassel or brought him down several times.

But between Philadelphia’s struggles on Sunday and Hicks’ season-ending injury, how much concern should there be about the Eagles’ defense going forward? We turned to the tape to find out. Read more »

All-22: The Offensive Line’s Transformation

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles’ offensive line couldn’t have played much worse against the Cowboys in Week 2. They gave up so much penetration that the team totaled just seven rushing yards, averaging 0.4 yards per carry. If not for Sam Bradford’s 9-yard scramble, they would’ve finished in the negative.

Down two starters (Jason Peters and Andrew Gardner) heading into their rematch against Dallas Sunday night, the offensive line appeared poised for another poor performance.

What followed surprised many, however, as they paved the way for a dominant performance on the ground. The Eagles rushed for 172 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, and won largely because of how well they ran the ball. Read more »

All-22: Lessons From the First Dallas Game

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles’ players and coaches have been candid about one thing all week: they don’t like turning on the tape from their Week 2 loss to the Cowboys.

“It was bad,” Sam Bradford said Wednesday. “I think we’ve come a long way from that game. So many negative plays in that game that just put us behind. We struggled to establish any sort of rhythm.”

The Eagles totaled 226 yards on offense (including just seven rushing yards), gave up a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and gave the ball back to Dallas after forcing two turnovers. Read more »

All-22: What To Expect From Kiko Alonso

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Back in September — with the preseason complete and the Atlanta game just days away — uncertainty surrounded the Eagles. One thing that was clear, however, was the Eagles’ inside linebacker rotation.

“Obviously, we’re going to feature Mychal [Kendricks] and DeMeco [Ryans] and Kiko [Alonso],” Chip Kelly said.

But that plan was quickly thrown out of the window when both Alonso and Kendricks were hurt against Dallas in Week 2. Alonso hasn’t played a snap since, and Kendricks has missed more games than he’s played. Read more »

All-22: Kendricks, Smith And the Run Defense

Mychal Kendricks. (USA Today Sports)

Mychal Kendricks. (USA Today Sports)

The Panthers ran the ball 33 times against the Eagles Sunday night, which wasn’t surprising as Carolina entered the game first in the NFL with 33 carries per game. What was surprising was their 204 rushing yards on 6.2 yards per carry.

“We knew going in [they’d run so much],” Chip Kelly said Monday. “I know Jonathan [Stewart] really well; I coached him in college. He ran for 1,700 [yards his junior year]. And I said it before, we knew, number one, he’s tough to bring down and number two, he’s a lot faster than I think people give him credit for. He’s a 250-pound back, but he can pick them up and put them down.”

Before Sunday, the Eagles appeared more than capable of stopping the Panthers’ rushing attack. They ranked first in the NFL in rushing touchdowns allowed (1) and second in opponent yards per carry (3.5).

Carolina, on the other hand, didn’t run the ball that well as they ranked around the league average with 4.1 yards per rush. What killed the Eagles, however, was a 43-yard end around and a 36-yard counter. Read more »

All-22: Eagles Failing To Capitalize On Turnovers

DeMarco Murray. (USA Today Sports)

DeMarco Murray. (USA Today Sports)

After the Atlanta game, amid all of the ups and down the Eagles have encountered in this rollercoaster ride of a season, there has been one constant: the defense has put them in a position to win games.

According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles rank first in the NFL in turnovers forced per drive, at 21.8 percent. That was evident against the Panthers, as they intercepted Cam Newton three times, even though he only threw four picks in the previous five games.

“Our defense did a good job of creating turnovers for us but we have to turn those in to seven [points] and not three,” Chip Kelly said. “We talk about response after turnovers and we end of up kicking two field goals.” Read more »

All-22: Why Sam Bradford Isn’t Playing Well

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

After struggling in his first three games while throwing more interceptions than touchdown passes, Sam Bradford finally showed why Chip Kelly traded for him. Against Washington, he tallied three touchdowns, 270 yards and a 122.6 passer rating.

Since then, however, his performance has declined each week, bottoming out with three interceptions against the Giants. After the game Monday night, Bradford was asked if he was happy with his performance.

“No, no. It’s not even a question,” he said. “It was just inconsistent, missing throws. There was some good, there was some bad. But I know for us to be where we want to be, I have to play much better.” Read more »

All-22: How the Eagles Limited Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham Jr. (USA Today Sports)

Odell Beckham Jr. (USA Today Sports)

The first drive of the game Monday night couldn’t have gone much better for the Giants. They traveled 80 yards in eight plays and finished it with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham Jr.

Manning completed all five of his passes to four different receivers for 59 yards.

The Eagles answered by going three-and-out, before the Giants again drove the ball into field goal range. Then, DeMeco Ryans intercepted Manning, and New York went scoreless the rest of the game.

“I love the way our guys respond, to be honest with you,” Bill Davis said. “I’ve been a lot of places where those miscommunications happen and people turn on each other and there’s a huge argument, and our guys are really together.

“It’s a tight unit because they knew a mistake was made and they were real mad that a touchdown happened. We got to the sideline, we solved it and it didn’t happen again, and it won’t happen again. But, it’s really a testament to the camaraderie we have and the chemistry we have on defense right now.” Read more »

All-22: Return Of the X-Plays

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Through the first four weeks of the season, the Eagles’ defense allowed less than three X-plays — completions of at least 20 yards — per game. Despite their four takeaways and rigid red zone defense, however, they gave up seven such passes against the Saints.

“We were real excited because we had finally made the top five of the positive in X-plays, and we were excited about [how] we were correcting that and going in the right direction,” Bill Davis said. “And then boom, here it comes.” Read more »

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