Photo | Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
To put the Eagles’ accomplishments through 12 games in perspective, Sal Paolantonio rolled out this fact during his weekly appearance on the Mike Missanelli show.
If the season ended today, the playoff teams would be:
From the AFC: Denver, New England, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Indianapolis.
From the NFC: Seattle, New Orleans, San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, Carolina.
What do they all have in common?
“One very important thing,” said Paolantonio. “All 12 have had one starting quarterback all season long. And the Philadelphia Eagles have survived and flourished despite instability at the quarterback position…When you have instability at the quarterback position, it’s very hard — almost impossible — t0 qualify for the playoff tournament.
“This team is not in the playoffs yet but they’re right knocking on heaven’s door here, and they have a shot to do what few teams do, which is to change quarterbacks mid-course and still make the playoffs.” Read more »
Asked after the bye whether LeSean McCoy had been encountering too much traffic in the backfield, Chip Kelly offered a brief response.
“I don’t think any running back likes to deal with defenders in the backfield too much, but I don’t see that occurring at a high rate,” he said.
The Eagles’ head coach prefers sometimes to not show his hand. The previous week, McCoy had been dropped for a loss five times against the Redskins. He had to deal with a defender in the backfield on 12 of 20 occasions, oftentimes spinning out of trouble and picking up positive yardage.
But that model didn’t seem sustainable. Part of the problem had to do with the Eagles’ zone read. Teams were using their unblocked defenders to crash down on McCoy. If Nick Foles kept the ball, so be it. They would live with the 5- or 6-yard gain and an opportunity to hit the QB. Read more »
The Eagles offense has been shut out in the fourth quarter in each of its last five games. Not since October 20, when Alex Henery kicked a 31-yard field goal three seconds into the period, has this unit generated points in the fourth.
The good news is that the Eagles are 4-1 over that five-game stretch. In back-to-back wins against Oakland and Green Bay, they were able to maintain a comfortable lead as they salted the game away. If you remember, they closed out the Packers with a 16-play drive that ate up 9:32 of game clock.
Things got a little too interesting late against Washington and Arizona over the last two weeks. The Eagles entered the fourth quarter up 24-0 on Washington and won 24-16. A 24-7 second-half lead against the Cards shrunk to 24-21.
There are worse problems than trying to figure out how to hold onto big leads — at least it means you’re getting big leads to begin with — but it is an area that needs to be cleaned up before it comes back to bite them. Read more »
Cary Williams took a long pause before giving his reply. A reporter brought up the fact that Bruce Arians submitted some 15 plays to the league for review following the Cardinals’ narrow loss to the Eagles Sunday. After digesting that news like one might a box of nails, Williams began.
“Let’s not be crybabies, man,” he said. “I thought the refs kept them in the game to some degree at times. But it’s football, man. It’s about going out there and executing. If they came in here with a different attitude, maybe not so nonchalant, thinking it was going to be a cakewalk…
“I’m not big on teams sending stuff in, and ‘This is what needs to be called.’ Play the game, dude. It’s football, man. Either you come in and win or you blame it on the refs. Don’t blame it on the refs, blame it on your preparation that week. I’ve never been a fan of coaches sending stuff into the refs unless it was blatant. To me I didn’t think there was anything blatant out on the field.”
Read more »
Now that we are officially into Week 14, it’s time to take a peek at some potential playoff scenarios.
Here’s what you need to know going into the final four games. Read more »
Here are 10 observations after having re-watched the Eagles’ performance on offense against the Arizona Cardinals:
1. Let’s start with Nick Foles and the positives. He continues to look comfortable in the offense, even though there were some bumps in the road this week. Final numbers: 21-for-34 for 237 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Foles now has 19 TDs and no picks on the season. On the first drive, he did a great job of seeing where the blitz was coming from and finding Brent Celek for a 16-yard gain on third down. On the first touchdown, he made an excellent throw to Zach Ertz in the corner of the end zone after faking the toss to LeSean McCoy. Later, he connected with Ertz on a 22-yarder. Watching live, I thought his pass was high, but the replay showed Foles put the ball where only Ertz could get it as the linebacker tried to step in front. Foles is a master of setting up the screen and waiting until the right moment to deliver the football. He connected with McCoy for a 19-yard pickup on a screen in the second. One of his best throws of the game was to DeSean Jackson for a 25-yard gain on a wheel route down the right sideline. In the third, Foles delivered a strike to Cooper for 16 yards, and his throw to Ertz on the post in the end zone was on the money. Read more »
The Arizona Cardinals have sent tapes containing about 15 plays from Sunday’s game to the league office for review.
“There were obviously problems in the ballgame,” said head coach Bruce Arians. “There are protocol to follow. We followed the protocol. We sent the tapes into the league office. [Vice President of Officiating] Dean Blandino does a great job as far as being honest on the calls, and we’ll follow up more…on what will be done and can be done later, but that’s all I’ll say about the officiating in that ballgame. The proper channels have been followed, and there were obviously very many problems.”
Arians noted that the Cards submitted about 15 plays for review.
“That’s pretty high,” he said. “I think that’s considered a problem.” Read more »
Chip Kelly committed to Nick Foles beyond the 2013 season Monday, then let reporters know that his words meant absolutely nothing.
The Eagles head coach was asked if he expects Foles to be the starting quarterback beyond this season.
“As long as he can stay healthy,” Kelly replied.
That response raised a few eyebrows, seeing as Kelly would typically dance right around such a question. In his short time in Philly, we’ve learned that he won’t tie himself to a QB unless he has to. By the sounds of it, he’s grown weary of the same line of questioning and chose a different approach this time around.
“I’ve been asked the question a thousand times so I will say it: He’s the starting quarterback for the next one-thousand years here,” said Kelly, in full I-don’t-give-a-damn-what-you-write mode. “And if I’m wrong next week then I’m wrong next week. Read more »
It didn’t take long to figure out Chip Kelly‘s offensive strategy against Arizona. Have a look at the play-by-play from the Eagles’ opening drive:
|1st and 10 at AZ 25
||N.Foles pass short left to B.Celek pushed ob at ARZ 22 for 3 yards.
|2nd and 7 at AZ 22
|| N.Foles pass incomplete short left to B.Celek.
|3rd and 7 at AZ 22
||N.Foles pass short middle to B.Celek to ARZ 6 for 16 yards
|1st and 6 at AZ 6
||N.Foles pass short right to Z.Ertz for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
See a pattern there?
Read more »
Chip Kelly stood at the podium late Sunday afternoon and prepared to answer questions about his team’s performance against the Arizona Cardinals.
“It looked like the offense had a lot of trouble after that touchdown drive to start the second half-” a reporter started before Kelly interrupted.
“Can we go positive with the first question on a win?” he joked.
About 10 minutes later, the Eagles’ locker room opened up to reporters, and while it was clear that players were happy to have gotten a win, they knew there were plenty of mistakes that needed to be corrected.
After putting together an impressive 13-play, 82-yard drive to start the third quarter, the offense stalled in a big way. The Eagles totaled 22 yards (not counting penalties or kneel-downs) on six drives. They managed just five first downs during that stretch and did not move more than 16 yards on any single possession.
“We try to stay out of this situation,” said LeSean McCoy. “We just have to do a better job of closing out the game. We have gone through this a couple of times and we just have to do a better job.” Read more »