All-22: Why Fletcher Cox Is So Dominant

Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)

Fletcher Cox. (Jeff Fusco)

Billy Davis is a bit worried, and it’s not difficult to understand why.

Metrics traditionally used to evaluate pass-rushers and run-stoppers don’t reflect that well on Fletcher Cox, who doesn’t rank in the top-20 in the NFL in sacks or in the top-50 in tackles-for-loss.

The defensive end is tied for sixth in forced fumbles, but so are 20 other players around the league. His impact is clear and indisputable to those who watch him, but the problem with his Pro Bowl candidacy is most people don’t see his film.

“He’s not overlooked by his peers. The players will vote him in and the coaches will vote him in. Anybody that puts a tape on or has gone against him, that’s a no-brainer. They will vote him in,” Davis said. “The problem lies in the fan vote and that’s what we have to help Fletch with is getting that fan vote up. People look at stats and say, ‘Hey, let me vote on a guy with stats.’ If you played against [Cox], you’re going to vote for him. If you coached against him, you’re going to vote for him. Now we’ve just got to get the fans out there to vote for him.” Read more »

Eagles All-22 Wake-Up Call: Bradford’s Growth

Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

Pat Shurmur seemed as though he wanted to get something off of his chest. The normally hushed offensive coordinator was asked about his quarterback’s pocket movement to open his press conference yesterday, and he responded with a 171-word breakdown of Sam Bradford, without really addressing footwork.

“His overall play has improved each week,” Shurmur said. “I certainly expected it. I’m starting to see the things in him that I remember seeing when he was a rookie. It takes a while to come back from what he went through (tearing his ACL twice), and he’s getting more and more used to the way we’re doing things.

“Certainly, it was easy to connect the dots when he first got here, and he was very well aware of what we try to do offensively. But it just takes a little bit of time. Much like an offensive line working together, the quarterback with everything that he has on his plate along with getting himself really physically ready to handle it all, it just kind of takes a little bit of time. I think we didn’t know what to expect as we moved along.

“Certainly, expectations are high whenever you’re talking about an NFL football team and an NFL football player. But we just saw him getting better each day, and I think it’s showing on Sunday.” Read more »

All-22: Inside Agholor’s First-Career Touchdown

Josh Huff and Nelson Agholor. (Jeff Fusco)

Josh Huff and Nelson Agholor. (Jeff Fusco)

Dennis Kelly put the Eagles in a huge hole. After Jason Peters exited Philadelphia’s game against Buffalo with an ankle injury, Kelly was called for holding on his first two snaps.

The Eagles were 0-for-12 in converting first downs when facing third-and-16 or longer, so they needed at least a dozen or so yards on second-and-26. Instead, Sam Bradford launched a bomb to Nelson Agholor, who hauled in a 53-yard touchdown catch for the first score of his career.

“It felt great, obviously, because it was a play that helped us out. It was not a touchdown just because; it was a touchdown that put us in position to make other plays,” Agholor said. “It meant a lot to score a touchdown in the situation I did, and for my teammates. You’ve got to think about it, the series, we kind of got pushed back a little bit and we needed to make a play and we did.” Read more »

All-22: How Murray Compares To McCoy

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Chip Kelly stood before reporters at the NovaCare Complex yesterday defending a trade he made back in March.

The deal — sending LeSean McCoy to Buffalo in exchange for Kiko Alonso — couldn’t have turned out much worse for the Eagles so far. Out of 46 running backs who have the qualified number of carries, McCoy ranks 12th in yards per rush this season, while Alonso has battled injuries and struggled.

“I think we did the right thing at the time,” Kelly said yesterday. “We traded an outstanding running back for a linebacker. But we also traded $700,000 for $11.9 million. I think with all of those situations, there’s money involved. One of the things we had was, we had a lot of players who were older and at the ends of their contracts that were making big money.” Read more »

All-22: How Billy Davis Confused Tom Brady

Billy Davis. (Jeff Fusco)

Billy Davis. (Jeff Fusco)

It was a laughing matter. Literally.

Tim and I explained in last week’s Press Coverage how the Eagles would need to generate a good pass rush and force turnovers against Tom Brady to pull off the unlikely upset over the Patriots. How unlikely? We treated it more as a joke than as something that could actually happen.

But Billy Davis’ unit, after allowing 90 points in the previous two weeks, helped do just that as their four sacks and two interceptions played a pivotal role in Philadelphia’s 35-28 win.

“It’s a tough place to go in,” Davis said. “First of all, I thought the players did a great job. They showed a lot of character, being in the hole we were in the last two weeks and them fighting through it and having that challenge of going in there to beat Brady and Coach [Bill] Belichick in Foxborough is a big deal.

“A big part of it was the three- and four-man rush winning there and the cover guys just holding. We knew we were going to get our share of their passing game. That’s what they do and that’s what their strength is. In the last couple weeks, we were not having much success in that area and the guys stepped up and made a lot of plays.” Read more »

All-22: How Lane Johnson Projects At Left Tackle

Lane Johnson. (USA Today Sports)

Lane Johnson. (USA Today Sports)

After allowing 90 points in five days, the focus on the Eagles understandably shifted to the defense. Despite an outstanding start to the season, Billy Davis’ unit now ranks 20th in the NFL in points per drive.

However, the increased scrutiny of the defense has taken attention away from an equally problematic unit: the offensive line. In the last three weeks, the Eagles have allowed 13 sacks and 27 quarterback hits. They’ve also averaged just 3.2 yards per carry.

“Obviously, we’ve played really, really poorly the last few weeks,” Jason Kelce said. Read more »

All-22: The Good (And Bad) Of Eric Rowe

Eric Rowe and Calvin Johnson. (USA Today Sports)

Eric Rowe and Calvin Johnson. (USA Today Sports)

After Nolan Carroll broke his right ankle on Thanksgiving, Eric Rowe stepped onto Ford Field and didn’t quite believe his eyes. Opposite of the rookie, on just his second snap, was Calvin Johnson.

“It was kind of surreal because I’m like, ‘This is Calvin Johnson, one of the greatest,'” Rowe said.

The safety-turned-corner played 52 snaps in the Eagles’ 45-14 loss, including 14 against Johnson in which he allowed four catches and two touchdown passes. In a game where the Eagles gave up 45 points and five touchdown passes for the second consecutive week, Billy Davis had to insert the second round pick at outside corner. Read more »

All-22: Sanchez’s Interceptions, Receiver Rotation

Mark Sanchez. (Jeff Fusco)

Mark Sanchez. (Jeff Fusco)

It felt like the aftermath of the Dallas game all over again. Lavonte David, who had just intercepted Mark Sanchez twice on Sunday, explained that his pick-six was a result of the Eagles predictability problem.

“It was just play recognition,” David told NJ Advance Media in the Buccaneers locker room. “I knew exactly what they wanted to do. It’s the same thing they were doing all game. I knew that on the drive before they were hitting us a lot with screen passes. So, knowing that, all I needed to do was read and react.

“When I saw the alignment coming out … [Darren] Sproles came out earlier and the alignment came out after. I was able to get a beat on the ball and was able to jump the route.” Read more »

Eagles All-22 Wake-Up Call: Declining Defense

Billy Davis. (Jeff Fusco)

Billy Davis. (Jeff Fusco)

Surrounded by a horde of reporters in the Eagles locker room, Billy Davis took full responsibility. Just minutes prior, his defense allowed 45 points and 521 total yards to a previously below-.500 Buccaneers team.

Tampa Bay broke several records at The Linc, including the franchise mark for number of players (five) to catch a touchdown pass. They also became the first road team in NFL history to have a quarterback throw five touchdown passes and a running back to rush for at least 200 yards.

“I didn’t see this one coming,” Davis said. “We didn’t do anything well today starting with coaching. We didn’t stop the run and we gave up five touchdown passes. There are no excuses for anybody. It was an awful day.” Read more »

All-22: Twists And Turns In the Passing Game

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Brent Celek. (Jeff Fusco)

Prior to the Eagles game Sunday against the Dolphins, many expected them to use a run-heavy offense and exploit the NFL’s second-to-worst run defense. But then they averaged just 2.3 yards per carry against Miami, so it wasn’t surprising they threw the ball 48 times compared to 36 rushes.

However, even before their struggles against Miami on the ground, they relied on the pass to move the ball down the field, throwing for nearly 400 yards (although -39 sack yards hurt their total number of passing yards). They utilized their tight ends in particular as Brent Celek accumulated 134 receiving yards, his highest total since 2012 and the third-most of his career, while Zach Ertz added seven catches for 68 receiving yards.

“We just thought those match-ups for us were something we felt like going into the game [with],” Chip Kelly said. “We run the ball a lot with Brent when Brent is in there, so obviously we felt like in play-action pass, we could exploit some things there, and I thought Brent did a really nice job with it.

“They made some adjustments and played a little bit more man coverage than zone coverage to kind of take some of that stuff away, but we felt like those match-ups on the inside with their linebackers and safeties were to our advantage with our tight ends.” Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »