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 »

All-22: Why the Run Game Struggled

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Through four games, Jason Kelce had established himself as one of the Eagles’ most reliable offensive linemen.

He showed no ill effects from the knee injury that sidelined him for the final 14 weeks of 2012. He did a good job of setting protections, held his own against interior pass-rushers and excelled in the run game, often showing off his athleticism at the second and third levels.

So it might come as a bit of a surprise to learn that Kelce’s play was the biggest factor in the run-game struggles Sunday vs. the Giants.

“The biggest flaw in the second half was myself and the nose guard,” Kelce said. “I really don’t think it correlated to [Michael] Vick or [Nick] Foles being in the game.” Read more »

All-22: The State Of the Eagles’ Defense

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On Monday morning, Earl Wolff woke up, got something to eat and turned on the tape.

He had made his first NFL start about 20 hours earlier in Denver, going up against Peyton Manning and a potent Broncos attack. Even though the Eagles suffered a 32-point loss, there were plenty of lessons to be gained for the rookie safety.

“As soon as I woke up, I ate breakfast, watched the game, went back through a lot of plays,” Wolff said. “I watched it about two or three times. I watched every play about three times and just was trying to figure out what I can do better in certain situations.”

Wolff is not hiding. Did he make his share of mistakes? Absolutely. But he holds himself accountable and is confident he’ll get better each week. Read more »

All-22: Diagnosing Passing Game Issues

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Chip Kelly thinks the Eagles are close – on offense, that is.

He sees minor tweaks, not dramatic changes – a penalty here, a drop there, a couple missed blocking assignments. Kelly calls them SIWs, or self-inflicted wounds. And they are holding the offense back from being one of the most explosive units in the league, he says.

The numbers, to a large degree, back up Kelly’s argument. The Eagles rank second in yards per game (458.8), and Football Outsiders has their offense ranked fifth (first in rushing, 15th in passing). The problem? The Eagles are 12th in scoring at 24.8 points per game.

The running game has been prolific. The Eagles are averaging 198.2 yards per game and 6.1 yards-per-carry. Both are tops in the NFL.

But the passing game has lacked consistency. Below is a look at what’s happening when Michael Vick drops back, along with some thoughts on what’s correctable and what’s not. Read more »

“Old Bull” Herremans Opens Up About Play, Injury

Todd Herremans 1Todd Herremans’ voice barely rose above a whisper. In the wake of a 26-16 loss to his old coach, on a night where the veteran struggled badly, Herremans stood in front of his locker — the hood of his sweatshirt pulled tightly around his face — answering reporters’ question in a low, pain-filled voice.

“I was just disappointed,” said Herremans, now a few days removed from the Chiefs’ loss. “It was a win I really wanted to get. I was really frustrated by that holding call I had late. Just disappointed, you know?”

Herremans took it hard but seemed no worse for wear this week. He wore the same half-grin that he always does. Was accepting towards the media that approached his back-corner stall, even though he knew the questions would be largely about what is going wrong.

Read more »

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