All-22: Diagnosing the Issues On Offense

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One of the fundamental principles of Chip Kelly’s scheme is to set the offense up to take advantage of one-on-one matchups.

There’s plenty of blame to spread around when it comes to reasons why the Eagles have managed just one field goal offensively in their last eight quarters. But one is the failure to capitalize and win those matchups. Read more »

All-22: State Of the Eagles’ Defense

Barwinb_All22_102413Back in the spring, new Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis was asked if he had spent time looking at Jim Johnson’s scheme and concepts.

“He had some great dynamic pressures, and I’ve studied a lot of them,” Davis said. “They were out-of-the-box thinking. But when you really break him down, it was more guys up in the A-gaps with the illusion of pressure than actual [sending] more than four rushers.

“There were times that he brought more. …But he did a great job of keeping offenses off-balance through both pressure, illusion of pressure and non-pressure. And you need all elements to attack an offense because there’s some times you pressure some of the stuff Coach [Chip Kelly] does, you’re going to get eaten alive.”

Davis’ comments serve as a good launching off point to examining what’s working well for the Eagles on defense. Last week, they were able to keep Tony Romo off-balance and free up rushers all game long, both with the blitz and the threat of the blitz. Read more »

All-22: Trent Cole, Reinvented

cole_940_100413Trent Cole used to pace around his locker stall like a mad man leading up to big games. If it was Dallas week or Giants week, the look in his eyes would get a little bit crazier, his voice more animated. One time a couple seasons back he was so hyped that he did an entire interview standing on a chair while talking nonsensically.

He would get wound up and wound up some more until the band was ready to snap, then would unleash it all on Sunday.

The 31-year-old has mellowed some of late. He’ll still get wild but not as often or to the level he used to. On this particular day he did the interview seated on his chair and speaking in a measured tone, even with the New York game fast approaching. Truth be told, his new position doesn’t require the bat-out-of-hell Trent Cole. Seek and destroy has been largely replaced by read and react. Read more »

All-22: The Struggles Of Nick Foles

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Anyone watching Sunday’s game could see that Nick Foles was off, to steal the term Chip Kelly used to describe his quarterback.

He overthrew receivers and undthrew receivers. Threw behind them in some instances and was too far out in front in others. Foles’ accuracy was quite possibly as bad as you’ll see from an NFL quarterback this year (11-for-29 for 80 yards overall).

But beyond the misses were the plays where Foles failed to see the entire field or simply hesitated to pull the trigger. Coming off a strong performance the week before against the Bucs, it’s difficult to come up with an explanation for why the second-year QB was so bad.
Read more »

All-22: The Art Of the Screen Play

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Brian Westbrook, one of the great screen running backs in the history of the league, continues to be a guiding voice in the ear of LeSean McCoy. It probably came as little surprise, then, that McCoy had a message waiting for him on his phone following the Tampa game on Sunday.

“He texted me after the game and said, ‘Come on, bro. You’re supposed to score on that play.’ ”

The play was a screen pass to McCoy on the Eagles’ first offensive snap of the game. Everything was perfect, from design to execution. What’s more, the Bucs were in the worst possible defense for this particular play call. The seas parted and McCoy was in the wide open field with blockers set up in front of him. He got 44. He could have had the whole thing.

“I should have scored,” McCoy admitted.

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a near-perfect screen play with the help of the players involved and the screen maestro himself, Westbrook. Read more »

All-22: How the Offense Operates With Foles

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All last week, Chip Kelly and his staff made one thing clear: The offense would not undergo a complete makeover with Nick Foles at quarterback instead of Michael Vick.

His argument didn’t seem all that convincing. After all, the two quarterbacks have different skill sets. Why not mold the offense to whichever guy was going to be on the field?

On Sunday, against the Bucs, we got a better idea of what Kelly meant. And for the most part, he was speaking the truth.

“We’d have played the game exactly the same way,” said offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. “We would have had all the same plays in the gameplan, and we would have called it exactly the same way with Mike.”

Several players backed up Shurmur’s words. The Eagles piled up 425 yards and scored 31 points in their victory over the Bucs. Foles completed 71 percent of his passes and averaged 9.5 yards per attempt, accounting for four touchdowns.

Without a quarterback who poses a true running threat and facing a defense that liked to employ a lot of zone, the Eagles still found ways to play option football and had success with packaged plays all day long at Raymond James Stadium. Read more »

Cheat Sheet: Eagles Offense Vs. Bucs’ D

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Here are 10 things to know about how the Eagles’ offense matches up with Tampa Bay’s defense.

1. Tampa’s 0-4 record has little to do with its defense. The Bucs rank third overall on D, according to Football Outsiders, and are eighth in scoring (17.5 PPG). They shut out the Cardinals for three quarters in their last game (two weeks ago) before allowing 13 fourth-quarter points. The only touchdown the Bucs allowed came when Arizona started a possession in the red zone following a Mike Glennon interception. The Eagles, meanwhile, rank fifth overall on offense, per Football Outsiders. They are eighth in scoring (27.0 PPG). In their last outing, the Eagles scored 36 points against the Giants, their highest output of the year. Chip Kelly has yet to rule Michael Vick out, but all signs point towards Nick Foles starting. Read more »

All-22: Will Run Game Change With Foles?

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Back in 2009, Chip Kelly was speaking at a coaches clinic about Oregon’s zone-read game, and he said something that applies to this weekend’s matchup with the Bucs.

“This may sound like a contradiction, but we do not read anything,” Kelly said. “When you read, you become uncertain. We want the ball in the running back’s hands. We do not want the quarterback carrying the ball. The option can put the ball in his hands, but the defense can force it out of his hands. We want the quarterback to give the ball unless he cannot.

“If the running back is continually getting tackled by the defensive end, the quarterback should be pulling the ball.”

Through four-and-a-half games, Michael Vick kept the ball on read-option plays eight times. But he made defenses pay when they didn’t account for him, picking up 122 yards (15.3 YPC).

Keeping that in mind, the big question this week is: How will the run game change if Nick Foles is the quarterback? Read more »

All-22: Kelly Unveils New Packaged Play

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Chip Kelly was asked earlier this week why he called a run play on 3rd-and-9 against the Giants.

“We thought it was a good play call at the time based on the defense they were deployed in,” Kelly said.

He was pressed further about the percentages of calling a run and converting in that situation.

“Not if people are playing man‑to‑man coverage and totally turning your back on what’s going on and you have no run support,” Kelly answered. “That is part of the thought process when you do that. If you’re going to just totally abandon and you catch people when they’re just totally trying to play the pass, a lot of people pop runs in those situations.”

The truth is Kelly didn’t call a straight-out run. Read more »

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