Game Review: Ups And Downs For Foles

Nick Foles was far from the Eagles’ only problem in their 34-13 loss to the Bengals, but after an impressive performance the previous week against the Bucs, the rookie did not play well.

On their last five possessions, the Eagles had an interception, two fumbles and two three-and-outs. They scored 13 points, and one scoring drive started at the Bengals’ 29, while another began at the Bengals’ 12.

Foles went 16-for-33 for 182 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Two incompletions were dropped, and he threw the ball away twice.

Below is a review of his performance after having re-watched the game. We’ll have the All-22 breakdown during the week.

Let’s start with throws by distance. Short is 5 yards or less. Middle is 6 to 15 yards. Deep is 16 to 25. And Bomb is more than 25.

 
Completions
Attempts
Yards
Short91542
Middle5769
Deep1425
Bomb1446

The Eagles got nothing from the short game. The game-plan was to neutralize the Bengals’ pass-rush with quick throws, but the WR screens and RB screens were largely ineffective. They picked up just 42 yards on 15 pass attempts that traveled 5 yards or less. That’s 2.8 yards per play. Not good.

Foles hit Jeremy Maclin for 46 yards on a deep ball in the second. It was really a well-designed play as the Eagles faked the bubble screen and then went deep. We’ve seen the Eagles’ defense get burned by the same play on multiple occasions this year. But Foles underthrew Maclin, or he might have had a touchdown. Later in the game, Foles looked for Maclin deep but threw an awful ball and was intercepted.

The intermediate game was OK. Foles made a nice throw on the 11-yard touchdown to Riley Cooper.

THE TARGETS

Here’s a look at who he threw the ball to.

 
Completions
Targets
Yards
Jeremy Maclin4873
Jason Avant3444
Clay Harbor3630
Riley Cooper3720
Bryce Brown1211
Stanley Havili118
Dion Lewis11-4
Matt Tennant010

Maclin was the team’s most-targeted receiver. He caught four balls on eight targets for 73 yards. While Foles underthrew him on the deep ball, I thought Maclin had a chance to make the Bengals defensive backs miss after the catch, and he didn’t do so.

Harbor drew a few red-zone targets. On one, he caught the ball at the 1, but couldn’t power through the defensive back for the touchdown. Harbor’s one of the stronger guys on the team, but he seems to rarely pick up  yards after contact. Foles made a couple ill-advised throws into traffic in the red zone, but the Eagles did not help him out. Bryce Brown dropped a shovel pass, Dallas Reynolds was called for an illegal snap, and Matt Tennant dropped the pass in the end zone.

Foles looked to Harbor deep down the left sideline one-on-one vs. the cornerback. I’m with Mike Mayock on that one. Don’t see how that’s a favorable matchup for the Eagles.

THE REST

Foles’ best quality still seems to be avoiding pressure and making throws on the move. He did just that in the first, finding Jason Avant for 25 yards. Foles later made a nice throw to Avant for 16 yards on 3rd-and-9. And the throw to Harbor for 16 yards before he fumbled was a good one.

Overall, it was an up-and-down performance, which is not all that surprising, considering he was making his fifth career start. The offensive line actually performed better than I expected in pass protection. I didn’t think Foles was under too much pressure, and he had plenty of clean pockets. Not having LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson or Brent Celek definitely hurt. And the Eagles were unable to get the run game going for the second week in a row.

Foles will get two more chances against the Redskins and Giants. Then the Eagles will have to come up with an offseason plan for the quarterback position.

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Eagles DL Production: Success Without Washburn?

Sunday’s game against the Bucs was the Eagles’ first in two years without defensive line coach Jim Washburn and the wide-nine.

Tommy Brasher was hired on Monday and had three days of practice to switch up the Birds’ scheme up front. The Eagles struggled to get to Josh Freeman for much of the day, although the defense as a whole played better. Below is the player-by-player breakdown of sacks, hurries (tracked by the team’s coaches), opportunities (Pro Football Focus) and pressure percentage (frequency with with which each player notched a sack or hurry).

In the next couple of days, we’ll try to take a look at how the linemen were aligned up front with the All-22.

 
Pass-Rushing Opportunities
Sacks
Hurries
Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole31000%
Cullen Jenkins31116.5%
Fletcher Cox30116.7%
Brandon Graham29000%
Derek Landri10000%
Cedric Thornton100110.0%
Vinny Curry6000%
Darryl Tapp5000%
Phillip Hunt5000%

As you can see, a lot of zeroes on the board. The Eagles’ five defensive ends were shut out completely. Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt combined for zero sacks and zero hurries.

The defensive tackles had some success. Both Fletcher Cox and Cullen Jenkins notched sacks. No defensive lineman had more than one hurry.

Having said that, the defense shut out the Bucs in the first half and got what turned out to be a big stop at the end of the game. Coming in, the Eagles had allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 76.3 percent of their passes in the previous six games. But Freeman (who is generally not a high-percentage passer) completed just 41.2 percent of his attempts.

Below is the player-by-player breakdown after having re-watched the game.

Trent Cole – He finished with just one tackle, no sacks and no hurries. But I think the coaches were a little harsh in their grading. Cole wasn’t as bad as the numbers indicate. He and Derek Landri brought Doug Martin down after a 1-yard run in the first. Cole later pressured Freeman, hitting his arm and causing the ball to pop in the air for a near-interception. Cox got credit for the sack in the second, but Cole got good pressure inside on the stunt. He pressured Freeman and helped force an incompletion in the red zone in the fourth. Martin’s fourth-quarter touchdown run went right between Cole and Cox. Great hustle by Cole to bring down Martin after a 2-yard run on the final drive.

Brandon Graham – Relatively quiet game for Graham, although he had a few good moments. Two tackles, no sacks and no hurries. He hustled to bring Martin down after a 4-yard gain on a screen. And Graham drew a holding penalty on a screen in the second. Good pressure on Freeman in the second, leading to a Jenkins sack.

Cullen Jenkins – Two tackles, a sack and a hurry. Jenkins hit Freeman on a deep ball in the first quarter that was intended for Vincent Jackson. He picked up a sack on Freeman late in the first half and dropped Martin after a 3-yard run in the fourth.

Fletcher Cox – Ups and downs, but Cox was active. Great read and great job finishing the play, dropping Martin for a 6-yard loss on a screen in the second. Cox ran a stunt with Cole, looped outside and sacked Freeman. Martin ran right through the hole between Cox and Cole for his touchdown in the fourth. He stuffed Martin for no gain on 3rd-and-8 on the final drive, forcing the Bucs to punt.

Vinny Curry – Only had six opportunities to rush the passer and had no sacks or hurries. Ups and downs against the run. Great hustle from the backside, dropping Martin for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-1 in the second. But he got caught inside on a toss to Martin that picked up 11 yard in the second half.

Darryl Tapp – No tackles, no sacks, no hurries. I know I sound like a broken record, but not sure why Tapp’s taking snaps away from Curry at this point in the season.

Phillip Hunt – No tackles, no sacks, no hurries. Hunt got pressure off the edge and forced Freeman to step up and take a hit by Cedric Thornton.

Derek Landri – One tackle, no sacks and no hurries. Landri made some nice plays against the run. He and Cole brought Martin down after a 1-yard run in the first. Landri clogged the initial hole on Martin’s 3-yard run in the first. And did so again in the third when Martin bounced it outside for a 9-yard gain.

Cedric Thornton – Two tackles, no sacks and a hurry. Thornton got a hit on Freeman in the third as he was nearly picked off by Mychal Kendricks. He violently brought Martin down after a 5-yard run in the red zone in the fourth.

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Eagles OL Review: Identifying the Issues Vs. Tampa

Philadelphia Eagles left guard Evan Mathis.Below is a player-by-player review of how the Eagles’ offensive line performed in Sunday’s 23-21 win over the Bucs after having re-watched the game.

King Dunlap – A very up-and-down performance from the left tackle. He could not get to Michael Bennett on an early stretch play that lost 4 yards. Dunlap hit Ronde Barber, but barely moved him on an early Bryce Brown run that was stopped for no gain. He was beaten badly off the edge on a first-quarter sack and later had trouble with the defensive end, who rushed off the edge and forced Nick Foles out of the pocket. Daniel Te’o-Nesheim went right past him and sacked Foles in the second. Dunlap was pushed deep into the backfield on a Brown run that lost 7 yards in the second. He and Dennis Kelly both were beaten on a second-quarter play where Foles stepped up and found Jason Avant deep downfield. The good: Dunlap did a nice job on Brown’s 11-yard run in the second. He put a good block on the defensive back on the screen to Jeremy Maclin that picked up 24. And he did a nice job one-on-one in pass protection, giving Foles time to find Jeremy Maclin for 22 yards on 3rd-and-10 in the fourth.

Evan Mathis – This very well could be the best stretch of football we’ve seen out of Mathis. With the pieces around him all struggling on Sunday, Mathis again delivered a strong effort. He drove Te’o-Nesheim to the ground on Foles’ 14-yard pass to Damaris Johnson in the second. Great effort finishing the play on Foles’ 14-yard scramble in the third. Often times, when a QB takes off to run, offensive linemen will just stop. Mathis not only picked up Gerald McCoy on a stunt, but drove him downfield until the whistle blew. Later, Mathis did an excellent job on the defensive back on the Maclin screen that picked up 24. It’s possible I missed one, but I didn’t notice a single breakdown in protection from him.

Dallas Reynolds – Not a good showing. Reynolds couldn’t hold his block on McCoy on an early stunt that resulted in a sack. It didn’t look like Reynolds was trying to pass the DT off to Mathis either (to be fair, Foles had more than three seconds to get rid of the ball on the play). Later, he got pushed into the backfield by Te’o-Nesheim on a Brown run that was stopped for no gain. Reynolds stayed with the double-team and failed to pick up linebacker Lavonte David, who was coming on a blitz and hit Foles. It’s possible Reynolds thought Brown was picking up David on the play. He and Jake Scott did a poor job handling a stunt in the first as Foles was sacked. Defensive tackle Gary Gibson got past him and pressured Foles into throwing the ball away in the red zone in the second. Reynolds later let Gibson through again, but Foles stepped up and found Avant in the third. McCoy went right past him and dragged Dion Lewis down for a loss of 4 in the fourth. One of the few bright spots came when Reynolds switched off to the blitzer on Foles’ 11-yard completion to Clay Harbor late in the first half.

Jake Scott – He had been playing well, but struggled in this one. Scott was a little slow to pick up Da’Quan Bowers on a stunt on the early 6-yard completion to Johnson. McCoy went around him on third down in the first quarter. Scott did a poor job of handling a first-quarter stunt as Bennett sacked Foles. He got abused one-on-one against McCoy, giving up a sack in the third, and got pushed back by Te’o-Nesheim on the two-point try, allowing a hit on Foles. Scott had a nice block on the defensive back on the screen to Avant that picked up 10 in the third.

Dennis Kelly – Yikes. Perhaps a year from now, Kelly will remember this as a learning moment. But he struggled big-time on Sunday. Poor job on Bennett on a stretch play that lost 4 yards in the first. He couldn’t get in front of McCoy on a Brown run that picked up 1 yard in the first. Kelly did a poor job with his block on a Brown run in the second that was stopped for no gain. He was beaten badly on Brown’s red-zone run that lost a yard in the second. And Kelly was beaten off the edge on the play where Foles stepped up and found Avant deep downfield. He had trouble with Bennett in the third, but McCoy sacked Foles first. Kelly got pushed into the backfield by Bennett on Brown’s third-quarter run that lost a yard. He was beaten badly on third down in the third, forcing Foles to move out of the pocket and throw incomplete. Kelly missed his block on the WR screen to Maclin in the fourth that picked up 4 yards. On the very next play, he gave up a sack to Bennett. And he had trouble with Bennett on the play after that, but Foles stepped up and hit Maclin for a first down. Much to improve on after this outing for Kelly.

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Game Review: Evaluating Foles’ Performance

Nick Foles completed 32 of 51 passes for 381 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Eagles’ 23-21 win over the Bucs Sunday afternoon.

Below is a breakdown of how the rookie performed after having re-watched all of his throws. Look for the All-22 review later this week.

Let’s start with throws by distance. Short is 5 yards or less. Middle is 6 to 15 yards. Deep is 16 to 25. And Bomb is more than 25.

 
Completions
Attempts
Yards
Short1720140
Middle1118138
Deep3564
Bomb1439

As you can see, Foles was efficient in the short game. The Eagles ran a lot of WR screens, specifically to Jeremy Maclin. Dion Lewis took a short pass 28 yards. And of course, the game-winning touchdown to Maclin was from 1 yard out.

Foles completed 61.1 percent of the Middle throws. Not bad, especially considering he was without Brent Celek, one of the offense’s primary options in that area of the field.

The Eagles took their shots downfield and came away with mixed results. It looked like Foles had Marvin McNutt open deep in the first, but he overthrew him. Foles was hit on the play. Late in the first half, he had Riley Cooper down the left sideline, but overthrew him. Foles had Cooper again on the final drive, but misfired. Initially, I thought he had Maclin open on that play too. But after watching the replay, Maclin didn’t separate from the defensive back until after the ball was already in the air.

There were good moments too with throws downfield. In the second, Foles felt pressure from both sides, stepped up, scrambled to his right and completed a 39-yard bomb to Jason Avant. Really nice play. Good patience and good touch in the fourth, lofting one to Maclin for a 22-yard gain on 3rd-and-10. And of course, there was the 22-yard strike to Avant that set up the game-winning touchdown

THE TARGETS

Here’s a look at who Foles threw the ball to.

 
Completions
Targets
Yards
Jeremy Maclin913104
Jason Avant710133
Clay Harbor6652
Riley Cooper4837
Bryce Brown236
Damaris Johnson2220
Dion Lewis1228
Brent Celek111
Marvin McNutt020

When you throw the ball 51 times, there’s going to be plenty of room to spread it around. Foles completed passes to eight different receivers and targeted nine different receivers. On throws to Maclin, he was 9-for-13 for 104 yards and a touchdown. On throws to Avant, he was 7-for-10 for 133 yards.

And Foles completed all six passes that went Clay Harbor’s direction, including the 11-yard touchdown.

* If you add up the targets and get 47, that’s because he threw the ball away four times. Foles spiked it once, but I counted the two-point conversion attempt here.

ON THE MOVE

There has been no shortage of jokes today about Foles’ speed after he didn’t exactly remind anyone of Usain Bolt on the 10-yard touchdown run. But the truth is, Foles did a really nice job of escaping pressure and making plays. It might be the No. 1 thing to take away from this performance, actually.

NFL quarterbacks need to be able to operate under less-than-ideal circumstances. The offensive line played poorly Sunday. Foles was sacked six times, hit 13 times and pressured many more. But he showed the ability to get away from defenders while keeping his eyes downfield. In the first quarter, he scrambled to his left and hit Cooper for a 16-yard gain. The touchdown pass to Harbor was another good example. And Foles avoided pressure before finding Maclin for 23  yards on 3rd-and-14 on the final drive.

Against the blitz, Foles performed well, completing 11 of 17 passes for 133 yards. Early on, he got rid of the ball quickly to Cooper for a 10-yard gain before an unblocked defender could hit him. Later, he stepped up and found Avant over the middle against a six-man blitz.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

You know I like numbers, but they don’t always tell the whole story. Before Foles hit Avant for 22 yards to set up the game-winning score, he made a terrible decision, looking for McNutt on a throw that should have been intercepted by cornerback Danny Gorrer. Sometimes, the ball just bounces your way. Can you imagine what we’d be talking about today had Gorrer made the play there?

Earlier, Foles threw low to Maclin on a short out. And he was late with his throw to Lewis on the two-point conversion. Foles also needs to hit on the deep balls when he has a chance for big plays.

But overall, it was another encouraging performance by the rookie, who continues to improve. Foles was playing against a bad pass defense, but he was also playing with an offensive line that struggled, no Celek, no DeSean Jackson and no LeSean McCoy.

As I’ve written before, this is not about asking him to play at a Pro Bowl level. It’s about Foles correcting his mistakes and showing signs of becoming a good player. He didn’t show much in his first two starts, but has been much better in the last two. Improvement will continue to be the focus as the Eagles close out their season against Cincinnati, Washington and the Giants.

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DL Production: Graham Getting It Done?

Philadelphia Eagles DE Brandon Graham.The Eagles’ pass-rush had some good moments early against the Cowboys, but was non-existent in the second half when Tony Romo completed all 10 of his pass attempts.

After the game, Andy Reid announced that the team was parting ways with Jim Washburn, although he admitted that the game’s results had little to do with his decision.

Meanwhile, Brandon Graham got the start for Jason Babin, and Vinny Curry was active for the second time this season, as the Eagles went with a 10-man rotation.

Here’s the weekly look at production. Hurries (and tackles) come directly from the Eagles’ coaching staff. Pass-rushing opportunities are tracked by Pro Football Focus. And the last column is from me – a measure of how often each defensive lineman notched either a sack or a hurry.

 
Pass-Rushing Opportunities
Sacks
Hurries
Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole220.519.1%
Brandon Graham201.5430.0%
Mike Patterson18015.6%
Cullen Jenkins17000%
Cedric Thornton12000%
Fletcher Cox10000%
Derek Landri10000%
Vinny Curry9000%
Darryl Tapp6000%
Phillip Hunt4000%

Too many zeroes in that chart. Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Phillip Hunt, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Darryl Tapp and Cedric Thornton combined for no sacks and no quarterback hurries. That’s hard to believe.

To be fair, some of them didn’t have a lot of opportunities, but that’s a brutal lack of production. I don’t see why Tapp should get any snaps ahead of Curry the rest of the way. Also, it should be noted that Cox was playing with a bruised tailbone.

Cole had half-a-sack, a hurry and three tackles, but for the most part, Tyron Smith handled him once again.

The bright spot, of course, was Graham, who had 1.5 sacks, four hurries and eight tackles, which is the most by any Eagles defensive end all season.

Graham got around Doug Free and sacked Tony Romo in the first. He went around Free and hit Romo on an incompletion in the second. Graham hustled to bring down Kevin Ogletree upfield after a couple other defenders missed tackles. And he hustled to bring DeMarco Murray down on the other side of the field for no gain (All-22 of that play here). Active game for Graham, who should see increased opportunities the rest of the way.

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Game Review: Foles Takes Step Forward

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.Listening to Andy Reid earlier this week, I got the sense that he and the Eagles coaching staff wanted to see a little more out of Nick Foles Sunday night against the Cowboys.

In his first two starts, the rookie completed 55.2 percent of his passes and averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt. The issues on offense were not all his fault, but Foles had not provided many encouraging flashes.

Sunday night was different, though. Foles completed 22 of 34 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown. He wasn’t perfect, but showed signs of improvement, making a few impressive throws, and with a huge assist from the running game, helping the offense move the football.

Let’s start by breaking down the throws by distance.

 
Completions
Attempts
Yards
Short1415106
Middle6997
Deep2448
Bomb010

Officially, Foles completed 64.7 percent of his passes, but it was actually better than that. Foles threw three balls away and had one batted at the line of scrimmage. He also threw one into the ground as DeMarcus Ware crushed him from behind on the first play from scrimmage.

Foles completed all but one of his throws that traveled 5 yards or less. He did a really nice job on the intermediate throws, completing six of nine attempts for 97 yards. Foles let his receivers make some plays after the catch. He hit Riley Cooper for a 16-yard slant. And he got the ball out on time to Jeremy Maclin on 3rd-and-6, allowing him to pick up 21 yards.

Foles took some shots downfield too. He threw a really nice ball to Jason Avant in between Cowboys defenders for 29 yards in the second. And Foles showed good patience, finding Avant over the middle for 23 yards, while beating the blitz in the fourth. He missed some of those deep throws too. It looked like Foles had Maclin open deep late in the first half, but he overthrew him. Perhaps he was used to DeSean Jackson’s speed?

A good sign in the second. The Cowboys blitzed Ernie Sims, and Foles stood tall in the pocket, taking a hit and delivering the ball on-target to Brent Celek.

I was also impressed with a couple of the throws Foles made on the move. One came off play-action in the third. Foles was sliding to his left and completed a pass to Maclin for 14 yards. And in the fourth, he scrambled to his left, away from pressure, and hit Avant for 19 yards on 3rd-and-8.

The areas where he can improve? Other than the throws I mentioned above, it sure looked like Foles had Celek wide-open in the middle of the field for a touchdown in the fourth. He instead threw incomplete to the left corner of the end zone to Clay Harbor. That’s one we’ll look at with the All-22.

Foles’ worst throw of the day came late in the fourth when he very easily could have been picked off by Cowboys safety Danny McCray, who just dropped the ball. He threw behind Bryce Brown in the fourth and was also off-target on a deep throw to Cooper, who appeared to be open.

Rob Ryan did not blitz Foles much. By my count, he sent extra pressure on eight of 35 dropbacks, or 22.9 percent of the time. Foles handled the blitz well, going 5-for-8 for 54 yards.

Overall, some encouraging signs. Reid announced Monday that Foles will start the rest of the season. And that makes sense. Regardless of who is coaching the Eagles in 2013, the more information, the better. The decision-makers will have to choose from Foles, Michael Vick (with a restructured contract), a draft pick and a free agent/trade acquisition. Foles will get four more games to make the case that he should be viewed as a realistic option next season.

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OL Review: Scott Still In For Watkins

It’s probably too little, too late, but the Eagles’ offensive line turned in one of its best performances of the season Sunday night against the Cowboys.

Sure, it helped that Dallas was without Jay Ratliff, Sean Lee and Bruce Carter, but the offense scored points on six of 10 offensive possessions. Nick Foles was sacked just once and had a comfortable pocket for most of the game. On the ground, the Eagles averaged 7.0 yards per carry, which help neutralize DeMarcus Ware. The Eagles often ran play-fakes right at Ware to slow him down.

Below is the player-by-player breakdown:

King Dunlap – He had some issues, but overall, did a respectable job against Ware, especially considering Dunlap was playing through a knee injury. In pass protection, he allowed Ware to get some pressure on Foles as he dumped it off to Clay Harbor for 3 yards in the third. Ware got past Dunlap in the fourth, but Foles escaped and threw complete to Jason Avant. Dunlap allowed the team’s only sack, as Victor Butler went right around him, one-on-one, and stripped Foles in the fourth. He did a poor job on Jason Hatcher on Bryce Brown’s run that lost 6 yards in the first. On the flip side, Dunlap got out in front and blocked the linebacker on Dion Lewis’ 11-yard run in the third. He helped shove Ware upfield on Brown’s 13-yard run in the fourth.

Evan Mathis – He’s really playing well right now. Mathis did a nice job on the linebacker on the 13-yard screen to Damaris Johnson in the first. He threw the key block on Brown’s 10-yard touchdown in the first. And Mathis got to the linebacker on Brown’s second touchdown run. He pinned Hatcher on Brown’s 20-yard run in the second and did a good job on Josh Brent on Lewis’ 11-yard run in the third. Mathis blocked Hatcher and helped create a lane for Brown on his 13-yard run in the fourth. Strong overall game.

Dallas Reynolds – I thought he also delivered a pretty good performance, especially considering he was dealing with an ankle injury and listed as questionable on Friday. Let’s start with the good. Reynolds did an excellent job getting to linebackers on the second level all game long. Examples: Brown’s first touchdown run, Brown’s 20-yard run in the second, Brown’s 13-yard run in the fourth. He and Dennis Kelly had a nice double-team on Brown’s 39-yard run in the second. And Reynolds had an excellent block on Marcus Spears on Brown’s second touchdown run. The issues? Brent got past him and pressured Foles, forcing him to throw it away in the fourth. And Reynolds failed to switch off his man and pick up Ernie Sims on the first play from scrimmage.

Jake Scott - By all accounts I’ve heard, Danny Watkins was healthy last week and ready to start at left guard if Mathis had to play center. Yet Scott still started at right guard in his place. And Scott played pretty well too. It’s now officially fair to question why the Eagles didn’t sign him earlier in the season. Scott sealed the edge and allowed Brown to turn the corner on his 39-yard run in the second. He did a nice job of switching off his man on a stunt in the second, giving Foles time to hit Avant for 29 yards. When the Eagles needed a first down on 3rd-and-2 in the third, they ran Brown right behind Scott and picked it up. He did a nice job on Sims on Brown’s 17-yard run in the third. And Scott got to Dan Connor on the shovel pass to Brown that picked up 7. He did a good job on the linebacker on Brown’s 2nd-and-2 carry that picked up 6 yards. Most of the Eagles’ issues in pass protection came late when Dallas knew they had to throw the ball (and perhaps the linemen were fatigued). Spears beat him badly in the fourth, forcing Foles to scramble and throw the ball away.

Dennis Kelly – He has issues here and there, but overall, Kelly looks like a pretty competent right tackle. He did a nice job on Spears on Brown’s 5-yard run in the first. He handled Anthony Spencer one-on-one on an 8-yard completion to Brown in the first. Kelly threw a key block on Brown’s 24-yard run in the first. Perfectly-executed double team by him and Brent Celek on Brown’s second touchdown run. Nice job switching off his man and handling a stunt on a 29-yard completion to Avant. Good block on Sean Lissemore, creating a running lane for Brown on his 17-yard carry in the third. Kelly got out in front of the screen to Avant and blocked Ware. He had some trouble with Spencer on Foles’ incompletion to Riley Cooper in the third. And Kelly got beaten by Spencer in the fourth, but the Cowboys linebacker was called for roughing the passer on the play.

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DL Production: Cole Gets Shut Out

Here’s our weekly look at the Eagles’ defensive line production.

The Eagles had quite a few “close but no sack” moments against Robert Griffin III. In fairness to Jim Washburn’s unit, Griffin makes defensive linemen look silly on a weekly basis.

Here are the numbers. Sacks, hurries (a stat kept by the coaches) and pressure percentage (frequency with with each player notches a sack or hurry, given the opportunities).

 
Pass-Rushing Opportunities
Sacks
Hurries
Pressure Percentage
Trent Cole16000%
Jason Babin151113.3%
Fletcher Cox13107.7%
Cullen Jenkins12000%
Mike Patterson120216.7%
Brandon Graham80112.5%
Derek Landri70228.6%
Darryl Tapp70114.3%
Cedric Thornton2000%

We know the Eagles are not looking forward to facing Griffin for years to come. I’m guessing they’re not going to enjoy going up against left tackle Trent Williams either. Williams held Trent Cole to no sacks and no hurries. Cole has a total of seven hurries in the last four games. He doesn’t have a sack since Week 3 against the Cardinals.

Jason Babin was actually very active. He had one sack and was really responsible for the other one. Babin’s pressure forced Griffin to step up, and Fletcher Cox was the first person to touch him. Babin also had four tackles.

My upcoming All-22 post is going to focus a lot on Cox. He is coming on strong. The rookie had 10 tackles. He’s had two double-digit tackle games in the last month. No other Eagles defensive lineman has one all season. Cox was all over the place against the Redskins, even though it might not show up in the numbers here.

Brandon Graham only had eight opportunities, but he hasn’t done much in the last two games (one tackle, two hurries). This was the most active Mike Patterson’s been since returning (two hurries, three tackles). Derek Landri had two hurries in his previous five games, but notched a couple in this one. Darryl Tapp had five tackles.

Going forward, it looks like Vinny Curry is going to get a shot against the Panthers, per a CSNPhilly.com report by Geoff Mosher. So who does he bump? The Eagles could go with five defensive ends and sit Cedric Thornton, who’s being phased out anyway. Or they could have Curry take Tapp’s place behind Cole.

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RB, WR, TE Review: Maclin’s Future With the Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy MaclinHere’s a review of how the Eagles running backs, wide receivers and tight ends performed against the Redskins on Sunday:

LeSean McCoy – He suffered the concussion late in the game. Prior to that, McCoy carried 15 times for 45 yards. But he had his most effective game in a long time as a receiver with six catches for 67 yards. The Eagles had a perfect call as he took a screen 20 yards in the first. Two plays later, they ran a fake wide-receiver screen and then came back to McCoy for 25 yards. He has to do a better job of taking care of the football. McCoy now has four fumbles on the season. He had three total in 2010 and 2011 combined. Ups and downs as a blocker. Good blitz pickup on Nick Foles’ first interception. And again on Foles’ 21-yard completion to Damaris Johnson in the second. Poor job picking up linebacker Keenan Robinson on Foles’ second interception. McCoy blocked Ryan Kerrigan to the ground in pass protection in the fourth. But there were issues. The Redskins showed blitz on 3rd-and-9 in the red zone, but only rushed four. That left McCoy on Kerrigan one-on-one, and he gave up a sack/forced fumble. He could not hold his block on third down in the fourth as Foles was forced to scramble and throw the ball away. It looked like McCoy was in position to help Dallas Reynolds after Barry Cofield went right around him, but he didn’t get there, and Foles took a huge hit.

Bryce Brown – If McCoy’s out, he figures to be the primary back. Brown ran five times for 35 yards against the Redskins. He had a nice 13-yard run to the right side in the second and later broke a couple tackles for an 18-yard run (but Jeremy Maclin was called for holding). In his last three games, Brown has carried 12 times for 85 yards (7.1 YPC). He’s getting better as the season’s going on, which makes sense, considering how little he’d played in the past couple of years.

Stanley Havili – A 9-yard catch and run in the first. That was it.

DeSean Jackson – The Eagles had no success getting him the football. Jackson had two catches for 5 yards, and those both came on wide receiver screens. It looked like he might have had a chance at a big play down the right sideline, but Foles’ pass floated out of bounds. Foles looked for him deep against a blitz in the fourth, but Jackson was covered. He did a horrible job as a blocker on one play, not even attempting to block Brandon Meriweather on McCoy’s run that was stopped after a 1-yard gain in the second.

Jeremy Maclin – Zero catches on two targets. We’ll need to wait for the All-22 to see if he was open and just not getting the ball. Decent block on the WR screen to Riley Cooper that picked up 15 in the first. He was called for holding on Brown’s 18-yard run in the second. And Maclin took a big hit on an ill-advised Foles throw in the fourth.

But with Maclin, the bigger picture is intriguing. He’s only signed through the 2013 season and then is scheduled to become a free agent. The new coach is going to determine the Eagles’ identity on offense. Maybe he’ll decide to go to more two tight end looks. Maybe he’ll want to run the ball more. Maybe he’ll decide the Eagles need a bigger, physical receiver to complement Jackson. Or maybe he’ll see a lot of untapped potential in Maclin. We just don’t know. The Eagles could let Maclin play out his contract and decide what to do with him after 2013. They could sign him to an extension this offseason. Or they could at least see what kind of interest there might be in Maclin for a possible trade. Unless the Eagles extend him this offseason, it makes sense for them to consider using an early draft pick on a wide receiver in April.

Riley Cooper – He finished with five catches for 61 yards. Cooper picked up 15 yards on a WR screen on third down in the first. He also had a 23-yard catch and run in the first, but dropped a 10-yard out in the fourth. Good effort as a blocker on the 20-yard screen to McCoy in the second.

Damaris Johnson – His lone catch was a 21-yarder on 3rd-and-17 in the second. Terrible job as a blocker, allowing DeAngelo Hall to go right past him and drop McCoy for a 5-yard loss in the fourth. Johnson had a 16-yard punt return, one of his best of the year.

Brent Celek – Drops continue to be an issue. Celek had the ball bounce off his hands on the interception in the first. And he had another drop on 3rd-and-5 in the second. On the season, Celek’s got seven drops, tied for fourth-most in the league, per STATS, Inc. He did a good job as a blocker on the 8-yard screen to Jackson. But Celek did a poor job on linebacker Rob Jackson on a McCoy run that was stopped after a 2-yard gain.

Clay Harbor – He didn’t exactly seize the opportunity either. Harbor had two drops and one catch for -1 yards. It’s tough to know what his responsibility was, but Harbor was the only player who had a chance of blocking Hall on the bootleg to open the game, and he was late getting to the cornerback. He gave good effort as a blocker on Brown’s 5-yard run in the first. And Harbor delivered a good block on Kerrigan on Brown’s 13-yard run in the first. Foles targeted him on a bootleg in the second, and it looked like Harbor was open. Either he tripped, or Foles just misfired.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Game Review: Foles’ First NFL Start

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.We’ll get to the All-22 breakdown later in the week, but here’s a look at how Nick Foles performed in his first NFL start.

THE GAME-PLAN

It’s easy to look at the final numbers, see Foles dropped back to pass 51 times and kill Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. But those numbers are skewed by the fact that the Eagles were trailing, 31-6, in the fourth quarter. On two fourth-quarter drives, Foles dropped back 20 times, and the Eagles only had three called runs.

The throws early on were high-percentage attempts. Seven of the first eight attempts were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage (not counting a throw-away). The Redskins came in with a struggling secondary, but the Eagles were unable to take advantage, as Foles averaged just 4.4 yards per attempt.

Here’s a look at the throws by distance. Short indicates 5 yards or less from the line of scrimmage. Middle is 6 to 15. Deep is 16 to 25. And Bomb is more than 25.

 
Completions
Attempts
Yards
Short1420103
Middle51458
Deep2543
Bomb020

Overall, a lot of screens and checkdowns. On throws that traveled 6 yards or more from the line of scrimmage, Foles was just 7-for-21. He hit Damaris Johnson over the middle for 21 yards on 3rd-and-17 in the second. And Foles connected with Brent Celek for 22 yards on 3rd-and-5 in the third.

ACCURACY

Overall, the numbers show 21-for-46, or 45.7 percent, which is terrible, especially considering that opponents were completing 63.8 percent of their attempts against the Redskins going in. While Foles certainly missed too many throws, his receivers didn’t help him. I counted five drops – two by Celek, two by Clay Harbor and one by Riley Cooper. Add in five balls that were thrown away, and his completion percentage wasn’t as bad as the numbers indicate.

On several throws, either timing or accuracy was an issue. He got rid of the ball quickly, but was off-target on a throw to Johnson (who was open) in the first. He misfired to Harbor in the second. Initially, I thought that Harbor tripped, but after watching the replay, it looked like he was just lunging for the ball. And Foles threw short of Jackson on a 12-yard out in the fourth.

THE MISTAKES

The first interception was on Celek. Foles actually made a nice throw on the move. He had pressure in his face on the second interception, but made a bad throw. We’ll have to wait for the All-22 to see exactly what happened.

Fumbles were an issue. It’s foolish to only count them when the other team recovers since those are generally 50/50 balls. Foles fumbled three times. On one play, the Redskins brought a corner blitz with Josh Wilson, who came unblocked and sacked Foles, who lost the ball. Another occurred when LeSean McCoy was asked to block Ryan Kerrigan one-on-one. Kerrigan sacked Foles and forced a fumble. And the third one came when Foles panicked and threw low to McCoy behind the line of scrimmage.

THE TARGETS

Taking away the balls that were thrown away, here are Foles’ targets:

 
Targets
Completions
Yards
Riley Cooper8561
LeSean McCoy7667
Brent Celek7542
DeSean Jackson725
Clay Harbor61-1
Damaris Johnson2121
Stanley Havili219
Jeremy Maclin200

As you can see, 22 of Foles’ 41 attempts, or 54 percent, targeted running backs and tight ends.

The numbers to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were ugly: 2-for-9 for 5 yards. The two completions were screens to Jackson. Going forward, Reid and Mornhinweg need to give Foles more opportunities downfield.

LEFTOVERS

Jim Haslett blitzed Foles a lot – 22 times out of 51 dropbacks by my count. Against extra pressure, he was 9-for-21 for 92 yards. Early on, Foles did a good job of changing the play at the line of scrimmage and hitting Cooper on a WR screen for 15 yards. But overall, the Eagles handled the blitz poorly.

On 3rd-and-4 in the red zone in the third, Foles took a delay of game instead of calling timeout. It looked like Reid tried to call timeout, but didn’t get it. Still, the quarterback has to show better awareness in that spot.

So overall, a messy performance. The Eagles averaged 3.6 yards per play. They turned it over three times (and that number could have been higher). Foles was sacked four times.

It certainly wasn’t all on the quarterback, and it was only one game, but the rookie didn’t provide many encouraging signs in this one – especially considering the caliber of opponent. The smart move would seem to be to let Foles get more experience so that you can make an informed decision at quarterback at the end of the season. But Reid says he’s leaning towards playing Michael Vick when he’s healthy.

We’ll see if that means Monday night against the Panthers or down the road.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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